Here’s what happened this week in health
The Food and Drug Administration is curbing antibiotic use in animals. New voluntary regulations rolling back the use of antibiotics in beef, pork and poultry are designed to reduce the development of drug- resistant bacteria that have become a major public health threat. Farmers have been adding antibiotics to animal feed for years to stimulate growth in their animals. The change will allow antibiotics to be used only to treat or prevent disease, and they must be prescribed by a veterinarian.
A new study says playing contact sports (think hockey, football) for a year could lead to memory loss in athletes, even without concussions. In the study, collegiate contact sport athletes were more likely to score lower on learning and memory tests at the end of the season compared to their test scores at the beginning of the season. Those who had score declines also had more changes in their white matter, part of the central nervous system responsible for conducting the speed of the nerve signals sent around the brain.
One in four pregnant women is obese before getting pregnant, according to a study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and this number has been rising for the past few decades. The concern: Women will not lose the excess weight after giving birth and will have an increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Sudden heart attacks may have warning signs. Researchers in Oregon followed more than one million people for 11 years. They found that more than half of all men who suffered sudden cardiac arrest had symptoms—chest pain, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, heart palpitations—in the weeks before their attack.
Exercise may lower some of the negative side effects antidepressants have on a woman’s sex drive. A new study looked at non-pharmaceutical options for helping women who take antidepressants and also suffer low libido. All women in the study who exercised for 30 minutes three times a week experienced a libido boost, with those who stuck in a half hour workout right before sex having the most significant improvements in sexual function. “These findings have important implications for public health, as exercise as a treatment for sexual side effects is accessible, cheap and does not add to burden of care,” says study researcher Tierney Lorenz, an Indiana University post-doctoral research fellow. “Considering the wide prevalence of antidepressant sexual side effects and the dearth of treatment options for those experiencing these distressing effects, this is an important step in treating sexual dysfunction among women who are taking antidepressants.”