In the News: Night-Time Eating May Lead to Health Issues, Brisk Walking Might Help Older Women Live Longer, Effectiveness of Basic Painkillers Over Opioids

Basic painkillers are shown to be just as effective as opioids In a new study published in JAMA, scientists investigated whether alternative painkillers could be as effective in treating pain as stronger opioids. The scientists studied more than 400 people who came to emergency rooms in the Bronx, New York, for arm or leg strains, sprains, or fractures. They were randomly assigned to receive either non-opioid painkillers (ibuprofen and acetaminophen, or a variation of an opioid-based painkiller. After two hours, the doctors asked the people to rate their pain on a scale from 1-11 and compared their responses. There was not much difference found between the pain ratings among those who were given the non-opioid pain relievers and the opioid-based ones. While this study only looked at one type of pain (caused by arm or leg injuries), it still highlights possible ways that opioid prescriptions can be reduced. This is relevant, considering studies have shown that nearly 19 percent of people leave emergency rooms with an opioid prescription, and even short-term use can lead to long-term addiction. Watch this clip to learn more about opioid addiction. (T)

Late-night eating may lead to diabetes and heart disease. Emerging research from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City suggests that late-night eaters may be predisposed to diabetes and heart disease. The study outlined a series of experiments on rats, focusing on blood fat levels and the impact of sleep cycles and time of day on their fluctuation.The results suggested that late-night eating habits dictated by our biological clocks can lead to higher levels of triglyceride, or blood fat. This, in turn, is tied to higher risk of metabolic and heart diseases. The professor leading the study warned that these dangerous out-of-sync patterns are now fairly common in westernized countries where late-night dinners are normal. (MN)

Brisk walking may increase longevity in women. A large study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA measured physical activity in older women with sensitive activity trackers and then followed them for up to four years. The study found that there was a strong relationship between the amount of exercise recorded on the women’s activity trackers and a lower risk of death from all causes during the follow-up period. The most active 25 percent of the women had a 60–70 percent lower risk of dying over the follow-up period than the least active 25 percent. While many studies have shown that physical activity lowers mortality rate, previous studies have relied heavily on self-reported physical activity, with self-reports tending to be less precise. Want to shed a few pounds? Find out how to walk off your weight here. (MN)