More than one of three college freshmen across the globe — 35 percent — show symptoms of one of the common mental-health disorders, said new research published by the American Psychological Association. The research was based on World Health Organization data on 13,984 full-time freshman students from 19 colleges in eight countries.

The two most common disorders found were major depression (affecting 21 percent of the students) and generalized anxiety disorder (19 percent). The study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, found that symptoms started years before college — about age 14 — in most cases, but that the life changes and stresses that may occur as students enter their college years could exacerbate symptoms.

Sleepiness in day tied to Alzheimer’s risk

A new study links daytime sleepiness with the accumulation of the plaques in the brain that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, published in Sleep, included 124 healthy men and women, average age 60, who reported on their daytime sleepiness and napping habits. An average of 15 years later, they were given PET and MRI scans to detect the presence of beta-amyloid, the protein that clumps together to form plaques. Researchers found that compared with people who reported no daytime sleepiness, those who did had almost three times the risk of having plaques. Frequent napping, on the other hand, was not associated with plaque accumulation.

“If you’re falling asleep when you’d rather be awake, that’s something that needs to be investigated,” said the lead author, Adam P. Spira, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “It could be just insufficient sleep, or sleep disordered breathing, or other conditions or medications.”

The study does not prove cause and effect, Spira said, “but it provides more evidence for the link between disturbed sleep and the development of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.”

Opting for antibiotics in appendicitis cases

A study from Finland shows antibiotics are a reasonable alternative for most patients with appendicitis. Five years after treatment with antibiotics, almost two-thirds of patients hadn’t had another attack.

For decades, appendicitis has required immediate surgery to remove the appendix because of fears it could burst, which can be life-threatening. But advances in imaging tests, mainly CT scans, have made it easier to determine if an appendix might burst, or if patients could be safely treated without surgery. The results suggest that nearly two-thirds of appendicitis patients may be good candidates for antibiotics.

News services