Researchers found that 12-year-old girls with a family history of depression have shorter telomere lengths than girls with no family history of depression. Telomeres are found on the ends of chromosomes and help keep them from fraying or sticking together. They have been observed to naturally shorten in length with age, but oxidative stress and other DNA-damaging processes can also cause reduce their length. The research team states, “The results of this study indicate that healthy children at familial risk for depression have shorter telomeres than do their non-risk peers. Thus, telomere shortening appears to be an antecedent to, and potentially a risk factor for, the onset of depression.”
Molecular Psychiatry, September 2014
A new study has found that competition between medical practices leads to lower healthcare costs in the surrounding vicinity. Investigators found that medical practices charged 3.5 to 5.4% more for their services in regions of the United States with fewer competing clinics than in the areas with the most competition. These higher charges could translate to tens of billions of dollars in extra spending across the entire country each year.
Journal of the American Medical Association, October 2014
A review of the current research shows that diets high in fats and low in carbohydrates could be an alternative treatment for reducing epileptic seizures. Currently, about 35% of epileptics fail to respond to medications, so alternative treatments are very important. The investigators found that across all studies, 32% of ketogenic diet-treated patients and 29% of modified Atkins diet-treated patients achieved 50% or greater seizure reduction. They also found 9% of the ketogenic diet and 5% of the modified Atkins diet-treated patients achieved greater than 90% reduction in seizures. Unfortunately, most people eventually stop these types of diets in the long-term because of the cooking and social restrictions.
Neurology, October 2014
Is it possible for a shoe to prevent injuries? One shoe company is working on a prototype running shoe that contains a microelectronic measuring system that can collect biomechanical parameters that characterize a runner’s technique. The information can be transmitted wirelessly to a cell phone or mobile application to provide real-time feedback such as whether a runner should change their running pattern or simply stop running in order to reduce their risk of injury.
Asociación RUVID, October 2014
Fifteen-year-old boys and girls with sleep problems are more likely to experience musculoskeletal pain two years later when compared with their peers who did not report having sleep problems at age 15. This finding suggests that difficulties such as disturbed sleep, daytime drowsiness, oversleeping, and poor sleep quality are risk factors for musculoskeletal pain (such as back pain and neck pain) among adolescents.
Pain Research & Management, September-October 2014
An analysis of data from 1975 to 2010 found that overall colon cancer rates in the United States fell by about 1% each year during that time span. However, rates rose by 2% per year among those ages 20 to 34 and nearly .5% annually among those aged 35 to 49. It is unknown why rates are increasing in this group but the researchers believe that doctors “should be more aggressive investigating reports of minor rectal bleeding in younger adults, which is usually dismissed as hemorrhoids but may in fact indicate colorectal cancer.”
JAMA Surgery, November 2014