This Week in Health: ‘Healthy obesity’ doesn’t exist

Hate to break it to you, but your grandparents are probably getting it on right now. Credit: Fuse
Hate to break it to you, but your grandparents are probably getting it on right now.
Credit: Fuse

Sorry, ‘healthy obesity’ doesn’t exist

Location of study: Canada
Study subjects: Data study of 61,386 volunteers
Results: According to a report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, so-called “healthy obesity” is a myth. Healthy obesity refers to overweight people who have blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels in what is considered the healthy range. However, these researchers found that being overweight can still increase the risk of heart disease, cardiac arrest and stroke, and shorten lifespan.
Significance: A staggering 69 percent of American adults 20 and over are overweight or obese.

 

Elderly people still definitely having sex

Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: 3,005 men and women ages 57-85
Results: American seniors maintain an active sex life well into old age, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the study group, more than a quarter of people over 85 said they’d had sex in the past year. Half of the sexually active participants reported having at least one sexually related problem, however, and one out of seven men said they had used Viagra or other substances to improve their sexual function.
Significance: The figures could relate to seniors staying healthier and more active later in life. In addition, the figures were likely affected by modern seniors’ greater willingness to talk about sexual activity than previous generations. Georgeanne Patmios of the National Institute on Aging, the study’s main funder, says that studying sex provides insight into the overall health of seniors — sexual problems could be red flags for other conditions.

 

Malaria parasite’s weakness could herald a new approach to treatment

Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: Laboratory study
Results: A key metabolic enzyme that common malaria parasites require for survival has been identified, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and published on Nature’s website.
Significance: Malaria is one of the world’s deadliest diseases. “Perhaps the most exciting aspect of our findings is that this enzyme is required at all stages of the parasite’s life cycle in humans,” says study co-first author Marcus C.S. Lee, associate research scientist in microbiology and immunology at CUMC. “This is important because most anti-malarials are effective at killing the parasites only as they circulate in the bloodstream. However, the parasites can hide in the liver for years before re-emerging and triggering a relapse of the disease. By identifying this enzyme, we may be able to develop a new way to kill the parasites in their dormant stage.”

 

Increase in HIV+ men having unprotected sex with men

Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: 9,000 men
Results: 62 percent of HIV-positive men have had unprotected sex with another male over the past year, says a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That figure has almost doubled since 2005.
Significance: Sexual contact remains the biggest way that HIV is contracted, with male-to-male sex contributing almost three-quarters of new infections. If you’re going to have sex, protect yourself and your partner with a condom.


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