Tag Archives: Health Studies

Studies: Depression Diagnosis Increases Risk Of Dementia For Decades

From a PLOS Medicine online study:

Depression is associated with increased odds of dementia, even more than 20 years after diagnosis of depression, and the association remains after adjustment for familial factors. Further research is needed to investigate whether successful prevention and treatment of depression decrease the risk of dementia.

The risk of dementia is increased for decades after a diagnosis of depression, where those diagnosed with especially severe depressions are at increased risk.

Risk of Dementia increased after diagnosis of Depression chart 2020

Dementia is common among the elderly, causing severe individual suffering as well as societal strain. As the proportion of people aged 65 years and above is rapidly increasing in the world population, the number of individuals with dementia is expected to double within 20 years, and this condition was estimated to have a worldwide cost of US$604 billion in 2010. Effective treatments for dementia remain scarce; however, a preventive approach may be possible through the identification of high-risk individuals and potentially modifiable risk factors.

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Health Studies: Marijuana Use Associated With Rise In Cardiovascular Disease

From a Journal of the American College of Cardiology:

Observational data suggest associations between marijuana and a broad range of adverse cardiovascular risks. Marijuana is becoming increasingly potent, and smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco. Synthetic cannabinoids have been linked to more sustained and deleterious pharmacodynamic effects.

Marijuana Use and Cardiovascular Disease Infographic

Marijuana use is increasing as more states are legalizing cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes. National survey data estimate that >2 million Americans with established cardiovascular diseases currently use or have used marijuana in its variety of forms, including inhalation and vaping. Cannabinoid receptors are distributed in multiple tissue beds and cells, including platelets, adipose tissue, and myocytes.

Highlights

  • • We estimate that >2 million U.S. adults who have reported ever using marijuana have cardiovascular disease.

  • • Observational studies have suggested an association between marijuana use and a range of cardiovascular risks.

  • • Marijuana is becoming increasingly potent, and smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco.

  • • Few randomized clinical trials have been conducted or are planned to explore the effects of marijuana on cardiovascular risk.

  • • Screening and testing for use of marijuana are encouraged in clinical settings, especially in the care of young patients presenting with cardiovascular disease.

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Studies: Openly Given “Placebos” Are Effective For Chronic Pain Relief

From a Wall Street Journal online article:

Researchers in Germany published a study in the journal Pain in December showing that open-label placebos can help relieve chronic lower-back pain, Placebo Expectation of Benefitsreplicating a 2016 study. A similar study by University of Colorado, Boulder researchers found that placebo saline injections reduce chronic lower-back pain.

Two other recent studies showed placebos openly given to cancer patients helped relieve cancer-related fatigue. And a forthcoming study by German researchers found openly giving placebo to elderly patients helped improve knee pain.

More researchers are looking at the idea of placebos—substances that have no actual pharmaceutical effect—as an alternative to traditional pain medications, which can be ineffective and carry significant side effects. Placebos might have particular potential for difficult-to-treat conditions like chronic back pain, cancer-related fatigue and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, researchers hope.

As many as 30% to 50% of chronic pain patients will respond to placebos, research suggests. And new studies are helping to identify genetic and brain differences that make certain people more likely to respond.

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Study: “Probiotic Drink” Developed That Thwarts Antibiotic Resistance

From a Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News online article:

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News logo“We were able to show that if you can stop the plasmid from replicating, then most of the bacteria lose the plasmid as the bacteria grow and divide. This means that infections that might otherwise be hard to control, even with the most powerful antibiotics available, are more likely to be treatable with standard antibiotics.”

journal.pone.0225202.g001
Fig 1. Anticipated exploitation of pCURE as a probiotic treatment for at-risk individuals. Before treatment, plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes are shown as purple circles. After treatment, target plasmids are replaced by pCURE (green circle) which could be engineered to later “self-destruct”. Note that not all gut bacteria carry resistance plasmids but pCURE can enter all Enterobacteriaceae as well as other bacteria. Reduced resistance levels in the gut decrease the chance of treatment failure when infections elsewhere in the body (eg lungs or urinary tract) arise from gut bacteria.

 

Researchers headed by a team at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. have developed a probiotic drink containing genetic elements that are designed to thwart antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in gut bacteria at the genetic level. The drink targets small DNA elements called plasmids that carry antibiotic resistance genes, and which are able to replicate independently and spread between bacteria. By preventing these plasmids from replicating, the antibiotic resistance genes are displaced, effectively resensitizing the bacteria to antibiotics.

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Health Studies: Women’s Blood Vessels Age Faster Than Men’s, Increasing Heart Disease Risks

From a Cedars-Sinai.org online release:

Cedars Sinai logo“Our data showed that rates of accelerating blood pressure elevation were significantly higher in women than men, starting earlier in life,” said Cheng, the Erika J. Glazer Chair in Women’s Cardiovascular Health, who also serves as director of Cardiovascular Population Sciences at the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center. “This means that if we define the hypertension threshold the exact same way, a 30-year old woman with high blood pressure is probably at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than a man with high blood pressure at the same age.”

Women's Blood Vessels Age Faster Than Men;s Cedars-Sinai January 15 2020

(January 15, 2020) – New research from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai showed for the first time that women’s blood vessels – including both large and small arteries – age at a faster rate than men’s. The findings, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Cardiology, could help to explain why women tend to develop different types of cardiovascular disease and with different timing than men.

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Health Studies: “Head and Neck Injuries Associated With Cell Phone Use”

From a JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery article:

JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery JournalCell phone–related injuries to the head and neck have increased steeply over the recent 20-year period, with many cases resulting from distraction. Although the disposition of most cases is simple, some injuries bear a risk of long-term complications. Many of these injuries occurred among those aged 13 to 29 years and were associated with common activities, such as texting while walking. These findings suggest a need for patient education about injury prevention and the dangers of activity while using these devices.

Activities During Cell Phone Use associated with Injury by age group JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg.

Since their invention, cell phones have played a major role in the daily lives of American adults. Approximately 96% of Americans own a cell phone, provoking interest in their role in causing injury. Given that head and neck traumas make up approximately 5% of emergency department (ED) visits in the United States, cell phone use in relation to such injuries could be of public health concern, in particular because of the psychological and financial burdens such injuries may entail. In addition, knowledge of the mechanism of injury is vital for patient risk stratification and trauma management,and understanding the mechanisms of common cell phone–related injuries can aid health care professionals in assessing patient needs. Health care professionals and public safety officials also must be aware of the epidemiologic nature of such injuries in order to provide adequate counseling and give input for legislation to protect the population.

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New Study: “Five Healthy Habits” For Diet, Exercise, BMI, Smoking & Alcohol” Lower Chronic Disease, Raise Lifespan (Harvard)

From a BMJ online article:

We derived a healthy lifestyle score based on information on five lifestyle factors—diet, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and body mass index (BMI).

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health LogoOur findings suggest that promotion of a healthy lifestyle would help to reduce the healthcare burdens through lowering the risk of developing multiple chronic diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, and extending disease-free life expectancy. Public policies for improving food and the physical environment conducive to adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle, as well as relevant policies and regulations (for example, smoking ban in public places or trans-fat restrictions), are critical to improving life expectancy, especially life expectancy free of major chronic diseases.

The average life expectancy in the world has increased substantially in the past few decades. The aging of the population has led to a high prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Although people live longer, older individuals often live with disabilities and chronic diseases. People with chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes have a shorter life expectancy than do their peers without these chronic conditions. Estimates of the loss in life years due to these chronic conditions range from 7.5 to 20 years, depending on the methods used and the characteristics of the study population.

Life Expectancy In Men and Women with Five Healthy Habits BMJ Study Harvard Medical 2020
Estimated life expectancy at age 50 years with and without cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and/or type 2 diabetes among participants of Nurses’ Health Study (women) and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (men) according to levels of individual lifestyle risk factors. Estimates of multivariate adjusted hazard ratios (sex specific) for morbidity and mortality associated with low risk lifestyles compared with people with zero low risk lifestyle factors adjusted for age, ethnicity, current multivitamin use, current aspirin use, family history of diabetes, myocardial infarction, or cancer, and menopausal status and hormone use (women only). AHEI=Alternate Healthy Eating Index; BMI=body mass index; F=fifth. *Cigarettes/day. †Hours/week. ‡Grams/day

Modifiable lifestyle factors including smoking, physical activity, alcohol intake, body weight, and diet quality affect both total life expectancy and incidence of chronic diseases. Studies have shown that smoking, inactivity, poor diet quality, and heavy alcohol consumption contribute up to 60% of premature deaths and 7.4-17.9 years’ loss in life expectancy. Nevertheless, little research has looked at how a combination of multiple lifestyle factors may relate to life expectancy free from the major diseases of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

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