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BARIATRIC SURGERY AND BIRTH WEIGHTS

Children born to women who had bariatric surgery may face a lower risk of severe obesity, a study suggests. The study, of 111 children born to 49 mothers who had a weight-loss surgery called biliopancreatic diversion, found that babies born after the operation had lower birth weights than those born before. Only 11 percent of the children born after surgery later became severely obese, compared with 35 percent of the others. Benefits to the children might be due to metabolic and hormonal changes in the mothers, said a paper author. Two cautions: The findings, to be published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, are based on observation (the study was not randomized and controlled). Plus, bariatric surgery can lead to complications like anemia, malnutrition, loss of bone density and, rarely, death.

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New York man lets the blood flow

A New York man this week donated his 320th pint of blood, bringing him closer to his goal of becoming the country's most prolific donor. "Some people give money," said Al Fischer, 75, a printing shop operator from Massapequa. "I give blood. It's my cause." According to a New York Blood Center official, only 83-year-old Maurice Wood has donated more blood. Fischer says he and Wood, a retired railroad inspector from St. Louis, spoke to each other a few months ago. Long Island Blood Services executive director Harvey Schaffler says Fischer has helped almost 1,000 people.

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Following a slim person's lead

Want to lose weight? Hang out with thin people who eat small portions. That's the message from researchers at the University of British Columbia who looked at how many M&M's students took when seated beside a slender woman also eating the candies, compared with the choices they made when the woman donned a "fat suit.'' No surprise: Students tended to mimic the slender model. "If you see a thin person order a salad for dinner, it kind of reminds you, 'If I'm going to look like that, I'd better get something very small,' " said Brent McFerran, an assistant professor at the university who was one of the paper's authors. "If you see such a portion ordered by someone who's very obese, you think, 'Well, they need to eat that little, they're on a diet, but I'm not like that.' "

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Coach to discuss breast cancer

Hear the winningest Ivy League women's basketball coach, Harvard's Kathy Delaney-Smith, speak about her recovery from breast cancer at Moffitt Cancer Center's 22nd annual FACTors Breast Cancer Education Conference, Sept. 26 in Tampa. The program includes workshops, lunch with experts, exhibitors, and a question and answer session with doctors moderated by Times health writer Irene Maher. $25. Call (813) 745-4613 to reserve your place.

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