STUDY supports role of sleep in WEIGHT control
Children under 5 who do not get at least 10 hours of sleep at night are almost twice as likely to be overweight or obese later in childhood, a new study reports. The study, published Monday in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of 1,930 children under 14. The study adds to an existing body of evidence suggesting that sleep plays an important role in weight regulation, perhaps because tired children are not as active or because sleep affects hormones that influence hunger and appetite, said the paper's lead author, Janice F. Bell, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle.
Preventive surgery curbs cancer risk
About 1 in 400 women carry genetic mutations that put them at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Now a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that mastectomy and removal of the ovaries — even before there is any sign of cancer — sharply reduces these women's cancer risk. Scientists followed 2,482 women who learned they had inherited the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations through genetic testing done between 1974 and 2008. During three years of followup, 7 percent of the women who did not have mastectomies developed breast cancer and 6 percent of those who retained their ovaries developed ovarian cancer. There were no breast cancers in the mastectomy group, and only 1 percent of women who had the ovarian surgery developed ovarian cancer. Even after surgery, some residual breast or ovarian tissue remains in the body, which is why the surgery is not a complete guarantee.
Psychotropic drugs for kids examined
The Government Accountability Office is investigating the prescribing of psychotropic drugs to children on Medicaid in Florida and five other states. Though most psychotropic drugs are FDA-approved for adults only, they are frequently prescribed off-label to children with depression and behavioral issues. Florida's Department of Children and Families conducted a review of its policies on giving psychotropic drugs to foster children last year after 7-year-old Gabriel Myers committed suicide in South Florida. The child, who was in the state's care, was on two powerful psychiatric medicines at the time of his death. A group investigating his suicide found that DCF had not followed internal policies to monitor such prescriptions. A GAO spokesman declined to comment on the agency's investigation, which also extends to Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota and Texas. The federal agency expects to issue a report on its findings next spring.
Times staff, wires