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Statins Reduce Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke in Those Without Heart Disease

HeartNov 28 06

Among individuals without cardiovascular disease, taking statins regularly may reduce the risk of major heart and cerebrovascular events such as heart attack and stroke but not coronary heart disease or overall death, according to a meta-analysis of previously published studies, reported in the November 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Statins have been shown to reduce death and other negative outcomes associated with heart and cerebrovascular disease among those who already have these conditions, according to background information in the article.

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Pregnant Smokers May “Programme” Their Kids to Become Smokers

PregnancyNov 28 06

Pregnant smokers may “programme” their children to become smokers, suggests research published in Tobacco Control.

The authors base their findings on over 3,000 mothers and their children, who were part of a long term pregnancy study in Brisbane, Australia (MUSP) in 1981.

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Halving Daily Cigarette Quota Has No Health Benefit

Tobacco & MarijuanaNov 28 06

Halving the number of cigarettes smoked every day in the belief that it will stave off an early death makes no difference, suggests research in Tobacco Control.

Although reducing consumption may have a place as a temporary measure in smoking cessation, this study proves quite clearly that the only safe way out of the risk caused by smoking is to quit, say the authors.

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Where you live affects your health!

Public HealthNov 23 06

According to a new Canadian study where you live is a big factor in how healthy you are.

The study, by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), has found that people in neighbourhoods with higher incomes and higher education levels were more likely to report excellent or very good health.

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Mindless Eating is a nourishing read

Obesity • • Weight LossNov 23 06

Mindless Eating may be the most nourishing book you read all year. It is full of tasty morsels dipped in a rich, creamy, sometimes sarcastic sauce of humor, spiced with common sense and reachable goals.

The author of this Bantam Books banquet, Brian Wansink, is director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Laboratory. He also is an eater, he readily admits—of everything from French fries to fine French cuisine. He is as apt to give in to the lures of the palate as the next guy. But unlike the next guy, his years of research at Cornell, and at a similar University of Illinois lab he founded earlier, gave him some clues to ways we can continue to munch and still lose weight.

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Lack of sleep may spur weight gain

Sleep AidNov 23 06

Middle-aged women may be able to sleep their way to a trimmer body, new study findings suggest.

In a study that followed more than 68,000 U.S. women for 16 years, researchers found that those who caught more zzz’s each night tended to put on less weight during middle-age.

What’s more, women who typically clocked 5 hours of sleep were one third more likely than those who slept for 7 hours to have a substantial weight gain—33 pounds or more—during the study period.

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Patients With Herniated Disk Improved With or Without Surgery

Backache • • SurgeryNov 22 06

Patients with lumbar disk herniation who had surgery or nonoperative treatments showed similar levels of improvement in the reduction of pain over a 2-year period, according to a randomized trial in the November 22/29 issue of JAMA. In all cases patients who had surgery did slightly better.

Lumbar diskectomy (surgical removal, in part or whole, of an intervertebral disk) is the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States for patients having back and leg pain. The vast majority of the procedures are elective.

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Millions with Arthritis May Benefit from Bone Loss Drug

ArthritisNov 22 06

People taking a widely used medication to strengthen fragile, aging bones may also be protecting their joints, according to a recent study led by Johns Hopkins rheumatologist Clifton Bingham, M.D.

Researchers began to wonder if risedronate might be used to treat osteoarthritis after noticing that the drug, and other compounds in the same class of drugs, not only slowed joint damage in animals, but also reduced cartilage-irritating bone lesions in humans.

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Gene Therapy Shows Promise Against Hereditary Lung Disease

Genetics • • Respiratory ProblemsNov 22 06

An experimental gene therapy to combat alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a common hereditary disorder that causes lung and liver disease, has caused no harmful effects in patients and shows signs of being effective, University of Florida researchers say.

In a clinical trial, researchers evaluated the safety of using a so-called gene vector - in this case an adeno-associated virus - to deliver a corrective gene to 12 patients who are unable to produce a protein essential for health called alpha-1 antitrypsin.

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Genetics a key factor in premature infants’ devastating eye disease

Eye / Vision Problems • • GeneticsNov 22 06

Genetics play a major role in predisposing infants to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a disease prevalent in premature infants that disrupts normal blood vessel development of the retina and can lead to blindness, researchers at Yale School of Medicine report in the November issue of Pediatrics.

“This is the first definitive study to show that genetic factors are a significant component of ROP, and to quantify the extent of that genetic contribution,” said lead author Vineet Bhandari, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine.

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Free Viagra spices up small town life

Drug NewsNov 21 06

The mayor of a small Brazilian town has begun handing out free Viagra, spicing up the sex lives of dozens of elderly men and their partners.

“Since we started the free distribution of sexual stimulants, our elderly population changed. They’re much happier,” said Joao de Souza Luz, the mayor of Novo Santo Antonio, a small town in the central state of Mato Grosso.

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Jury out on weight loss effects of dance game

Weight LossNov 21 06

A dance video game can help overweight kids burn calories and get their hearts pumping faster, but it’s not clear that this sort of workout is enough to help them lose weight and become more fit.

The popular video game, Dance Dance Revolution, consists of a game pad with sensor arrows, which the player child stands on while the screen gives instructions on where to step, in rhythm with the music.

Dr. V. B. Unnithan of Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, UK and colleagues set out to determine whether playing the dance video game would be beneficial to obese and normal-weight children, especially given that heaver and less-fit kids expend more energy when they do weight-bearing exercise than their normal weight, more active peers.

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Studies fault hospital procedures in infections

Public HealthNov 21 06

Hospital practices are more to blame than how sick a person is for infections acquired by patients while they are in the hospital; researchers reported on Monday, urging medical centers to do more to curb these infections.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month estimated that infections acquired inside U.S. hospitals kill 90,000 people annually and urges hospitals to do more to track and prevent the infections.

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Silicone breast implants given the OK by the FDA

Breast CancerNov 21 06

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. has lifted a ban on the use of silicone breast implants.

But the removal of the 14 year ban carries the proviso that the implants be studied for side effects on 40,000 women for a 10 year period.

The FDA says a number of independent studies have failed to find evidence that the silicone breast implants caused tissue damage or cancer, but nevertheless safety concerns continue to worry some.

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Metabolic Syndrome Predicts Progressive Kidney Disease in African-Americans

ObesityNov 18 06

For African-Americans with high blood pressure, the combination of risk factors known as metabolic syndrome brings an increased risk of worsening kidney disease, reports a paper being presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in San Diego.

“Our study shows a 38 percent increased risk of progressive chronic kidney disease in hypertensive African-Americans classified as having the metabolic syndrome,” comments Dr. J. P. Lea of Emory University, lead author of the new study. “This has important public health implications, as treatments are available to reduce the severity of the metabolic syndrome and may have an impact on reducing the rate of progressive kidney disease.”

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