TTHealthWatch is really a weekly podcast from Texas Tech. Inside it, Elizabeth Tracey, director of electronic media for Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, and Rick Lange, MD, president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, consider the top medical stories of the week.
This week’s topics are the best medications for insomnia, calorie labeling of supermarket foods, the global burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and restricting driving in individuals who faint.
1: 40 Followed after emergency department (ED) visit for six months
2: 40 Unable to assess risk better
3: 55 Two medications with favorable profile
4: 55 Melatonin had no effect
5: 20 Worldwide burden of COPD
6: 20 More folks with it despite having declining percentage
7: 25 Women disproportionately affected in low income countries
8: 50 Bakery and deli items decreased
9: 50 Education not sufficient for behavior change
10: 50 An app that may help
11: 50 Business should be involved with change
12: 39 End
Elizabeth: What’s the very best pharmacologic intervention for insomnia?
Rick: The worldwide burden of what’s referred to as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Elizabeth: Does labeling prepared foods in supermarkets help people eat less?
Rick: And really should individuals who faint be restricted from driving an automobile?
Elizabeth: That’s what we’re discussing this week on TTHealthWatch, your weekly consider the medical headlines from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso. I’m Elizabeth Tracey, a Baltimore-based medical journalist.
Rick: And I’m Rick Lange, president of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, where I’m also dean of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.
Elizabeth: Rick, think about if we turn first to JAMA Internal Medicine? That is this matter of everything you served up as fainting or known in the parlance as syncope. It happens to a whole load of folks. Does it imply that they ought to stop driving?
Rick: Absolutely. As you mentioned, syncope is seen as a a sudden lack of consciousness. When these folks show the emergency department for evaluation, we make an effort to ascertain what the reason is. There are many of various things that may do this, but oftentimes they’re instructed never to be driving from then on.
What these investigators attemptedto do was to state, “Well, gosh, is that basically the case, especially compared never to the overall population, but to other folks that have been to the emergency department recently?”
It is a population-based study. It is a retrospective study — and it’s really obviously observational — considering automobile crashes following the first bout of syncope. They viewed 6 different urban emergency departments of individuals that offered syncope or collapse. They matched those to four control patients that found exactly the same emergency departments through the same time, but also for another condition.
They followed they during the period of six months. After considering over 44,000 patients, 20% of these had fainted and another 80% hadn’t. People with syncope didn’t have another crash rate. Both groups had a 50% increased risk when compared to general population, however the fact that the individual offered syncope, or fainting, didn’t increase their risk over six months. Actually, it didn’t even increase on the first 30 days.
Elizabeth: May be the take-home here that everyone who involves the ED must have driving restrictions?
Rick: That is the interesting thing, Elizabeth. Should we be screening most of these individuals more carefully and attempting to ascertain which of the will be the highest threat of having an automobile accident? About 10% had some automobile accident in the initial year following the emergency department visit. It is a little bit greater than the overall population, but it isn’t astronomically high.
Elizabeth: I assume my concern here’s our population is aging, and we’re skewing into that group where this type of thing is really a good deal more common. It is a little disappointing if you ask me that we’re unable to get our arms more around what type of a risk this really represents.
Rick: That’s because you can find multiple different causes.
Elizabeth: Let’s turn from here, then, to The Lancet. It is a look at another really huge public medical condition, and that is insomnia. It is a meta-analysis looking at medications which are employed for the treating insomnia and starts really with the disheartening statement that due to a difficulty with providers — that’s, there aren’t enough of these — medications get considered more often for the treating insomnia worldwide than other interventions such as for example behavioral ones which are actually recognized to help aswell.
They took a look — when i said, it is a meta-analysis — at 170 trials. They viewed most of these meds. They discovered that — and I’m not likely to cite every one of them — they’re generally more efficacious than placebo. They do finger benzodiazepines and all their associated medications as more efficacious than melatonin and OTC forms of things people try. However, a whole load of unwanted effects with those and specifically with benzodiazepines. They ultimately drop compared to that two medications had a good profile and the ones are eszopiclone and lemborexant.
But addititionally there is some missing data in accordance with all those things. Their upshot is that any medicine that’s useful for the treating insomnia should be used at the cheapest dose for the shortest possible duration. Not to mention, being famously averse to medications, I must second that notion.
Rick: As you mentioned, a big study considering over 30 different medications that fall in various categories. The ones that act at the benzodiazepine receptor and for that reason improve the action of what’s called GABA — that’s. a neurotransmitter. Others consider the histamine receptor. They are medications acting in various ways all in the central nervous system.
The matter that really struck me is that although we’ve studies that look at short-term effects, hardly any studies consider the long-term effects. We realize, for instance, the benzodiazepines which are used a whole lot in the usa have long-term effects which are really quite problematic. I was surprised that melatonin had no effect because it’s trusted.
Elizabeth: My very own personal bias, needless to say, is these options for sleep hygiene that helped to boost people’s connection with insomnia are really worth giving an excellent old try.
Rick: Absolutely. This study didn’t measure the non-pharmacologic approaches, but generally they don’t really have any unwanted effects, they’re safe, and they are also effective.
Elizabeth: We like this. Let’s turn to the next one. That’s in the BMJ.
Rick: The worldwide burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a condition that results in a gradual deterioration of pulmonary symptoms. Once it’s occurred, it can not be cured. We have to self-manage strategies that may lessen the responsibility of disease and enhance the standard of living.
This study viewed the worldwide burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The classic symptoms are folks have shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, plus they produce a large amount of phlegm, especially each day. You document that by doing breathing studies that establishes diagnosis and talks about prognosis aswell.
It viewed the worldwide burden from 1990 to 2017. They viewed mortality, prevalence, and disability connected with it. Prevalence of COPD over that 27-year period decreased 8.7%. The death rate decreased about 42%. The disability adjusted life years decreased by about 40%.
You say, “That’s all very good news.” Well, actually the numbers are in fact increasing because we’ve more people on the planet and an aging population. Despite the fact that the percentages decrease, there’s still an elevated amount of people.
You can find 212 million prevalent cases of COPD globally also it accounted for 3.3 million deaths in 2019. In the usa, it’s probably because of tobacco use. Worldwide, pollution eventually ends up being truly a major cause or contributing factor. Ambient particulate matter pollution, occupational contact with particulate matter, gases, and fumes all donate to COPD.
Elizabeth: It’s so important. Needless to say, one of these brilliant issues that we’ve actually discussed before may be the usage of indoor cooking techniques so when they’re poorly ventilated, that that may really bring about a rise in this problem.
I assume I love the optimistic part, though. I’m so glad to learn that it is actually decreasing and that folks are most likely living longer, our management strategies should be better.
Rick: Those ideas are positive things. But as you mentioned, Elizabeth, in the low-income countries family members polluting of the environment from solid fuels — that’s, cooking with coal or wood or dung — is really a leading risk factor for COPD. Incidentally, this disproportionately affects ladies in these countries because they’re the ones more prone to be exposed. Elizabeth, you may already know, my son spent 24 months in the Peace Corps in Peru, and section of what he was doing was making ovens which are vented to the exterior or using solar ovens to diminish the COPD prevalence in a low-income country.
Elizabeth: Talking about interventions, then, that may have large implications for populations, let’s reverse to JAMA Internal Medicine. It is a study — and it’s really a large study — that’s looking at labeling of prepared foods in supermarkets and seeing whether this influences purchases that consumers make.
They gathered data from supermarket sales 24 months prior to the implementation of the labeling acts which were federally mandated and 7 months after these labels were implemented from 173 supermarkets from the chain with locations around type of the northeastern USA. They were considering mean weekly calories per transaction in the purchase of prepared foods. They identified those by food categories, including bakery, entrees and sides, or deli meats and cheeses, and things such as prepared sandwiches.
They noted a 5.1% reduction in calories per transaction purchased from prepared bakery items and an 11% decrease from prepared deli items. They didn’t visit a change for prepared entrees or sides. They calculated these calorie reductions as really being pretty modest, varying, really, between 1.2% and 3.9%. The editorialist basically concludes that, “Sure, we’re able to disparage this as an extremely tiny change in consumption of calories for these people, and we have to implement this alongside all strategies to be able to address the obesity problem.”
Rick: To place this in perspective, Elizabeth, putting the calories in the supermarket — that is where most deli and baked goods are bought — is that advertising the calories would reduce the caloric consumption. Although you provide it as a share, i want to show where in fact the rubber hits the street. There exists a loss of 10 calories per bakery item and 18 calories per prepared deli item. That’s hardly a spit in the ocean.
I really do think because the editorialist mentioned education is essential, but it is not sufficient for behavior change. It increases results if it is supported by policies — policies that set nutrition standards, that tax sodas, and that improve usage of healthier foods.
Incidentally, he cited a report where it had been done in a school, meaning they taught kids about exercise, they avoided sugary drinks and processed foods, they regularly measure their height and weight, they restricted sales of unhealthy snacks and drinks, plus they actually engage the families aswell to advertise healthy practices. After 12 months, there was an extraordinary 27% decrease in obesity prevalence the type of children.
Elizabeth: I’ve one high-tech potential idea in accordance with this. I’d say that in several the places where I shop, they will have these incredibly robust apps that basically helped to chronicle everything, facilitate checkout, and all that type of thing. I’m wondering if your personal app may have something about your height, your bodyweight, your BMI, and just how many calories it’s befitting one to consume per day. Those could all be individually tailored in order that when you shop it might say, “This represents X quantity of your daily calories for today.” We’re able to even expand that into things such as sodium consumption also.
Rick: I believe that’s a good plan. I believe having that totality of information is effective. It’s still education though. I’d say that while that’s important, slimming down more often than not requires both consuming less and in addition increasing exercise aswell. But I believe knowing what your caloric needs are every day and watching how those result in the supermarket basket is incredibly important.
Elizabeth: I understand that when something was telling me, “Hey, Elizabeth, that is 30% of one’s daily calories,” I would think.
I want to second another point that the editorialist makes, which is approximately the role of business in this whole thing. In an exceedingly well-written area of the editorial, it says food can be acquired on the market everywhere domestically, all the time of day, in large portions, in irresistibly delicious forms, and at relatively low priced. It especially promotes usage of highly profitable, ultra-processed junk food. Now we realize that those have become inextricably connected with increased calorie consumption, weight gain, and weight-influenced chronic disease.
Rick: I trust you. It does take a variety of taxes, warning labels, portion size, restrictions, and all those things addressing this matter.
Elizabeth: On that note, then, that is clearly a understand this week’s medical headlines from Texas Tech. I’m Elizabeth Tracey.
Rick: And I’m Rick Lange. Y’all pay attention and make healthy choices.