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Latest News Around the Web

Aging May Increase Vulnerability To Depression.

The Washington Post (4/10, Butler) reports that “aging does seem to make us more vulnerable to depression, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.” Susan Lehmann, MD, director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Day Hospital at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, “notes that research has shown that major depression occurs in about two percent of people 65 and older, while minor depression strikes about a quarter of them, with the number even higher in nursing homes.” Research also suggests that strong social connections can be a proactive safeguard against depression among the elderly, Dr. Lehmann notes.

Small Study: Shortened Telomere Length May Be Associated With Depression, Trauma. On the front of its Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal (4/10, D1, Wang, Subscription Publication) reports that according to research conducted in 2011 at the University of California-San Francisco and published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, shortened telomere length, a normal phenomenon of aging, may be associated with depression and even trauma in childhood. In a study involving 47 healthy adult controls and 43 adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), researchers found that telomeres were shorter in the people who had PTSD. On average, the shorter length equaled an aging gain of about 4.5 years. A Swedish study of 91 patients with major depression and 451 mentally healthy controls, published this past February in the journal Biological Psychiatry, found an association between shortened telomeres with depression and perceived stress.

Related Links:

— “Aging makes people more vulnerable to depression, but the problem can be treated,”Carolyn Butler, The Washington Post, April 9, 2012.

Study: Sexually Abused Male Teens More Likely To Engage In Unsafe Sex.

HealthDay (4/11, Preidt) reports that according to a study published online March 6 in the Journal of Adolescent Health, male teens who have been sexually abused may be more likely to engage in unsafe sex. After analyzing data on some 40,000 US and Canadian high-school males, researchers found that “compared to those with no history of sexual abuse, young males who were sexually abused were five times more likely to cause teen pregnancy, three times more likely to have multiple sexual partners and two times more likely to have unprotected sex.”

Related Links:

— “Sexual Abuse May Put Boys at Risk for Unsafe Sex,”Robert Preidt, HealthDay, April 10, 2012.

Report Warns About Buying Illicit Drugs Online.

The UK’s Telegraph (4/11, Smith) reports, “Doctors are warning that pressure to be young, beautiful, slim and clever, is driving a generation into buying illicit drugs online in the belief they are not ‘good enough’.” But “the products often contain banned and harmful substances or experimental and adulterated drugs that can cause allergic reactions, liver damage, mercury poisoning, brain damage and even death,” according to the Human Enhancement Drugs – The Emerging Challenges to Public Health report. “The report…charts unprecedented growth over the past few years in the usage of such drugs, sourced from a vast and illicit market.”

Related Links:

— “Warning over online ‘smart drugs’ that can kill,”Rebecca Smith, The Telegraph, April 11, 2012.

National Rx Drug Abuse Summit Draws 700 Involved In Curbing Epidemic.

The Louisville Courier-Journal (4/11, Ungar) reports, “More than 250 faces stare out from a wall of photos at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit — men and women, many of them young, lost to drug overdoses.” On Tuesday, US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, said, “There are too many faces on that wall. There are too many faces that could be on that wall,” and added, “Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem.” The surgeon general “was one of the keynote speakers at the inaugural national three-day summit organized by the Eastern Kentucky anti-drug group Operation UNITE” that “drew about 700 people involved in battling the prescription-drug abuse epidemic.”

“At the National Prescription Drug Abuse Summit in Orlando Tuesday, Gov. Steve Beshear called for states and the federal government to develop aggressive shared tactics to thwart the devastating scourge of prescription drug abuse,” the Kentucky New Era (4/11) reports. “He also encouraged Kentucky legislators to keep the state on the leading edge of effective anti-drug strategies by passing a broad prescription drug bill,” known as House Bill 4, “on the final day of the legislative session this week.”

Related Links:

— “Prescription drug abuse summit draws 700,”Laura Ungar, The Courier-Journal, April 10, 2012.

Depression Associated With Increased Dementia Risk In Patients With Type 2 Diabetes.

MedWire (4/11, Robertson) reports, “Depression is associated with a significantly increased risk for dementia among patients with type 2 diabetes,” according to a study published online in the Archives of General Psychiatry. After analyzing data on some 20,000 patients with diabetes who partook in the Diabetes and Aging Study, researchers found that “depression at baseline was associated with a 2.02-fold greater risk for dementia compared with those without diabetes, after adjustment for covariates.”

Related Links:

— “Depression impacts on dementia risk in diabetes,”Sally Robertson, MedWire News, April 10, 2012.

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