Milk, anti-malarial drug work on diabetes
CALCIUM and vitamin D are not only important for healthy bones, they could protect against diabetes. Drinking more milk — a rich source of both of these nutrients — decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 15 per cent, according to a new study in the JournalofClinicalEndocrinologyand Metabolism . Researchers combined the results from all of the previous studies looking at the link between calcium, vitamin D and diabetes. Compared to those getting fewer than 1.5 servings of milk and milk products per day, those with the highest dairy intake (three to five servings per day) had a nearly 15 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The authors suggest that calcium and vitamin Dmay affect the body’s ability to produce or use insulin, the sugar-processing hormone that is impaired in diabetics. JClinEndocrinolMetab 2007;92:2017-2029 (Pittas AG, et al) DRUGS that protect against malaria may also prevent diabetes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, claims a study in the latest issue of the JournaloftheAmerican MedicalAssociation . The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine has long been a safe and inexpensive treatment for joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. The study included 4905 adults with rheumatoid arthritis — 1808 had taken hydroxychloroquine and 3097 had never taken the drug. None of the patients showed any diabetes symptoms at the start of the study, and they were followed for an average of 21.5 years. During this time, diabetes was diagnosed in 54 patients who had taken hydroxychloroquine and in 171 patients who had never taken it. Those who had taken hydroxychloroquine for any length of time had a 38 per cent lower risk of developing diabetes compared with those who had not. Patients who took hydroxychloroquine for more than four years had a 77 per cent lower risk of diabetes compared with those who had never taken the drug. JAMA 2007;298:187-193 (Wasko MCM, et al) ANTIDEPRESSANTS lower the risk of suicide in adults with depression, and the same holds true in young people aged 18 to 25, concludes a new study in the American JournalofPsychiatry . In 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that the antidepressants called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) may actually increase the risk of suicidal behaviour in children. Late last year they also recommended extending this warning to young adults. In the study published this week, researchers analysed the medical records of 226,866 patients diagnosed with depression in 2003 or 2004. They compared the risk of suicide in four age groups (18-25, 26-45, 46-65 and older than 65) before and after treatment with SSRIs. In all adult age groups, treatment with SSRIs significantly lowered the risk of attempting suicide compared to no antidepressant treatment. AmJPsychiatry 2007;164:1044-1049 (Gibbons RD, et al) ANTIBIOTICS won’t stop future urinary tract infections (UTIs) in children, finds a study in the JournaloftheAmericanMedical Association this week. In fact, giving children a daily dose of antibiotics after such an infection may lead to future infections being resistant to antibiotics and more difficult to treat. Researchers examined the medical records of 74,974 children aged six years and younger, and identified those who were diagnosed with their first UTI between July 2001 and May 2006. There were 611 children with a first UTI and 83 of these had a recurrent UTI. Children aged three to four years were 2.75 times more likely to have a recurrent UTI than children in the other age groups. And those with a condition in which there is backflow of urine from the bladder towards the kidneys were 4.4 times more likely to have a recurrent UTI. Children taking antibiotics were not protected against recurrent UTIs, and were 7.5 times more likely to contract an antibiotic-resistant infection. JAMA 2007;298:179-186 (Conway PH, et al) PAINFUL memories can be deliberately suppressed, according to new research published in Science this week, which may lead to new treatments for a range of psychiatric conditions including posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. During the training phase of the study, 16 participants were asked to learn 40 different pairs of pictures, each consisting of a ‘‘ neutral’’ human face and a disturbing picture such as a car crash, a wounded soldier, a violent crime scene or an electric chair. In the experimental phase, they were shown only the faces and asked to either think about or deliberately not think about the disturbing image associated with each face. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to highlight areas of brain activity, researchers discovered that two regions of the brain are only active during memory suppression. These areas are under conscious control, and can prevent the brain from retrieving emotional memories. Science 2007;317:215-219 (Depue BE, et al) AMERICANS and other Westerners find it difficult to see things from someone else’s point of view, say the authors of a new study in PsychologicalScience , because their cultures encourage individualism. In contrast, the study found that Chinese people living in a more communal society are much better at determining another person’s perspective. The study involved two groups of university students — one consisting of 20 people from China and another group of 20 non-Asian Americans. People of the same cultural group paired up and worked together to move objects around in a grid of squares placed between them. One person (the ‘‘ director’’) told the other person (the ‘‘ subject’’) where the objects should be moved, but some of the objects were obscured from the director’s view. Taking into account the other person’s perspective was more work for the Americans, who spent on average around twice as much time completing the moves as the Chinese. PsycholSci 2007;18:600-606 (Wu S, et al) Want to know more? Items are referenced where possible. A reference such as ‘‘ 2007;35:18-25’’ means the source article was published on pages 18-25 in volume number 35 of the publication, in 2007. A doi number or website address is used for research published on a journal’s website.
Diabetes: Helped by drugs from other treatment regimes