News Bites brings you 5 weekly news in bite-sized form.

1. Depression in fathers allegedly connects with that in teenage children

Findings from a study conducted by the University College London (UCL) reported that despite the common stigma which often “blames” mothers when it comes to treating adolescent depression, fathers’ depression also has an impact on their teenage children. The study, led by Dr Gemma Lewis, looked at 6,000 families from Ireland and approximately 8,000 from the UK. Findings were obtained based on questionnaire data about the feelings of parents and their children aged seven, nine and 13 to 14 years.

“We should be bringing fathers into the picture more,” says Dr Lewis. She adds, “If you’re a father who hasn’t sought treatment for your depression, it could have an impact on your child. We hope that our findings could encourage men who experience depression to speak to their doctor about it.”

This study is the first to discover the link between depression in fathers and their teenage children, notwithstanding the mother’s depression.

2. Underweight women may be in higher risk of experiencing early menopause

Study shows that underweight women may be at a higher risk of experiencing early menopause.
Study shows that underweight women may be at a higher risk of experiencing early menopause.

A research published in the journal Human Reproduction found that underweight women are at greater risk of experiencing early menopause.

Findings from the study showed that women with a body mass index (BMI) less than 18.5 kg/m2, regardless of age, were 30% more likely to experience early menopause compared to those whose BMI was between 18.5 and 22.4 kg/m2. The study defines “early menopause” as menopause occurring before a woman reaches 45. Out of 78,759 women involved in the study, 2,804 reported early menopause.

Lead author Dr Kathleen Szegda explains that the increased risk for early menopause in underweight women is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other health conditions; e.g. osteoporosis, cognitive decline, and premature death. “So, these findings have important implications for women and their doctors,” she says.

3. Timing is key for gallstone and weight-loss surgeries

Obese patients who had weight-loss operations prior to their gallbladder surgery were 35% more likely to experience complications, according to a Swedish study. Based on the findings, 2.3% of all patients studied had complications with gallbladder operations, whereas 2.7% had complications with weight-loss surgery. Among those who had undergone both procedures, approximately 13% had complications, regardless of which operation was done first. However, when gallbladder operation was done first, 8% of patients encountered complications. This number is doubled for those who had gallbladder operation after weight-loss surgery.

“For patients with symptomatic gallstones and obesity (i.e. considering both cholecystectomy and gastric bypass) – cholecystectomy should preferentially be performed before gastric bypass,” explains Dr Viktor Wanjura, a surgeon at Orebro University Hospital, Sweden, who also led the study. As shared to Reuters, gallstones, which do not produce symptoms, “should never be treated surgically”, according to Dr Wanjura – to avoid unnecessary complications in many patients.

4. Heart screening programme has little chance of preventing cardiac arrest in young athletes

Research raises doubt about the likelihood of heart screening programmes in preventing sudden cardiac arrests among young athletes.
Research raises doubt about the likelihood of heart screening programmes in preventing sudden cardiac arrests among young athletes.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggests that over 80% of sudden cardiac arrests in competitive sports were unlikely to have been predicted by screening programmes. Out of the 16 cases of sudden cardiac arrest during competitive sport, merely three resulted due to conditions that could have been identified through a screening programme prior to participation. Misleading results of these screening programmes may hinder healthy athletes from participating.

According to lead author Dr Paul Dorian, a cardiologist at St. Michael’s, “Sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes is a rare but tragic event. We need to find a way to prevent these events while keeping as many kids as we can in the game. The evidence suggests one of the best ways to do that is by installing defibrillators at every sporting arena and field, at which competitive sports are played, and training bystanders to respond effectively.”

5. FDA endorses electronic earpiece for opioid withdrawal

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new wearable medical device, known as the NSS-2 Bridge, intended to help patients cope with symptoms of opioid withdrawal, despite criticisms concerning its effectiveness. The Bridge is an earpiece that emits tiny electrical pulses through certain cranial nerves.

The FDA, in its endorsement, reviewed data from a study in which 64 (88%) out of the 73 patients studied successfully transitioned to medication assisted treatment aided by medication, following a 5-day use of the earpiece – in addition to the necessary medications for symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. The device is only available by prescription. MIMS

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