Chicago dietitian tops ABC’s ‘My Diet Is Better Than Yours,’ plus more health news

SHARE Chicago dietitian tops ABC’s ‘My Diet Is Better Than Yours,’ plus more health news

Chicago dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, right, and contestant Jasmin Queen at the beginning of “My Diet is Better Than Yours” — before Queen lost 53 pounds and dropped from a 44-inch waist to a 34-inch waist.

Dawn Jackson Blatner, a Chicago registered dietitian, has won top honors on ABC-TV’s “My Diet Is Better Than Yours” with her “Superfood Swap Diet.”

Blatner led her contestant on the reality TV series, Jasmin Queen, to the win, with Queen dropping from 200 pounds to 147 pounds over 14 weeks — a loss of 26.5 percent of her body weight. Her waist size went from 44 inches to 34 inches.

Using her latest book “Superfood Swap” (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $36.50) as a guide, Blatner taught Queen to swap out some ingredients while continuing to eat the kinds of foods she likes.

Hosted by celebrity trainer Shaun “Shaun T” Thompson, “My Diet” — which aired on Thursdays — began with five contestants.

Queen took home a prize of $50,000 and also got a spread featuring herself and Blatner in People magazine.

Sue Ontiveros

State says no to adding to list of diseases marijuana can treat

For the second time in five months, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration has declined to broaden the state’s new medical marijuana program by adding add to the list of diseases that can be treated with the drug.

The Illinois Department of Public Health rejected recommendations of an expert advisory board appointed largely by Rauner’s predecessor, Democrat Pat Quinn.

The panel had recommended eight conditions — post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis and four pain syndromes — be added to the list.

Regulated medical marijuana sales began Nov. 9 in Illinois. A total of 4,400 patients, including 32 children, have gotten state approval to buy the drug at licensed dispensaries. Qualifying patients pay a yearly fee of $100 for a marijuana card and need a doctor’s written certification.

In September, the governor vetoed legislation that would have added PTSD and his administration rejected 11 medical conditions recommended by the panel, saying it would be “premature to expand the pilot program before any patient has been served and before we have had the chance to evaluate it.”

Now, Melaney Arnold, a health department spokeswoman, says it’s still “premature to expand the pilot program.”

Five Illinois residents have sued to expand the program to cover conditions rejected in September.

The law authorizes a four-year pilot program, expiring at the end of 2017, and lists 39 conditions and diseases that can qualify a patient to use medical marijuana — including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, hepatitis C and multiple sclerosis.


Rookie docs can work longer hours safely, study finds

Surgery patients fared just as well when junior doctors worked longer than mandated hours in the first major test of regulations many physicians say hurt medical education.

Nationwide limits on work hours were established more than a decade ago because of concerns that sleep-deprived medical residents were a threat to themselves and their patients.

To test that, researchers randomly assigned more than 4,000 surgery residents to regulation hours or a flexible schedule that allowed them to continue with a case after their shifts ended — sometimes over 28 hours at a time.

The study looked at how many patients died or had serious complications in the month after surgery and found the same low rate — about 9 percent — in both groups.


Dr. Karl Bilimoria

It’s a landmark study of “a hot-button, controversial issue in health care,” says lead author Dr. Karl Bilimoria, director of surgical outcomes and quality improvement at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Without flexibility, rookie doctors often have to end their shifts in the middle of caring for patients, handing them off to another resident, possibly at critical times, according to Bilimoria.

“Our hope would be that the evidence would be used … to change policies fairly soon and allow flexibility back into surgical residency,” he says.

Residents’ work limits were first set in 2003 by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, then revised in 2011. The rules include 80-hour maximum work weeks.

The group said it will consider the results as part of an ongoing review. The council, the Chicago-based American College of Surgeons and the American Board of Surgery paid for the study, which was published by the New England Journal of Medicine and involved almost 139,000 patients treated at 151 hospitals nationwide.

The rules affect medical school graduates involved in residency training programs in hospitals. The rules include shift limits of 16 hours for junior residents and 28 hours for senior residents; eight to 10 hours off between shifts and 14 hours off after a 24-hour shift.


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