Health Highlights: May 20, 2008

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Caffeine Before Breakfast May Increase Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Drinking caffeinated coffee before eating low-sugar cereal at breakfast may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in some people, according to researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada.

They had male volunteers drink caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee one hour before they ate cereals with low or moderate levels of sugar, United Press International reported.

Among those who ate the low-sugar cereal, blood sugar levels jumped 250 percent higher after they had caffeinated coffee, compared to when they had decaffeinated coffee. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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"Caffeine interferes with our body's response to insulin. It makes us resistant to insulin which in turn makes our blood-sugar levels go higher," said researcher Terry Graham, UPI reported.

People at risk for type 2 diabetes should be cautious and consider drinking decaffeinated coffee, Graham suggested.


Chinese City to Reopen Kindergartens

The Chinese city hit hardest by a viral disease outbreak among children plans to reopen kindergartens on June 1 after health officials decided the outbreak was under control, according to state media cited by Agence France-Presse.

A total of 1,116 patients were still being treated in hospitals in the city of Fuyang as of Sunday, with two in critical condition and 17 in intensive care, the Xinhua news agency said.

Since it first appeared in early March, the outbreak caused by enterovirus 71 has sickened about 25,000 children in China. The virus causes fever, blisters, mouth ulcers and rashes and can lead to hand, foot and mouth disease, AFP reported.

The disease is common in China, and there were more than 80,000 cases reported last year. However, the outbreak's rapid spread just months before China hosts the summer Olympics prompted the government to issue a national alert. There is little chance of a devastating outbreak, according to the World Health Organization.


Terminally Ill Patients Going to Mexico to Get Euthanasia Drug

Hundreds of people from other countries have traveled to Mexico to buy an inexpensive, readily available euthanasia drug, according to the Mexican daily newspaper Reforma, Agence France-Presse reported.

Since 2001, at least 200 terminally ill people from Australia, Britain, New Zealand and the United States have come to Mexico to obtain nembutal, a drug usually used to put down animals, said the newspaper, which cited the Australian-based pro-euthanasia organization Exit International.

"On the basis of Exit research, the best places to visit are the 20-odd (U.S.-Mexico) border crossings, from Tijuana in California to Matamoros on the Gulf of Mexico," says information on the group's Web site, AFP reported.

"Throughout Mexico veterinary nembutal is available for between $20 and $40 U.S. per 100 ml bottle," the Web site advises. "One only needs to know the location of a veterinary supplier and the labeling in use at that location."

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