Anchor lead: The American Academy of Pediatrics now supports bariatric surgery for some under the age of 18, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Severely obese children and adolescents should have access to weight loss or bariatric surgery, the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated. Kimberly Steele, an adolescent bariatric surgery expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Steele: This is the very first time that they are endorsing bariatric surgery in kids and adolescents. Why is that? Well, we have a real issue right now. There’s 4.5 million kids and teens that are suffering with obesity. There is now enough evidence in the literature to demonstrate that intervening sooner might be the right thing to do because kids and teens who undergo the bariatric surgery actually do better than adults.  :30

Steele says conditions such as diabetes usually resolve very quickly and thus younger people are able to avoid the long term consequences of such chronic health conditions. She notes that choosing a center with expertise in this population is prudent. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


Anchor lead: Is bariatric surgery cost effective in the long run? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Men who had bariatric surgery 10 years ago didn’t have lower healthcare costs overall than men who did not, a recent study in the Veteran’s Administration health system showed. Kimberly Steele, a bariatric surgeon at Johns Hopkins, says those who undergo bariatric surgery now differ significantly.

Steele: In today’s world our population, unfortunately I think is mostly women. It should be even, and a younger population, mean age around 45. Nowadays really it is the laparoscopic vertical sleeve that’s the go to operation. So in that sense there is some difficulty to look at just the negative the cost. We shouldn’t just be looking at cost we should be looking at health. What are the health  outcomes because that’s what’s of value to our society.  :30

Steele notes that overall health includes things like resolution of diabetes and subsequent reduced cardiovascular risk. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


Anchor lead: It’s not just exercise, you really need to move more all around, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Did you know that how much you move on a daily basis is the most accurate predictor of your mortality risk? That’s not just the hours you clock at the gym or the miles you run, it’s how much you walk, get up out of your chair, or simply stand and stretch, according to research by Jacek Urbanek and colleagues at Johns Hopkins.

Urbanek: That’s actually the advantage of measuring using wearable devices. It means that we are able to observe just daily physical activity, day to day routine so we are observing your lifestyle, not only your exercise frequency. We can intervene on exercise. Maybe we can give a better guideline, for example take stairs instead of taking elevator, walk your dog more often. That might have long term impact.  :28

Urbanek notes that such habits can be modified while other factors such as age cannot. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


In this next podcast, we review several criterion for helping you identify if your article is a research or non-research article. First, we discuss the significance of this process and why it matters to figure out if the article is a research study or a quality improvement project. We review the reasons why figuring this distinction out ahead of time is necessary. Next, we discuss specific tips for figuring out if the article is a research or non-research article. Finally, we review one specific strategy for figuring out if the project was a research study or a quality


Anchor lead: It’s not just exercise that predicts mortality risk, Elizabeth Tracey reports

How often do you move around during the day? Do you find it easy to continue moving once you start? These are the kinds of patterns that wearable physical activity trackers help to identify, and according to research by Jacek Urbanek and colleagues at Johns Hopkins, are the best predictor of mortality risk.

Urbanek: Low physical activity is a modifiable risk factor. We also found that next to volumes of physical activity, fragmentation of physical activity, how often you break sedentary bout, how well you’re able to maintain physical activity, it’s a very strong predictor as well as characteristics in selected chunks of time, mostly morning and early afternoon is very predictive.  :27

Urbanek notes that even regular exercisers may not move much otherwise, so having complete picture is valuable. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


Anchor lead: What does how much you move predict about how long you’ll live? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Wearable devices similar to Fitbits may be the most accurate method of predicting mortality risk, a study by Johns Hopkins researchers led by Jacek Urbanek has found. 

Urbanek: We found that characteristics of physical activity are very good predictors of mortality in the next five years. When you think about what is the most correlated with mortality, well, it’s simple, it’s age, but there’s nothing you can do about your age. We can intervene on physical activity and we actually found that total volume of physical activity is the best predictor of mortality in the next five years.  :30

The study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and also assessed traditional factors such as smoking, diabetes, alcohol use or the presence of heart disease or cancer, and still physical activity emerged as the leading predictor of mortality. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


Anchor lead: If you’re considering stem cell therapy, carefully examine your options, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Stem cells clinics have opened all around the country, offering therapies for a range of diseases and conditions. Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins, says caveat emptor. 

Kahn: Some of the stem cell therapy clinics, and I use therapy guardedly there, in the United States are not regulated because the FDA doesn’t regulate certain kinds of cell based therapies, when they come from the individual themselves, autologous stem cell therapies, they don’t need to go through FDA approval. People need to be aware, maybe not that they shouldn’t seek it if they think it’s appropriate and have reason to believe it’s safe and effective, but they shouldn’t believe that the FDA has vetted it licensed it approved it because that isn’t true in some cases.  :33

Cases of blindness following stem cell injections into the eye have been reported, Kahn notes, so the consequences of unproven therapies can be severe. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.