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Briefs: Awareness of sepsis critical to curb deaths

Awareness of sepsis needed to curb deaths

Sepsis causes more than 200,000 deaths in the United States each year, yet Americans know little about it: Most people questioned online for a new study said they had never heard the term. The illness develops when the immune system's response to an infection spins out of control, causing severe injury to other organs in the body. Early symptoms may include chills, confusion, abnormal body temperature, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure and rash; a quick diagnosis is critical to preventing deaths. The new study, of 1,000 Americans 18 and older questioned in late August and early September, found that three out of five were not familiar with the term. Among older adults, who are at higher risk, the percentage was even higher. Raising awareness is critical to reducing the number of sepsis deaths, said Dr. Kevin J. Tracey, president of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York, which commissioned the survey. People should be able to identify the very early signs of the illness, just as they have learned to be vigilant for symptoms of a heart attack. "If someone has an infection on the arm or leg, and then develops a fever, or starts to feel sick all over," he said, "someone should say, 'I'm concerned about sepsis.' "

Losing sleep keeps us from losing fat

Attention, dieters: You can cut calories to lose weight — but without enough sleep, you won't be losing the right kind. According to a study published online this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, cutting your time in bed from 8 1/2 hours to 5 1/2 hours causes you to lose proportionally less fat. Researchers looked at a group of dieters who had a full night of sleep, and found that more than half of the weight they lost was fat. But when the researchers cut three hours off the bedtime of dieters on the same caloric regimen, only a quarter of the weight lost was fat. Researchers theorize that it's because of the way sleep levels affect the levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger and promotes fat retention. Moral of the study? Put aside the work, or that late-night TV show, and get some shut-eye.

Times wires

Briefs: Awareness of sepsis critical to curb deaths 10/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 5:44pm]
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