In today's health news:
In what one study author described as "quite a surprise," researchers from Stanford have established a direct link between high sugar levels in a population's food and higher diabetes rates. A study appearing in PLOS ONE says while obesity is a primary driving force in diabetes prevalence, sugar also seems to play an important role: For every 150 calories of sugar available per person per day, researchers found the diabetes rate rose 1 percent.
Another study found that as the amount of time a person spends sitting increases, so does their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. HealthDay says according to researchers, telling people to avoid sitting, rather than imploring them to be physically active, could actually be a more effective route to helping them avoid the disease.
Among 1,240 doctors who voted in an unscientific poll, 44 percent believe breast cancer screening should start among women at age 50, aligning themselves with the recommendation of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. But according to the Los Angeles Times, 39 percent side with the American Cancer Society, which says the screenings should take place regularly starting at the age of 40. Another 17 percent think it's best to do away with mammograms altogether – all of which demonstrates a divide among medical professionals regarding how to find the disease in patients.
Around $85 billion will be cut from federal spending if sequestration goes into effect on Friday, says U.S. News & World Report – and that could mean some big changes to health-related budgets. Hospitals would see cuts in Medicare reimbursement totaling nearly $4.5 billion, for example – and medical research undertaken by federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health are looking at funding cuts of around $2.5 billion.
Of the 10 most common outpatient conditions treated in U.S. emergency rooms, the median charge was $1,233, says HealthDay. But a procedure's cost varied across different E.R.s – treatment for urinary tract infections ranged from $50 to an astounding $73,000, while sprains and strains could run as low as $4 and as high as $24,100. Kidney stone treatment tended to be most expensive, with a median cost of $3,437; upper respiratory conditions tended to be the cheapest at $740.
There may be a "shared biology" among five major psychiatric disorders: autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia. So says a new study, reports CBSNews.com, which found there were genetic properties common to all five conditions. The findings won't immediately affect how the disorders are treated, but may position doctors and other experts to better treat them one day.
Same-sex couples who live together report worse health than their opposite-sex counterparts, which prompted one researcher to suggest that legalizing same-sex marriage could reduce the disparity. The study, which appeared in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, attributed the reduced quality of life to heightened stress levels and higher levels of discrimination. The authors also noted that same-sex couples, for the most part, are still barred from many of the same social and economic resources available to opposite-sex couples.
Remember acne? That was fun, right? If it's any consolation, researchers may finally be able to explain one of the cruelest realities of adolescence: TIME reports that some bacteria strains that reside on the skin appear to be more prone to causing breakouts of pimples than others.
And finally: When it comes to well-being, California ranks – well, 18th. Which isn't bad, compared to West Virginia (No. 50), or good, compared to Hawaii (No. 1). USA Today reports on a survey which ranked all 50 states and asked participants about their physical and emotional health, work environment and basic access to things like food and health care, among other measures. In case you were wondering which state was the one to barely edge out the Golden State at No. 17: Kansas.