The brain circuitry that controls appetite might be wired differently in some people, and that could predispose them to obesity, California researchers suggest.
The study was conducted in rats, not humans, and yet it could ultimately lead to novel obesity treatments, said Philip Smith, director of the Office of Obesity Research at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
“It is not just about drugs that modify short-term appetite,” he said, “there may be drugs that stimulate development of the appropriate neural pathways. So, it is an exciting, but very early, time in this field.”
Young people who are heavy smokers of cannabis may be putting themselves at significant risk for periodontal disease, according to new research.
The study, published in the Feb. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is believed to be the first to explore whether or not smoking a substance other than tobacco – in this case, marijuana more than other cannabis products – may be a risk factor for gum disease.
After controlling for tobacco smoking, gender, socioeconomic status and infrequent trips to the dentist by one-third of the participants, the study reported a “strong association between cannabis use and periodontitis experience by age 32.”
First solid evidence that viral transmission through breast milk can be prevented by a drug (Oral presentation #43, Rooms #302-304, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Mass.)
An antiretroviral drug already in widespread use in the developing world to prevent the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their newborns during childbirth has also been found to substantially cut the risk of subsequent HIV transmission during breast-feeding.
In a study presented Feb. 4 at the 2008 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, an international team of AIDS experts reports that nevirapine given once daily to breast-feeding infants from 8 to 42 days old decreased by almost half the rate of HIV transmission via breast-feeding at 6 weeks of age. The decrease occurred in comparison to a single dose of nevirapine given to infants at birth, the current standard of care. At 6 months of age, the risk of postnatal HIV infection or death in infants who received the six-week regimen was almost one-third less than the risk for infants given only a single dose. The study was led by three teams of investigators at The Johns Hopkins University in collaboration with investigators in Ethiopia, India and Uganda.
Older women appear more susceptible to depression and more likely to stay depressed but less likely to die while depressed than older men, factors that contribute to the higher burden of depression among older women, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Major depression affects approximately 1 percent to 2 percent of older adults living in the community, but as many as 20 percent experience symptoms of depression, according to background information in the article. These symptoms are more likely to affect older women than older men for reasons that are unclear.
Lisa C. Barry, Ph.D., M.P.H., of Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., and colleagues evaluated a group of 754 individuals age 70 and older (average age 78.4) beginning in 1998. At the beginning of the study and at follow-up assessments conducted every 18 months, participants were asked to provide demographic information, take cognitive tests and report any medical conditions. They also were screened for symptoms of depression—such as lack of appetite, feeling sad or sleep problems—during the previous week.
Patients who undergo complete prostate removal are less likely to experience urinary incontinence or other complications if the operation is done by an experienced surgeon in a hospital that does many of the procedures, according to a report funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
However, the new report concludes that scientific evidence has not established surgery or any other single treatment as superior for all men. The analysis compared the effectiveness and risks of eight prostate cancer treatments, ranging from prostate removal to radioactive implants to no treatment. An article based on the report is posted today in the online version of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
“This report is a reminder that patient outcomes may vary according to treatment settings,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. “But this analysis also underscores a broader message: when it comes to prostate cancer, we have much to learn about which treatments work best, and patients should be informed about the benefits and harms of treatment options.”