Weight loss surgery tied to increase in drinking: study

Updated 16 October 2012
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Weight loss surgery tied to increase in drinking: study

People who had weight loss surgery reported greater alcohol use two years after their procedures, according to a US study.
The researchers, whose findings appeared in the Archives of Surgery, said it’s possible that some patients may turn to drinking if the surgery successfully stops their ability to overeat without addressing underlying issues.
In addition, the effect of certain stomach-shrinking procedures on alcohol tolerance may play a part.
“This is perhaps a risk,” said Alexis Conason, who worked on the study at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
“I don’t think it should deter people from having surgery, but you should be cautious to monitor (alcohol use) after surgery,” Conason told Reuters Health.
The study didn’t show whether people were drinking in a dangerous way, and there was no clear increase in drug use or smoking after surgery.
Her team’s study involved 155 people getting gastric bypass or gastric banding surgery, mostly women. Participants started the study with an average body mass index, or BMI, of 46 — equivalent of a 168 cm (five foot six inch) person weighing 129 kilograms (285 pounds).
Surgery is typically recommended for people with a BMI of at least 40, or at least 35 if they also have health problems such as diabetes or severe sleep apnea.
Alcohol use dropped immediately after surgery, from 61 percent of people who initially reported drinking to 20 percent at one month post-surgery. But by three months, drinking rates had started to creep back up.
And at two years out, people were drinking significantly more often than before their procedures.
That was mainly the case for those who had gastric bypass surgery, not banding. On a scale from 0 to 10 of drinking frequency, where 0 represented never, 5 was sometimes and 10 always, gastric bypass patients reported an increase from 1.86 before surgery to 3.08 two years later.
Conason said gastric bypass, in particular, has been shown to drastically lower alcohol tolerance, to the point that some post-surgery patients have a blood alcohol content above the legal driving limit after just one drink. For some, that could make drinking more appealing, she added.
One limitation of the study is that only one-quarter of the initial participants were still in touch to report their current alcohol and drug use at the two-year mark, so the researchers don’t know how everyone else fared.
James Mitchell, a psychiatrist who has studied alcohol use after weight loss surgery at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Grand Forks, said there’s also a need for research going on for longer than two years, to see if alcohol use keeps increasing.
“The health risks of obesity are such that people with severe obesity should not forgo bariatric surgery because of this,” said Mitchell, who was not involved in the study.
But he added that everyone should be warned about the possibility of increased alcohol use — and people with a history of alcohol abuse should be especially careful.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/JLp3jy


Blankets, bed-sharing common in accidental baby suffocations

In this March 22, 2012 file photo, a doctor demonstrates how an infant can die due to unsafe sleeping practices using a scene re-enactment doll in Norfolk, Va. (AP)
Updated 22 April 2019
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Blankets, bed-sharing common in accidental baby suffocations

  • The authors studied 2011-2014 data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention registry of deaths in 10 states
  • Young babies can’t easily move away from bedding or a sleeping parent; all of the study deaths were in infants younger than 8 months old

CHICAGO: Accidental suffocation is a leading cause of injury deaths in US infants and common scenarios involve blankets, bed-sharing with parents and other unsafe sleep practices, an analysis of government data found.
These deaths “are entirely preventable. That’s the most important point,” said Dr. Fern Hauck, a co-author and University of Virginia expert in infant deaths.
Among 250 suffocation deaths, roughly 70 percent involved blankets, pillows or other soft bedding that blocked infants’ airways. Half of these soft bedding-related deaths occurred in an adult bed where most babies were sleeping on their stomachs.
Almost 20 percent suffocated when someone in the bed accidentally moved against or on top of them, and about 12 percent died when their faces were wedged against a wall or mattress.
The authors studied 2011-2014 data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention registry of deaths in 10 states. The results offer a more detailed look at death circumstances than previous studies using vital records, said lead author Alexa Erck Lambert, a CDC researcher.
The authors said anecdotal reports suggest there’s been little change in unsafe sleep practices in more recent years.
“It is very, very distressing that in the US we’re just seeing this resistance, or persistence of these high numbers,” Hauck said.
The study was published Monday in Pediatrics.
For years, the US government and the American Academy of Pediatrics have waged safe-sleep campaigns aimed at preventing accidental infant suffocations and strangulations and sudden infant death syndrome. These include “back to sleep” advice promoting having babies sleep on their backs, which experts believe contributed to a decline in SIDS deaths over nearly 30 years. But bed-sharing has increased, along with bed-related accidental suffocations — from 6 deaths per 100,000 infants in 1999 to 23 per 100,000 in 2015, the researchers note.
Dr. Rachel Moon, a University of Virginia pediatrics professor not involved in the study, said the results are not surprising.
“Every day I talk to parents who have lost babies. They thought they were doing the right thing, and it seems safe and it seems OK, until you lose a baby,” Moon said.
Some studies have found bed-sharing increases breastfeeding and it’s common in some families because of cultural traditions. Others simply can’t afford a crib.
Erika Moulton, a stay-at-home mom in suburban New York, said bed-sharing was the only way her son, Hugo, would sleep as a newborn. Moulton struggled with getting enough sleep herself for months, and while she knew doctors advise against it, bed-sharing seemed like the only option.
Now 14 months old, “he’s still in our bed,” she said. “Trying to transition him out is a little difficult.”
The pediatricians group recommends that infants sleep on firm mattresses in their own cribs or bassinets but in their parents’ room for the first year. A tight-fitting top sheet is the only crib bedding recommended, to avoid suffocation or strangulation.
Young babies can’t easily move away from bedding or a sleeping parent; all of the study deaths were in infants younger than 8 months old.