Health Updates 31 January 2012

  • Heavier docs less likely to tackle patient weight: “A physician’s body mass index (BMI) may have an impact on how he or she cares for overweight and obese patients, according to a nationwide survey.  Physicians with normal BMIs were more likely to engage their patients in weight-loss conversations compared with those who were overweight or obese…The study, published in Obesity, also found normal weight physicians had more confidence in their ability to provide counseling on diet…and exercise…compared with their overweight or obese colleagues.  Physician body wight may be a barrier to obesity care.  Understanding how a doctor’s BMI influences his or her treatment decisions regarding weight management is critical, given the important roles practitioners play in helping their patients lose or gain weight…”. (Kurt Ullman, MedPage Today)
  • Study finds potentially suboptimal use of antidepressants for residents in VA nursing homes: “Older residents in VA Community Living Centers (CLCs), the equivalent of nursing homes, often fail to get optimal treatment with antidepressant drugs, concludes a new study.  It found that 25 percent of the 877 residents  with depression did not receive antidepressant drugs.  In addition, 58 percent of the 654 residents with depression and receiving antidepressant medication had evidence of possible inappropriate use (most commonly, potential drug-drug or drug-disease interactions)….Depressed black residents were about half as likely as depressed whites to experience potential inappropriate use…”. (US Dept. of Health and Human Resources/AHRQ)
  • The Claim: Never go to bed angry: “Most people have heard the old saw about going to bed upset: Never do it, the saying goes, or the hard feelings will fester and resentment will build.  Some say it goes back to the Bible, in Ephesians 4:26. ‘Let not the sun go down upon your wrath’.  Regardless of its origins, the adage has been scarcely researched.  But in a recent study in The Journal of Neuroscience, scientists found there might be a nugget of truth to it: Going to sleep after experiencing negative emotions appears to reinforce or ‘preserve’ them….Other studies have found that sleep, perhaps as an evolutionary mechanism, enhances emotional memories.  The authors pointed out that after an unsettling experience, many people have trouble sleeping – perhaps the brain’s way of trying to keep the memory or emotions from being stored.  The bottom line: Going to sleep upset or disturbed preserves the emotion, research suggests.” (Anahad O’Connor, NY Times)
  • Many parents skip booster seats when carpooling: “Most parents in the United States place their children in a booster seat when they’re driving their own car, but many don’t enforce this rule when their child is in a car with another driver, a new study indicates.  The researchers…found that more than 30 percent of parents don’t require their children to use a booster seat when they carpool, and 45 percent of parents don’t make their children use a booster seat when driving other children who don’t have one.  ‘The majority of parents reported that their children between the ages of 4 and 8 use a safety seat when riding in the family car…However, it’s alarming to know that close to 70 percent of parents carpool, and when they do, they’re often failing to use life-saving booster seats’.” Researchers cited limited vehicle space and the difficulties in making arrangements with other drivers as possible reasons for parents to do without booster seats when carpooling.  In many states, children are required to use such seats until they are 8 years old. (Pediatrics/HealthDay)

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