National Briefs | Panel urges BMI screening
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WASHINGTON -- A government panel renewed a call Monday for every adult to be screened for obesity during checkups, suggesting more physicians should be routinely calculating their patients' body mass indexes, or BMIs.
And when someone crosses the line into obesity, it's time to refer those patients for intensive nutrition-and-fitness help, say the guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Patients "should be asking what their BMI is, and tracking that over time," says task force member Dr. David Grossman, medical director for preventive care at the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle.
A 2010 survey of members of the American Academy of Family Physicians found up to 40 percent of those primary care doctors were computing their patients' BMIs.
A normal BMI is less than 25. Obesity begins at 30. In between is considered overweight.
WASHINGTON -- In an effort to make it more difficult for the news media to divulge secret programs, America's top intelligence official plans to seek more non-criminal leak investigations and to require intelligence agency employees to answer in polygraph examinations whether they have disclosed classified information to journalists.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he will ask the Intelligence Community Inspector General to lead administrative leak investigations in cases when federal lawyers decline to press criminal charges.
Mr. Clapper also issued a directive requiring intelligence employees to be asked during polygraph tests if they made unauthorized disclosures to the news media.
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal by Bernard Madoff's investors over whether they can recover lost profit, an action that lets stand the Madoff trustee's calculation that investors lost $17 billion.
The investors asked the top court for a hearing after federal appeals judges in New York said in August it would be "absurd" to treat fictitious paper profits as real, upholding a lower court ruling. Madoff trustee Irving Picard held back on distributing more money from a $2.3 billion fund for the con man's customers, not knowing if he must pay 4 cents on the dollar each to the larger pool of investors, or about 13 cents to those who lost principal.
The end of the line for the appellants means the payments can resume to customers who lost principal, Mr. Picard said.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Practically parked off Florida's Gulf Coast since the weekend, Tropical Storm Debby raked the Tampa Bay area with high wind and heavy rain Monday in a drenching that could top 2 feet over the next few days and trigger widespread flooding.
At least one person was killed Sunday by a tornado spun off by Debby in Florida, and Alabama authorities searched for a man who disappeared in the rough surf.
An estimated 35,000 homes and businesses lost electricity. But as of midafternoon, the slow-moving storm had caused only scattered damage, including flooding in some low-lying areas.
NEW ORLEANS -- The 2010 BP oil spill accelerated the loss of Louisiana's delicate marshlands, which were already rapidly disappearing before the largest oil spill in U.S. history, a new study reports.
As the oil washed into the marshlands, it coated and smothered thick grasses at their edge.
When the grass died, deep roots that held the soil together also died, leaving the shorebanks of the marshlands to crumble, said Brian Silliman, the University of Florida researcher who led the new study.
In Louisiana's Barataria Bay, oiled marshes eroded at about twice the rate of non-oiled marshes, receding nearly 30 feet per year, Mr. Silliman's team found.
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Already choking through one of the worst wildfire seasons in recent memory, Colorado found itself dealing with a new series of blazes this week, driven by a relentless heat wave that has threatened to further fan the flames.
Near Manitou Springs, a rustic community of about 5,000 people in the foothills around Colorado Springs, the Waldo Canyon Fire, which began Saturday, has forced thousands to flee their homes, tearing through about 3,500 acres by Monday morning, fire officials said.
Over the weekend, with the fire closing in, 11,000 people were evacuated from the area, which was already bustling with tourists who had flocked to attractions like Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods to kick off the summer season.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published June 26, 2012 12:00 am