16 April 2018

Journal round up: Affairs of the heart


Here are four articles from the leading medical journals that caught The Medical Republic’s eye:

Good news on melanoma

Cases of invasive melanoma in Victoria for those aged under 55 are declining, a likely result of the effect of skin cancer prevention campaigns which began in the early 1980s, research has found.

However, the rate is still climbing for those older than 55, albeit at a slower pace than before the mid-1990s.

Analysing data from the Victorian Cancer Registry on that state’s residents diagnosed with melanoma between 1985 and 2015, researchers found the incidence of melanoma had been falling since 1996 in those under 55. The annual decreases since then for that age group were 1.4% for men and 1.9% for women.

In 2015 in Victoria, there were 52.9 cases per 100,000 men and 39.2 cases per 100,00 women.

MJA; online 2 April

Tooth loss and CVD

A higher number of teeth lost by middle-aged adults may be associated with a subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease, independent of the baseline number of natural teeth and traditional risk factors, such as diet and diabetes.

While a link between poor dental health and CVD is not new, this is the first research to focus on tooth loss during midlife and exclude tooth loss which had occurred earlier. US researchers calculated cumulative tooth loss over an eight-year period among men and women aged 45 to 69 years. 

Among participants with 25 to 32 natural teeth at baseline, men and women who lost two or more teeth over the period had a significantly increased risk of CVD, they concluded.

Circulation; online 20 March

Affairs of the heart

Bariatric surgery can be a life-changing treatment for patients with severe obesity in terms of the improvement in quality of life associated with dramatic weight loss.

However, a Swedish cohort study of nearly 2000 obese patients who underwent the surgery, and a control of a similar number which did not, has found an unexpected side-effect to the procedure: an increased likelihood of change in relationship status.

The study found the cohort which underwent the procedure had an increased incidence of divorce and separation, and greater chance of marriage or entering a new relationship, than the control group.

While only an observational study, the authors said the findings suggested clinicians should consider counselling bariatric surgery candidates that relationships might change following the operation.

JAMA Surgery; online 28 March

Measles linked to COPD

Having measles during early childhood has been linked to an increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in middle age, but only in adults with asthma and a history of smoking.

An Australian study of more than 8000 Tasmanians by University of Melbourne researchers, suggests airway damage from the disease may predispose an individual to asthma-like symptoms and increased susceptibility to airway obstruction if they also smoked.

“While we have found measles to not have an effect by itself, our findings suggest it could contribute to COPD when combined with significant asthma and smoking histories,” lead author Dr Jennifer Perret said.

Respirology; online 21 March