News for Healthier Living

Health Highlights: Jan. 31, 2019

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Staying Off Facebook Brings Benefits: Study

Turning away from Facebook could benefit you in a number of ways, according to a new study.

You'd have more in-person time with family and friends, be less politically partisan, have a slight improvement in daily moods and life satisfaction, and have an extra hour a day of downtime if you're an average Facebook user, The New York Times reported.

One downside among those who stopped using Facebook was a decrease in political knowledge.

The Stanford University and New York University-led study included nearly 3,000 Facebook users over age 18 who spent at least 15 minutes on the platform each day. The daily average was an hour, but two to three hours or more for heavy users.

Half were asked to deactivate their Facebook accounts for a month, in exchange for payment. On average, the amount was about $100, The Times reported.

The study, posted recently on the open access site Social Science Research Network, has not yet undergone peer review.

"This is one study of many on this topic, and it should be considered that way," a Facebook press officer said in a prepared statement, The Times reported.

In quoting from the study itself, the statement said ""Facebook produces large benefits for its users," and that "any discussion of social media's downsides should not obscure the fact that it fulfills deep and widespread needs."

There are about 2.3 billion Facebook users worldwide.

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Scientists Spot Genes Tied to Being a Night or Morning Person

Researchers have identified 351 genetic variations that may be associated with whether someone is a night or morning person.

The findings from analyses of about 700,000 people's genomes help advance understanding of the genetic basis of chronotype, or whether people are larks, night owls or somewhere in between, The New York Times reported.

The study in the journal Nature Communications also suggests links between chronotype and mental health.

The researchers found that participants who self-identified as morning people reported a higher level of general well-being, and were less likely to have depression or schizophrenia, The Times reported.

Previous research has suggested that night owls are more likely to have mental health problems.

"Perhaps evening people are constantly fighting their natural clock, which might have unintended consequences farther down the line," said study lead author Samuel Jones, a researcher at the University of Exeter in the U.K., The Times reported.

The genes identified in study play a wide range of roles in the body, the researchers said.

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Brain Injury Raises Risk of PTSD, Depression: Study

People who've suffered a mild traumatic brain injury are at increased risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, researchers say.

Their study of patients at 11 U.S. hospitals found that 21.2 percent of those with mild traumatic brain injuries from incidents such as a car crash, violent assaults or falls experienced PTSD or depression up to six months after their head injury, compared with 12.1 percent of patients with non-head injuries, CNN reported.

At three months, the rates were 20 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively.

Having a mental health problem before a traumatic brain injury was "an exceptionally strong risk factor" for having PTSD or major depression afterward, according to the researchers, CNN reported.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, included 1,155 patients with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and 230 with non-head injuries.

The "findings may have implications for surveillance and treatment of mental disorders after TBI. The emergence and long- term course of PTSD after TBI is variable," the researchers wrote, CNN reported.

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Use of Live Pigs at Brown University's Medical School is Illegal, Doctor Group Says

Brown University's medical school is breaking the law by using live pigs for emergency medicine training and should be investigated by federal regulators, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The group asked Tuesday for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to investigate the medical school, CBS News reported.

The committee, which represents more than 12,000 doctors, opposes the use of live animals in any medical training and advocates the use of human-body simulators.

Brown University's medical school website says its residency education includes hands-on animal labs. A medical school spokeswoman told CBS News she didn't know about the committee's complaint and couldn't answer questions about the use of pigs.

Brown's medical school violated the federal Animal Welfare Act because there are alternatives to using animals, so using pigs for emergency medicine training is not justified or unavoidable, said Dr. John Pippin, director of academic affairs for the Physicians Committee, CBS News reported.

Supporters of animal research say it is vital for advancing medical science.

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More Infant Ibuprofen Recalled Due to Higher Concentrations

Drug maker Tris Pharma is expanding a recall of infant ibuprofen oral suspension drops, because the product may contain higher-than-specified levels of ibuprofen that could harm infants' kidneys.

The original recall last November was for three lots of ibuprofen oral suspension drops, USP, 50 mg per 1.25 mL. The expanded recall adds three more lots.

The products--used as a pain reliever/fever reducer and packaged in oz. and 1 oz. bottles--were sold under different names at various pharmacies: Equate at Wal-Mart, CVS Health at CVS, and Family Wellness at Family Dollar, the company said in a statement.

"Infants already susceptible to the adverse effects of ibuprofen may be at a slightly higher risk if they receive medication from an impacted bottle. There is a remote probability that infants, who may be more susceptible to a higher potency level of drug, may be more vulnerable to permanent NSAID-associated (kidney) injury," according to the news release.

"Some units from these six lots have been found to contain ibuprofen as high as 10 percent above the specified limit. Studies have shown that safety issues or toxicity is generally accepted to be a concern in infants at doses in excess of 700 percent of the recommended dose. To date, no serious adverse events have been reported related to this recall," the company said.

For more information about the recall, consumers can call Tris Pharma at 732-940-0358.Contact a healthcare provider if you've experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using this drug product, the company advised.

January 31, 2019
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