Surgical issues, infections under scrutiny
Florida surgeons and hospital staff may find themselves under more scrutiny in the future, as regulators work to control rates of infection and surgical complications. The Florida Surgical Care Initiative, announced this week, will target four areas of particular concern: surgical site infections, urinary tract infections, surgical complications in the elderly, and complications in those who have colorectal surgery. Funded in part by BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, the program uses the American College of Surgeons' protocol to review outcomes data from patients' medical records. Initial results will be shared with surgeons and hospitals to help them improve, but won't be available to the public. Organizers at the Florida Hospital Association say hospitals in the Tampa Bay area have expressed interest, but haven't yet signed up.
St. Joseph's adds to women's center
St. Joseph's Women's Hospital broke ground Wednesday on a $75 million, five-story expansion that will add 64 private neonatal suites and two dozen private patient rooms to the existing facility. It will also house the Hinks and Elaine Shimberg Breast Center. The expansion, slated to open in the fall of 2012, is at 3030 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Tampa, next to the current building. It's the latest in a local building boom of hospital facilities for women and children, following the new All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, which includes Bayfront Medical Center's Baby Place maternity facility.
Nuts can help control cholesterol
Eating a large handful of nuts — 2.4 ounces — every day helps lower total cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol, and improves the ratio of total cholesterol to "good" HDL cholesterol. That's the word from a study that compiled results of 25 clinical trials with 583 participants overall. Those who ate nuts saw their LDL drop by about 7.4 percent, and their total cholesterol go down by 5.1 percent. The study, in the May 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, was partly financed by a nut-industry foundation, and two of the authors receive research money from other organizations representing the nut and peanut industries. But authors noted that some of the trials had no corporate ties, yet had similar conclusions. "Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats, and that is a main driver in lowering cholesterol," said lead author Dr. Joan Sabate, a professor of nutrition at the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University. Dieters take note: 2 1/2 ounces of almonds or pistachios contain about 400 calories.
Study links family history to diabetes
To figure out how much diet, lifestyle and family history contribute to Type 2 diabetes, Australian researchers recruited healthy volunteers and asked them to overeat. The 41 men and women, about half of whom had diabetes in their immediate families, agreed to eat a high-fat diet with 1,250 extra calories a day. After four weeks, those with a family history of diabetes gained 7.5 pounds, significantly more than those without a genetic susceptibility (4.8 pounds), and showed more insulin resistance.
Times staff, wires