Discovered: Weight loss surgery fails to reduce diabetes; E. coli often comes from cities, not cattle; big guts could mean brittle bones for men; sea levels rose nearly half an inch over past 20 years.
Weight loss surgery won't reverse diabetes. A few months ago, a pair of papers came out claiming that weight loss surgery worked better than standard treatments for type 2 diabetes. Let's maybe walk back those findings, argue researchers led by David E. Arterburn from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. They found that many obese diabetics who undergo gastric bypass surgery don't experience significant drop-off in their disease. But Arterburn does admit that early intervention surgery tends to curb type 2 diabetes somewhat, and he's not arguing against weight loss surgery entirely: "It’s not a surefire cure for everyone. But almost universally, patients lose weight after weight loss surgery, and that in and of itself may have so many health benefits." [The New York Times]
Let's not forget city E. coli. Whenever we hear news of an E. coli breakout, the contamination is usually bovine in origin. But USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists found that the bacteria in Californian bodies of water is usually runoff from urban areas, not feedlots. USDA researcher Mark Ibekwe and colleagues collected 450 water samples, from 20 sites along the Santa Ana River Watershed, finding that most traces of E. coli—pathogenic or not—were caused by humans, not cows. They also found that a staggering 88 to 95 percent of isolated E. coli samples were resistant to various antibiotics. [USDA Agricultural Research Service]
Belly fat could lead to osteoporosis in men. Guys, that spare tire you've been lugging around isn't just bad for your heart. It's also bad for your bones, according to a new study from Miriam Bredella of Harvard Medical School. She and her colleagues detected a correlation between high amounts of belly fat and risk of developing osteoporosis. Subjects with an average age of 34 and BMI of 36.5 (well within the obese range) were given CT scans and finite element analyses, which showed that more fat stores corresponded with low bone strength. Men with high BMIs because of higher muscle mass did not have the same osteoporosis risk. [Huffington Post]
Measuring sea level rises. Lately, we've been swimming in reports that predict sea level rises over the next hundred years, but we haven't had a definitive measurement of how high ocean levels rose in the last 20 years due to polar ice melting. Now, thanks to over twenty research teams' combined work, we have a solid figure: 11 millimeters (0.43 inches). "We can now say for sure that Antarctica is losing ice and we can see how the rate of loss from Greenland is going up over the same period as well," says lead author Andrew Shepherd of Leeds University. "Prior to now there'd been 30 to 40 different estimates of how the ice sheets are changing, and what we realized was that most people just wanted one number to tell them what the real change was. So we've brought everybody together to produce a single estimate and it turns out that estimate is two to three times more reliable than the last one." [BBC News]