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Published: Monday, 4/16/2012

Latest Medical Finds

NEW YORK TIMES

Some sleepless symptoms could mean depression

Snorting and stopping breathing during sleep are associated with depression, even in people whose symptoms do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, a new study has found.

Researchers studied 9,714 men and women participating in an ongoing national health survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They used interviews about sleep symptoms and a well-validated questionnaire that screens adults for depression. The report appears in the April issue of the journal Sleep. Among those with a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, depression was more than twice as common among men and more than five times as common among women, compared with those who did not have the condition.

But the researchers also found that those whose partners reported that they snorted or stopped breathing during sleep were also significantly more likely to have depression, with the likelihood increasing with frequency of symptoms. Men who were affected five or more nights a week were almost four times as likely to suffer depression as those who never had the symptoms. Women with these sleep troubles were more than twice as likely to be depressed.

Alcohol may help heart attack survivors

It’s well established that moderate alcohol consumption may ward off heart disease. But even after a heart attack, an alcoholic drink a day may be good for a man’s health, a new study has found.

Researchers followed 1,818 men who survived heart attacks for up to 20 years. Every two years the men reported on their health, and every four years they filled out a detailed diet questionnaire that recorded, among many other things, their alcohol consumption.

There were 468 deaths over the course of the study, which was published last week in the European Heart Journal.

After controlling for smoking, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, aspirin use and other factors, the researchers found that, compared with abstainers, men who drank one or two glasses of beer or wine daily, or one or two shots of liquor, were 34 percent less likely to die from any cause and 42 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

Men who had slightly less than a drink a day had a 22 percent lower risk of death, but the benefit disappeared among those who had three or more drinks a day.

HPV vaccine shows reduced recurrence

A new study suggests that the vaccine against human papillomavirus can signifiicantly cut the likelihood of virus-related disease even among women who have had surgery for cervical cancer caused by HPV.

Using data from a large randomized efficacy trial of the HPV vaccine, the researchers selected a group of 1,350 women 15 to 26 years old who had undergone cervical surgery. Some 587 previously had received the HPV vaccine and 763 a placebo shot.

Those who had gotten the vaccine were 46 percent less likely to suffer subsequent HPV-related disease over the following two years. The efect among women with the most serious kinds of cancer was even stronger: a reduction in risk of 64 percent among those who were vaccinated, compared with those who got a placebo.

The lead author, Dr. Elmar A. Joura, an associate professor of gynecology at the Medical University of Vienna, said that people believe that the vaccination is useful only in sexually naive girls, and indeed it is most effective in that group.



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