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    Be Well: Frequent spats linked to higher risk of early death

    Frequent spats
    linked to higher risk
    of early death

    Frequent arguments with family or friends may double a person’s risk of death by middle age, a study by researchers in Denmark suggests.

    They surveyed nearly 10,000 Danish men and women aged 36 to 52 about their relationships with partners, family members, and friends. Ten percent of the participants identified their partner or children as demanding and their greatest source of worry; 6 percent said they had frequent arguments with their partner or children, compared with 2 percent who argued frequently with other relatives and 1 percent with friends or neighbors.

    During the 11-year study, 422 participants died, with cancer the most common cause of death. Participants who said they argued frequently with anyone had double the risk of death compared with those who said they rarely argued. Those who were unemployed were also found to be at increased risk of death.


    The findings suggest that having a strong network and social relationships are key to living longer and healthier, the authors wrote.

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    BOTTOM LINE: Frequent arguments with family or friends may double a person’s risk of death in middle age.

    CAUTIONS: The study relied on participants reporting on their relationships, which may not be completely accurate. It found a correlation between frequent arguments and risk of death, but did not prove one caused the other.

    WHERE TO FIND IT: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, online May 8

    ADHD medications may lower teens’ risk of smoking

    Consistent use of stimulant medication to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may lower the chance that adolescents start smoking, according to the largest review to date of studies looking at this issue.


    Previous studies suggested that people with ADHD are more likely to smoke than those without the disorder. For this study, researchers at Duke University Medical Center reviewed 14 previous papers looking at cigarette smoking among more than 2,000 people with ADHD. Overall, youths under age 18 who took stimulants to treat their disorder had lower smoking rates than those who never used the medications, the researchers found. The decrease in smoking was greatest among participants with a more severe diagnosis and those who used stimulants the most.

    BOTTOM LINE: Consistent use of stimulant medication to treat ADHD may lower the risk of smoking.

    CAUTIONS: The study is an analysis of previous studies, some of which used nicotine dependence as a measure for smoking, which may not capture all adolescents who have begun smoking. The review cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship between stimulant use and lower smoking rates.

    WHERE TO FIND IT: Pediatrics, online May 12