Health Highlights: Nov. 6, 2019

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Only Children May Have Higher Obesity Risk

Only children may be more prone to obesity than their peers with siblings, a new study suggests.

Researchers examined the eating habits and body weight of only children and found that they had less healthy eating and drinking habits than those with brothers and sisters, CNN reported Wednesday. Still, the study was small and it did not prove a cause-and-effect link.

But one reason for the finding could be differences in the meal planning and organization required of mothers with multiple children, according to study author Chelsea Kracht, a researcher at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

“With multiple children, you’re scheduling a little bit more of your meals. So we’re going to have more at-home meals. We’re probably going to have less fast food,” Kracht said in an interview for the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

The study does “raise an interesting point that we need to better understand,” said Dr. Natalie Muth, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Obesity. She was not involved in the research.

“Several studies in addition to this one have shown that only children are more likely to be overweight or obese,” Muth told CNN.

“Why is that? While this study doesn’t provide the answer to that question, it is helpful in building the body of research that eventually will provide clearer answers,” she said.


Fecal Transplants Better Than Antibiotics in Preventing C. Diff Infection Complications

Fecal transplants are better than antibiotics in preventing complications and saving the lives of patients with Clostridium difficile bacterial infections, a new study suggests.

Compared with antibiotics, fecal transplants (fecal microbiota transplantation — FMT) improved patient survival by more than 30%, lowered the risk of deadly bloodstream infections (sepsis) by fourfold, and cut the length of hospital stays in half, NBC News reported.

The study was published Nov. 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Before this study, we knew that FMT was more effective than antibiotics in curing recurrent C. difficile infection, but now we know that it is also more effective in preventing C. diff-related complications,” said lead author Dr. Gianluca Ianiro, a FMT specialist at the Fondazione Policlinico Gemelli IRCCS in Rome, NBC News reported.

In FMT — which has long been used to treat antibiotic-resistant C. diff infections — processed stool from a healthy person is transplanted into the gut of the recipient.

Each year in the United States, C. diff infections make 450,000 people sick and cause 29,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.