The hazards of sugars and of depression
Also this week MedZine brings you the latest medical news on various medical specialisms. In this editorial some striking studies are highlighted. This week we have selected two studies, both concerning serious hazards. The first is the hazard of sugar-sweetened drinks. Everybody likes a soda now and then, but perhaps it's time to start worrying about the effects of these sugar-sweetened beverages. According to researchers, sugar sweetened drinks may be associated with about 180,000 deaths around the world each year.
Another association that warrants serious attention, is that between heart failure, depression and death. According to new research, heart failure patients who are moderately or severely depressed have four times the risk of dying and double the risk of having to go to the emergency room or to be hospitalized, compared to those who are not depressed.
180.000 deaths a year linked to sugar-sweetened food
Recently, New York City officials proposed banning the sale of large-size sodas and other sugary beverages at restaurants and food carts."More than half of NYC adults (58%) are overweight or obese," Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeted, "we're doing something about it."
According to research
presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and
Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific
Sessions, Mayor Bloomberg had a point. Their research shows that
sugar-sweetened sodas, sports drinks and fruit drinks may be associated
with about 180,000 deaths around the world each year. Using data
collected as part of the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, the
researchers linked intake of sugar- sweetened beverages to 133,000
diabetes deaths, 44,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 6,000
Gitanjali M. Singh, Ph.D., co-author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said that their research shows that “in the United States, about 25,000 deaths in 2010 were linked to drinking sugar-sweetened beverages".
Researchers calculated the quantities of sugar-sweetened beverage intake around the world by age and sex; the effects of this consumption on obesity and diabetes; and the impact of obesity and diabetes-related deaths. Among the world's 15 most populous countries, Mexico (one of the countries with the highest per-capita consumption of sugary beverages in the world) had the highest death rate due to these beverages, with 318 deaths per million adults linked to sugar-sweetened beverages. Japan, one of the countries with lowest per-capita consumption of sugary beverages in the world, had the lowest death rate associated with the consumption of sugary beverages, at about 10 deaths due to per million adults.
Heart failure patients with depression have 4 times risk of death
There seems to be an important association between heart failure, depression and death, according to research reported in Circulation: Heart Failure. Researchers report that heart failure patients who are moderately or severely depressed have four times the risk of dying and double the risk of having to go to the emergency room or to be hospitalized compared to those who are not depressed.
From 2007 to 2010, 402 heart failure patients in three Minnesota counties completed a nine-question survey. Based on the answers, 59 percent of patients were classified as having no depression, 26 percent had mild depression and 15 percent had moderate-to-severe depression. Researchers gathered information on the participants for about a year and a half. Even the patients who reported mild depression had almost a 60 percent increased risk of death. According to Alanna M. Chamberlain, Ph.D., M.P.H., the study's lead author, "treatment programs should be tailored to each patient's needs with greater emphasis on managing depression either through medication or lifestyle interventions."
Chamberlain further states that the researchers measured depression with a one-time questionnaire, so they cannot account for changes in depression symptoms over time. Further research is warranted to develop more effective clinical approaches for management of depression in heart failure patients, says Chamberlain.