• Energy drinks may cause potentially lethal heart problems. US researchers say people with high blood pressure should be cautious of consuming energy drinks, after analysing data from previous studies and finding the drinks may increase blood pressure and disturb the heart’s natural rhythm.
• Giving your baby solids before they are six months old could increase their risk of obesity, diabetes and coeliac disease. A US study has found that 93% of mothers give their infants solids before they reach the recommended age of six months, and that could make them more prone to chronic diseases like diabetes. One theory is that they drink less milk once they start on solids, so could be getting less nourishment.
IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH
When one partner has a certain illness it can have an effect on their spouse’s health, too. This week: heart attack. Living with someone who has had a heart attack can raise the risk of anxiety and depression. A recent Danish study suggested the psychological impact is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder and researchers speculated that “anticipatory grief” (believing your partner would die) was the cause. The study showed men tend to be more susceptible to health problems if their wife has a heart attack. Professor Nicholas Christakis, of Harvard University, suggests that when people fall seriously ill or die, their partners may neglect their health by eating poorly and smoking or drinking more.
3D BODY MAPS HELP DETECT OSTEOPOROSIS
British doctors are using a new bone test to highlight people who are at risk of a hip fracture. Thinning bones are usually diagnosed using DXA scans, but some evidence suggests half of all hip fractures occur in people whose hip bones do not show up as weakened on the scans. To overcome this problem, doctors at Cambridge University Hospitals have combined a CT scan with a complex mathematical model that helps them generate detailed 3D pictures of bones. These “bone thickness maps”, as they’re known, calculate bone density at a number of places across the body. This method was used on women with and without hip fractures.
The Cambridge team found the new scan detected tiny patches of eggshell-thin bone in the women with hip fractures. In the future, they hope to roll out the scan in hospitals.