Smaller ba­bies linked to men­tal health prob­lems in adult life

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

PREG­NANT women may wish for a smaller baby to ease the pain of labour, but ba­bies born small could have se­ri­ous men­tal health prob­lems in later life. New re­search in the Jour­nalofEpi­demi­ol­o­gyandCom­mu­nity Health has found that male ba­bies born less than 47 cm in length are more than twice as likely to at­tempt vi­o­lent sui­cide as adults com­pared to nor­mal-length ba­bies, re­gard­less of the height they reach as adults. The find­ings are based on 318,953 Swedish men who were fol­lowed from birth (be­tween 1973 and 1980) to the date of at­tempted sui­cide, date of death, em­i­gra­tion or to the end of 1999, which­ever came first. Those born pre­ma­turely, both short and un­der­weight, were more than four times more likely to at­tempt vi­o­lent sui­cide, in­clud­ing hang­ing, drown­ing and use of a knife or gun, as those born af­ter 38 weeks of preg­nancy. The brain chem­i­cal sero­tonin, which can de­crease ag­gres­sion and sui­ci­dal be­hav­iour, may be lower in men who were born small, say the au­thors, and th­ese men may need to be mon­i­tored more closely for psy­chi­atric disor­ders. JEpi­demi­olCom­mu­ni­tyHealth 2008;62:168-173 (Mit­ten­dor­fer-Rutz E, et al) PE­DOME­TERS can help peo­ple to lose weight even with­out chang­ing their diet, ac­cord­ing to new re­search in the An­nal­sof Fam­i­ly­Medicine. Re­searchers com­bined the re­sults of nine sep­a­rate stud­ies look­ing at the ef­fect of pe­dome­ter-based walk­ing pro­grams on weight loss. The stud­ies in­volved 307 par­tic­i­pants (73 per cent women and 27 per cent men), and ranged in du­ra­tion from four weeks to one year. The av­er­age study du­ra­tion was 16 weeks, and par­tic­i­pants in­creased their daily step count from an av­er­age of 5076 steps to 9136 steps. On av­er­age, par­tic­i­pants lost 1.3 kg over the course of the walk­ing pro­grams, and weight loss in­creased the longer they par­tic­i­pated. While the amount of weight loss was small, the au­thors claim that even a 2 to 3 per cent re­duc­tion in weight can sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove the health of an over­weight per­son. An­nFamMed 2008;6:69-77 (Richard­son CR, et al) MI­NOR leg in­juries such as an­kle sprains and mus­cle tears can in­crease the risk of lifethreat­en­ing blood clots, claims a study in the cur­rent is­sue of the ArchivesofIn­ter­nal Medicine. Re­searchers stud­ied 2471 pa­tients who de­vel­oped a blood clot be­tween 1999 and 2004. They were sur­veyed about any in­juries, surgery, plas­ter casts or ex­tended bed rest they had within one year of de­vel­op­ing the blood clot, as well as their height, weight, fam­ily his­tory and sports par­tic­i­pa­tion. Th­ese pa­tients were com­pared with 3534 con­trols with­out a blood clot. Among those who de­vel­oped a blood clot, 11.7 per cent had suf­fered a mi­nor leg in­jury in the pre­vi­ous three months, while only 4.4 per cent of the con­trols had suf­fered a sim­i­lar in­jury in the three months prior to the sur­vey. The find­ings may help doc­tors to bet­ter iden­tify and treat those at in­creased risk of blood clots. ArchIn­ternMed 2008;168:21-26 (van Stralen KJ, et al) VI­TA­MIN D sup­ple­ments may help to pre­vent falls among older women, and should be given to those with a his­tory of fall­ing and low vi­ta­min D lev­els, con­cludes an Aus­tralian study in the ArchivesofIn­ter­nalMedicine this week. Richard Prince and col­leagues from the Sir Charles Gaird­ner Hospi­tal in Perth re­cruited 302 women aged 70 to 90 years with low blood vi­ta­min D lev­els and a his­tory of fall­ing in the pre­vi­ous year. They were ran­domly as­signed to take ei­ther 1000 in­ter­na­tional units of vi­ta­min D2 (er­go­cal­cif­erol) or an in­ac­tive placebo, and all re­ceived 1000mg of cal­cium cit­rate per day. In­for­ma­tion about falls was col­lected from par­tic­i­pants ev­ery six weeks. Dur­ing the year­long study, 53 per cent of those in the vi­ta­min D group and 63 per cent in the con­trol group fell at least once. Af­ter ad­just­ing for height, which af­fected the risk of fall­ing, vi­ta­min D ther­apy re­duced the risk of hav­ing at least one fall by 19 per cent. ArchIn­ternMed 2008;168:103-108 (Prince RL, et al) WOM­EN­who work shifts at ir­reg­u­lar times of the day and night are more likely to re­tire early on a dis­abil­ity pen­sion com­pared to per­ma­nent day work­ers, claims a study in the latest is­sue of Oc­cu­pa­tion­a­land En­vi­ron­men­talMedicine. The find­ings are based on 3980 fe­male and 4025 male em­ploy­ees in Den­mark, and could af­fect the way women choose to work. Be­tween 1990 and 2003, 253 women and 173 men were forced to re­tire early for health rea­sons and had been granted a dis­abil­ity pen­sion. Women were 34 per cent more likely to do so if they had been shift work­ers com­pared to day work­ers, whereas male shift work­ers were no more likely to have to re­tire early than other em­ploy­ees. Shift work has been linked to in­creased risk of heart dis­ease, breast can­cer, pep­tic ul­cer, sleep dis­tur­bance, com­pli­ca­tions of preg­nancy and ac­ci­dents, but fur­ther re­search is needed to ex­plain why women are more vul­ner­a­ble than men. Oc­cupEn­vi­ronMed 2007;doi:10.1136/ oem.2007.036525 (Tuch­sen F, et al) LOW testos­terone lev­els in­crease the risk of frac­tures in men aged over 60, claim the au­thors of a study in the ArchivesofIn­ter­nal Medicine, and mea­sur­ing testos­terone in the blood may help to iden­tify men at high­est risk. The Swiss-Aus­tralian-US study in­volved 609 men with an av­er­age age of 73. Bone min­eral den­sity and lifestyle fac­tors were recorded at the be­gin­ning of the study in 1989. Over the next 17 years, blood lev­els of testos­terone were mea­sured and low-trauma frac­tures (fall­ing from stand­ing height or less) were recorded. Frac­tures oc­curred in 113 men, and were 48 per cent more likely to oc­cur in men with low testos­terone lev­els com­pared to those with nor­mal lev­els. ArchIn­ternMed 2008;168:47-54 (Meier C, 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.

Pe­dome­ter: Weight loss aid

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