battle of bulge for women in midlife

Many women in middle age complain about stubborn belly fat. Research suggests that this is indeed a common feature of menopause. In a study by the International Menopause Society in 2012, scientists reviewed decades of research and concluded that the hormonal shifts of menopause change the distribution of body fat, making it more likely to accumulate in the abdomen. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that at the cellular level, two enzymes that work to synthesize and store fat were more active in the postmenopausal women, which researchers attributed to drops in estrogen. Experts say decreases in metabolism mean that women gain an average of 10 pounds around menopause, but that they can lose weight through diet and exercise.

the rising toll on bullying victims

Victims of bullying were more than twice as likely as other kids to contemplate suicide and about 2.5 times as likely to try to kill themselves, said a study that quantifies the emotional effects of being teased, harassed, beaten up or otherwise harmed by one's peers. Children who were taunted by cyberbullies were especially vulnerable — they were about three times as likely as other kids to have suicidal thoughts, the study found. Experts believe that as many as 1 in 5 teens is involved in some type of bullying, and suicide is one of the leading causes of death among adolescents. Three Dutch researchers reported their findings in the JAMA Pediatrics after scouring studies that included data on 284,375 people.

ER test rules out heart attacks

A simple test appears very good at ruling out heart attacks in people who go to emergency rooms with chest pain, a big public health issue and a huge worry for patients. A large study in Sweden found that the blood test — a faster, more sensitive blood test for troponin — plus the usual electrocardiogram of the heartbeat were 99 percent accurate at showing which patients could safely be sent home rather than be admitted for observation and more diagnostics. Of nearly 9,000 patients judged low risk by the blood test and with normal electrocardiograms, only 15 went on to suffer a heart attack in the next month, and not a single one died.

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