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Bariatric surgery beneficial

Bariatric surgery for severely obese patients is associated both with long-term weight loss and reduced overall mortality, Swedish researchers have found.

There was a 24% reduced risk of death in 1,471 patients who had had surgery (gastric bypass, vertical-banded gastroplasty and banding) compared with 1,444 patients who received conventional treatment and follow-up at 15 and 29 years.

The reduction in mortality was about 30% in patients with a BMI over the median of 40.8, and 20% in those with a BMI below the median.

New England Journal of Medicine 2007;357:741-52

'Asthma' could be VCD

Children with acute breathing difficulties but normal oxygen levels are more likely to be suffering from vocal cord dysfunction than asthma, say US researchers.

VCD is the sudden, abnormal narrowing of vocal cords and is characterised by wheezing but does not respond to asthma medication. Spirometry during an acute attack can differentiate it from asthma.

Researchers studied 17 adolescents presenting to an A&E department with acute respiratory distress but normal oxygen. Spirometry identified 12 as having VCD.

Pediatric Pulmonology 2007 42;605-9

Cutting childhood obesity

Treating gestational diabetes significantly reduces risk of childhood obesity, a US study has found.

Researchers collected data from 1995 to 2000 on 9,439 women. Children of mothers with hyperglycaemia during pregnancy who were untreated were 89% more likely to be overweight, and 82% more likely to be obese, by the time they were five to seven years old than children born to mothers who had normal blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

Diabetes Care 2007;30:2287-92

One in 50 children restless

One in 50 children has restless legs syndrome, according to a new survey.

The survey of 10,523 families found 1.9% of eight-

to 11-year-olds and 2% of 12- to 17-year-olds met the criteria for, and gave convincing descriptions of, the syndrome.

In 70% of affected families at least one biological parent reported having restless legs. In 16% of families both parents were affected. More than two-thirds of the children with restless legs had sleep problems.

Pediatrics 2007;120:253-66

‘High normal' BP a risk

Women with 'high normal' blood pressure of 130-9/ 80-9mmHg have a greatly increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or having a heart attack or stroke, according to a study of 39,322 initially healthy women.

Researchers from the US Women's Health Study found those with high normal BP were 64% more likely to have a major cardiovascular event than those with normal blood pressure, and nearly double those with optimal (low) blood pressure.

BMJ; 20 August early online publication

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