Monday, May 13, 2024 – KFF Health News

Survey Finds 8 In 10 Parents Have Used Substances To Get Their Kids To Sleep

In other news, high stress levels in late pregnancy are linked to later impaired IQ scores in young boys; scientists investigate brain benefits from handwriting; a breakthrough is made in understanding childhood autism development; and more.

Parents Are Drugging Their Kids To Get Them To Sleep

New survey results from Sleep Doctor reveal that 79% of parents have given their child a substance to get them to sleep—with 66% using melatonin, 35% using Benadryl, and 20% turning to prescription sleep aids. Others reported using everything from herbal and over-the-counter aids to CBD, THC, and even alcohol. Millennial and Gen Z parents were most likely to have drugged kids for slumber, with 84% and 83%, respectively, saying they had done so. (Greenfield, 5/12)

Boys’ IQs May Be Impacted By Moms’ Pregnancy Stress Levels

High levels of stress during the late stages of pregnancy may impair IQ scores in young boys, a new study suggests. Researchers at Odense University Hospital in Denmark found that increased cortisol, a stress hormone, in the third trimester may have a lasting impact on boys aged seven, but not girls. The findings highlight the important role cortisol plays in the in utero development of boys and girls independently. (Smith, 5/10)

As Schools Reconsider Cursive, Research Homes In On Handwriting’s Brain Benefits

In kids, studies show that tracing out ABCs, as opposed to typing them, leads to better and longer-lasting recognition and understanding of letters. Writing by hand also improves memory and recall of words, laying down the foundations of literacy and learning. In adults, taking notes by hand during a lecture, instead of typing, can lead to better conceptual understanding of material. (Lambert, 5/11)

Scientists Reveal How Autism Develops In Kids

Scientists have made a breakthrough in our understanding of the development of childhood autism. The discovery, which sheds light on a small number of biochemical pathways involved in autism development, may help inform early detection and prevention strategies in the future, researchers say. (Dewan, 5/10)

The Washington Post:
A Strange Regression Was Linked To Down Syndrome. These Moms Found Answers

Before Sara Smythe began to disappear, she was thriving. The youngest of four sisters, Sara was born with Down syndrome and lived the life of an active teen. … But in 2011, everything changed in a matter of weeks. Sara morphed from a sociable teen to a person who stopped talking and engaging with other people, and, at her worst, had full-blown catatonia. Sara’s doctors were at a loss, but her mother, Eileen Quinn, wasn’t giving up. (Sima, 5/12)

In other research news —

Early Menopause Linked To Premature Death

People who stop menstruating earlier in life may have a higher risk of dying young, new research has found. Specifically, those who hit menopause before the age of 40—known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency (POI)—are twice as likely to die of any cause. People with POI are also more than four times more likely to die from cancer, according to the study, which is due to be presented by the researchers … in Stockholm, Sweden from May 11 to 14. (Thomson, 5/11)

Just A Few Days On Night Shift Has ‘Long-Term’ Consequences

Working night shifts for just a couple of days is enough to have serious impacts on our health, a new study has warned. Numerous studies have highlighted the impact of shift work on human health, with effects on our heart, fertility and certain types of cancer. Now, research from Washington State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has found that night shifts may also throw off the natural rhythms that regulate our blood sugar, metabolism and inflammation, increasing our risk of various metabolic disorders. (Dewan, 5/10)

The Hill:
1 In 8 Adults Has Taken Ozempic Or Other GLP-1 Drug: Survey

A poll from the health policy nonprofit KFF found that 1 in 8 adults say they’ve taken a GLP-1 agonist, the obesity and diabetes medications that include Ozempic, Mounjaro and Zepbound. Among those surveyed, 12 percent said they had used a GLP-1 agonist, with 6 percent saying they’re currently using one. The majority — 62 percent — of them said they were using the drugs to treat a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease, while the remaining 38 percent they took the medications just to lose weight. (Choi, 5/10)

The Washington Post:
Hip Breaks More Deadly Than Some Cancers In Elderly, Study Finds

A recent analysis found poor survival rates after bone fractures in older adults, with fewer than a third of men and half of women surviving five years after a fracture. Published in JBMR Plus, the study looked at a cohort of 98,474 Ontario residents age 66 and older who suffered fractures to parts of the body associated with osteoporosis between January 2011 and March 2015. The patients were grouped into sets based on the fracture site and matched to patients with a similar demographic profile but no bone breaks during the study period. (Blakemore, 5/12)

On pharma research news —

The Wall Street Journal:
Bristol Myers Squibb Cancer-Treatment Trial Misses Endpoint

Bristol Myers Squibb said on Friday that its trial evaluating a combination of cancer treatments failed to meet its primary endpoint. The company’s trial was evaluating the cancer-drug Opdivo and concurrent chemoradiotherapy, followed by Opdivo plus Yervoy, the brand name for a monoclonal antibody, in treating unresectable, locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The trial’s primary endpoint was progression-free survival. (Glickman, 5/10)

Japan’s Shionogi Says COVID Treatment Did Not Meet Endpoint In Late-Stage Trial

Japan’s Shionogi & Co (4507.T) said on Monday its pill-based treatment for COVID-19 did not meet the primary endpoint of showing a statistically significant reduction of 15 common symptoms of the illness in a global, late-stage trial. The company’s pivotal Phase 3 study (SCORPIO-HR) of ensitrelvir did however demonstrate a potent antiviral effect compared to placebo, the company said. Shionogi said previously it expected the pill, known commercially as Xocova, to deliver $2 billion in annual sales if it secured U.S. approval. (5/13)

Data Suggest SARS-CoV-2 Could Jump From Raccoon Dogs To People, But Species Barrier May Interfere

Raccoon dogs may carry and transmit COVID-19–causing SARS-CoV-2 to humans, although critical differences in the enzyme that facilitates viral entry into the cell may make the jump unlikely, a study in PLOS Pathogens finds. “The key to a coronavirus moving from one species to another is its spike protein’s ability to bind to receptors on the cells of the new host,” the authors noted. (Van Beusekom, 5/10)

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