Antipsychotics linked to diabetes in kids

Antipsychotics have already been linked to type II diabetes in adults. Now a new study shows a connection between these medications and the chronic medical condition in kids as well.

Researchers report in the journal JAMA Psychiatry that children taking antipsychotics have three times the risk of developing type II diabetes, compared to children taking other psychotropic medications (drugs prescribed to treat mental disorders).

The study authors were surprised by the magnitude of the results. But the findings make sense, given that the side effects of antipsychotics include weight gain and insulin resistance, said Wayne A. Ray, study co-author and researcher in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. However, the study shows an association, not a cause-effect relationship.

It’s not uncommon for an adult taking antipsychotic medications to gain 20 to 40 pounds in a relatively short period of time, Ray said. Similar weight gain effects have been observed in children, proportionate to their body sizes.

Full story of antipsychotics and diabetes at CNN

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

You’re eating more calories than you think

Calorie counting has long been touted as an effective tool for losing pounds or maintaining a healthy weight. But new research published in the British Medical Journal shows many of us are underestimating the calories we’re eating, especially when we visit fast food restaurants.

The study

Researchers interviewed more than 1,800 adults, 1,100 adolescents and 330 children at several fast food chains in New England. The interviews were done at McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts and Wendy’s around dinnertime and lunchtime.

Study participants were asked to estimate their meal’s calorie count. Researchers then collected the bill to later tally the correct amount of calories using nutrition info posted on the chain’s website.

The results

At least 40% of the study participants reported eating at the restaurant where they were interviewed at least once a week. More than 20% of the adult participants noticed posted calorie information, but only 5% said they used that information when purchasing food.

Full story of the calories we actually consume at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Brain Circuits Link Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior and Obesity

What started as an experiment to probe brain circuits involved in compulsive behavior has revealed a surprising connection with obesity.

The University of Iowa-led researchers bred mice missing a gene known to cause obesity, and suspected to also be involved in compulsive behavior, with a genetic mouse model of compulsive grooming. The unexpected result was offspring that were neither compulsive groomers nor obese.

The study, published the week of June 10 in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests that the brain circuits that control obsessive-compulsive behavior are intertwined with circuits that control food intake and body weight. The findings have implications for treating compulsive behavior, which is associated with many forms of psychiatric disease, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome, and eating disorders.

UI neuro-psychiatrists Michael Lutter, M.D., Ph.D. and Andrew Pieper, M.D., Ph.D., led the study. The team also included researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School.

Full story of brain circuits involving obesity and OCD at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Boys with ADHD may become obese adults

Boys with ADHD may be at risk for obesity later in life, according to a new study – which, if confirmed in larger studies, may have implications for the more than 4 million kids in the United States living with the disorder.

Researchers at NYU’s Langone Medical Center have been following more than 200 kids for four decades. They found those who had ADHD in their early years were twice as likely to be obese at age 41.

“This study was started by Dr. Rachel Klein in 1970, and it involved a number of waves of evaluation, during which the results of having hyperactivity in childhood were assessed,” said Dr. F. Xavier Castellanos, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU and one of the study authors.

“We brought back individuals who were 41 years of age, and examined a number of measures, including brain imaging analyses.  But during those brain imaging analyses, we noted that men who had been hyperactive children had a greater difficulty sitting in the scanner – they were too large for the research scanner.”

That’s when the idea took shape to look at all of the subjects’ height and weight.  Castellanos and his team instantly noticed the high levels of obesity – twice as high as those adults who never suffered from ADHD.

Full story of adhd in boys leads to obesity at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Facebook Interests Could Help Predict, Track and Map Obesity

Facebook Could Track and Map ObesityThe higher the percentage of people in a city, town or neighborhood with Facebook interests suggesting a healthy, active lifestyle, the lower that area’s obesity rate. At the same time, areas with a large percentage of Facebook users with television-related interests tend to have higher rates of obesity. Such are the conclusions of a study by Boston Children’s Hospital researchers comparing geotagged Facebook user data with data from national and New York City-focused health surveys.

Together, the conclusions suggest that knowledge of people’s online interests within geographic areas may help public health researchers predict, track and map obesity rates down to the neighborhood level, while offering an opportunity to design geotargeted online interventions aimed at reducing obesity rates.

The study team, led by Rumi Chunara, PhD, and John Brownstein, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Informatics Program (CHIP), published their findings on April 24 in PLOS ONE.

Full story of Facebook and obesity at Science Daily

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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education