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Vol. LXV, No. 15
July 19, 2013
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Digest

Vietnam Vets with PTSD More Than Twice as Likely to Have Heart Disease

Male twin Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were more than twice as likely as those without PTSD to develop heart disease during a 13-year period, according to a study supported by NIH.

This is the first long-term study to measure the association between PTSD and heart disease using objective clinical diagnoses combined with cardiac imaging techniques.

“This study provides further evidence that PTSD may affect physical health,” said Dr. Gary Gibbons, director of NHLBI, which partially funded the study. “Future research to clarify the mechanisms underlying the link between PTSD and heart disease in Vietnam veterans and other groups will help to guide the development of effective prevention and treatment strategies for people with these serious conditions.”

The findings appeared online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and will be featured in the Sept. 10 print issue.

Estrogen Therapy Has No Long-Term Effect on Cognition in Younger Postmenopausal Women

A randomized clinical trial of estrogen therapy in younger postmenopausal women, ages 50-55, has found no long-term risk or benefit to cognitive function. The NIH-supported study, reported in JAMA Internal Medicine on June 24, looked at women taking conjugated equine estrogens, the most common type of postmenopausal hormone therapy in the United States.

The earlier Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) linked the same type of hormone therapy to cognitive decline and dementia in older postmenopausal women.

The new findings come from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study of Younger Women (WHIMSY) trial funded primarily by NIA, along with NHLBI.

“The WHIMS study found that estrogen-based postmenopausal hormone therapy produced deficits in cognitive function and increased risk for dementia when prescribed to women 65 and older,” said NIA director Dr. Richard Hodes. “Researchers leading the WHIMSY study wanted to expand on those results by exploring the possibility of a window of opportunity whereby hormone therapy might promote or preserve brain health when given to younger women.”

“In contrast to findings in older postmenopausal women, this study tells women that taking these types of estrogen-based hormone therapies for a relatively short period of time in their early postmenopausal years may not put them at increased risk for cognitive decline over the long term,” said NIA’s Dr. Susan Resnick. “Further, it is important to note that we did not find any cognitive benefit after long-term follow-up.”

Only Half of U.S. Youth Meet Physical Activity Standards, Study Shows

Only about half of U.S. adolescents are physically active 5 or more days of the week, and fewer than 1 in 3 eat fruits and vegetables daily.

Only about half of U.S. adolescents are physically active 5 or more days of the week, and fewer than 1 in 3 eat fruits and vegetables daily.

Only about half of U.S. adolescents are physically active 5 or more days of the week, and fewer than 1 in 3 eat fruits and vegetables daily, according to researchers at NIH.

In a survey of youth in 39 states, researchers questioned nearly 10,000 students between 11 and 16 years old about their activity levels and eating habits. They also asked the students to describe their emotional health, body image and general satisfaction with life.

“The students showed a surprising variability in eating patterns,” said lead author Dr. Ronald J. Iannotti of the Prevention Research Branch, NICHD. “But most—about 74 percent—did not have a healthy pattern.”

Iannotti conducted the research with NICHD colleague Dr. Jing Wang. Funding also was provided by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Their findings appeared in the Journal of Adolescent Health.





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