Many teens are spending their days buzzed on caffeine, with their parents mostly unaware of the potential risks, a new national poll says. A quarter of parents reported that caffeine is basically part of their teen’s daily life, according to the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health released Monday. Two out of three parents said they know whether their teen’s caffeine intake is appropriate, and which products contain too much caffeine, poll results say. However, a third of parents weren’t able to identify the recommended caffeine limits for teens, researchers found after polling just over 1,000 U.S. parents in February. “Our report suggests parents may not always be aware of how much they should be limiting caffeine consumption for teens,” said poll co-director and Mott pediatrician Dr. Susan Woolford. “Even for parents who know the recommendations, estimating their teen’s caffeine intake can be challenging.” Most teens chose soda as their caffeine source, with tea and coffee coming in second, poll results found. Less than a quarter of parents said their teen consumes energy drinks. Older teens are more often caffeine users. More parents of kids ages 16 to 18 years than parents of those ages 13 to 15 report their teen consumes coffee daily, the poll found. “Caffeine is a drug that stimulates the brain and nervous system,…  read on >  read on >

Blood pressure medications appear to more than double the risk of life-threatening bone fractures among nursing home residents, a new study warns. The increased risk stems from the drugs’ tendency to impair balance, particularly when patients stand up and temporarily experience low blood pressure that deprives the brain of oxygen, researchers reported recently in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The risk is compounded by interactions with other drugs and nursing home patients’ existing problems with balance, they added. “Bone fractures often start nursing home patients on a downward spiral,” said lead researcher Chintan Dave, academic director of the Rutgers Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Economics. “Roughly 40% of those who fracture a hip die within the next year, so it’s truly alarming to find that a class of medications used by 70% of all nursing home residents more than doubles the bone-fracture risk,” Dave added in a Rutgers news release. About 2.5 million Americans live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, researchers said in background notes. Up to half suffer falls in any given year, and up to 25% of those falls result in serious injury. For the study, researchers analyzed Veterans Health Administration records for nearly 30,000 elderly patients in long-term care facilities between 2006 and 2019. Researchers compared the 30-day risk of hip, pelvis and arm fractures for those taking blood…  read on >  read on >

If you suddenly find yourself craving food or drink right before you head to bed, one expert suggests you steer clear of big meals and caffeine. “From a sleep standpoint, you shouldn’t eat a big meal at 8 p.m. if you plan to go to bed at 9 p.m. If you are sensitive to caffeine, I would say to stop drinking it around noon,” said Roberta Anding, a registered dietitian and assistant professor in the Joseph Barnhart Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “Drinking caffeine before bed will impact your sleep. The average person takes about 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep,” she said in a Baylor news release. “If you have caffeine in your system or are sensitive to it, this amount of time can double.” And watch out for hidden sources of caffeine: “Caffeine is not only found in coffee, tea and some soft drinks but can also be added to the pre-workout drink you take before going to the gym,” Anding said. Similar warnings apply to eating heavy meals late at night. Anding explained that consuming a big meal before bed will impact blood flow and alter sleep/wake cycles. “Having a lot of food in your stomach before bed can redirect blood flow to your gut to digest the food, meaning there is less blood flow…  read on >  read on >

Preeclampsia can be a life-threatening complication of pregnancy, but a new blood test can help predict a woman’s risk for the condition while she is in her first trimester, the test’s maker said Wednesday. It’s the first test in the United States that can be used between 11 and 14 weeks gestation to determine the risk of preeclampsia before 34 weeks of pregnancy, Labcorp said in a news release announcing the launch of the test. “By giving healthcare providers another tool to assess preeclampsia risk in their pregnant patients with objective biomarkers, we’re helping to advance prenatal care and improve outcomes for mothers and their babies,” Labcorp’s Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Dr. Brian Caveney said in the news release. Roughly one in 25 U.S. pregnancies is affected by preeclampsia, which poses an even greater risk for Black women, who experience the condition at a 60% higher rate than white women do, the company noted. Still, some doctors wonder how much it will help. “It is currently unclear how useful the Labcorp test will be in accurately predicting risk for developing preeclampsia and whether it is appropriate for all pregnant patients,” Dr. Christopher Zahn, interim CEO at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), told CNN. “Before a screening test can be successfully employed, there needs to be an evidence-based intervention to either prevent or reduce the impact of…  read on >  read on >

In a small pilot study, some young women looking to lose weight on a low-calorie keto diet got an unexpected benefit: Their acne began to clear up. “These findings represent an opportunity to control a skin disease that affects most teenagers and many adults at some point in their lifetimes, causing distress, embarrassment, anxiety and low self-confidence among sufferers, robbing them of their quality of life,” said lead study author Luigi Barrea, of the Università Telematica Pegaso in Naples, Italy. His team presented its findings Tuesday at the European Congress on Obesity on Vienna, Italy. As Barrea’s group explained, acne is thought to be a chronic inflammatory illness affecting what’s known as the pilosebaceous unit: the hair follicle, hair shaft and nearby sebaceous gland. About 9% of the world’s population is affected by acne, largely in the teenage years. According to the Italian researchers, acne has long been linked with obesity, perhaps because both conditions are tied to rising inflammation and oxidative stress. Could the ketogenic diet fight that underlying inflammation and oxidative stress? “While the role of diet in acne is inconclusive, the very low-calorie ketogenic diet is known for aiding weight loss and generating anti-inflammatory ketone bodies that provide energy when dietary carbohydrates are scarce, as well as promoting resistance against inflammatory and oxidative stress,” Barrea explained in a meeting news release. “We thought…  read on >  read on >

A competitive game with a potential cash reward appeared to help overweight British men lose weight, researchers report. The incentive was winning the “Game of Stones” — a stone is a British measurement of body weight equal to 14 pounds — and pocketing the equivalent of just over $500 in American dollars if the man achieved weight-loss goals. Weight loss was more successful among men who engaged in Games of Stones versus those who weren’t offered the challenge, said a team led by Dr. Pat Hoddinott, of the University of Stirling in Scotland. Nevil Chesterfield, 68, lost weight and called Game of Stones “a real success for me.” “The financial incentive was important — it did give the project tremendous credibility when I explained it to my peer group,” he said in a news release from the University of Bristol, which partnered in the research. “Partaking in a university study sounds worthy, and the fact that it is intended to inform future health policy gives seriousness, but the payments for hitting targets takes it to new heights, particularly with male friends. To them, it becomes something more than some sort of diet,” Chesterfield said. The premise of Game of Stones was simple. Men living with obesity were promised the cash reward if they met three weight-loss targets: 5% weight loss at three months, 10% at…  read on >  read on >

“Skinny” fat cells might actually make it harder to lose weight and easier to pack on extra pounds, a new study says. Researchers say it’s possible to predict if someone’s going to gain weight based solely on the size of their fat cells. People with large fat cells tend to lose weight over time, and those with small fat cells tend to gain weight, according to a Swedish study scheduled for presentation at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, Italy. It concludes Wednesday. “Our results suggest that the loss of large fat cells makes more of an impact on weight than the loss of small ones,” said researcher Peter Arner, a professor emeritus of medicine at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. “It is a bit like having a room filled to the top by few large balloons or many small ones,” he said in a news release. “It is easier to make empty space in the room by letting out air from the big rather than the small balloons.” On the other hand, he added, “it is easier to fill up the room if many small balloons increase their volume a bit, as compared with having few large balloons and filling them up just a bit.” For the study, researchers measured fat cell volume in the belly fat of 260 people with an average age…  read on >  read on >

About a third of young children who are allergic to peanuts will outgrow the allergy by the age of 10, and an antibody test might predict who those kids might be. Fluctuations in two immune system antibodies in the blood, called sIgG4 and sIgE, could point to a probable end to peanut allergy by about age 6, said a team from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. “Children allergic to peanut who have decreasing antibody markers may benefit from additional visits with their allergist to determine the right time for follow-up food challenges to confirm if their peanut allergy has resolved,” noted study lead author and Murdoch graduate student Kayla Parker. Her team published the findings in the May issue of Allergy. The study involved 156 infants whose peanut allergy had been confirmed using standard peanut challenge testing. The children’s allergies were tracked at ages 4, 6 and 10 years with questionnaires, skin prick tests, blood tests and oral food challenges, Parker’s team said. In about a third of cases, the peanut allergy faded away naturally by the age of 10, with most of these cases resolving between ages 4 and 6. That seemed to coincide with steady declines in blood levels of sIgG4 and sIgE over time, the Melbourne team found. On the flip side, children “with high or increasing levels of…  read on >  read on >

People who eat large amounts of ultra-processed foods have a slightly higher risk of premature death than those who mostly shun the industrially produced eats, a new 30-year study says. Those who ate the most ultra-processed foods – an average of seven servings a day – had a 4% higher risk of death overall, and a 9% higher risk of death from causes other than cancer or heart disease. These higher risks of death “were mainly driven by meat/poultry/seafood based ready-to-eat products, sugar and artificially sweetened beverages, dairy based desserts, and ultra-processed breakfast foods,” wrote the team led by senior researcher Mingyang Song, an associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Ultra-processed foods are made mostly from substances extracted from whole foods, like saturated fats, starches and added sugars. They also contain a wide variety of additives to make them more tasty, attractive and shelf-stable, including colors, emulsifiers, flavors and stabilizers. Examples include packaged baked goods, sugary cereals, ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat products, and deli cold cuts, researchers said. Mounting evidence has linked these foods to higher risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and bowel cancer, researchers said. However, few long-term studies have examined these products’ links to a person’s overall risk of death. For this study, researchers tracked the long-term health of nearly 75,000 female registered…  read on >  read on >

New mothers who like to smoke marijuana might wind up exposing their babies to THC through their own breast milk, a new study says. THC, the intoxicating compound in cannabis, dissolves in the fats contained in human milk, researchers found. Mother’s milk produced by weed users always had detectable amounts of THC, even when the mothers had abstained for 12 hours, results show. The amounts detected were low – infants receive an average of 0.07 milligrams of THC per day through breast milk, researchers estimate. By comparison, a common low-dose edible contains 2 milligrams of THC. However, researchers emphasize that no one knows how any amount of THC might affect an infant or its development. “Breastfeeding parents need to be aware that if they use cannabis, their infants are likely consuming cannabinoids via the milk they produce, and we do not know whether this has any effect on the developing infant,” lead researcher Courtney Meehan, a biological anthropologist at Washington State University, said in a news release. Worse, there’s no consistent time when a weed user can expect the THC concentrations in their breast milk to peak and then decline. Guidelines for new mothers say to wait at least two hours after drinking alcohol before breastfeeding. There are no similar guidelines for cannabis. For participants who used cannabis just once during the study, THC in…  read on >  read on >