Monday, November 02, 2009

Obesity study to measure hospital visits

This sounds perilously like obesity skepticism. Fancy looking for evidence of what "everyone knows"!

Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) have started a long-range study on people who are overweight or obese and the number of times they need to visit hospitals. The study is following 265,000 people aged over 45 years, their weight and the number of hospital admissions.

ANU Associate Professor Emily Banks says very little is known about whether being overweight can increase your risk of going to hospital. "To look at if there are any points where we can intervene, actually to make people who are overweight or obese less at risk of hospital [visits]," she said. "So we are not only going to describe the relationship between being overweight or obese and going to hospital, we're also going to be able to look and see if there are points where we can make a difference and we can actually prevent it."

Professor Banks says the team will collect data which could be used to help develop future health policy. "The group's going to be investigating the effect of obesity and overweight on the risk of going to hospital and I think a lot of people would be quite surprised to find we don't know very much about that," she said. "We don't know what the risks are. We also don't know what the ideal weight is in terms of whether or not people are at risk of going to hospital."


Women going through IVF told to lie back and put their feet up to boost conception by 50%

Some IVF clinics have been advising this for years

Women who lie on their backs for 15 minutes after fertility treatment are 50 per cent more likely to get pregnant, according to a study. Researchers suspect moving around after being artificially inseminated may prevent conception. They are now calling for all would-be mothers undergoing the procedure to be offered a quarter of an hour of rest.

The study of almost 400 couples found 27 per cent of the women who rested (54) became pregnant compared with only 18 per cent (34) of those who moved around after being given intrauterine insemination, in which sperm is injected into the uterus when the woman is ovulating.

The team described their findings, published online in the British Medical Journal, as 'significant' Dr Inge Custers, of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, said: 'We found a clinically relevant and statistically significant improvement in ongoing pregnancy rates after 15 minutes of immobilisation, confirming the results of a previous study. 'We suggest incorporating immobilisation as a standard procedure in intrauterine insemination treatment.'

While some small scale studies have investigated links between immobilisation and the success of artificial insemination, this is the first large scale trial to do so. In the study around half were asked to lie down for 15 minutes afterwards and the others were allowed to move around immediately following the procedure.

The mechanism of the effect of immobilisation after insemination is unclear but in intrauterine insemination, the most common fertility treatment in the world, sperm are inserted in a small volume of fluid directly into the womb. Dr Custers said: 'As a consequence, immediate mobilisation might cause leakage of this volume together with spermatozoa out of the uterus; alternatively, movement of processed sperm to and up the fallopian tubes may take longer than after intercourse.

In an accompanying editorial Professor William Ledger, of the University of Sheffield, said while the research showed promise, further studies were required. Prof Ledger said: 'In the United Kingdom, intrauterine insemination is the mainstay of fertility treatment carried out before couples embark on in vitro fertilisation. 'A busy assisted reproduction centre will carry out several intrauterine inseminations over the course of an hour. A 15 minute delay would affect clinic turnover, although with planning this would not be insurmountable. 'The results suggest that units should carry out their own evaluation of immobilisation versus immediate mobilisation after intrauterine insemination, to test the hypothesis in the "real world". 'If successful, more couples could be spared the rigorous and costly process of in vitro fertilisation. Future trials should assess the effect of different durations of immobilisation.'


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