Depression associated with increased risk of stroke and stroke-related death

An analysis of nearly 30 studies including more than 300,000 patients finds that depression is associated with a significantly increased risk of developing stroke and dying from stroke, according to an article.

"Stroke is a leading cause of death and permanent disability. Depression is highly prevalent in the general population, and it is estimated that 5.8 percent of men and 9.5 percent of women will experience a depressive episode in a 12-month period. The lifetime incidence of depression has been estimated at more than 16 percent in the general population," according to background information in the article. Whether depression increases the risk of stroke has been unclear.

Calcium supplements may increase the risk of kidney stone recurrence

Calcium supplements may increase the risk of kidney stone recurrence, according to a study.

While eating foods rich in calcium has protective effects against kidney stones, the effect of supplementation with calcium and vitamin D on the risk of kidney stone formation remains unclear. To investigate, Christopher Loftus, MD candidate and his colleagues reviewed the 24-hour urine collections and CT imaging scans from patients who had a history of kidney stones.

They identified 6050 patients with a history of kidney stones by imaging scans, 2061 of whom had 24-hour urine collections before and after starting supplementation.

Being overweight 'ages people's brains'

The brains of overweight people look "10 years older" than those of leaner peers, a study has found.

Brains naturally lose white matter - the part of the brain that transmits information - as people age.

But a Cambridge University team found that loss was exacerbated with extra weight - so an overweight 50-year-old had a lean 60-year-old's brain, according to BBC.

Researchers said it shows we need to know relatively more about how extra weight affects the brain.

The team, from the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience, looked at the brains of 473 people aged between 20 and 87, dividing them into lean and overweight categories.

Their findings, found significant differences in the volume of white matter in the brains of overweight people compared with leaner individuals.

Asthma pill for people with severe symptoms

An experimental pill could help adults with severe asthma, an early study in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal suggests.

In the small trial, patients who were given the drug, known as Fevipiprant, had less inflammation in their airways.

And some patients with uncontrolled asthma felt their symptoms improved, according to BBC.

Charity Asthma UK said the research showed "massive promise and should be greeted with cautious optimism".

Cancer gene tests 'reveal family link'

Scientists have discovered why some families are affected by many different types of cancer, thanks to genetic testing.

In tests on 1,100 patients affected by a rare cancer called sarcoma, more than half were born with gene mutations known to increase cancer risk, according to BBC.

The study, said the inherited mutations could become targets for treatments.

And families affected by cancer could be offered screening and advice.

Inherited mutations in genes linked to breast, ovarian and bowel cancer, among others, were found to be common in sarcoma patients.