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Insomnia increases stroke risk, study suggests

Insomnia increases stroke risk, study suggests

Young adults with insomnia may be up to eight times more likely to suffer a stroke than those who have no trouble sleeping, according to a study by researchers in Taiwan.

They compared health records of more than 21,000 patients with insomnia with 64,000 patients without the sleep disorder.

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While the overall risk of stroke was small among adults ages 18 to 35, those who were insomniacs were eight times more likely to suffer a stroke over a four-year period compared to those without sleep issues. The same group of insomniacs was also 54 percent more likely to end up in the hospital after having a stroke.

The researchers found that insomniacs with diabetes had a higher risk of stroke than those without diabetes.

Insomnia has been previously linked to higher blood pressure, higher sugar levels, and inflammation of the arteries, which are all factors that increase stroke risk, the researchers wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: People with insomnia may be up to eight times more likely to suffer a stroke than those who have no trouble sleeping.

CAUTIONS: The study does not prove that insomnia causes stroke. The study was conducted on one ethnic group so the findings may not apply to a wider population.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Stroke, April 3

Early use of hearing aids linked to language skills

Hearing aids can help many children with hearing loss develop language and speaking skills, a new study found.

Researchers at the University of Iowa followed 180 preschool children ages 3 to 5 with hearing loss, all but four of whom had been fitted with hearing aids. They measured how much hearing aids improved children’s ability to hear speech sounds and how long the children had worn hearing aids, as well as assessing their ability to speak and understand language.

The gains in audibility afforded by hearing aids was associated with improvements in speech and language skills of children with both mild and moderate-to-severe hearing loss. The longer the children wore the aids, the more their language development benefitted from their better hearing.

The findings suggest that identifying children with hearing loss at an early age and fitting them with hearing aids would benefit their language development and help them succeed in school and in the long-term, the researchers wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Hearing aids appear to help children with hearing loss improve their speaking ability and understanding of language.

CAUTIONS: The study did not compare participants to children who did not wear hearing aids, so the findings might overstate the benefits of hearing aids.

WHERE TO FIND IT: JAMA Otolaryngology, April 3


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