Our weekly roundup of the latest news in the world of health.
People who have one type of weight-control surgery are more likely to drink a lot of alcohol 2 years later, a study released this week says. A hospital stay can speed the decline of people with Alzheimer's disease, other research finds. And a new report shows a large increase in a major eye disease. The disease, diabetic retinopathy, is caused by persistent high blood sugar.
This Issue: Stomach Bypass May Boost Alcohol Abuse Hospital May Speed Decline in Alzheimer's Diabetic Eye Disease Up Sharply, Report Says
In the News:
Stomach Bypass May Boost Alcohol Abuse
The most common type of weight-loss (bariatric) surgery may increase people's risk of alcohol abuse, a new study finds. The study included almost 2,000 women and men who had weight-loss surgery. Before the surgery, they filled out questionnaires about their drinking habits. They also answered the questions 1 and 2 years after surgery. By 2 years after surgery, 11% of those who had gastric bypass surgery drank to excess. That was an increase of 50% from before the surgery. There was no increase among people who had gastric banding, another type of weight-loss surgery. About 5% drank to excess before and after surgery. Gastric bypass restricts the size of the stomach. This smaller stomach is attached directly to a lower part of the small intestine. The rest of the stomach and intestine are bypassed. Therefore, less food is absorbed. Researchers said this may change how the body breaks down alcohol. Banding uses a flexible band to shrink the size of the stomach. It does not bypass any of the intestine. The Journal of the American Medical Association published the study online this week. The Associated Press wrote about it.
Hospital May Speed Decline in Alzheimer's
A hospital stay greatly increases the chances that a person with Alzheimer's disease will enter a nursing home or die in the next year, a study published this week says. Other recent research showed that people with Alzheimer's have more hospital stays than other older adults. The new study showed the consequences. It focused on 771 Alzheimer's patients. All of them were living at home and fairly high-functioning. Medical records showed that about half of them had a hospital stay. About half of this group had delirium in the hospital. People with delirium may be extremely agitated and confused. Among those who did not have a hospital stay, about 4% entered a nursing home each year. About 2% died. But in the year after a hospital stay, 29% went into a nursing home and 9% died. Among those who had delirium, 43% moved to a nursing home in the next year. About 15% died. Researchers could not explain these results. They said family members should be alert for new symptoms in someone with Alzheimer's. Early care may help to avoid a hospital stay. The Annals of Internal Medicine published the study. The Associated Press wrote about it.
Diabetic Eye Disease Up Sharply, Report Says
The U.S. diabetes epidemic has led to a major increase in related eye problems, a report issued this week says. Prevent Blindness American and the National Eye Institute sponsored the research. USA Today wrote about it. The report focused on the years 2000 to 2010. In that decade, the number of people with diabetic retinopathy increased 89%, the report says. This disease is caused by high blood sugar that injures tiny blood vessels in the eyes. Without treatment, it can harm vision. It can even cause blindness. About 7.7 million people age 40 and older have the condition, the new report says. Overall, the report says, the number of people over 40 with impaired vision or blindness has risen 23%.
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