Thursday, 23 March 2017

Deadly, drug-resistant Candida yeast infection spreads in the US

So far, 53 Americans have been infected with Candida auris, which can cause organ failure. It is resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drug via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Exposed: Soviet cover-up of nuclear fallout worse than Chernobyl

A first look at a top secret report shows that Moscow scientists studied the impacts of nuclear bomb tests on civilians, but the results were never made public via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

From coast to coast: Africa unites to tackle threat of polio

More than 190 000 polio vaccinators in 13 countries across west and central Africa will immunize more than 116 million children over the next week, to tackle the last remaining stronghold of polio on the continent. via WHO news Read More Here..

Drug 'reverses' ageing in animal tests

Mice had more stamina, hair and improved organ function with the drug. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Chronic pain and depression are linked by brain gene changes

At least 40 per cent of people with severe chronic pain develop depression. A mouse study has found changes in brain gene activity that may explain the link via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Best evidence yet that hypnotised people aren’t faking it

It’s hard to tell whether hypnotism is real. Now researchers have used a trick of the mind to show that hypnotised people’s actions really do feel involuntary via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Experts recommend anastrozole for postmenopausal women with family history of breast cancer

Doctors should offer it to women at moderate risk of breast cancer

Related items from OnMedica

Fertility treatments may impact on breast cancer risk
Work needed to boost GPs’ knowledge of cancer drug
Cancer-preventing drugs
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

'Role model' nurses inspire cancer survivor

A woman who survived cancer as a girl has been inspired to take up nursing. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Global tobacco treaty cuts smoking rates by 2.5%

Only fifth of countries have begun most effective tobacco reduction measure

Related items from OnMedica

'Extinction therapy' could help smokers quit
Smoking cessation services face cuts
Hospitals 'must' become tobacco-free
Smoking cessation
Smoking consumes nearly 6% of global healthcare costs
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Moderate drinking may be heart healthy but exercise is safer

Another study has found that drinking 14 units or less a week is linked to better cardiovascular health. But drinking alcohol for health is a risky strategy via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Moderate drinking could lower risk of some heart conditions

Alcohol produces different patterns of risk, says large study

Related items from OnMedica

Alcohol and the nervous system
Alcohol dependency and detoxification
Lifestyle factors biggest cause of heart disease risk variation
Exercise might partly compensate for drinking alcohol
Alcohol-related hospitals admissions double in a decade
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Contraceptive pill appears to protect from cancers for up to 30 years

Large study shows long-term benefits from taking the pill

Related items from OnMedica

Women using hormonal contraception at higher depression risk
Emergency contraception
The pill could give long-term protection against womb cancer
Oral contraceptive use not linked to major birth defects
Obese women on the pill more likely to have rare stroke
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

New child care standards could cut hospital admissions

Standards stress good links with GPs

Related items from OnMedica

UK child health near bottom in Europe
Three quarters of CCGs miss child mental health target
Overhaul children’s unscheduled care to protect their health, NHS told
Large child health variations across country
Child mental health funding not reaching CCGs
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Moderate drinking may be heart healthy but exercise is safer

Another study has found that drinking 14 units or less a week is linked to better cardiovascular health. But drinking alcohol for health is a risky strategy via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

WHO issues ethics guidance to protect rights of TB patients

World TB Day 2017 – Unite efforts to leave no one behind via WHO news Read More Here..

Old blood can be made young again and it might fight ageing

A protein can boost blood stem cells, making them behave like those of younger people. Is it the key to harnessing young blood’s rejuvenating power? via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

How to be happier at your workplace: from employee, and from employer, perspective

Robert Steven Kaplan has addressed these 2 topics in 2 Google talks and 2 books, they are linked below. I developed 2 sheets based on the ideas from the talks, embedded below.

How to be happier at your workplace: from employee perspective:

Robert Steven Kaplan: "What You're Really Meant to Do" | Talks at Google:







How to be happier at your workplace: from employer perspective:

Robert Steven Kaplan | What to Ask the Person in the Mirror: Critical Questions for Becoming a More Effective Leader and Reaching Your Potential:









Kaplan was vice chairman of The Goldman Sachs Group, he worked there for 23 years, then he had a change of heart, and became a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. He wrote the 3 books above in his second role, but that was not the end of road for him. In 2015, Kaplan was appointed as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

References:

Robert Steven Kaplan - Wikipedia http://buff.ly/2nzCsWH
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas http://buff.ly/2mOcCd8
Who Is Robert Steven Kaplan? The Next Dallas Fed President at a Glance http://buff.ly/2nzKWgs
via CasesBlog - Medical and Health Blog More READ

NHS trusts under rising pressure to make savings

Providers face worries in moving towards ever-greater financial collaboration within STPs

Related items from OnMedica

Leaders warn NHS cannot deliver on its 2017-18 commitments
STPs feel in danger of going over a cliff edge
Aggressive efficiency targets added to NHS finance woes
Ability to deliver NHS transformation plans and organisational goals queried
NHS set to miss target deficit cuts by over £300m
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

China’s workers need help to factories’ fight toxic practices

Cancer-sticken Chinese workers show the shocking price of making smartphones and modern electronics in a new documentary film via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Three quarters of CCGs miss child mental health target

Huge variation across England in CCGs’ performance, planning and funding for CAMHS

Related items from OnMedica

Eight-year-olds to get 'happiness lessons'
Fifth of all children referred to specialist mental health services rejected for treatment
Children wait 10 years for mental health support
Commission more teen mental health and alcohol services
Abused children unable to access mental health services
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Prenatal DHA supplements don’t improve children’s IQ

Evidence shows it fails to bring benefits for children’s IQ by age 4 or age 7

Related items from OnMedica

Vitamin D supplements in pregnancy don’t boost babies’ bone strength
UK failure to fortify flour with folic acid has caused 2,000+ cases of neural tube defect
Drinking during pregnancy affects child’s intelligence
Breastfeeding for longer linked to higher IQ claim
Iodine supplements in pregnancy ‘would save NHS cash’
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Risky operation removes parasitic twin from baby

Baby Dominique is recovering in the US after an operation to separate her from her parasitic twin. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Preschool tooth extractions rise by a quarter

Dentists demand action on ‘scourge of sugar on children’s teeth’ and preventable decay

Related items from OnMedica

Quarter of 5-year-olds have tooth decay
Care home residents’ dental health as important as general health, says NICE
Five-year-olds eat and drink their body weight in sugar every year
Get tough on curbing children’s poor dental health, government urged
UK soft drinks industry levy will have significant health benefits for children, study suggests
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Studies aid choice of therapy for localised prostate cancer

Radical prostatectomy associated with worse sexual function and incontinence than EBRT

Related items from OnMedica

Trial of robotic surgery successful for prostate cancer
New risk estimation for prostate cancer improves accuracy
Special scan may curb need for first biopsy in 1 in 4 men with prostate cancer
New non-surgical treatment for early prostate cancer shows promise
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Baby separated from parasitic twin in risky operation

Surgeons explain the challenges of the complex operation to separate Dominique from her parasitic twin. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

How a life model uses nudity to explain his disability

Kevin French poses as a nude life model to explain more about his disability. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Down's syndrome teenager addresses the UN in Geneva

A teenager with Down's syndrome has addressed the United Nations in Geneva asking them "why all this testing?" via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Artificial lungs in a backpack may free people with lung failure

People with lung failure usually have to stay connected to unwieldy machines. Now a set of portable mechanical lungs could restore mobility and keep them healthier via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Pressure increases on CCGs to meet GP access targets

Patients 75+ must get same-day appointments, and 40% of people evening/weekend access

Related items from OnMedica

What does it mean to be a Multispecialty Community Provider?
Poor GP access ‘not chief reason for A&E winter pressures’
A&E is the barometer for a health and care system under pressure
GPs have limited role in relieving winter A&E pressure
GPs in catch-22 over appointment length and rising demand
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Diagnose cauda equina promptly, MDU warns GPs

MDU pays £12.5m in compensation and legal fees – delays cause serious long-term harm

Related items from OnMedica

Neck pain and disc disorders
Opioid or muscle relaxant no extra benefit for back pain
Exercise better for back pain than acupuncture say experts
Transforming MSK care and patient outcomes
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Online care home bed booking system aims to cut hospital bed blocking

The system is aiming to reduce hospital bed blocking with real time bookings of care home beds. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Down's syndrome mum: 'Don't feel sorry for us'

A mother who has two children with Down's syndrome says she wants the world to know she's proud of them. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

'Wide awake drunk' on energy drinks and alcohol mix

Mixing caffeine-laden energy drinks with alcohol is a risky combination on a night out, scientists warn. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Monday, 20 March 2017

Spider venom may offer stroke therapy

Protein extracted from funnel webs may help minimise the effects of brain damage after a stroke. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Deadly, drug-resistant Candida yeast infection spreads in the US

So far, 53 Americans have been infected with Candida auris, which can cause organ failure. It is resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drug via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Exposed: Soviet cover-up of nuclear fallout worse than Chernobyl

A first look at a top secret report shows that Moscow scientists studied the impacts of nuclear bomb tests on civilians, but the results were never made public via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Happiness report: Norway is the happiest place on Earth

It beats Denmark to the top spot as the UN ranks countries to mark international happiness day. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Doctor admits misleading over Ebola

Dr Hannah Ryan took the temperature of Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey hours before she fell seriously ill. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Hot chocolate serving 'has more salt than packet of crisps'

Every category of packaged food except one is exceeding target salt levels, a survey finds. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Backyard gene editing risks creating a monster

Biohackers have already signalled their intention to use CRISPR, which poses a big problem for the authorities via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

US man held for sending flashing tweet to epileptic writer

"Let's see if he dies," the suspect wrote in a Twitter message to another user, investigators say. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Dementia diary: 'When your mother doesn't know who you are'

Joey Daley documents life with his mother after she was diagnosed with dementia. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

'Out of control'

Australian Jessica May overcame acute anxiety by setting up a recruitment firm for people with mental and physical disabilities. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Swimming technique of sperm 'all down to simple maths'

Knowing why some sperm succeed and others fail could help treat male infertility, researchers say. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Sunday, 19 March 2017

WHO rejects false reporting regarding counterfeit medications to Iraq

WHO rejects erroneous and fabricated reports published on Friday 17 March 2017 in some online media claiming that a spokesperson from the organization made a statement regarding "counterfeit medication donated to Iraq." via WHO news Read More Here..

Restoring my femininity after cancer

Kat Parker, 29, has been clear of cancer for two years but said her lack of hair left her feeling "unfeminine". via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Lily Beddall: Girl with Down's syndrome models for Matalan

A two-year-old toddler with Down's syndrome has been chosen as one of the new faces of Matalan. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

'Healthiest hearts in the world' found

A group of people in Bolivia could teach us all how to look after our hearts better, say researchers. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Friday, 17 March 2017

South American group has the healthiest arteries ever seen

Some elderly adults of Tsimane people in Bolivia have arteries so free from disease that they resemble those people in the US who are more than 20 years younger via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

How much sleep do you really need?

We are used to hearing that 8 hours is the magic number – here's the truth via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

How much sleep do you really need?

We are used to hearing that 8 hours is the magic number – here's the truth via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

How much sleep do you really need?

We are used to hearing that 8 hours is the magic number – here's the truth via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

How much sleep do you really need?

We are used to hearing that 8 hours is the magic number – here's the truth via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

How much sleep do you really need?

We are used to hearing that 8 hours is the magic number – here's the truth via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

How much sleep do you really need?

We are used to hearing that 8 hours is the magic number – here's the truth via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

How much sleep do you really need?

We are used to hearing that 8 hours is the magic number – here's the truth via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

'Huge advance' in fighting world's biggest killer

Injection cuts cholesterol to lowest levels ever seen in medicine. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Google DeepMind's NHS deal under scrutiny

A paper examining DeepMind's use of 1.6 million patient records says there were "major inadequacies". via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

How much sleep do you really need?

We are used to hearing that 8 hours is the magic number – here's the truth via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Australia wants to ban unvaccinated children from preschool

The government wants 95 per cent of Australian children vaccinated – a level that would stop infectious diseases spreading and protect those who can’t be vaccinated via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Australia wants to ban unvaccinated children from preschool

The government wants 95 per cent of Australian children vaccinated – a level that would stop infectious diseases spreading and protect those who can’t be vaccinated via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Australia wants to ban unvaccinated children from preschool

The government wants 95 per cent of Australian children vaccinated – a level that would stop infectious diseases spreading and protect those who can’t be vaccinated via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Recoded organism paves way to new genetic language of life

A new technique has allowed a quicker way of recoding genetic information, which could allow us to design fresh life forms with useful properties from scratch via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Premature babies’ brains respond differently to gentle touching

Babies born very early miss out on weeks of development in the womb and experience painful procedures. This seems to alter their response to touch via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Neuroleaks: The secret dialogue between brain and body

Fresh intelligence on the relationship between the brain and the immune system is transforming our view of conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer's via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Neuroleaks: The secret dialogue between brain and body

Fresh intelligence on the relationship between the brain and the immune system is transforming our view of conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer's via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Neuroleaks: The secret dialogue between brain and body

Fresh intelligence on the relationship between the brain and the immune system is transforming our view of conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer's via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Neuroleaks: The secret dialogue between brain and body

Fresh intelligence on the relationship between the brain and the immune system is transforming our view of conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer's via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

RCGP head to step down

Neil Hunt to leave chief executive post

Related items from OnMedica

RCGP launches GP recruitment video
Distress signal system needed to spot GPs at breaking point
RCGP offers GP returners a year’s free membership
GP leaders warn against ‘imposing’ services
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Neuroleaks: The secret dialogue between brain and body

Fresh intelligence on the relationship between the brain and the immune system is transforming our view of conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer's via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Neuroleaks: The secret dialogue between brain and body

Fresh intelligence on the relationship between the brain and the immune system is transforming our view of conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer's via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Neuroleaks: The secret dialogue between brain and body

Fresh intelligence on the relationship between the brain and the immune system is transforming our view of conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer's via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Neuroleaks: The secret dialogue between brain and body

Fresh intelligence on the relationship between the brain and the immune system is transforming our view of conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer's via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

GP indemnity costs support may continue after 2018

Ministers implies government support will be long-term

Related items from OnMedica

Treasury must give GPs respite from spiralling indemnity costs
1 in 10 areas left without GP out-of-hours cover
General practice gets funding for infrastructure, mental health services and indemnity
Personal injury discount rate cut may be 'legally flawed'
NHS England extends GP indemnity scheme
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Controversial new drug approval system unveiled

Patients face longer waits for some treatments, experts warn

Related items from OnMedica

The medicine price debate
MPs slam government for its poor management of Cancer Drugs Fund
NHS cancer patients still denied treatments available in other countries
Study shows huge global variation in cancer drug costs
Brexit could bar child patients from cancer trials
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Study claims medical treatment can reverse type 2 diabetes

Intervention led to months of remission in 40% of trial participants

Related items from OnMedica

Impaired glucose regulation (pre-diabetes)
Metformin doesn’t help HbA1c in teens with type 1 diabetes
Unhealthy lifestyles and poor diets
Intensive treatment of type 2 diabetes with microalbuminuria reaps benefits
NICE approves extra ‘triple therapy’ drug for diabetes
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

NHS pressures will jeopardise patient safety, doctors warn

74% of doctors surveyed raise patient safety fears

Related items from OnMedica

Tired GPs greatest threat to patient safety
GMC issues warning over impact of winter pressures
High bed occupancy rates threaten patient safety
A&Es are inadequately resourced, MPs agree
Staff survey results ‘alarming’, say health leaders
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Vision saved by first induced pluripotent stem cell treatment

A woman with age-related macular degeneration seems to have had her vision stabilised thanks to a transplant of retinal cells generated from her skin via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

A sixth of Americans to lack health insurance by 2026

Plans to replace and repeal the existing Affordable Care Act will leave an extra 24 million Americans without medical cover by 2026, a Congressional Budget Office report claims via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Mosaic problem stands in the way of gene editing embryos

The first results of gene editing in viable human embryos reveals it works better than we thought, but that there’s another big problem blocking the way via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

O my! Paper strip test determines blood type in just 30 seconds

When people can’t communicate their blood type, it can waste time in emergencies and put pressure on supplies of donor blood. A new test could change that via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Children's screen time linked to diabetes risk factors

"Children who are allowed more than three hours of screentime a day are at greater risk of developing diabetes," The Guardian reports.

In a new study, UK researchers found a link between three hours or more of screen time and risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as higher body fat.

The study used data from almost 4,500 children aged around 10 years collected between 2004 and 2007. They found that children with more than three hours of screen time per day had higher body fat and insulin resistance compared to children with an hour or less per day. Screen time was defined as time spent watching television and using computers or games consoles.

It is unlikely that the screen time itself is causing an increase in risk; more that this could indicate a more sedentary lifestyle.

One concern is that the data was collected before the use of smartphones and tablets became widespread in children. So it could be the case that screen time use has now increased among children, but we would need further research to confirm this.

Recent US guidelines (there are currently no UK guidelines) recommend no screen time for infants under 18 months, one hour for children aged 2-5, and then older children should be assessed on a case by case basis by their parents.

The study supports current physical activity recommendations for children which say they should do at least an hour's exercise every day. Sticking to this will help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes in later life.

 

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of London and the University of Glasgow. Funding was provided by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC). Data collection was funded by grants from the Wellcome Trust, the British Heart Foundation and the National Prevention Research Initiative.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

There were no conflicts of interest reported by the research team.

The UK media generally reported on this study accurately, though none of the media outlets really explains why this link may have been seen or that the study can't prove that screen time itself increases risk.

The Mail Online provided a number of figures from other sources to add context to the study findings. We are unable to comment on the accuracy of these sources. 

 

What kind of research was this?

This is a cross-sectional survey looking into association between daily screen time and risk markers for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in children aged nine and 10 years.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are increasing in adults and children. The effect of sedentary behaviour such as watching television and using computers, known as "screen time", are a cause for concern and associations have been seen between prolonged screen time and body fatness in children.

Using data from this survey the researchers were able to identify potential risk factors, however due to the nature of this study design they would not be able to prove that one thing causes the other. The researchers say they can use their findings to design further studies to prove causation.

randomised controlled trial would be required to prove such a link. However, a trial that randomises children to different amounts of sedentary time or physical activity and then follows them for sufficient time to observe outcomes may be neither feasible nor ethical.

 

What did the research involve?

This was a cross-sectional study known as The Child Heart and Health Study in England.

Researchers carried out a survey of primary school children aged nine and 10 years from London, Birmingham and Leicester. A single research team collected key information between October 2004 and February 2007. Some of the information recorded was as follows:

  • ethnic origin (based on the ethnicity of both parents)
  • socioeconomic status
  • height
  • weight
  • skin fold measurements
  • fat mass
  • blood glucose and insulin levels
  • insulin resistance – a measurement of how the body's cells respond to insulin
  • cholesterol
  • blood pressure
  • pubertal status measured in girls (girls tend to start puberty earlier than boys)

On the same day as the physical measurements were taken, children completed a questionnaire asking "How many hours each day do you spend watching television or video and playing computer games?"

The children had to tick the most appropriate response, the options were:

  • none
  • an hour or less
  • one to two hours
  • two to three hours
  • more than three hours

In a sub-group of children, activity was measured using a monitor worn around the waist.

When analysing the findings the researchers attempted to account for the effects of confounding factors such as socioeconomic status, physical activity and pubertal status.

 

What were the basic results?

The analysis focused on the 4,495 children (2,337 girls and 2,158 boys) who had screen time data, all physical measurements and a fasting blood sample. More than 2,000 children had physical activity data collected from the waist monitor.

The most commonly reported screen time duration was one hour or less (37%), with 18% reporting more than three hours and 4% reporting no screen time at all.

Boys were more likely to have more than three hours of screen time a day, 22% compared to 14% of girls.

Differences were seen between ethnic groups, a higher proportion of black African-Caribbean children (23%) had more than three hours of daily screen time compared with white Europeans (16%) and South Asians (16%).

Children reporting more than three hours of screen time were found to have a higher level of body fat than those with an hour or less screen time.

This was as measured by ponderal index (ponderal means related to weight – the index is a measure of kg/m3; which was on average 1.9% higher), skinfold thickness (4.5% greater), fat mass index (3.3% higher) and leptin (a hormone that controls hunger – 9.2% higher).

They also had higher levels of blood insulin and insulin resistance compared to children taking one hour or less, though there was little link with blood glucose control.

 

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers conclude: "Strong graded associations between screen time, adiposity and insulin resistance suggest that reducing screen time could facilitate early T2D [type 2 diabetes] prevention. While these observations are of considerable public health interest, evidence from randomised controlled trials is needed to suggest causality."

 

Conclusion

This cross sectional study aimed to investigate the association between markers for type 2 diabetes and the amount of screen time a child has.

The study found an association between higher levels of screen time and higher body fat and insulin resistance. However, as mentioned, this type of study is not able to prove cause and effect. It is most likely not the screen time itself that is the cause of these factors, more that this could indicate a generally less healthy and more sedentary lifestyle. A similar link might be found for children who spend more time reading books instead of taking physical activity.

The researchers have tried to adjust for physical activity and socioeconomic status that could be influencing the link. However, it is possible that some confounding remains in the model or that other important factors were missed – diet being a notable possibility. It's also possible that children who reported more screen time may have had other health conditions which were not accounted for in the analysis that could have increased their risk.

Other important limitations are that the amount of screen time was self-reported and children may not have remembered or reported this accurately. The measures of body fat and blood glucose control were also one-off measurements taken at single point in time. They don't tell us that the child will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

Nevertheless the study suggests a reduction in screen time could be beneficial in improving health and possibly reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related diseases in later life.

One pressing concern is that the data gathered in the study was taken before the use of smartphones and tablets became widespread in older children. Smartphones became commonly used around 2008 to 2010 and the first tablet (the iPad) was released in 2010. So it could well be the case that screen time has now increased in older children.

With these concerns in mind it is important that children are taught to compensate for time spent "gawping at gadgets" (as the Mail puts it) with time spent being physically active.

Guidelines for children and young people recommend that to maintain a basic level of health at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day should be taken; this could be cycling, playground activities or more vigorous activity, such as running and tennis. Exercises for strong muscles and bones are recommended three days a week such as push-ups, jumping and running.

Read more advice about encouraging children to be more physically active.

Links To The Headlines

Screentime linked to greater diabetes risk among children. The Guardian, March 13 2017

Watching TV three hours a day linked to child diabetes. The Independent, March 13 2017

Children's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes soars with just three hours of screen time a day. Mail Online, March 13 2017

Kids who spend three hours a day watching telly or playing video games ‘flirting with diabetes’. The Sun, March 13 2017

Links To Science

Nightingale CM, Rudnicka AR, Donin AS, et al. Screen time is associated with adiposity and insulin resistance in children. Archives in Disease for Childhood. Published online March 13 2017

via NHS Choices: Behind the headlines More READ

Healthcare battle in rural America

The new Republican healthcare plan viewed from three perspectives. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Australia to ban unvaccinated children from preschool

The government wants 95 per cent of Australian children vaccinated – a level that would stop infectious diseases spreading and protect those who can’t be vaccinated via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Encouraging patients with memory concerns to consult GP does not increase diagnosis

Researchers say interventions to boost early diagnosis may need to also target GPs

Related items from OnMedica

Autoimmune disease might be linked to dementia risk
GPs test adding dementia component to midlife NHS Health Check
Dementia care – tending the roots of identity
Dementia patients need more support at diagnosis
Thousands delay seeking dementia diagnosis
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

NSAID use linked with increased risk of cardiac arrest

Researchers advise avoiding diclofenac and limiting ibuprofen to 1200 mg per day

Related items from OnMedica

Taking antidepressants with painkillers could increase risk of haemorrhage
GPs urged not to over prescribe painkillers
Long use of pain relievers associated with hearing loss
Some common painkillers can raise heart risks
NSAIDs and COX 2s linked to heart failure admission
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Antibiotics not effective for treating infected eczema in children

Around four in ten eczema flare ups are currently treated with topical antibiotics

Related items from OnMedica

Fast food linked to asthma, eczema and rhinitis in children
Evening primrose and borage oils no good for eczema
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Greater overdose risk when opioids combined with benzodiazepines

Study raises concerns over this 'unsound and growing clinical practice', says editorial

Related items from OnMedica

Doctors debate long-term use of psychiatric drugs
Be careful when prescribing benzodiazepines, doctors warned
Opioids are main cause of drug death and illness globally
Slower tapering of prescription opioids is most successful
Long-acting opioids linked to raised mortality
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Government outlines plans for expanding medical training

New doctors could be expected to work for NHS for more than five years

Related items from OnMedica

General practice teaching for medical students 'in decline'
Contract debacle prompts medical students to consider careers overseas
Students shun a career in medicine, figures show
Workloads high and not always enough experienced staff, say doctors
Medical training places to increase by 25%
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Obesity crisis

Could global trade in vegetable oil be to blame for our growing obesity crisis? via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Toddler group joins forces with Cambridge care home

Weekly visits from a toddler group help residents with dementia at a Cambridge care home. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Parents create drug to save their daughters

When their twins were diagnosed with a fatal illness Chris and Hugh Hempel developed a new medicine. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Children's screen time linked to diabetes risk factors

"Children who are allowed more than three hours of screentime a day are at greater risk of developing diabetes," The Guardian reports.

In a new study, UK researchers found a link between three hours or more of screen time and risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as higher body fat.

The study used data from almost 4,500 children aged around 10 years collected between 2004 and 2007. They found that children with more than three hours of screen time per day had higher body fat and insulin resistance compared to children with an hour or less per day. Screen time was defined as time spent watching television and using computers or games consoles.

It is unlikely that the screen time itself is causing an increase in risk; more that this could indicate a more sedentary lifestyle.

One concern is that the data was collected before the use of smartphones and tablets became widespread in children. So it could be the case that screen time use has now increased among children, but we would need further research to confirm this.

Recent US guidelines (the are currently no UK guidelines) recommend no screen time for infants under 18 months, one hour for children aged 2-5, and then older children should be assessed on a case by case basis by their parents.

The study supports current physical activity recommendations for children which say they should do at least an hour's exercise every day. Sticking to this will help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes in later life.

 

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of London and the University of Glasgow. Funding was provided by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC). Data collection was funded by grants from the Wellcome Trust, the British Heart Foundation and the National Prevention Research Initiative.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

There were no conflicts of interest reported by the research team.

The UK media generally reported on this study accurately, though none of the media outlets really explains why this link may have been seen or that the study can't prove that screen time itself increases risk.

The Mail Online provided a number of figures from other sources to add context to the study findings. We are unable to comment on the accuracy of these sources. 

 

What kind of research was this?

This is a cross-sectional survey looking into association between daily screen time and risk markers for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in children aged nine and 10 years.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are increasing in adults and children. The effect of sedentary behaviour such as watching television and using computers, known as "screen time", are a cause for concern and associations have been seen between prolonged screen time and body fatness in children.

Using data from this survey the researchers were able to identify potential risk factors, however due to the nature of this study design they would not be able to prove that one thing causes the other. The researchers say they can use their findings to design further studies to prove causation.

randomised controlled trial would be required to prove such a link. However, a trial that randomises children to different amounts of sedentary time or physical activity and then follows them for sufficient time to observe outcomes may be neither feasible nor ethical.

 

What did the research involve?

This was a cross-sectional study known as The Child Heart and Health Study in England.

Researchers carried out a survey of primary school children aged nine and 10 years from London, Birmingham and Leicester. A single research team collected key information between October 2004 and February 2007. Some of the information recorded was as follows:

  • ethnic origin (based on the ethnicity of both parents)
  • socioeconomic status
  • height
  • weight
  • skin fold measurements
  • fat mass
  • blood glucose and insulin levels
  • insulin resistance – a measurement of how the body's cells respond to insulin
  • cholesterol
  • blood pressure
  • pubertal status measured in girls (girls tend to start puberty earlier than boys)

On the same day as the physical measurements were taken, children completed a questionnaire asking "How many hours each day do you spend watching television or video and playing computer games?"

The children had to tick the most appropriate response, the options were:

  • none
  • an hour or less
  • one to two hours
  • two to three hours
  • more than three hours

In a sub-group of children, activity was measured using a monitor worn around the waist.

When analysing the findings the researchers attempted to account for the effects of confounding factors such as socioeconomic status, physical activity and pubertal status.

 

What were the basic results?

The analysis focused on the 4,495 children (2,337 girls and 2,158 boys) who had screen time data, all physical measurements and a fasting blood sample. More than 2,000 children had physical activity data collected from the waist monitor.

The most commonly reported screen time duration was one hour or less (37%), with 18% reporting more than three hours and 4% reporting no screen time at all.

Boys were more likely to have more than three hours of screen time a day, 22% compared to 14% of girls.

Differences were seen between ethnic groups, a higher proportion of black African-Caribbean children (23%) had more than three hours of daily screen time compared with white Europeans (16%) and South Asians (16%).

Children reporting more than three hours of screen time were found to have a higher level of body fat than those with an hour or less screen time.

This was as measured by ponderal index (ponderal means related to weight – the index is a measure of kg/m3; which was on average 1.9% higher), skinfold thickness (4.5% greater), fat mass index (3.3% higher) and leptin (a hormone that controls hunger – 9.2% higher).

They also had higher levels of blood insulin and insulin resistance compared to children taking one hour or less, though there was little link with blood glucose control.

 

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers conclude: "Strong graded associations between screen time, adiposity and insulin resistance suggest that reducing screen time could facilitate early T2D [type 2 diabetes] prevention. While these observations are of considerable public health interest, evidence from randomised controlled trials is needed to suggest causality."

 

Conclusion

This cross sectional study aimed to investigate the association between markers for type 2 diabetes and the amount of screen time a child has.

The study found an association between higher levels of screen time and higher body fat and insulin resistance. However, as mentioned, this type of study is not able to prove cause and effect. It is most likely not the screen time itself that is the cause of these factors, more that this could indicate a generally less healthy and more sedentary lifestyle. A similar link might be found for children who spend more time reading books instead of taking physical activity.

The researchers have tried to adjust for physical activity and socioeconomic status that could be influencing the link. However, it is possible that some confounding remains in the model or that other important factors were missed – diet being a notable possibility. It's also possible that children who reported more screen time may have had other health conditions which were not accounted for in the analysis that could have increased their risk.

Other important limitations are that the amount of screen time was self-reported and children may not have remembered or reported this accurately. The measures of body fat and blood glucose control were also one-off measurements taken at single point in time. They don't tell us that the child will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

Nevertheless the study suggests a reduction in screen time could be beneficial in improving health and possibly reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related diseases in later life.

One pressing concern is that the data gathered in the study was taken before the use of smartphones and tablets became widespread in older children. Smartphones became commonly used around 2008 to 2010 and the first tablet (the iPad) was released in 2010. So it could well be the case that screen time has now increased in older children.

With these concerns in mind it is important that children are taught to compensate for time spent "gawping at gadgets" (as the Mail puts it) with time spent being physically active.

Guidelines for children and young people recommend that to maintain a basic level of health at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day should be taken; this could be cycling, playground activities or more vigorous activity, such as running and tennis. Exercises for strong muscles and bones are recommended three days a week such as push-ups, jumping and running.

Read more advice about encouraging children to be more physically active.

Links To The Headlines

Screentime linked to greater diabetes risk among children. The Guardian, March 13 2017

Watching TV three hours a day linked to child diabetes. The Independent, March 13 2017

Children's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes soars with just three hours of screen time a day. Mail Online, March 13 2017

Kids who spend three hours a day watching telly or playing video games ‘flirting with diabetes’. The Sun, March 13 2017

Links To Science

Nightingale CM, Rudnicka AR, Donin AS, et al. Screen time is associated with adiposity and insulin resistance in children. Archives in Disease for Childhood. Published online March 13 2017

via NHS Choices: Behind the headlines More READ

Swedish men on target to be first to completely stub out smoking

Just 5 per cent of Swedish men between the ages of 30 and 44 are lighting up. They use snus instead, which is banned elsewhere in Europe. But is it safe? via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Girls 'too poor' to buy sanitary protection missing school

A school teacher in Leeds contacted a charity which normally provides sanitary pads to girls in Kenya. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

NHS England extends GP indemnity scheme

The 2016 Winter Indemnity Scheme is extended by a month to cover Easter

Related items from OnMedica

1 in 10 areas left without GP out-of-hours cover
GPs to get extra interim help to meet rising indemnity costs
Treasury must give GPs respite from spiralling indemnity costs
General practice gets funding for infrastructure, mental health services and indemnity
Personal injury discount rate cut may be 'legally flawed'
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Having children adds years to life

Benefits of having children in reducing risk of death increase as people age

Related items from OnMedica

UK women expected to live until 85 and men to 82 by 2030
Life expectancy of over 65s is highest ever
US life expectancy drops for first time in 20 years
Elderly people who exercise live five years longer
Plant protein consumption linked to increased longevity
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Extreme exercise an 'escape from life', Cardiff Uni says

Extreme adventure challenges can help office workers deal with the "anxieties of modern life," research suggests. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Do you fancy nettle bubble and squeak?

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall on the benefits of eating weeds and nettles via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Vaccines do work for pandemic flu

Vaccine against swine flu in 2009 prevented infections and hospitalisations

Related items from OnMedica

Tamiflu reduced risk of death in H1N1 influenza pandemic
Nasal spray flu vaccine for children proving effective
Antenatal flu drugs not linked to newborn risks
Flu jab linked to fewer hospitalisations
World ‘not prepared’ for Zika and Ebola
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Longer screen time may increase children’s risk of diabetes

More than three hours of daily screen time may increase risk, study finds

Related items from OnMedica

Child type 2 diabetes is a ‘wake-up call’ to the nation
Cut screen time and use apps to stave off weight gain
Reducing screen time in children
Daily screen time linked to teen sleep problems
Weekend screen time linked to poorer bone health in teen boys
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Report reveals impact of financial cuts on patient care

King’s Fund researchers investigate impact of cuts on four services

Related items from OnMedica

Spike in excess deaths linked to NHS and local authority spending cuts
High bed occupancy rates threaten patient safety
What does it mean to be a Multispecialty Community Provider?
NAO report: a 'wake-up call' for government
STP proposals to cut beds not credible without community investment
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Trump healthcare plan 'will strip insurance from 14 million'

In a blow to the president, analysis says the number of the uninsured will rise to 52 million by 2026. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Exercise levels decline 'long before adolescence'

It all starts around the time children start school and spend more time sitting, a study suggests. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

B vitamins may have 'protective effect' against air pollution

B vitamins may offer some protection against particulate pollution, a small human trial suggests. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

New drug for one in five breast cancers

A new 'biological' therapy could help more patients than previously thought, experts believe. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Becoming a parent may add a year or two to your life

Tracking 1.4 million people has found that having children increases life expectancies by around 1.5 years – perhaps because adult children help elderly parents via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Monday, 13 March 2017

More people could benefit from BRCA breast cancer drugs

A type of drug that specifically targets BRCA breast cancers and has relatively few side effects may also benefit some people who don’t have BRCA mutations via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

When I try to imagine my girlfriend’s face, I draw a blank

Jean-Pierre Mooney has aphantasia, which means he is unable to use mental imagery. He talks about how it affects his life and his hopes for a cure via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

People with no mind’s eye may help us boost our creativity

Electrical stimulation of the brain shows our ability to conjure up mental images is tunable, which may mean we can alter creativity or tame hallucinations via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

People with no mind’s eye may help us boost our creativity

Electrical stimulation of the brain shows our ability to conjure up mental images is tunable, which may mean we can alter creativity or tame hallucinations via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

People with no mind’s eye may help us boost our creativity

Electrical stimulation of the brain shows our ability to conjure up mental images is tunable, which may mean we can alter creativity or tame hallucinations via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Paralysis inspires MS breakthrough

Scientists discover immune system can repair brain. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Australia considers childcare ban on unvaccinated children

Unvaccinated children would be banned from childcare centres under a government plan. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Binding decisions

After singer Rochelle Humes turns hers into art, we look at what else you can do with an umbilical cord. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Personal injury discount rate cut may be 'legally flawed'

Medical indemnity experts call on Lord Chancellor to delay implementation of the change

Related items from OnMedica

Clinical negligence claims against hospitals almost double in a year
Defence body calls for early help to cut GP legal costs
Treasury must give GPs respite from spiralling indemnity costs
Compensation payouts for poor out-of-hours care top £30m
Plans to boost compensation payments for negligence claims ‘calamitous’
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Lesbian and bisexual women missing out on cervical screening

Report reveals women often wrongly told they don't need a test

Related items from OnMedica

Think tank calls on GPs to give ‘on the spot’ smear tests
Full screening uptake would prevent 83% of cervical cancer deaths
Cervical screening coverage still falling in England
Cervical screening
Encouraging women to attend cervical screening
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Unions call for NHS to be exempt from immigration charge

Doctors and nurses leaders warn that the NHS could lose millions

Related items from OnMedica

Four in ten European doctors consider leaving the UK
1.6 million new care workers needed by 2022
Brexit white paper unveiled: what next for the NHS?
New visa rules could prompt exodus of hundreds of doctors, warns BMA
Exempt EU scientists already in UK from immigration curbs, urge MPs
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

‘Hard-hitting’ approach to tackling addiction set to be dropped

New scheme focuses on building knowledge, skills and resilience to make better choices

Related items from OnMedica

BMA calls for helpline for prescription drug addicts
Commission more teen mental health and alcohol services
Cannabis-related hospital admissions reach 10-year high in Scotland
Drug misuse - helping drug users
Drug misuse - types of drugs
via OnMedica News Read More Here..