This Week in Health: Botox improves asthma
Location of study: Australia
Study subjects: 11 patients with treatment-resistant asthma and abnormal vocal cord movement
Results: Study participants at Monash Health in Melbourne received a total of 24 unilateral vocal cord injections of Botox, which caused temporary muscle paralysis. Subject response was then assessed using asthma control test scores and CT imaging of the vocal cords. The study found that Botox injected to one vocal cord resulted in improved asthma control and reduced narrowing of the upper airway.
Significance: For many asthma patients, vocal cord dysfunction is a debilitating condition that causes difficulty breathing and muscle spasms. Botox injections to improve breathing could represent a major step forward in treatment.
Location of study: Global study
Study subjects: Participants from 27 clinical trials and 49 population studies
Results: Saturated fats have long been viewed as heart disease culprits. Now a new report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine is questioning the supposed benefits of steering clear of them. The report says that comprehensive research has been unable to find any evidence to clearly support the current cardiovascular guidelines, which encourage a low consumption of saturated fats.
Significance: The report suggests that saturated fats may have more of a neutralizing effect when it comes to heart disease. According to an NPR report, they’ve actually been shown to increase good cholesterol and lower triglycerides when compared to carbohydrates.
Location of study: India
Study subjects: Almost 2,000 obese adults
Results: It’s pretty well established that obesity leads to a whole host of physical health issues. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer and osteoarthritis top the list. But what role does obesity play when it comes to mental health? A recent Indian study found that obese women are more likely to develop depression when compared to obese men.
Significance: While obese men were two times as likely to be depressed as men who were not obese, the numbers were much different among women. In fact, obese women were found to be 39 times more likely to suffer from depression when compared to women of normal weight.
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: 88 people with oropharyngeal cancer
Results: After examining the medical records of 88 people with throat cancer, researchers from the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance found sore throat and neck mass to be the most common initial symptoms of a rapidly increasing type of cancer known as oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). Researchers say that HPV (human papillomavirus) is largely responsible for the increase in cases.
Significance: Researchers say that many nationally used textbooks and products used by medical and dental students do not include throat cancer as a possible finding in someone with a sore throat. Making physicians and dentists aware that oropharyngeal cancers are linked to sore throat or lump in the neck could potentially lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment. The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance recommends that anyone with a lump in the neck or a sore throat for more than two weeks seek the advice of a specialist for possible cancer.
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