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Bypass Weight-Loss Surgery Causes More Alcoholism?

Here is a very strange statistic. 20% of patients who undergo one of the surgical procedures develops a drinking problem according to research from the University of Pittsburgh. The research was published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. Now, this varies depending on which type of weight-loss surgery. Apparently, the gastric bypass patients have twice the risk of alcohol abuse as compared to those who have a band fitted.

The study has found that within five years of a bypass, 20.8% of patients develop symptoms of alcohol abuse as compared to 11.3% who have the band. While this study doesn’t explain the issue, another study suggested that the gastric bypass causes a higher elevation of alcohol in the blood than does the weight-loss band and that this results in alcohol being more addictive than usual. Following more than 2000 patients who participated in a weight-loss surgery study in 2006, they actually found that both the gastric bypass group and the band group had an increase in alcohol consumption during the seven-year period. However, there was only a significant increase in alcohol use disorder symptoms (which are measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) with the bypass.

Dr. Mitchell Roslin, a bariatric surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City explained the interesting phenomena as such,

“A gastric bypass patient has a small pouch [for a stomach] so alcohol goes straight into the intestine and is absorbed rapidly. When it is absorbed rapidly, there is a high peak and rapid fall, and the higher absorption rate makes alcohol more addictive. Previous studies indicate that, compared with banding, gastric bypass surgery is associated with a higher and quicker elevation of alcohol in the blood.”

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Regular Routines Go a Long Way with Children

Ohio State University is proving what many of us know already – but what we may not be following for various reasons. Children who have both consistent bedtimes and limited screen time have a lower risk for obesity.

As the lead author Sarah Anderson explained,

“Both lack of a regular bedtime and poor emotion regulation increased risk for later obesity.These two factors were independent of each other; the link between bedtimes and obesity could not be explained away by a child’s inability to regulate their emotions.”

Anderson’s team looked at the date for 10,955 young people born in the UK from 2000-2002. They looked at how they were being raised at three and then at their height and weight at 11. By age 11, 6% of the children in the study were obese. Inconsistent bedtimes as young children resulted in an 87% greater chance of being obese by 11.

Not surprisingly, people who had regular bedtimes for their kids tended to also have regular meal times. Interestingly, the children who had mealtimes at the age of three were less likely to be obese than were those who didn’t have regular and consistent meals.

The research was published in the International Journal of Obesity.

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A New Cure for Snoring?

This could be exciting news for anyone who lives with a snorer. A new device could actually keep people from snoring. It’s a magnetic collar that the snoring person wears around his neck and it sits above the horseshoe-shaped bone that we have in our throat. When worn during sleep, the power of the two magnets keeps the person’s airways open and keeps them from snoring.

The device would work on people who have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) which causes the tissue in the throat to relax and collapse while sleeping. Some people use the CPAP devices for these issues, but there are many who aren’t comfortable with the devices or feel that they can’t use them.

This treatment is called the Magnap system. One of the magnets is actually implanted in the hyoid bone and the patient wears the other magnet with the external collar. It’s custom-made for each patient and is worn in front of the neck. The magnet on the collar pulls the internal magnet on the hyoid bone forward by one centimeter, opening the upper airway and improving airflow.

Some US patients have already had the device implanted and the trail they are in should last until the end of the year.

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Most Dangerous Time to Give Birth?

Of course, most women don’t plan when they are going to give birth. And they don’t have a say in when the nurses’ or doctors’ shifts start and end. But for health professionals and hospitals, the study results, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and coming from the University of Texas at Austin can be a wake-up call.

Researchers assessed 24,506 unscheduled delivers in the United Kingdom from 2008 to 2013. The obstetricians worked on the same labor and delivery ward for all of these deliveries and they worked 12 hours shifts during this five year period.

Researchers found that the most dangerous time to give birth is during the 9th hour of the 12 hour shift. This is when the risk of maternal blood loss and lower blood oxygen levels in the womb are highest.

As lead author Dr. James Scott explained,

“There are all sorts of studies about the timing of deliveries, but what nobody had looked at before is whether there is there some kind of proxy for how fatigued the doctors are.”

Interestingly, the findings did not see a difference between day and night deliveries, weekday versus weekend deliveries, vaginal versus Caesarean or junior versus senior doctor status.

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Can One Gene Determine Your Sleep Patterns?

If you’re a parent (or really just a human yourself) then you know that some people sleep better than others. Parents can see that one child loves to sleep and was always a good sleeper as a baby, while another has to be coaxed to sleep each night. Now, scientists think they can explain why.

According to investigators at the Washington State University, some people are born with a gene that helps them to sleep better at night. Apparently, mice with the FABP7 gene intact slept better than did those mice for whom the gene wasn’t intact.

The researchers then looked at 300 Japanese men who underwent a seven-day sleep study that included looking at their DNA. Of the 300, 29 of the men had a variant of the gene that is responsible for producing FABP7 and they tended to have irregular sleep patterns. They got the same amount of sleep as the other participants, but they woke often during the night.

The researchers also looked at fruit flies and found that those flies with a mutant FABP7 slept less restfully.

As Dr. Gerstner said, “This suggests that there’s some underlying mechanism in astrocytes throughout all these species that regulates consolidated sleep. It’s the first time we’ve really gained insight into a particular cell’s and molecular pathway’s role in complex behavior across such diverse species.”


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Is BMI Really the Best Indicator?

If you’re focused on your BMI number, researchers at the University of Alberta will tell you that you’re barking up the wrong tree. The researchers say that this information, and the obsessive focus on BMI, doesn’t just hurt people and how they see themselves – it can create the wrong treatment plans from doctors.

Now, while this is a popular way for tracking population trends, Dr. Arya Sharma explains that it has limitations for individuals. Many professional athletes quality as being overweight because of their muscle mass.

As Dr. Sharma explains,

“BMI is a clothing size…It tells me how big you are. It doesn’t tell me how sick you are. BMI is not a good criteria to be diagnosing a disease.”

Dr. Scott Kahan, the director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness told Live Science that, “What any obesity specialist should do is use BMI as a first step, and then go beyond BMI as needed.”

Dr. Sharma emphasizes that doctors need to move from a BMI-based diagnosis of obesity and health issues to one that is more holistic and health-based.

Dr. Sharma and his colleagues have developed a more appropriate scale, according to them, called the Edmonton Obesity Staging System. With this program, doctors check on the physical health of the patient (looking for diabetes and joint problems for examples), at the mental health of the patient (depression, anxiety, etc) and at the functional health (doing day-to-day activities).

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