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This Week in Health
October 11, 2013

 

Our weekly roundup of the latest news in the world of health.

Doctors should focus more on preventive behaviors rather than the results of unhealthy habits, says a new report. For people with known heart disease, having on-heart surgery can carry an added risk of heart troubles. A new study suggests way to increase the chances of problem-free surgery. About 1 out of 10 teens and young adults has coerced or forced another person into some kind of sexual activity, a survey published this week found. Older patients who fall in the 6 months before major surgery are more likely to have complications after surgery, a new study finds. Another new stuy found that yoga didn't help reduce hot flashes, but it did reduce insomnia.

Stay well.

This Issue:

Doctors Pushed To Treat Unhealthy Behaviors
Surgery after Stent? Assessing the Risk
Survey: 1 in 10 Youths Has Coerced Sexual Activity
Past Falls Linked to Post-Surgery Complications
Yoga Falls Short as Hot Flash Remedy

In the News:

Doctors Pushed To Treat Unhealthy Behaviors

Doctors should devote as much attention to people's unhealthy habits as they do to treating the consequences, such as high blood pressure, a new report says. The new policy statement comes from the American Heart Association (AHA). It urges doctors to follow the "five A's" in caring for patients. The first "A" would be to assess people's behaviors that increase their risk of heart disease. Examples might include poor diet, smoking or lack of exercise. Then doctors would advise them to change, such as quitting smoking. Doctor and patient would agree on an action plan. Finally, doctors would assist with treatment and arrange for follow-up care. Part of the plan would be to refer patients to specialists who could help with behavior change. These might include a dietician, a psychologist or a health educator. Insurance plans also would need to change to make sure these services were covered, the AHA said. The journal Circulation published the report this week. HealthDay News wrote about it.

Surgery after Stent? Assessing the Risk
A study published this week offers guidance for people who need non-heart surgery soon after having a stent placed to open a clogged artery. Researchers wanted to find out what medical situations increase the risk of heart-related problems within 30 days of the surgery. The study looked at data on about 28,000 people who had stent procedures. Each person also had non-heart surgery in the 2 years after the stent was placed. About 5% died or had a major heart problem within a month after that surgery. The problems included a heart attack or the need for another procedure to open an artery. These heart problems were more likely among people who had their surgery within 6 weeks to 6 months after the stent was placed. Problems also occurred more often in 3 groups. They included people who had their surgery on an emergency basis, those who had a heart attack less than 6 months before surgery and those who had high scores on a risk scale. The risk scores were based on people's medical history, blood tests and the risk level of their specific surgery. The Journal of the American Medical Association published the study. HealthDay News wrote about it. 

Survey: 1 in 10 Youths Has Coerced Sexual Activity
About 1 out of 10 teens and young adults has coerced or forced another person into some kind of sexual activity, a survey published this week found. Boys started earlier, but by age 18 or 19 males and females were committing these acts at the same rates. They were 5 times as likely to have seen violent pornography as people who did not coerce sexual activity. The survey included about 1,100 Americans, ages 14 through 21. About 8% said they had kissed or touched someone or made the person do something sexual even though the person did not want it. About 3% each coerced someone to have sex or tried and failed to force someone physically to have sex. About 2% did force someone to have sex (rape). People most often used argument, pressure, anger or guilt feelings to get someone to have sex. They were less likely to use threats or physical force. About 2 out of 3 said no one else ever found out. Nine out of 10 perpetrators said the other person was at least partly at fault. Alcohol was involved in 15% of situations. The journal JAMA Pediatrics published the study online. HealthDay News wrote about it. 

Past Falls Linked to Post-Surgery Complications
Older patients who fall in the 6 months before major surgery are more likely to have complications after surgery, a new study finds. The study included 235 people – mostly men -- ages 65 and older. All had elective heart or intestinal surgery. Thirty-three percent had reported falling in the 6 months before surgery. Researchers compared the number of complications among patients who had fallen to patients who hadn't fallen. Complications included heart attacks, infections, strokes and blood clots. They found that 59% of patients in the intestinal surgery group who had fallen experienced complications, compared with 25% of patients who hadn't fallen. Among heart surgery patients, 39% of people who fell had complications, compared with 15% of those who didn't fall. Readmission to the hospital or placement in a rehab or nursing facility within 30 days of discharge was also more likely among people who had fallen. The authors of the study say that falls are a good indicator of frailty. Asking about previous falls may help doctors identify patients at risk of complications after surgery. JAMA Surgery published the study. HealthDay News wrote about it.

Yoga Falls Short As Hot Flash Remedy
A study from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle found that yoga didn't help reduce hot flashes, but it had another benefit. Researchers randomly assigned 249 women to either take gentle yoga classes for 12 weeks, or stick with their regular routines. The women were experiencing 7 to 8 hot flashes a day. The classes included gentle yoga poses, breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation. At the end of the study, women in both groups were having fewer than 5 hot flashes a day. But women who practiced yoga experienced less insomnia. The study was published online in the journal Menopause. HealthDay News wrote about it.

Used with the permission of the copyright owner. All rights reserved.

The above summaries are not intended to provide advice on personal medical matters, nor are they intended to be a substitute for consultation with a physician.


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