Public Health

Imagine if you could ban a certain, easily replaceable food component and save thousands of lives as a result.

That’s the claim of new research that says a ban on trans fats in England could prevent 7,200 deaths between 2015 and 2020.

The problem is that industrial trans fats have already virtually disappeared from UK diets.

Banning smoking in the workplace and increasing taxes on cigarettes have discouraged teens and young adults from taking up smoking, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco and UC Merced.

The study, published today (Sept. 8, 2015) in JAMA Pediatrics, used data on the smoking habits of a group of 12- to 18-year-olds living throughout the country in 1997. They were tracked for 11 years as they transitioned to young adults.

The researchers found that a 100 percent smoke-free environment reduced the odds of taking up smoking by one third and that the number of new smokers plummeted over time. These effects impacted nonsmokers by protecting them from the toxins of secondhand smoke.

More than half of Asian Americans and nearly half of Hispanic Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed, according to researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, prevalence of diabetes for all American adults went up, from nearly 10 percent to over 12 percent between 1988 and 2012. Diabetes prevalence - how common the condition is - also went up in every age, sex, level of education, income and racial/ethnic subgroup. One bright spot: The proportion of people with diabetes that was undiagnosed decreased 23 percent between 1988-1994 and 2011-2012.

The statistics account for age differences across the surveys.

Want fries with that diet soda? You aren't alone, and you may not be saving as many calories as you think by consuming diet drinks, according to a new examination of the dietary habits of more than 22,000 U.S. adults which found that diet-beverage consumers may compensate for the absence of calories in their drinks by noshing on extra food that is loaded with sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol.

Midday naps are associated with reduced blood pressure levels and prescription of fewer antihypertensive medications, according to research presented at ESC Congress today by Dr Manolis Kallistratos, a cardiologist at Asklepieion Voula General Hospital in Athens, Greece.

Europeans love to smoke but the good news is that the people who at least say they want to quit has risen in the last seven years, according to results from the latest EUROASPIRE surveys.

EUROASPIRE is a series of cross sectional surveys of the practice of preventive cardiology in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and people at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) across Europe. Four EUROASPIRE surveys have been conducted under the ESC's EORP initiative. EUROASPIRE III, conducted in 2006 to 2008, included for the first time people at high risk of developing CVD in general practice from 12 countries. The primary care arm of EUROASPIRE IV was carried out in 2014 to 2015 in 14 countries.

Depressive symptoms and extremes of blood pressure predict the highest rates of harmful vascular events in patients with existing heart disease, diabetes or stroke, according to research presented at ESC Congress by Dr Bhautesh Jani, clinical academic fellow in the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow. 

The study in more than 35 000 patients found that the risk of further stroke or heart attack, heart failure or dying due to heart disease at four years was 83% higher in depressed patients with high blood pressure and 36% higher in depressed patients with low blood pressure, compared to those with normal blood pressure and no depressive symptoms.

The realization that everything would be okay regarding the obesity epidemic occurred to me in a doughnut shop. It was the last week of my employment as a weight loss doctor and for years, my clinic had been a junk food free zone. This was not because I set rules based on a notion that junk food is bad for a person. I didn't and I don't really have much worry about sugary snacks. It just happened as a sort of accidental byproduct of what we were doing. If you talk about diet rules all day and see how hard the patients are working to eat better, it just feels wrong to have a big box of doughnuts in the break-room...or powdered sugar on your slacks.

Both daily and less frequent use of marijuana among college students has risen sharply, to the highest prevalence since the Monitoring The Future study began.

In a silver lining aspect, cigarette smoking continues to decline - marijuana use surpassed daily cigarette smoking in 2014.  Smoking tobacco using a hookah (a type of water pipe) in the prior 12 months rose substantially among college students, from 26 percent in 2013 to 33 percent in 2014.