Weekend ICYMI: May 20 to May 24

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In case you missed it, this week we had news about student-athlete suicides, the benefits of omega-3, the rise in tianeptine across the US, and more.

Suicide is Second-Leading Cause of Death Among College Athletes

Suicide is among the leading causes of death for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes, with suicide rates more than doubling over a 20-year study period, according to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

College athletes running cross country / Mandeep - stock.adobe.com

College athletes running cross country / Mandeep - stock.adobe.com

During the second 10-year period of the study, suicide rates jumped from 7.6% to 15.3%, making suicide the second-leading cause of death for NCAA athletes, behind accidents. This jump in suicide cases reinforces the need for better mental health resources for student-athletes, despite a recent increase in focus on the topic.

“College athletes are in a unique environment where it's a very intense culture and there often hasn’t historically been this priority on them as people,” said Clare Kehoe, MSN, RN, cofounder of Morgan’s Message, an advocacy group for mental health in student athletics. “They have control over the outcome of games in ways that I can imagine could create an astonishing amount of pressure for some students.”

Closed-Loop Glucose Management Led to Direct, Indirect Benefits Among Youth With T1D

Hybrid closed-loop (HCL) glucose monitoring systems led to significant improvements in glycated hemoglobin levels, time in target glucose range, and hypoglycemia risk among children and young people with type 1 diabetes (T1D), according to a new study of real-world usage of HCL systems.

New technology, like HCL systems, has dramatically changed daily management and monitoring of T1D. HCL systems use subcutaneous continuous glucose monitoring and an insulin pump to automatically manage patients’ glucose levels, lowering the risk of complications associated with uncontrolled blood glucose.

Financial Incentives Show Significant Success for Weight Loss in Men

Obese men who received financial incentives during a 12-month weight-loss study saw significant decreases in weight compared with a group who only received text messages for weight-loss motivation and resources, as well as the waiting list control group.

“More than 600 million adults worldwide have obesity. From 1999 to 2018, the prevalence of obesity among adults in the US rose from 30.5% to 42.4%, with a substantially higher percentage among racial and ethnic minority groups. Obesity also contributes to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, and it is estimated that $147 billion are attributable to obesity-related illnesses in the US,” wrote Ladapo et al.

Tianeptine Misuse Raises Concerns Across US, but is Stigmatizing the Drug Helpful?

A quick Google search of tianeptine will produce plenty of legitimate medical information, but it will also yield news stories with sensationalist headlines meant to pull in readers. The term “gas station heroin” is used frequently; other stories include phrases like “deadly chemical compound” and “stuff that will kill you.” Using this type of language may seem understandable from a public health perspective: Media companies are just trying to warn their readers about a potentially harmful substance that they could easily pick up from the closest gas station. But these stories may also be ruining any chance investigators had of bringing a medicine that may help people to market.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Lower Colorectal Cancer Risk

Consuming more omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of developing colorectal adenomas, particularly in the distal colon and among individuals under 50, according to study findings presented at Digestive Disease Week 2024, held May 18 to 21 in Washington, DC.

Research has previously explored omega-3 supplements as adjunctive therapies in cancer treatment due to their anti-inflammatory properties that combat chronic inflammation associated with the development and progression of cancer. However, their specific role in colorectal cancer—globally the third most prevalent cancer—remains unclear.

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