Aimee Valle
Friday, July 28, 2006
School starts August 8th. I'm not gonna have any free time after that. Hopefully I can still find time to update this.
Today I found this interesting story on my home page and I thought I should share it here.

Obesity hinders medical scans, attribute researchers
Posted on : 2006-07-27 Author : Anne Roberts

News Category : Health

An increasing number of patients are missing out on full medical treatment because of their being obese, a new study has revealed. These people are either unable to fit into the scanners, or the X-rays or ultrasound waves are not able to penetrate their body fat.

Dr. Raul N. Uppot, who led the study, is an assistant radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and also an instructor in radiology at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston. He, along with his colleagues reviewed all radiology records from tests performed at Massachusetts General Hospital between 1989 and 2003 to look for those which were hindered due to patient size. These reports included scans used to look for tumors, blood clots, broken limbs, injuries and diseased organs, such as standard X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans and PET scans.

When radiologists are unable to evaluate an image clearly, they mark it as “limited due to body habitus". Dr Raul Uppot and his team looked for the occurrence of this phrase in all the reports from year 1989 to year 2003.

"Obesity is affecting the ability to image these people. We're having trouble finding out what's wrong," Dr. Uppot elucidated. "When they come to the hospital, people are so concerned about the disease they have that they don't realize that being obese could hinder the ability to deliver health care". "We looked at people who were able to fit on the imaging equipment and get the scan". "When radiologists read the film, they had trouble interpreting the film because the quality of the image was not very good because of the patient's size."

Study results
The researchers found that in spite of advances in medical technology, the percentage of habitus limited reports had almost doubled. In 1989 the percent of inconclusive exams due to patient size was 0.10 percent, while in 2003 this figure had mounted to 0.19 percent.

Though the number itself was small what was more alarming was the increase in numbers said Uppot.
Many cases showed the patients too large to fit into scanners or so fat, that X-rays proved useless. This could be remedied by increasing the power on X-ray and CT machines in an effort to get a better image but would lead to an undesirable increase in radiation dose.

The different types of imaging also showed varying difficulties, with abdominal ultrasounds leading the list of the most difficult in giving proper diagnosis, with 1.9 percent followed by chest X-rays (0.18 percent), abdominal computed tomography (CT), abdominal X-rays, chest CT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The ultrasounds were the most affected according to Uppot."In an obese person because the ultrasound beam does not get to the organs or get to them adequately enough we cannot get a picture. It looks like a snowstorm -- I don't know if you have seen those televisions where it is just whiteout? It looks like that;" he said.

Ultrasound waves which work by sending high-frequency sound waves through the patient, where they bounce off internal organs and come back, were less able to penetrate thick fat. The situation with X-rays was also similar said the researchers. The problem was different with CT scans and MRI where weight limitations of the table and size of opening on the imager created problems for overweight people.

Uppot said that many manufacturers had started to address the issue with the weight limit for CT scans in the US having been increased from 450 pounds (204 kilograms) to 550 pounds (250 kilograms), and for MRI from 350 (159 kilograms) to 550 pounds (250 kilograms).

"In the past 10 years or so, medicine has become so dependent on imaging," Uppot said. "Instead of doing very meticulous clinical examinations, a lot of doctors now rely on CT scans, ultrasounds, etcetera, to tell them what's happening inside the body. What happens when you're too big to fit on a table? Or you can fit on a table but the image is poor quality?"

Patients would have to settle for substandard care because radiologists would not be able to get the images needed to diagnose potentially serious problems particularly in surgery where without the necessary abdominal scans it would be hard to tell if a bypass operation was healing properly."Americans need to know that obesity can hinder their medical care when they enter a hospital," Uppot said in a news release.

Along with patients, the hospital staff who moved the obese patients on and off the imaging tables also suffered with roughly 83 percent of technologists having reported some pain while moving obese patients reported Uppot and colleagues.

An estimated 64 percent of the U.S. population is either overweight or obese which has its effect on the health care system, with obese people having more chances of developing illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The study appears in the August issue of the journal Radiology.

So how about that? America is too fat. Who'd have guessed?

The following issue also bothers me, but I don't know an easy solution.
Many health care providers have to risk their own safety moving and lifting morbidly obese people. Working around the health industry for much of my life, I've known more than a few healthly average weight health care providers who suffered life altering injuries due to the lifting of obese individuals.

I don't see how it's fair to put one person's safety in jeopardy in order to help someone else who allowed themself to become enormous.

There will be no sheep in August. Perhaps I'll include some other item du jour though.

Sheep of the Day July 28, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
  Camp Hyrule Signups Today!

That's right, kiddies.
Anyone who never got a chance to attend summer camp as a young'n has a second chance thanks to Nintendo and the magic of the interweb.

Camp Hyrule registration is today through the 27th. Camp Hyrule is a week-long virtual camp for Nintendo fans of
all ages. There are games, chats, contests, fun, and maybe even prizes.

This year, Camp Hyrule will take place the week of August 14 - 18. Registration for Camp Hyrule 2006 ends at 5:00 pm PST on July 27, so be sure to spread the word to all of your friends before then!

If you like to talk about video games, play practical jokes, and rub elbows with Nintendo's expert gamers, then pack your bags and get ready to meet new friends at Nintendo's Camp Hyrule 2006. Coming the week of August 14, 2006.


Since today I'm celebrating all things Nintendo, our sheep of the day is a promotional item that came with preordering Harvest Moon Magical melody. Enjoy your sheep.

Sheep of the Day July 25, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006
Some cereals are sealed in thick, foil lined opaque liner packages while others exist in mere wax covered polyethylene bags. One particular cereal comes packaged in mylar.

Why the discrepancy in packaging? Is there something radioactive about Kellogg's Corn POPS?

The reason for my sudden distrust of the breakfast industry stems from some knowledge I stumbled upon this evening.

Most people these days know that the food they are eating more than likely contains a few less than healthy and sometimes shocking ingredients, but some of this information is probably best kept a secret.

I present the following article courtesy of There's a new link button off to the right as well ;)


Todays sheep is ugly. Don't stare, it's rude to stare.

Sheep of the Day July 24, 2006

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

My Photo
Location: United States

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

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