(This June 30th story was refiled to fix link at the bottom of the story) By Reyna Gobel (Reuters Health) – Stretching just 10 minutes a day might help ease menopause and depression symptoms in middle-aged women, a small study suggests. “Light-intensity exercises such as stretching have not been previously evaluated for its impact on menopausal and depressive symptoms,” lead researcher Yuko Kai told Reuters Health by email. Forty Japanese women, ages 40 to 61 years, participated in the study at the Physical Fitness Research Institute, Meiji Yasuda Life Foundation of Health and Welfare in Tokyo.
By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) – Older men with low testosterone levels and scant desire for sex report more interest and more sexual activity after testosterone therapy, according to a new study. Compared to men using a fake testosterone gel, those using real medication for one year improved on 10 out of 12 measures of sexual activity, researchers found. “There was a notable clinical difference in sexual function and desire,” said lead author Dr. Glenn Cunningham, of Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas.
By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) – Pedestrian deaths from car crashes surged the most in at least four decades last year and now account for about 15% of fatalities from motor vehicle accidents, a U.S. report suggests. Nationally, pedestrian deaths rose 10% in 2015 from the previous year, researchers estimated based on data supplied by states for January through June. “We are projecting the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian fatalities since national records have been kept, and therefore we are quite alarmed,” said study co-author Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Consulting, referring to a fatality reporting system established in 1975.
By Gene Emery (Reuters Health) – An experimental drug-infused ring inserted in the vagina once a month cut the odds of becoming infected with HIV by more than half among women who used the device consistently, in a study in four African countries where the risk of AIDS is high. “Use of the product was enough to demonstrate HIV protection of 27 percent” over placebo, chief author Dr. Jared Baeten, a professor of medicine and global health at the University of Washington in Seattle, told Reuters Health by phone. “And in some groups of women who appeared to use it better, such as women over age 21, the risk of HIV was reduced by more than half.” Such silicone rings, infused with a different drug, are already used for birth control.
By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) – Many patients may be able to shower just two days after their operations without increasing their risk of infections around the incision site, a recent study suggests. The findings, along with results from other recent research, should help convince more doctors to let patients shower after surgery, said Dr. Paul Dayton, a researcher at Des Moines University and UnityPoint Health in Iowa who wasn’t involved in the study. “Traditions are sometimes long to fade away due to lack of good evidence to support change – this paper will certainly help to drive change,” Dayton said by email.
By Janice Neumann (Reuters Health) – Many youth caught up in the juvenile justice system are hospitalized for mental illness because they aren’t getting psychiatric help before they’re arrested or while they’re in detention centers, a study in California suggests. From 1997 to 2011, researchers found, 63 percent of detained youth who were hospitalized had a primary diagnosis of mental health disorder, compared to 20 percent of their counterparts in the community. The detained youth were also hospitalized a day or two longer than their peers outside the justice system.
By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) – For nursing home residents, surgery to improve blood flow to the legs yields only limited improvements in mobility, according to a new study. Knowing that so-called lower extremity revascularization may not improve mobility allows doctors, patients and families to have more realistic discussions about outcomes of the operation, said Dr. Emily Finlayson, the study’s senior author from the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. The nearly 11,000 nursing home residents in the study had a problem called peripheral artery disease, which results when arteries in the legs are clogged and blood flow is reduced. To treat the condition, the residents underwent lower extremity revascularization between 2005 and 2009, at an average age of 82.
By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) – In Finland, kids who have a “stable, healthy” childhood grow up to have better heart health as adults. In a long-term study of more than 1,000 men and women, those who had a higher socioeconomic status, positive emotional factors, better parental health behaviors, fewer stressful events and better social adjustment from age three to 18 had more ‘ideal cardiovascular heath’ 27 years later, well into adulthood. The idea that psychosocial factors are associated with health outcomes isn’t new. …
By Kathryn Doyle Reuters Health – Compared to those who don’t smoke illicit tobacco, kids who do are more likely to try other illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin and amphetamines, according to a recent Canadian study. The researchers used survey data from one point in time, so they can’t say that smoking illegal cigarettes leads to drug use, only that the two often coincide and that’s enough to warrant stronger tobacco control policies. “The concern for us is that contraband tobacco may be a gateway to other drugs, but we cannot infer causality,” said coauthor Mesbah F. …