CDC offers $1.5M for study of Downwinders<BR>

Miner Photo/MITCHELL BATSON

Greg Call breathes into a mouthpiece Friday while taking a metabolism test under the direction of Aaron Stafford, dietitian at the Del E.

Webb Wellness and Rehabilitation Center.

The test is useful in helping determine diet and exercise regiments for people seeking to be more physically fit.

"It tells us how much oxygen our body is able to use," said Aaron Stafford, dietitian at Del Webb.

"Oxygen combines with nutrients we take in and converts it to energy.

How efficiently your body does that is your metabolic rate."

The test takes 5-10 minutes.

The person being tested has a clip placed over his or her nose and breathes into a mouthpiece.

That determines how many calories are burned at rest.

Stafford said on average 75 percent of a person's metabolism is while resting and 25 percent comes through daily activities.

"Knowing how the body runs is important for people wishing to lose weight or with high cholesterol levels or diabetes," he said.

In the past, a person's resting metabolic rate was roughly calculated based on age, height and weight.

But such estimates often are 200-600 calories off, Stafford said.

The metabolism test eliminates such guesswork.

Anyone taking the test should not eat or exercise for four hours preceding the test.

The individual also should not consume any beverage containing caffeine or nutritional supplements or medicines with ephedra, Ma Huang or pseudoephedrine for those same four hours.

When the test is complete, the individual will be asked to attend a 90-minute seminar at which test results will be returned and diet and exercise routines specific to that person discussed.

The individual then implements the routine for two weeks before returning for a 30-minute follow-up.

The next instructional seminars at the Del Webb Center are scheduled 11 a.m.

to 12:30 p.m.

July 10 and July 24.

The test costs $40 for wellness center members, $80 for non-members.

The fee is paid up front with the individual reimbursed later by his or her insurance company, if that company pays for the test.

"Insurance companies don't pay for the test as a preventative health measure," Stafford said.

"But many pay if the individual has an existing condition."

Anyone wishing more information or to schedule a test may contact Stafford at 692-4608.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering $1.5 million for the next phase of a thyroid study involving people who lived downwind from nuclear weapons testing.

Southeastern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona all were hit by radioactive fallout from the above-ground testing in Nevada from 1951 through 1962.

A University of Utah team has kept the program going for years after the federal government lost interest.

Study manager Mary Bishop Stone said participants are eager to continue the work that federal investigators began nearly 40 years ago.

"They tell us they are glad someone is addressing the concern they have had all these years," she said.

For decades, there has been debate over how the more than 900 atomic tests affected downwind residents.

Past studies produced conflicting conclusions as to whether the fallout caused increased numbers of cases of particular types of cancer.

The first phase of the thyroid study began in the 1960s and ended with the federal researchers concluding that fallout had not increased disease among 4,818 people living in Washington County, Utah, and Lincoln County, Nev., with residents of Graham County, Ariz., used as a control group.

In the mid-1980s, University of Utah researchers tracked down 3,122 of the original subjects.

See STUDY, Page 2

They say they discovered that exposure to fallout led to a higher-than-usual incidence of thyroid tumors.

To complete its study, the research team wants to conduct in-depth thyroid examinations of about 2,000 of the original study participants.

Researchers say they will need about $800,000 more than the CDC has promised to complete the study.

Preston Truman, of the advocacy group Downwinders, applauded the decision to resume funding of the study.

"This new round would let them examine us now, some 50 years after we were exposed to the heavy original fallout, and to see what the effects would be over that segment of time from when we were checked last in the 1980s."