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Big Rise in Suicide Attempts by U.S. Teen Girls During Pandemic

FRIDAY, June 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The suicide attempt rate has leapt by as much as half among teenage girls during the coronavirus pandemic, a new government study shows.

Emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts among girls between the ages of 12 and 17 increased by 26% during summer 2020 and by 50% during winter 2021, compared with the same periods in 2019, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. However, ER trips related to suspected suicide attempts among boys that same age and young adults aged 18 to 25 remained stable during the pandemic.

"The findings from this study suggest more severe distress among young females than has been identified in previous reports during the pandemic, reinforcing the need for increased attention to, and prevention for, this population," concluded the report published June 11 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The trend is consistent with past studies, the researchers noted.

"We are all at some degree of risk for mental health problems like depression and anxiety – and what elicits that underlying risk are often external variables: substances, trauma, illness or even medications, among others," said Dr. Timothy Sullivan, chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Staten Island University Hospital, in New York City.

"But one of the most robust findings in the last 30 years of research on mood disorders is that disturbances in our social rhythms significantly increase the risk – even predict – the development of major depressive episodes," Sullivan said.

"This is why mental health experts have been concerned about the accumulating emotional burden caused by the effects of the pandemic on our habits and social interactions, and especially for children and adolescents for whom social interactions and peer involvement are crucial both for their healthy development and their emotional well-being," added Sullivan, who was not involved in the study.

Self-reported suicide attempts are consistently higher among teen girls than boys, and research prior to the pandemic indicated that girls had higher and increasing rates of emergency department visits related to suicide attempts than boys, the CDC scientists noted.

Young girls might have been more affected by the pandemic due to lockdowns that broke their connectedness to schools, teachers and friends, the study speculated.

During the pandemic, people also have had a harder time seeking mental health treatment, there have been reported increases in substance abuse, and families have been beset by health concerns and financial problems.

But it also might be that, stuck at home with their kids, parents have become more in touch and aware of their teen girls' troubling thoughts.

The researchers noted a 31% increase in the proportion of mental health-related emergency department visits that occurred among teenagers in 2020, compared with the year before.

At the same time, there's been no significant increase in suicide deaths among teenage girls during the pandemic.

"By spending more time at home together with young persons, adults might have become more aware of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and thus been more likely to take their children to the [emergency department]," the researchers explained.

For the study, CDC researchers led by Ellen Yard analyzed data from the National Syndromic Surveillance Program, a collaboration of federal, state and local public health agencies to collect electronic health data from emergency departments, urgent care centers and hospitals.

The researchers examined trends in emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts between Jan. 1, 2019 and May 15, 2021, among people aged 12 to 25.

According to the American Psychological Association, some of the warning signs of teen suicide include:

  • Changes in appearance or hygiene
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Social withdrawal
  • Talking about suicide or preoccupation with death
  • Risky or reckless behaviors
  • Self-harming
  • Talk about hopelessness or having nothing to live for
  • Researching suicide methods or acquiring potential weapons

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 1-800-273-8255.

More information

The American Psychological Association has more about teen suicide prevention.

SOURCES: Timothy Sullivan, MD, chair, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Staten Island University Hospital, New York City; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 11, 2021

Obesity Could Raise Odds for 'Long-Haul' COVID Symptoms

FRIDAY, June 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- If you're obese, you're far more likely to have long-lasting health issues if you get COVID-19 and survive, a new study warns.

You are more likely than patients who aren't obese to be hospitalized. You're more likely wind up in the intensive care unit, need to be put on a ventilator and suffer from long-haul COVID than patients who aren't obese, researchers reported.

"About 40% of COVID-19 survivors may experience chronic complications of COVID-19, and the risk of having these complications is about 30% higher in patients with obesity," said lead researcher Dr. Ali Aminian, director of the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.

These striking figures are yet another reason why everyone -- especially people who are obese -- should get vaccinated against COVID-19, Aminian said.

For the study, his team collected data on more than 2,800 patients treated for COVID at the Cleveland Clinic between March and July 2020. Patients were followed through late January of this year.

During follow-up, 44% of patients had to be hospitalized and 1% died.

Compared with other patients, the risk of hospitalization was 28% to 30% higher in patients with moderate and severe obesity, the study found. Their need for tests for other medical problems was also 25% to 39% higher.

In particular, the need for diagnostic tests for diseases of the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys and gastrointestinal system and for mental health problems was much higher, the study showed.

These findings suggest that those with a BMI (body mass index, a measure of body fat based on height and weight) of 35 or more are at greatest risk of long-haul COVID, compared to those with a normal BMI.

"Patients with obesity need to be informed about their excess risk of COVID-19, both in the acute phase and in the chronic phase of the disease," Aminian said.

He urged all patients to follow public health recommendations and get vaccinated to reduce their risk.

"Furthermore, a long-term and rigorous follow-up of patients with obesity who contracted COVID-19 is necessary to address chronic consequences of the disease," Aminian said.

Dr. David Katz is president of the True Health Initiative, a group that promotes healthy living. He noted that obesity and its related heart problems are consistent predictors of poor COVID-19 outcomes.

"This analysis points to the higher risk of long-haul COVID-19," said Katz, who wasn't part of the study.

Some of the likely reasons include increased inflammation, endocrine disturbances and mechanical effects of obesity that can impair respiration and repositioning, he said.

The new study also calls for investigation of other factors that may contribute to variations in COVID outcomes. These include patients' economic status, their diets and access to nutritious foods, as well as their access to medical care, Katz said.

He noted that the findings show the consequence that obesity has on overall health and on a person stressed by a deadly, infectious disease.

"This analysis highlights the importance of a pandemic that was here long before SARS-CoV-2, and that will be here after -- the obesity pandemic," Katz said. "With or without COVID, this pandemic that hides in plain sight siphons years from lives, and life from years, and calls out for our collective action."

The findings were recently published online in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about obesity and COVID-19.

SOURCES: Ali Aminian, MD, director, Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; David Katz, MD, MPH, president, True Health Initiative, Tulsa, Okla.; Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, June 3, 2021, online

AHA News: Video Gaming Helps Heart Defect Survivor Connect With Others in the LGBTQ Community and Beyond

FRIDAY, June 11, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- Mike Lane's heart journey began as a newborn – when his skin turned blue.

He was 2 days old when a cardiologist realized the reason. He was born with several congenital heart defects, including a missing ventricular septum, a narrowing of the pulmonary artery called stenosis, and a faulty pulmonary artery valve. In the coming weeks and months, even the most minor activity exhausted him so much that "we tried to keep him calm, so he wouldn't cry," said his grandmother, Norma Lane, a nurse.

Ten months later, doctors opened his chest and attempted to repair the defects. They were unable to repair all of them.

Throughout his early years, the problems continued to sap Mike's energy, making it tough for him to keep up with his peers. This led to trouble bonding with kids his age.

"Everybody looked at me like they were going to catch my chronic illness," he said.

One day, Mike noticed his grandfather had a scar on his chest, just like Mike did. His grandfather's scar came from open-heart surgery following a heart attack. While they never really talked about it, knowing he had this in common with someone he loved helped Mike feel less alone.

Mike was 12 when doctors said it was time to again try replacing the faulty valve. The day of surgery, he sobbed hysterically.

"I really didn't know if I was going to wake up," he said.

This time, doctors were able to give him the new valve. And in doing so, they gave him a new life.

More energetic than ever, he attended the Edward J. Madden Open Hearts Camp in the Berkshire mountains. Meeting other kids like him "was one of the best experiences in my life," he said.

Why?

"For the first time, I wasn't alone," Mike said.

He was 20 when his doctor told him it was time for a new valve. After the trauma of his two previous open-heart surgeries, he was relieved to have the replacement done through a non-invasive catheterization procedure.

After Mike recovered, he decided to get serious about video gaming.

During the years when Mike lacked energy to keep up with his peers, he said gaming "took my mind off of the pain and the exhaustion that I constantly felt."

At 22, he began posting videos of himself playing on YouTube. He later began livestreaming on Twitch. Using the name Supercaliy, he has nearly 12,000 followers and has made friends all over the world.

"I started building community," he said. It's also become how he pays the bills. "People like supporting content creators that they enjoy watching."

Some gamers prefer action-packed or horror-themed games. Others enjoy more narrative-based experiences. Mike is known as a variety streamer.

"I never really stick to one thing," he said.

He talked openly about his recovery and ongoing health issues with his audience – something that differentiates him from the other gamers.

He hopes to normalize chronic illness "without it being some kind of sob story," he said.

"People in my stream talk about how much they appreciate that I talk about my health, and that feels great," he said.

Mike opens up to that audience because he's building a community. Among his loved ones, though, he doesn't talk much about his heart defects and how they influenced the trajectory of his life.

"When someone is born with a chronic condition, they never complain because they don't know what it is to feel good," Norma said. "Michael never complains about anything."

Mike also uses his platform to connect with others in the LGBTQ community. At 16, he started dating another teenage male he met online.

By sharing his story whenever and wherever he can, Mike hopes to connect with anyone who sees their life reflected in his.

"I'm not the only person in the world who has these issues, but it took me a long time to find people who I could relate to," he said. "I want people to see that they're not alone."

American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email editor@heart.org.

By Tate Gunnerson

Will People Really Need a Yearly COVID Booster Vaccine?

FRIDAY, June 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- As the number of people fully immunized against COVID-19 rises into the hundreds of millions, immunologists and infectious disease experts now are pondering a new question in the unfolding pandemic.

Namely, how long will vaccine immunity last, and will people who've gotten the jab need booster shots to maintain their protection?

It's an important question, as waning immunity in the face of more powerful COVID-19 variants could cause future infection surges and, in worst-case scenarios, a full-blown return of quarantines and lockdowns, experts say.

A person's immunity always drops to some degree following immunization or natural infection, said Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

But will your immunity against COVID fade quickly, as it does with the flu or the common cold, or will it last longer as it does in diseases like measles or whooping cough?

"Antibody levels fall over time. That is true for every single vaccine that we give," Poland said. "We've never immunized against coronaviruses before, so that question is really open-ended."

People's immunity against seasonal coronaviruses -- those that cause the common cold -- fades quickly. That's why you can catch a cold again and again.

But the vaccines developed against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID, appear to be creating high levels of antibodies that protect even as they wane.

In one recent study of 3,900 health care workers tested weekly for COVID, about 5% tested positive between December and April, Poland said. But of 204 who fell ill, only 16 had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

"You're talking about a 0.3% rate" of infection in fully immunized people, Poland said. "And if they were vaccinated, and if they had breakthrough infections, they had viral loads that were 40% to 50% lower and were almost 60% less likely to have any fever. If they were sick enough to be in bed, they spent two fewer days in bed than the unvaccinated."

And that's the major factor in deciding whether boosters will ever be needed: Are vaccines succeeding at their most important job?

"The goal of this vaccine is to keep you out of the hospital and out of the ICU and out of the morgue, said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and an advisor to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

By that measure, experts like Poland and Offit now think it's unlikely that boosters will be needed any time soon for most or maybe all those who have been vaccinated.

Even in the face of newer and more infectious variants like the Delta variant that emerged in India, the existing vaccines have been able to prevent severe illness among the fully vaccinated, Poland said.

Offit made a similar point.

"It's much easier to prevent severe critical disease, and I think you're much more likely to have longer lasting protection against severe critical disease," he said. "If that's the goal, then I would imagine that vaccines would last for years."

If this sort of lasting protection proves out, you might still get the sniffles from COVID, but it won't land you in the emergency room.

"When you get a vaccine and you're not wearing a mask, the virus still enters your nose and throat. It still begins to reproduce itself. And it still might cause some symptoms before your immune system gets activated," Offit said.

Experts tracking COVID hospitalization rates are keeping in mind two factors as they assess whether boosters are needed -- the health of each person's immune system and the development of new coronavirus variants.

People with compromised immune systems -- smokers, diabetics, the obese, the elderly -- might need booster shots sooner if statistics show them landing in the hospital at increasing rates, Poland said.

On the other hand, younger people with healthy immune systems might have protection that lasts years and years.

It's simply too soon to tell, experts say.

"Once you see significant numbers of people who have been fully vaccinated who are developing disease that's severe enough to cause them to be hospitalized, that would certainly be a signal indicating that boosters are going to be required," said Dr. Dial Hewlett, medical director of disease control at the Westchester County Department of Health, in White Plains, N.Y.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government's leading infectious disease expert, has said protection would not be infinite.

"I would imagine we will need, at some time, a booster," he told a U.S. Senate subcommittee recently. "What we're figuring out right now is what that interval is going to be."

The main fear now is that a new variant will emerge that is "different enough from the wild-type virus that you are not protected, and yet close enough that your body thinks it's what it's already seen and allows you to get infected unchecked," Poland said.

That's why public health experts are pushing for as many people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. The United States just passed the halfway point, with more than 50% of people aged 12 and older fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Joe Biden's goal is for 70% of the nation to have at least one shot by July 4. But the rate of new vaccinations has slowed recently and is now fewer than 600,000 a day.

"The phase we're in right now is very much a desperate race between vaccine and variant," Poland said. "If we can get everybody immunized very quickly and don't allow the Delta variant to gain a stronghold, I think we'll be home free."

Poland pointed to an encouraging model.

"There's a model out showing that if we can achieve 50% vaccine coverage of the entire population, we will prevent about 6 million additional COVID cases," he said. "This is really important, because if the virus can't infect, it can't replicate. If it can't replicate, it can't mutate."

The question of booster shots might become moot if, as some pharmaceutical companies are investigating, the COVID vaccine winds up included in your annual flu shot as a two-for-one, Poland said.

"Well, we have to give an annual flu vaccine. What if we wrapped the two together? So, you may not need the coronavirus component, but we're going to boost the immunity anyway as long as you're getting the flu vaccine," he said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more about COVID-19 vaccines.


SOURCES: Greg Poland, MD, director, Vaccine Research Group, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Paul Offit, MD, director, Vaccine Education Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Dial Hewlett, MD, medical director, Division of Disease Control, Westchester County Department of Health, White Plains, N.Y.

Expiration Dates on Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Extended

FRIDAY, June 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. regulators have extended the expiration date on millions of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine doses by six weeks, the company announced Thursday.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration review concluded the shots remain safe and effective for at least 4 1/2 months, J&J said in a statement. In February, the FDA first authorized the vaccine for up to three months when stored at normal refrigeration temperatures.

State officials had warned earlier this week that many J&J doses in storage would expire before the end of the month. The FDA change gives health providers more time to use shots sitting at pharmacies, hospitals and clinics, the Associated Press reported. Many states have adopted a "first-in-first-out" approach to try and use their oldest vaccines first.

Vaccine expiration dates are based on information from drugmakers on how long the shots stay viable. J&J said the FDA added six weeks based on data from the company's ongoing studies on the vaccine's stability.

The FDA has been reviewing expiration dates on all three vaccines authorized in this country as companies have continued to test batches in the months since the shots first rolled out. Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, authorized in December, have a six-month shelf life, the AP reported.

Unfortunately, vaccination rates have been dropping in recent weeks: The country averaged about 800,000 new injections per day last week. That's down from a high of nearly 2 million daily shots two months ago, the AP reported. Government officials and companies have turned to incentives to encourage shots, including paid time off and $1 million lottery prizes.

As vaccinations have slowed, Biden's goal of having 70% of adults partially vaccinated by July 4 is in jeopardy. As of Friday, roughly 64% of Americans over 18 have had at least one shot, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

J&J's vaccine was highly anticipated because of its one-and-done formulation and easy-to-ship refrigeration. The shot was expected to play a key role in vaccination campaigns in rural areas and low-income countries with limited health care, the AP reported.

But rival drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna have already supplied more than enough doses to meet U.S. demand. More than 129 million Americans have been fully vaccinated with the companies' two-dose shots, the AP reported. Meanwhile, just 11 million Americans have been vaccinated with the J&J shot. About 10 million more J&J doses have been sent out to states, according to the CDC.

Use of J&J's vaccine appears to have also been hurt by links to a rare blood clot disorder. That issue prompted U.S. health officials to "pause" use of the shot for an 11 days. That hold was lifted in late April after officials concluded the vaccine's benefits outweighed its risks.

G-7 joins US in pledge to send vaccine doses to countries in need

The leaders of the G-7, the world's richest democracies, are expected on Friday to promise they will send 1 billion doses of COVID vaccines to poor and middle-income countries as part of a campaign to "vaccinate the world" by the end of 2022.

President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the United States plans to purchase 500 million doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine that it will then donate to countries in need around the world. As for the rest of the G-7, the U.K. will donate 100 million doses, while other members of the G-7 will contribute the rest, the AP reported.

"This is about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation, to save as many lives as we can," Biden said in a speech in England on Thursday evening, before the G-7 meeting began. "When we see people hurting and suffering anywhere around the world, we seek to help any way we can."

The United States will send the first of its 200 million donated doses out this year, with 300 million more shared in the first half of next year, three people familiar with the plan told the Washington Post on Wednesday. COVAX, the World Health Organization-backed initiative to share COVID-19 doses across the globe, will distribute the doses to low- and middle-income countries.

Many public health experts and advocacy groups cheered the news, saying U.S. leadership on the issue will be critical to vaccinating the world.

"It's an extraordinary development," Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, told the Post. The plan "sends a profound signal in terms of U.S. commitment to global health security and willingness to help end this pandemic for the world and the United States," she added.

"It is meaningful, but not sufficient on its own," said Thomas Bollyky, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and director of its global health program.

On the one hand, 500 million doses is about six times the number of doses COVAX has distributed so far, he told the Post. On the other, it is just a quarter of the 2 billion doses COVAX aims to distribute this year. So far, COVAX has delivered just under 82 million doses to 129 countries, the newspaper said.

"These Pfizer doses will go to many countries," Bollyky said. "The big question is, in what order and in what amount? That will have significant bearing on what the public health impact of the commitment will be."

The gap between vaccines haves and have-nots is wide: More than half the populations in the United States and Britain have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, while fewer than 2 percent of people in Africa have gotten a shot.

"We won't end this global pandemic anywhere unless we beat it everywhere," Tom Hart, acting CEO of the One Campaign, an organization focused on fighting global poverty and preventable disease, said in a statement. "Donating doses to COVAX will save lives, reduce the spread of variants, and help reopen the global economy. We urge other G-7 countries to follow the US' example and donate more doses to COVAX. If there was ever a time for global ambition and action to end the pandemic, it's now."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 vaccinations.


SOURCES: Associated Press; Washington Post

Health Highlights: June 11, 2021

CDC Calls Emergency Meeting on Heart Inflammation Link to COVID Vaccines

An emergency meeting will be held June 18 to discuss rare reports of heart inflammation in people who've received the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The agency said it's identified 226 reports so far that may meet its "working case definition" of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccinations. Most of those patients have recovered, but three remain in intensive care, 15 are still hospitalized and 41 have ongoing symptoms, CBS News reported.

The CDC is analyzing the cases in advance of the meeting, and also plans to assess the overall risk of heart inflammation caused by COVID-19, according to Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, a CDC vaccine safety official.

The 226 known cases remain extremely rare, having occurred among nearly 130 million Americans who've been fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, CBS News reported.

Shimabukuro noted that "these are preliminary reports. Not all these will turn out to be true myocarditis or pericarditis reports."

He said the CDC's findings were mostly "consistent" with rare cases of heart inflammation investigated in Israel and cited by the U.S. Department of Defense earlier this year, CBS News reported.

Previously, the CDC said heart inflammation occurred mostly in younger men and teen boys after their second dose, with a "higher number of observed than expected" cases in people ages 16 to 24, and instructed health care providers to ask patients with symptoms of heart inflammation if they'd received a COVID-19 vaccine.


CDC Issues Alert About RSV Spread in Southern U.S.

The southern part of the United States is seeing an unusual late spring wave of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections and health care providers should be on alert, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Thursday.

The virus is spread via small droplets and contaminated surfaces. It's most common in fall and winter, but cases fell sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no specific treatment for it, CNN reported.

The recent spread of the virus has occurred in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

"Due to this increased activity, CDC encourages broader testing for RSV among patients presenting with acute respiratory illness who test negative for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19," the CDC alert advised.

"RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under one year of age in the United States. Infants, young children, and older adults with chronic medical conditions are at risk of severe disease from RSV infection," the agency said. "Each year in the United States, RSV leads to on average approximately 58,000 hospitalizations with 100-500 deaths among children younger than 5 years old and 177,000 hospitalizations with 14,000 deaths among adults aged 65 years or older."

The CDC also warned that due "to reduced circulation of RSV during the winter months of 2020-2021, older infants and toddlers might now be at increased risk of severe RSV-associated illness since they have likely not had typical levels of exposure to RSV during the past 15 months," CNN reported.

There Is No 'Healthy Obesity,' Study Finds

FRIDAY, June 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- There is no such thing as healthy obesity, a Scottish study reports.

A normal metabolic profile doesn't mean an obese person is actually healthy, because he or she still has an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and respiratory illness, University of Glasgow researchers explained.

"The term 'metabolically healthy obesity' should be avoided in clinical medicine as it is misleading, and different strategies for defining risk should be explored," wrote researchers led by Frederick Ho, a research associate at the university's Institute of Health and Wellbeing. The study was published June 10 in the journal Diabetologia.

For the study, Ho and his colleagues analyzed data from more than 381,000 people in the United Kingdom who were followed for an average 11.2 years.

They compared metabolically healthy people who weren't obese to those who were obese but deemed metabolically healthy -- meaning they did not have high blood sugar, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and other harmful metabolic changes associated with excess weight.

Compared to healthy folks who weren't obese, those who were metabolically healthy but obese were 4.3 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes; 18% more likely to suffer heart attack or stroke; 76% more likely to develop heart failure; 28% more likely to have respiratory disease; and 19% more likely to have COPD.

Compared to metabolically unhealthy people who weren't obese, those who were metabolically healthy and obese were also 28% more likely to have heart failure.

The study also found that among a subset of participants with follow-up data, a third of those with metabolically healthy obesity at the outset became metabolically unhealthy within three to five years.

"People with metabolically healthy obesity are not 'healthy' as they are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke, heart failure, and respiratory diseases compared with people without obesity who have a normal metabolic profile," the researchers said in a journal news release.

They said weight management could be beneficial to all people who are obese regardless of their metabolic profile.

Worldwide, more than 300 million people are obese. If current trends continue, that number is projected to top 1 billion by 2030 -- 20% of the world's adult population.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on weight and health risk.

SOURCE: Diabetologia, news release, June 10, 2021

Poor Sleep After Head Injury Could Point to Dementia Risk

FRIDAY, June 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep disorders may increase the odds for dementia in survivors of traumatic brain injury, new research suggests.

The study included nearly 713,000 patients who were free of dementia when they were treated for traumatic brain injury (TBI) between 2003 and 2013. The severity of their brain injuries varied, and nearly six in 10 were men. Their median age was 44, meaning half were older, half younger.

Over a median follow-up of 52 months, about 33,000 of these patients developed dementia. Those diagnosed with a sleep disorder were 25% more likely to develop dementia, the study found. The results were similar for men and women — a sleep disorder was associated with a 26% increase in men's dementia risk and a 23% increase among women.

"Our study's novelty is its confirmation of sleep disorders' association with incident dementia in both male and female patients, independently of other known dementia risks," said lead author Dr. Tatyana Mollayeva, an associate director of the Acquired Brain Injury Research Lab at the University of Toronto, in Canada.

"We are also the first to report on the risks that sleep disorders and other factors pose separately for male and female patients with TBI," she added in an American Academy of Sleep Medicine news release.

Mollayeva said the findings suggest a need for greater awareness of sleep disorder risk in TBI patients.

In the study, the researchers controlled for age, sex, income level, injury severity and other health problems that could affect the results.

A study abstract was recently published in an online supplement of the journal Sleep. The findings are also scheduled to be presented Sunday during a virtual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on dementia.

SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, June 8, 2021

It's a Myth That Promiscuous Women Have Low Self-Esteem, Study Finds

FRIDAY, June 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The old double standard lives on.

A new study finds that many people still believe -- incorrectly -- that women who engage in casual sex have low self-esteem. And they don't think the same is true of men.

"We were surprised that this stereotype was so widely held," said study first author Jaimie Arona Krems, an assistant professor of psychology at Oklahoma State University. "This stereotype was held by both women and men, liberals and conservatives, and across the spectrum in terms of people's levels of religiosity and sexism."

The finding was consistent in six experiments involving nearly 1,500 participants. The results were recently published in the journal Psychological Science.

In one experiment, participants were asked to make a snap judgment about an unspecified person in their mid-20s who had one-night stands, monogamous sex or no sex.

Women who had casual sex were judged as having lower self-esteem, but participants made no similar link between men's behavior and their self-esteem.

Participants also were asked if a person who had casual sex was more likely to have been an English major or an English major with low self-esteem.

Most chose the second one, even though it was statistically less likely to be true, the researchers noted.

Even when presented with evidence to the contrary, participants' views didn't change.

"When we explicitly told participants that the women who had casual sex were enjoying it and were satisfied with their sexual behavior, participants still stereotyped them as having lower self-esteem than women in monogamous relationships who were unsatisfied with their sexual behavior," Krems said in a journal news release.

Previous research has suggested that people who are viewed as having low self-esteem are less likely to get hired, elected to public office, or be sought as friends or romantic partners.

"Although not grounded in reality, the stereotype documented in this work may have harmful effects," Krems said. "Stereotypes like this can have serious consequences in the real world."

More information

The Mayo Clinic has more on self-esteem.

SOURCE: Psychological Science, news release, June 8, 2021

COVID Antibody Treatment Is Safe, Effective in Transplant Patients

FRIDAY, June 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Antibody treatments are safe and effective for transplant patients with mild to moderate COVID-19, a new study shows.

Monoclonal antibodies help prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from attaching to cells, which helps block the spread of infection.

The findings are important, researchers said, because transplant patients with COVID are more likely to be severely ill or die.

"Monoclonal antibody therapy is really important for the transplant population because they are less likely to develop their own immunity," said senior author Dr. Raymund Razonable, an infectious diseases specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "Providing them with these antibodies helps them recover from COVID-19."

The study included the first 73 solid organ transplant patients at the Mayo Clinic who received monoclonal antibody infusions for treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19.

Eleven patients had an emergency department visit and nine were hospitalized. None required mechanical ventilation, died or developed organ rejection, according to findings published June 10 in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

"While we expected monoclonal antibody therapy would be beneficial for patients, we were pleasantly surprised by the results," Razonable said in a Mayo news release. "Only one patient required care in the ICU for non-COVID-19 indication, and, most importantly, there were no deaths."

Last fall, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the monoclonal antibody therapies bamlanivimab and casirivimab-imdevimab to treat mild to moderate COVID in patients at high risk for serious illness.

But many health care institutions hesitated to use them because their safety and effectiveness for transplant patients was unknown due to limited clinical data, Razonable said.

"It is important that these patients have early access to monoclonal antibody treatment," Razonable said. "Our data show the outcomes for patients are better if they get infused earlier."

More information

The American Society of Transplantation has more on COVID-19.


SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, June 10, 2021
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