Quick Hits: Antibiotics and Childhood Obesity, Alternative Therapies Don’t Cure Cancer & More

Children that are given antibiotics before the age of two are more likely to become obese in childhood, according to a new study. Researchers looked at the medical records of more than 333,000 toddlers. Those that were given an antibiotic by the time they were two years old were 26% more likely to eventually be diagnosed with childhood obesity. The risk increased the more antibiotic prescriptions a child received and the more classes of antibiotics that were prescribed. The study also found that infants given acid-reducing medications also had a higher likelihood of obesity, though the increased risk was only about 2%. The researchers said that antibiotics and acid-reducing medications can kill bacteria in the gut involved in regulating body weight. Posted October 30, 2018. Via Gut.

Nearly four out of 10 Americans incorrectly believe that cancer can be cured through alternative therapies alone, even though studies have shown this is not the case. A survey, commissioned by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), found that younger people (18-53 years old) are more likely to believe in alternative medicine as a cancer cure, and 22% of people who have or had cancer do as well. Some of these alternative therapies include supplements, changes in diet and oxygen or enzyme therapy. However, a study published last year found that cancer patients who relied on alternative therapies alone were 2.5 times more likely to die than those who received standard cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Another study published this year found that patients with one of four types of cancer who used alternative treatment were twice as likely to die as those that used conventional treatment. Posted October 30, 2018. Via ASCO.

About three out of four doctors have received some type of benefit, such as free drug samples, free meals or payments as consultants, from drug companies. A national survey of 700 doctors found that drug samples were the most common benefit. About half of the physicians surveyed said they received a meal or beverages in their office courtesy of a pharmaceutical company. Only 4% reported receiving money for consulting work. The team that conducted the study said that receiving drug samples is linked to doctors prescribing more expensive, brand-name drugs rather than cheaper generic drugs. They also noted that compared to a national physician survey conducted in 2009, fewer doctors reported receiving pharmaceutical industry benefits. Posted October 18, 2018. Via Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

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