Today in medicine: Sleeping habits linked to obesity

Could this be the secret to losing weight?

Link between sleep and obesity
Study subjects: Various laboratory studies
Location of study: U.S.
Results: Research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shows strong evidence of a link between a lack of sleep and obesity. Researchers found that people who got four to six hours of sleep for several days had dysfunctional metabolic hormones. Two metabolic hormones, ghrelin and leptin, tell the body when it’s hungry and full, respectively. Higher ghrelin and lower leptin were found in sleep-deprived subjects.
Significance: More than 28 percent of adults are estimated to get less than six hours of sleep a night, two hours less than the recommended eight hours.

Communication’s impact on cancer
Study subjects: 147 newly diagnosed women with breast cancer
Location of study: U.S.
Results: A two-year study at Portland State University found that breast cancer patients who received encouraging news from their physicians and who actively participated in their treatment decisions fared better in fighting the disease.
Significance: A greater level of  satisfaction gave patients a more positive, more hopeful outlook. These positively impacted patients’ chances for survival, researchers concluded.

Female smokers die a decade earlier
Study subjects: Various data
Location of study: U.K.
Results: British medical journal The Lancet reports on a long-term study of female smokers that shows that lifelong smokers died 10 years earlier than those who never smoked at all. Women who quit before they were 30 almost entirely cut their risk of premature death from smoking.
Significance: This is the largest study of female smokers in the U.K. to date.

Vitamin D deficiency in women found to be seasonal
Study subjects: 244 women with various health conditions
Location of study: U.S.
Results: New research presented at the annual 2012 American Society for Clinical Pathology meeting in Boston last week suggested a link between seasonal vitamin D deficiency in women and worsening of existing conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, hypothyroidism and cancer.   
Significance: Vitamin D levels are highly likely to drop in the winter because of less sun exposure, for people with and without illnesses. Researchers suggested that women with these health conditions be vigilant of their levels of vitamin D and supplement when necessary. Vitamin D has been associated with health benefits ranging from regulated blood pressure to good heart health.


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