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Cardiovascular health

Study finds that a common virus may cause high BP

Based on a series of studies in mice, researchers have found that cytomegalovirus (CMV), a herpes virus that affects about 60% to 99% of adults throughout the world, appears to increase inflammation in blood vessels, resulting in high BP. When combined with a high-fat diet, CMV may also cause hardening of the arteries, which can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and kidney disease.


The research provides the first direct indication that CMV causes persistent infection in blood vessels, which may have an impact on how healthcare providers treat high BP. Currently, generic drugs such as beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are used to control high BP, which affects one in every three adults in the United States. This study suggests that new treatment possibilities, such as vaccines and antiviral drugs, may provide a new approach to treating high BP.


Neurologic disorders

First-ever estimate of Tourette Syndrome in the U.S. released

A study by the CDC estimates that 3 out of every 1,000 children between the ages of 6 and 17 in the United States have been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (TS). It also found that a TS diagnosis is three times more common in boys than in girls, and it's about twice as common in children between ages 12 and 17 as those between ages 6 and 12. Among children with TS, 27% were reported as having moderate or severe TS and 79% of children had also been diagnosed with at least one additional mental health or neurodevelopmental condition.


The study analyzed data from telephone interviews with parents/guardians from 91,642 households. TS is a neurologic disorder that typically begins during early childhood, with symptoms being most severe between ages 10 and 12. It's characterized by recurring multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic. Tics are involuntary, repetitive, stereotyped, usually sudden and rapid movements or vocalizations that may be suppressed for short periods. TS has been linked to higher rates of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and learning disabilities.


Emergency medicine

Study looks at falls in older adults related to walkers and canes

A new study by the CDC has found that from 2001 to 2006, an average of 129 Americans over age 65 (that's more than 47,000 each year) were treated in EDs each day for injuries from falls that involved walkers and canes. The study looked at 6 years of ED medical records and found that most of the injuries involved walkers (87%). Older women sustained more than three out of four walker-related injuries (78%).


For men and women using walkers or canes, the chances of sustaining a fall increases with age, with the highest injury rates among those age 85 and older. Fractures were the most common type of fall injury associated with walkers (38%) and canes (40%), and about a third of all injuries were to the lower trunk, such as the hip or pelvis. More than half of fall injuries associated with walkers (60%) and canes (56%) occurred at home.


The study points out the importance of preventing falls related to walking aids by educating patients how to use walkers and canes safely. Additional studies are needed to better understand fall risk factors for older adults who use walkers and canes, as well as to identify potential design problems and improve the design of walkers.


Did you know?

Steroid use may be linked to an increase musculoskeletal injuries. A questionnaire filled out by more than 2,000 retired professional football players shows that those who used anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) had significantly more injuries-including disk herniations and knee ligament, elbow, neck, spine, foot, toe, and ankle injuries-than those who didn't use AAS. Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, reached this conclusion after sending a general-health question' naire to all 3,683 retired members of the National Football League Players Associatioi analyzing the 2,552 responses.

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Some key findings from the questionnaire 9% of retired players reported using AAS during their professional football careers; about 21% of AAS users suffer from depression; AAS use was not associated with muscle and tendon injuries; and AAS use was associated with ligament and joint-related damage.