As you get older, you may notice that maintaining your usual weight becomes more difficult. In fact, the most profound weight gain in a woman’s life tends to happen during the years leading up to menopause (perimenopause). Weight gain after menopause isn’t inevitable, however. You can reverse course by paying attention to healthy-eating habits and leading an active lifestyle.
What causes menopause weight gain?
The hormonal changes of menopause may make you more likely to gain weight around your abdomen, rather than your hips and thighs. Hormonal changes alone don’t necessarily trigger weight gain after menopause, however. Instead, the weight gain is usually related to a variety of lifestyle and genetic factors.
For example, menopausal women tend to exercise less than other women, which can lead to weight gain. In addition, muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, your body composition will shift to more fat and less muscle — which slows down the rate at which you burn calories. If you continue to eat as you always have, you’re likely to gain weight.
For many women, genetic factors play a role in weight gain after menopause. If your parents or other close relatives carry extra weight around the abdomen, you’re likely to do the same. Sometimes, factors such as children leaving — or returning — home, divorce, the death of a spouse or other life changes may contribute to weight gain after menopause. For others, a sense of contentment or simply letting go leads to weight gain.
HOSPITAL-ACQUIRED infections are a scourge that kill and injure patients and impose a heavy cost burden on the nation’s health care system, so much so that policy makers are debating the idea of rewarding hospitals that reduce their infection rate and punishing those that don’t. This makes sense, but it will not solve an important corollary public health crisis – the shortage of antibiotics to treat the current and the coming wave of superbugs.
The incidence of infections from drug-resistant bacteria such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), commonly known as “staph’’ infection, continues to rise in hospitals and in community settings. In 1980, roughly 3 percent of staph infections were diagnosed as MRSA; today that number has reached 60 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 19,000 deaths were associated with MRSA in 2005. And in a disturbing new development, the CDC has reported evidence of a link between bacterial infections such as pneumonia caused by MRSA and the H1N1 virus among patients who have died from the virus.
While the incidence of MRSA rises, the treatment landscape is shrinking. Today, many of our antibiotic medications are not as effective as they once were. Every use of an antibiotic, including the widespread use of some for non-therapeutic purposes in livestock and poultry, increases the selection of naturally resistant bacteria, the rare bacteria that mutate to the resistant state, and the transfer of resistance genes to formerly susceptible pathogens. As these organisms survive and multiply over time, the once small number of resistant organisms becomes dominant, resulting in an increasingly dangerous number of drug-resistant bacteria.
In the face of the rising wave of drug-resistant bacteria, one would think that drug manufacturers would be busy trying to develop new antibiotics. Sadly, this is not the case. Right now there are very few new antibiotics being developed in the United States or elsewhere. This dearth of new treatments was the subject of a recent report from the London School of Economics and Political Science. It warned that “only a handful of new antibiotics are in development, and all in the early stages.’’
What has brought us to this perilous situation? Since doctors now recognize the need to be prudent with antibiotic use, newly approved antibiotics do not have the commercial success they once might have had. As a consequence, drug manufacturers have abandoned antibiotic development in favor of more commercially reliable medications, particularly ones given for chronic (rather than acute) diseases.
Allergan Inc. (AGN) said it has agreed to pay the U.S. government $600 million to settle criminal and civil charges related to U.S. sales and marketing of Botox.
The charges involve alleged marketing of the antiwrinkle treatment, best known for its use in cosmetic procedures, for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including headache, pain, spasticity and juvenile cerebral palsy. The product accounts for about a third of Allergan’s revenue and in the latest quarter saw sales grow 7% to $360.5 million.
The drug maker agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor “misbranding” charge, which indicates its labeling didn’t contain adequate directions for the treatment’s intended uses. Misbranding is known as a strict liability offense and doesn’t imply false or deceptive conduct. The company will pay $375 million in connection with the criminal settlement.
Allergan also said it has also agreed to pay $225 million to resolve civil claims asserted by the Justice Department under the civil False Claims Act.
The company expects to record fourth-quarter pretax charges of $610 million to $615 million in connection with the settlement.
“This settlement is in the best interest of our stockholders as it resolves all matters at issue in the investigation, avoids substantial costs of litigation, as well as the substantial risks to Allergan associated with government enforcement action in these matters, and permits us to focus our time and resources on productively developing new treatments for patients and the medical community,” said Douglas S. Ingram, Allergan’s executive vice president.
As part of the deal, Allergan will pay for third-party monitoring for five years of the company’s compliance efforts.