By Ben Smart and Liza Lucas
Special to CNN
(CNN) — Here’s the fascinating research we’re watching from around the world. CNN Health & Wellness has gauged these studies’ impact on our health.
Most Americans still too fat
Two-thirds of Americans’ scales are still tipping in the wrong direction, says a new study from JAMA Internal Medicine. Research shows that ladies are no longer the biggest losers as the gender more likely to be obese. Washington University, St. Louis researchers weighed the latest data and found that 36.84% of women (nearly 35.8 million) were obese, compared to 35.04% of men (31.8 million). Obesity has significantly increased from 15% since the 1990s. Meanwhile, men are still more likely to be overweight (39.96%) than women (29.74%), and the study’s authors suggest that environment interventions, such as fat-proofing your home, might do the trick.
Edible medical marijuana not reliably labeled
As more states approve medical marijuana use, there’s a new concern about its brownie, cereal bar and cookie forms. Researchers studying edible medical marijuana products from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle found of 75 products purchased, 83% had different THC amounts than the label displayed. Since THC is one of the main chemicals in marijuana that helps patients, unreliable labels could mean big risks with dosing for users. The study’s authors admit a true random sample wasn’t possible, but given these cities are in two of the largest medical cannabis markets, the authors say there’s a need for quality control and industry standards. So, if you’re part of the 26% of patients who ingest medical marijuana, this study suggests you look at THC labeling in edibles with a critical eye, even if weed is legal in your state.
The schizophrenia shot
For those dealing with this serious mental illness, a shot twice weekly might be a better alternative to the standard of a daily pill for managing symptoms, according to a new study. Schizophrenia prevents a person from perceiving the world normally by disrupting emotions and thinking. To figure out new ways of treating people with this disorder, researchers divided 86 patients into two groups, giving the pill to one group and the shot to the other. Patients in the injection group had fewer psychological disruptions, including hallucinations and delusions, and stuck to their treatment better. Researchers believe the daily pill created issues for patients because they stopped taking it when their symptoms went away, thinking they no longer needed it. The study authors noted the injection should be offered to patients when they’re first diagnosed as an alternative to the oral medication.
Stricter seat belt laws save lives
Seat belts save lives — and new data shows that tougher seat belt laws save even more, too. Researchers compared car crash deaths from 2001 to 2010, finding that as more states adopted stricter seat belt laws, fatality rates decreased by about a third. States with the strictest seat belt laws, where drivers can be ticketed solely for driving unbuckled, had lower fatality rates from car crashes than states with more lenient laws. And if you have teenage drivers, make sure they know to buckle up and keep their eyes on the road, not their cells phone.
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