All Sauce from Weekly Gravy:

In half of American homes containing a loaded gun, that gun is kept unsecured and ready for potential use, often with children in the home, new research shows. The finding is especially troubling given the link between gun accessibility and accidental child deaths, as well as rising rates of gun-related suicides in the United States, researchers said. “The presence of a firearm in the home has been associated with an increased risk for firearm homicide and suicide among household members,” wrote a team of researchers led by Norah Friar. She’s an investigator with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention. In the research, Friar’s team used federal survey data to track rates of gun ownership and storage practices in households in eight states: Alaska, California, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Oklahoma. They found widely varying rates of guns being kept in the home — from 18.4% of households surveyed in California to about 39% in Oklahoma and more than half (50.6%) of homes in Alaska. In most of the eight states surveyed, more than a third of homes that contained a gun also had children living in the home. In Alaska, that number rose to more than half. Guns that are unloaded and securely locked away pose little threat to children. But that wasn’t the case in…  read on >  read on >

The two top officers of a telehealth company that began to distribute ADHD drugs widely during the pandemic have been charged with health care fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday. The arrests will likely worsen ongoing shortages of Adderall and another ADHD medications, Vyvanse, experts said. “There are a lot of people who are going to be struggling without consistent medication,” Margaret Sibley, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, told the New York Times. In announcing the charges, the Justice Department said the chief executive and the clinical president of the California-based telehealth company Done Global Inc. are accused of participating in a scheme to distribute Adderall and other stimulants for ADHD to patients who did not need the medications, and to bill insurers for these drugs. “These defendants exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to develop and carry out a $100 million scheme to defraud taxpayers and provide easy access to Adderall and other stimulants for no legitimate medical purpose,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news release. Done was one of several telehealth companies that became popular during pandemic lockdowns in 2020, when the government relaxed restrictions for online prescriptions for controlled substances such as Adderall, the Times reported. In its indictment, the Justice Department claimed that Ruthia He, Done’s chief executive, and David Brody,…  read on >  read on >

Many younger workers feel stressed, isolated and unappreciated at their jobs, a new survey has found. The 2022 Work in America survey, conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), found that young adults are struggling in the workplace: Nearly half (48%) of workers ages 18 to 25 feel people not close to their age don’t see the value in their ideas, compared to 32% overall and 16% for workers 65 and older. Similarly, 43% of workers ages 18 to 25 feel self-conscious about their age at work, compared with 29% of all workers. About 45% of workers ages 18 to 25 say they feel lonely at work, compared to 33% of those ages 26 to 43, 22% of those 44 to 57, and 15% of those 58 to 64. Younger workers are also more likely to feel tense or stressed during the workday — 48% for those 18-25 and 51% for those 26-43, versus 42% for workers 44-57 and 30% for workers 58-64. “With more workers retiring later in life, the demographics of the workplace are changing and younger workers seem to be having the hardest time adjusting,” said Arthur Evans Jr., the APA’s chief executive officer. “At the same time, with increased remote work and the use of new technologies like AI, younger and older workers alike are facing a paradigm shift around where…  read on >  read on >

Taking a cutting-edge weight-loss drug could help extremely obese patients drop enough pounds to be eligible for bariatric surgery, a new study shows. Patients with extreme obesity — a BMI of 70 or more — are at higher risk of complications from surgery compared to people who weigh less. Weight loss prior to surgery can lower that risk, but up to now nothing’s been able to help patients lose enough weight to make a difference, researchers say. However, new GLP-1 agonist medications like Ozempic, Wegovy and Zepbound have been shown to help people quickly shed pounds. For this trial, researchers recruited 113 extremely obese patients and assigned them to either a single GLP-1 drug, more than one GLP-1 drug or a medically supervised diet and exercise program. Patients were treated an average of 73 days. People on multiple drugs had the greatest weight loss, dropping about 13% of their total body weight. A single GLP-1 drug helped people lose a little more than 8% of their body weight, while diet and exercise helped participants drop about 6% of their body weight. The findings were presented Thursday at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery’s annual meeting in San Diego. “Combining anti-obesity medications may achieve much greater pre-surgery weight loss than other methods for those with extreme obesity,” said researcher Dr. Phil Schauer, director of…  read on >  read on >

You don’t consider yourself a lonely person generally, but sometimes have days where feelings of loneliness set in. If you’re one of those people, even that transient loss of connection with others could be impacting your physical health, a new study finds. “A lot of research is focused on loneliness being a binary trait — either you’re lonely or you’re not. But based on our own anecdotal lives, we know that’s not the case. Some days are worse than others — even some hours,” explained study lead author Dakota Witzel. “If we can understand variations in daily loneliness, we can begin to understand how it affects our daily and long-term health,” said Witzel, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State University. As Witzel’s group noted, long term loneliness is a known health risk factor — so much so that in 2023 U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy labeled loneliness a public health crisis. He noted raised rates of depression and other mental health troubles tied to loneliness, as well as a 29% higher risk of heart disease, a 32% increased risk of stroke and a 50% increased risk of developing dementia in older adults. But what about more temporary moments or days of loneliness? In the study, Witzel’s group looked at data on middle-aged Americans from the 1,538 participants in…  read on >  read on >

A new form of psychotherapy appears to work even better at treating chronic pain in older adults than gold-standard cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a new study finds. U.S. veterans who received emotional awareness and expression therapy (EAET) experienced a longer and more significant reduction in chronic pain than those who underwent CBT, researchers reported June 13 in the journal JAMA Network Open. About 63% of veterans who underwent EAET reported at least a 30% reduction in pain, which is considered clinically significant, results show. By comparison, only 17% of veterans who got CBT achieved that sort of pain relief. Further, pain reduction was sustained among 41% of EAET participants six months after treatment, compared to 14% of CBT patients. EAET patients also reported greater benefits for addressing anxiety, depression, PTSD and life satisfaction, researchers added. “Most people with chronic pain don’t consider psychotherapy at all. They’re thinking along the lines of medications, injections, sometimes surgery or bodily treatments like physical therapy,” said lead researcher Brandon Yarns, an assistant professor at UCLA Health’s Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. “Psychotherapy is an evidence-based treatment for chronic pain,” Yarns added in a UCLA news release. “What this study adds is that the type of psychotherapy matters.” CBT focuses on helping patients improve their ability to tolerate pain, using exercises designed to recognize pain triggers and respond to…  read on >  read on >

In countries where gender equality is becoming more of a reality, men’s meat consumption tends to rise relative to women’s, a new study shows. The phenomenon was seen mainly in richer countries in North America and Europe, and was not seen at all in large but less affluent China, India and Indonesia. Why? Researchers believe it’s due to men in wealthier, more gender-equal nations having more control over their meal choices — and choosing meat more often. The trend is “more likely to be driven by more extensive meat consumption among men in developed countries, in which greater wealth creates more opportunities for men to choose meat, than by lower meat consumption among women,” the researchers concluded. The study was led by Christopher Hopwood, a professor of psychology at the University of Zurich, in Switzerland. It was published June 13 in the journal Scientific Reports. The researchers started off with one longstanding statistic: Almost everywhere, men tend to eat more meat than women. But would that carnivore gender gap close once women made gains in equality with respect to men? To find out, Hopwood’s team looked at survey data collected in 2021 from almost 21,000 people from 23 countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Participants reported their gender and how frequently they ate meat. As expected, in most countries (with the exception…  read on >  read on >

Robot-guided radiation therapy can improve treatment for age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among American seniors, a new study shows. Precisely targeted radiation treatment reduced by a quarter the number of routine injections needed to treat wet-type age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most advanced and serious form of the disorder, researchers reported June 11 in The Lancet journal. “With this purpose-built robotic system, we can be incredibly precise, using overlapping beams of radiation to treat a very small lesion in the back of the eye,” said lead researcher Timothy Jackson, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at King’s College Hospital in London. Wet AMD occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels leak blood and other fluid, causing scarring of the macula — the center of the retina — and rapid vision loss. Standard treatment for wet AMD involves injections of drugs that inhibit the growth of new blood vessels in the eye. Most patients require an injection every one to three months to keep fluid from building up, researchers said. “Patients generally accept that they need to have eye injections to help preserve their vision, but frequent hospital attendance and repeated eye injections isn’t something they enjoy,” Jackson said in a King’s College news release. In the new therapy, the eye is treated once using three beams…  read on >  read on >

Women who deliver low-birth-weight babies could be more likely to have memory and thinking problems later in life, a new study warns. As seniors, these women had brain test scores that indicated one to two years of additional aging in their memory and thinking skills, compared with women who delivered normal-weight babies, according to results published June 12 in the journal Neurology. And the more low-birth-weight babies a woman had, the lower her test scores were, results show. “Previous research has shown that people who have had a low-birth-weight delivery have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure,” said researcher Diana Soria-Contreras, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. “Our study found that a history of having a child with a low birth weight may also be a marker of poorer cognition later in life,” Soria-Contreras added in a journal news release. The study involved more than 15,000 women with an average age of 62. About 8% had delivered a baby with low birth weight, defined as less than 5.5 pounds for pregnancies lasting more than 20 weeks. The women completed a series of thinking and memory tests, and also filled out a questionnaire about their pregnancy history. On average, women who had babies with low birth weigh scored lower in tests of thinking…  read on >  read on >

Bipolar disorder doesn’t have to be a lifelong challenge, a new study says. Nearly 1 in 4 people with bipolar disorder wind up achieving complete mental health, researchers found. Further, more than 2 in 5 become free from bipolar symptoms over time, results show. “Most research on individuals with bipolar disorder has failed to focus on recovery and optimal functioning,” said senior researcher Esme Fuller-Thomson, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. “We hope that those with the disorder and their loved ones and health professionals will be heartened to learn that that one-quarter of the respondents who previously had bipolar disorder were now thriving and happy or satisfied with their life almost every day,” Fuller-Thomson added in a university news release. For the study, researchers compared 555 Canadians who’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with more than 20,500 people without the mental illness, which involves wild swings between manic and depressive episodes. To be considered in complete mental health, people had to be free from any mental illness during the past year, including bipolar disorder, depression and substance use disorders. They also had to report almost daily happiness or life satisfaction. About 24% of people once diagnosed with bipolar disorder had achieved such a state of complete mental health, researchers found. Also, 43% were free from all bipolar symptoms, results…  read on >  read on >