Anxiety, Depression May Be Strongly Associated With Glaucoma

Healio (8/22) reports investigators “found that anxiety and depression are strongly linked with glaucoma, an association that does not change with age,” researchers found after examining data on “4,439,518 patients.” The findings were published online in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Related Links:

— “Study confirms strong association between anxiety, depression, glaucoma,” Zhang X, et al., Healio, August 22, 2017.

Opioid-Related Hospitalizations Surged Between 2005 and 2014

The New York Times (8/21, Yin, Subscription Publication) reports there were “nearly 1.3 million hospitalizations involving opioids…in the United States in 2014,” representing “a 64 percent increase in inpatient stays and a doubling” in opioid-related emergency room visits since 2005, according to data “published this year” by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The article extensively quotes senior AHRQ researcher Dr. Anne Elixhauser, who said the data “cover all areas, all age groups, male and female. And it’s only getting worse in the time frame we’re looking at here.” The article adds that online data managed by AHRQ “show that most inpatient stays involving opioids over the last decade were among patients covered by Medicaid, closely followed by Medicare patients.”

Related Links:

— “Hospitals Are Clogged With Patients Struggling With Opioids,” STEPH YIN, New York Times, August 21, 2017.

Lower Systolic Blood Pressure Target For Older People May Offer Cognitive Benefits

HealthDay (8/21, Reinberg) reports that research published in JAMA Neurology suggests “for seniors, and particularly” black patients, with hypertension, “lowering it may help keep their minds sharp.”

MedPage Today (8/21, Bacher) reports that during “a 10-year period, the greatest decline in cognitive status was seen in people with” systolic blood pressure (SBP) “levels of 150 mm Hg or higher.” Comparatively, “the least cognitive decline occurred in those with SBP levels of 120 mm Hg or lower.”

Healio (8/21) reports that the investigators “found that when compared with white patients, black patients had a greater difference in cognition between the higher and lower systolic BP levels: adjusted differences between the group with levels of 150 mm Hg or higher and the group with levels of 120 mm Hg or lower were –0.05 in white patients and –0.08 in black patients for Modified Mini-Mental State Examinations…and –0.07 in white patients and –0.13 in black patients for the Digit Symbol Substitution Test.” Data from “1,657 cognitively intact older adults” were used in the study.

Related Links:

— “Lower Blood Pressure Best for Seniors’ Minds,” Steven Reinberg, HealthDay, August 21, 2017.

Antidepressant use in Alzheimer’s disease increases risk for head injury, TBI

Healio (8/21, Oldt) reports, “Risks for head injuries and traumatic brain injuries [TBI] were significantly higher among adults newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease who recently began using antidepressants,” researchers found after conducting “a matched cohort study of 10,910 new antidepressant users and 21,280 matched nonusers between 2005 and 2011.” The findings were published Aug. 1 in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.

Related Links:

— “Antidepressant use in Alzheimer’s disease increases risk for head injury, TBI,” Taipale H, et al., Healio, August 21, 2017.

Proton Pump Inhibitors May Not Increase Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

HealthDay (8/18, Preidt) reported that research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology suggests “proton pump inhibitors do not appear to increase Alzheimer’s disease risk.” Investigators analyzed “data from Finland on nearly 71,000 Alzheimer’s disease patients and nearly 283,000 people without the disease.”

The researchers “found that use of the drugs was not associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, even among those who took a higher dose or used the drugs for more than three years.”

Related Links:

— “Popular Heartburn Drugs Don’t Raise Risk of Alzheimer’s: Study,” Robert Preidt, HealthDay, August 18, 2017.

Men With Gambling Addictions May Be More Likely To Have Endured Childhood Traumas

Reuters (8/17, Rapaport) reports that research suggests “men with gambling addictions are more likely than their peers to have endured childhood traumas like physical abuse or violence at home, and treatment needs to address this underlying stressor.”

In the study of more than 3,000 men, investigators found that “compared with men who rarely if ever placed wagers, the men with a pathological addiction to gambling were more than twice as likely to have witnessed violence at home or to have experienced physical abuse or assault growing up.”

Additionally, “they were…more than three times as likely to have suffered a serious or life-threatening injury as” children. The findings were published in Addictive Behaviors.

Related Links:

— “Adult gambling addiction tied to childhood trauma,” Lisa Rapaport, Reuters, August 17, 2017.

Guns May Be Factor In Higher Suicide Rates In Rural Counties, Study Suggests.

The New York Times (8/17, Bakalar, Subscription Publication) “Well” blog reports that research indicates “suicide rates are higher in rural counties…and the reason is firearm use by men.” The findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Kaiser Health News (8/17) reports that “in 2015, rural communities saw 19 people per 100,000 kill themselves, compared with 11 per 100,000 in urban areas, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s injury statistics database.” Investigators “analyzed a sample of about 6,200 Maryland residents, age 15 and older, and found that when gun-related suicides were excluded, there was no significant difference in rates between rural and urban areas.”

Healio (8/17) also covers the story.

Related Links:

— “Guns Play Oversize Role in Rural Suicides,” NICHOLAS BAKALAR, New York Times, August 17, 2017.

How To Safely Stop Using Antidepressants

U.S. News & World Report (8/15, Levine) contributor David Levine discusses how to safely stop using antidepressants. Levine writes that “deciding to go off antidepressants ‘should be considered thoughtfully and made with the support of your physician or therapist to make sure you’re not stopping prematurely,’ according to Harvard Health Publications, from Harvard Medical School.”

However, “There may in fact be no need to stop.” Dr. Anita Everett, president of the American Psychiatric Association, said, “People have been on antidepressants for 20 or 30 years, with no evidence of any harm.”

Related Links:

— “How to Stop Antidepressants Safely,” David Levine, U.S. News & World Report, August 15, 2017.

Growing Number Of Companies Encourage Use Of Mental-Health Days.

The Wall Street Journal (8/15, Fontana, Subscription Publication) reports that a growing number of companies are attempting to remove the stigma from mental illness and are encouraging the use of mental-health days. Nonetheless, many workers continue to hide their issues with mental illness. Clare Miller, director of the Center for Workplace Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, says, “Silence often equals shame.” She adds, “It adds power to the stigma by not feeling free to share all of yourself at work.”

Related Links:

— “Some Companies Want You to Take a Mental-Health Day,” Francesca Fontana, Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2017.

Medical Professionals Uncertain Whether Parents Falsifying Children’s Illnesses Marks Psychological Condition Or Abuse

CNN (8/15, Nedelman) reports on its website that medical researchers are discussing how to differentiate between Munchausen syndrome by proxy – a disorder in which parents falsify, agitate, or induce an illness in children to secure “their role as the desperate, knowledgeable parent,” one researcher said – and medical child abuse.

CNN follows the story of one woman who faked her own cancer scare and then “infected her daughter with harmful bacteria” and allegedly “removed blood from her daughter so that she would become anemic.” One researcher termed the behaviors “disorders of deception,” while others say it is an intentional form of abuse rather than a psychological condition.

The American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual includes a diagnosis of a “factitious disorder imposed on another,” although the medical community has not reached a consensus on how to characterize it.

Related Links:

— “A ‘disorder of deception’: When a mom makes her child sick,” Michael Nedelman, CNN, August 15, 2017.