Kids born via assisted reproduction grow up fine


A BRITISH STUDY did not find any differences in the psychological wellbeing and quality of family relationships of kids born by assisted reproduction and those born naturally.

The study published in Developmental Psychology examined the long-term effects of assisted reproduction on parenting and child adjustment.

The researchers followed 65 families with children born via assisted reproduction (22 by surrogacy, 17 by egg donation and 26 by sperm donation) from infancy until the child turned 20. They were compared with 52 families with children conceived naturally during the same period.

“The absence of a biological connection between children and their parents does not interfere with the development of positive mother–child relationships or the psychological wellbeing of the children,” the study found.

The findings are consistent with previous assessments the researchers made at ages one, two, three, seven, 10 and 14.

However, telling the children about their biological origins before they start school is important for healthy adjustment.

Most of the parents told their children about their biological origins by age four, and the children were not bothered by the news.

Mothers who did so had more positive relationships with their kids, and the mothers showed lower levels of anxiety and depression.

Only 7 per cent of moms who had disclosed by age seven reported problems in family relationships, compared with 22 per cent of those who told their kids after age seven.

Similarly, only 12.5 per cent of the young adults who were told about their origins before age seven reported problems in family relationships, compared to 50 per cent who were told about their birth at later ages.

"There does seem to be a positive effect of being open with children when they're young―before they go to school―about their conception. It's something that's been shown by studies of adoptive families too," the study author added.

Which diabetes drugs are good for heart?


PEOPLE WITH TYPE-TWO diabetes have an increased risk for adverse cardiovascular events such as heart attack, heart failure and stroke or cardiovascular death.

There are many medications for type two diabetes. But which class of drugs provides the most cardiovascular benefits for people without heart disease?

To find out, the researchers tested three newer classes of diabetes medications―GLP1RA, DPP4, and SGLT2i.

GLP1 receptor agonists include medications such as exenatide, liraglutide and semaglutide; SGLT2 inhibitors include empagliflozin, dapagliflozin and canagliflozin; DPP4 inhibitors include alogliptin, linagliptin, saxagliptin and sitagliptin.

The study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine included about 1,00,000 adults, average age 67 years, who were taking diabetes medications, such as metformin, insulin, or sulfonylurea. One of the three newer medications were added to their regimen.

Those who added GLP-1 receptor agonists had about a 20 per cent reduced risk of major adverse cardiovascular events and heart failure hospitalisation compared to DPP4 inhibitors in people without prior heart disease.

SGLT2 inhibitors did not reduce cardiovascular events and heart failure hospitalisations compared to DPP4 inhibitors.

The study did not examine the use of these newer medications as first-line treatment for type-two diabetes.

"We believe this study is an important contribution to patient care and adds to what we as clinicians know about treating diabetes and heart disease prevention,” the senior author of the study said.

Beta blockers after heart attack questioned


A NEW SWEDISH study published in the journal Heart is questioning the standard practice of prescribing beta blockers for years after a heart attack to lower the risk of recurrence and other cardiovascular complications.

Beta blockers are a class of drugs that are predominantly used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, angina and recurrent heart attacks.

The study included 43,618 Swedish adults who had suffered a heart attack but did not have heart failure or left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD). Their average age was 64 years and about 25.5 per cent were women.

The study said 34,253 of the participants were taking beta blockers a year after hospitalisation, while 9,365 were not.

The researchers compared differences in the incidence of deaths from any cause, recurrent heart attacks, heart failure and revascularisation (a procedure to restore blood flow to parts of the heart) between the two groups.

There was no noticeable difference in the rates of these events between the two groups during an average follow up of 4.5 years. Long-term treatment with beta blockers was not associated with improved cardiovascular outcomes.

Since beta blockers are associated with several side effects such as depression, dizziness and fatigue, the researchers think, “It is time to reassess the value of long-term treatment with these drugs in heart attack patients who don’t have heart failure or LVSD.”

Did You Know?

DASH, Mediterranean, pescetarian and vegetarian diets are better at promoting cardiovascular health, while the popular palaeo and ketogenic diets are the worst

Internet use and dementia risk


OLDER ADULTS who regularly surf the web have about half the risk of dementia compared to non-regular users, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The study included 18,154 dementia-free adults who were between the ages of 50 and 65 at the start of the study.

The cognitive health and internet usage habits of the participants were analysed. About two-thirds of the participants were regular internet users.

During a maximum follow up of 17 years and a median of 7.9 years, 4.68 per cent of the participants were diagnosed with dementia. About 8 per cent died without developing dementia, while more than 87 per cent remained dementia free.

Regular internet users had a 43 per cent reduced risk of developing dementia compared to non-regular users. The difference in risk remained regardless of education, race-ethnicity, sex, and generation.

The researchers found a u-shaped relationship when they examined the association between dementia risk and daily hours of usage.

The lowest risk was seen among adults with two or fewer hours on the internet. The risk was highest in people who spent the least and the most time online (between six and eight hours a day).

“Excessive online engagement may lead to reduced opportunities for in-person social interactions and disengagements from the real world in favour of virtual settings, which may in turn adversely affect cognitive health,” the authors wrote.

"Online engagement may help to develop and maintain cognitive reserve, which can in turn compensate for brain ageing and reduce the risk of dementia.”

Did You Know?

Overweight boys tend to have lower testicular volume which could lead to poorer sperm production and infertility issues in adulthood
European Journal of Endocrinology

Endoscopic procedure to end insulin use

A GROUNDBREAKING ONE-TIME ENDOSCOPIC procedure could eliminate the need for insulin in people with type-two diabetes.

In this one hour minimally invasive procedure, controlled electrical pulses are delivered to make changes to the duodenum, a portion of the lining of the small intestine just below the stomach.

The study, presented at the Digestive Disease Week meeting, included 14 type two diabetes patients. They were discharged on the same day after the surgery. They had to follow a calorie-controlled liquid diet for the next two weeks after which they started taking semaglutide, a diabetes medicine.

Of the 14 patients, 12 maintained their blood sugar in the normal range for a year without the need for insulin.

“The potential for controlling diabetes with a single endoscopic treatment is spectacular," the study's lead researcher said.

"While drug therapy is ‘disease-controlling', it only reduces high blood sugar as long as the patient continues taking the medication. This one procedure is 'disease-modifying' in that it reverses the body's resistance to its own insulin, the root cause of the type-two diabetes."

The researchers are planning a double-blind randomised controlled trial to confirm these results. If the results are similar, the procedure could be a game changer in the treatment of type-two diabetes.

Four symptoms of early colon cancer


RESEARCHERS HAVE IDENTIFIED four symptoms thar could indicate an increased risk of early onset colon cancer.

Being aware of these symptoms could be vital for early detection, diagnosis, treatment and improved survival for adults under age 50.

While the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping in older adults due to regular colonoscopies and improved treatment, colon cancer cases in younger adults have nearly doubled in recent years. Younger people are mostly diagnosed at advanced stages, and many are dying.

After analysing data from 5,075 patients with early onset colon cancer, the researchers identified four telltale symptoms, which are abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhoea and iron deficiency anaemia. Having any of these symptoms between three months and two years before diagnosis could signal an increased risk of colon cancer in those under age 50.

Having just a single symptom almost doubled the risk of cancer, while having two symptoms increased the risk by more than 3.5 times; and having three or more increased the risk by more than 6.5 times.

Two symptoms in particular―rectal bleeding and iron deficiency anaemia―should be evaluated with an endoscopy.

Some young adults in the study had symptoms for up to two years before their diagnoses. “That may be part of the reason many of these younger patients had more advanced disease at the time of diagnosis than what we normally see in older people who get screened regularly,” the study author said.

“It is crucial to recognise these red-flag signs and symptoms promptly and conduct a diagnostic work-up as soon as possible.”

The findings were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Did You Know?

Poverty is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease, cancer and smoking

JAMA Internal Medicine

How long should you nap?


AN AFTERNOON NAP can make you more alert and improve your mood. But is there an ideal amount of time to nap?

According to a study published in the journal Obesity, taking long naps can increase your risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels, all of which can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and type-two diabetes.

The researchers analysed data from 3,275 Spanish adults, with an average age of 40 years, of whom 78 per cent were women.

Information about their siestas, or afternoon naps, and other lifestyle factors were collected.

Those who napped longer than 30 minutes were more likely to have a higher body mass index and metabolic syndrome compared to those who did not nap.

Long siestas were also associated with eating and sleeping later at night, increased energy intake at lunch and cigarette smoking.

People who took shorter naps (less than 30 minutes) did not have any of the metabolic conditions, were not obese, and had an even lower risk of elevated systolic blood pressure than those who took no siestas.

A previous study by the same group had also found that siestas were associated with an increased risk of obesity and high blood pressure.

“This study shows the importance of considering siesta length and raises the question whether short naps may offer unique benefits,” the study author said.