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Commonly used heart, diabetes drugs may help ease mental illness

Raghu Kshitiz



Commonly used drugs to combat physical health diseases, such as, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes could bring significant benefits to people with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or non-affective psychoses, according to a study led by University College London (UCL).

The researchers say their findings have “enormous potential”. But they, and independent experts, say the results now need to be tested in clinical trials.

The study published in JAMA Psychiatry assessed the health data records of over 142,000 Swedish patients with serious mental illnesses — including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The starting point for the researchers was a list of currently prescribed medications that science predicts could also help patients with severe mental health disorders.

The researchers found that those patients typically fared better during periods when they were taking certain medications to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.

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The study focused on those patients who had either been prescribed Hydroxylmethyl glutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (HMG-CoA RIs), more commonly known as statins—which are used to reduce cholesterol/heart disease, L-type calcium channel antagonists (LTCC), used to reduce high blood pressure, or biguanides (such as metformin), used to treat diabetes.

“Serious mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, are associated with high levels of morbidity and are challenging to treat,” Lead author, Dr. Joseph Hayes (UCL Psychiatry), said, “Many widely used drugs, such as statins, have long been identified as having the potential for repurposing to benefit these disorders.”

“Many widely used drugs, such as statins, have long been identified as having the potential for repurposing to benefit these disorders,” Dr Hayes added.

This study is the first to use large population data sets to compare patient’s exposure to these commonly used drugs and the potential effects on people with serious mental illnesses.

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Fluctuating personal income linked to increased heart disease risk : Study

Gorkha Post



Sudden drops in personal income for young adults have been linked to increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure compared to people with less variation, according to a study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

The researchers, in the study that began in in 1990,  measured income drop as a decrease of 25 percent or more and looked at cardiovascular events among participants that led to death or illness between 2005 and 2015.

The researchers found that the biggest fluctuations in personal income were significantly associated with nearly double the risk of death and more than double the risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes, heart failure or death during the following 10 years compared to a similar group of people with less fluctuation in personal income.

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According to the study, income fluctuations were more prevalent among black people and women.

“Income volatility presents a growing public health threat, especially when federal programs, which are meant to help absorb unpredictable income changes, are undergoing continuous changes, and mostly cuts,” study lead author Tali Elfassy, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida said in a press release.

The study focused on people aged between 23 and 35, living in Birmingham, Ala., Minneapolis, Minn., Chicago, Ill. and Oakland, Calif.

Overall, about one in four deaths in the United States results from heart disease. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking all contribute to the condition.

“While this study is observational in nature and certainly not an evaluation of such programs, our results do highlight that large negative changes in income may be detrimental to heart health and may contribute to premature death,” Elfassy said.

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