Women twice as likely to suffer from severe depression after a stroke

New research today published in the European Journal of Neurology has found that women are twice as likely to suffer from severe depression following a stroke than men.

The team of researchers from King’s College London followed the progress of symptoms over five years after stroke onset in 2,313 people (1,275 men and 1,038 women).

They found that 20% of women suffered from severe depression compared to 10% of men. They also found varying patterns of symptom progression; that long-term increased symptoms of depression are associated with higher mortality rates; and that initially moderate symptoms in men tend to become worse over time.

Full story at Science Daily

Stress of major life events impacts women more than men, shows poll of 2,000 people

New research has highlighted the potential gender gap in stress, with women reporting higher stress from life events such as death of a loved one, illness, losing their smartphone and Brexit.

The study, based on YouGov research commissioned by The Physiological Society, asked over 2000 people to rate how stressful they found key life events — and for every event, women were more stressed than men. The biggest difference was in the stress caused by the threat of terrorism and the smallest for the arrival of the first child (1) (2).

The study builds on the famous stress work of Holmes and Rahe in 1967 to determine how different life events affect people (3).

Key findings from the study included:

Geographic variations: The most stressed area was Scotland, while the least stressed was the South East of England. The East of England was notably upset by delays in their commutes, while Londoners were most sanguine about going on holiday.

Full story of stress of major life events impact on men vs women at Science Daily

Postpartum psychosis big risk for mothers with bipolar disorder

Pregnant women with bipolar disorder and their families and physicians should be aware of a significantly higher risk for developing postpartum psychosis, according to a new Northwestern Medicine review of literature on the rare and under-researched disorder.

Postpartum psychosis almost always stems from bipolar disorder but is often missed because of its rarity and lack of research on the subject, according to the review from Northwestern Medicine, Stanford University and Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Compounding the problem, physicians are reluctant to prescribe lithium for breastfeeding women for fear that the drug will negatively impact the baby. However, a small number of lithium-treated mothers and breastfed babies have been studied and the infants had no adverse effects with careful followup, Wisner said. Lithium is the most effective and fast-acting drug to treat postpartum psychosis.

Full story of postpartum risk for mothers with bipolar disorder at Science Daily

TSD doubles diabetes risk in women

Women with post-traumatic stress disorder are nearly twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared with women who don’t have PTSD, according to researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and Harvard School of Public Health.

The longitudinal cohort study provides the strongest evidence to date of a causal relationship between PTSD and type 2 diabetes. Results are published online in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

The researchers analyzed survey data collected between 1989 and 2011 from 49,739 women enrolled in the Nurses Health Study II and found a dose-response relationship: the greater the number and severity of PTSD symptoms, the greater a woman’s risk of type 2 diabetes. Four percent of the nurses reported the highest number of PTSD symptoms. By age 60, nearly 12 percent of women with the highest number of PTSD symptoms had developed type 2 diabetes, whereas fewer than 7 percent of women with no trauma exposure had diabetes.

Full story of TSD and diabetes risk in women at Science Daily

Weighty issue: Stress and high-fat meals combine to slow metabolism in women

A new study in women suggests that experiencing one or more stressful events the day before eating a single high-fat meal can slow the body’s metabolism, potentially contributing to weight gain.

Researchers questioned study participants about the previous day’s stressors before giving them a meal consisting of 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. The scientists then measured their metabolic rate — how long it took the women to burn calories and fat — and took measures of blood sugar, triglycerides, insulin and the stress hormone cortisol.

On average, the women in the study who reported one or more stressors during the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than nonstressed women in the seven hours after eating the high-fat meal — a difference that could result in weight gain of almost 11 pounds in one year.

Full story of weight issues in women at Science Daily