Apr 20, 2009 | 15
Sugar overload of any type does not bode well for your waistline or your health, but a new study suggests that certain sugars trigger more health problems than others. Consuming large quantities of fructose, a sugar found in high fructose corn syrup used to sweeten soft drinks and processed foods, may induce metabolic changes that lead to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to a study published today in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
"The bottom line is that we've shown important biological and metabolic differences between the two major sugars [fructose and glucose] in the diet," says study co-author Peter Havel, a nutrition researcher at the University of California, Davis. But, he adds, more research is needed to justify any recommendations promoting or discouraging the consumption of certain sweeteners.
Apr 13, 2009 | 1
At least seven states are considering banning bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in baby bottles and other plastic products that U.S. federal regulators have said is safe but has been banned in Canada because of links to health problems including heart disease and diabetes.
Lawmakers in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota have proposed restrictions on BPA, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports – part of a periodic series of stories the newspaper is running on the chemical also found in the lining of cans.
The proposed state measures would ban BPA in baby bottles, baby formula cans, cups and other products for kids, according to the newspaper. The House and Senate are also considering bills, introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), that would slap a federal ban on use of BPA in all food and drink containers.
Apr 3, 2009 | 3
Even though heart attacks may not be deadly, they can leave your ticker damaged. The reason: they occur when blood flow to a section of heart muscle becomes blocked. If the flow of blood isn't restored quickly, a section of the heart muscle becomes damaged from the lack of oxygen and begins to die, weakening its ability to pump blood.
Researchers have long wondered whether such damage could be reversed, that is, whether hobbled heart muscle cells could regenerate — potentially affecting the ability of scientists to hatch ways to repopulate damaged heart tissue. A study in Science today confirms that some heart muscle cells do, in fact, regenerate slowly over the course of a person's lifetime. Scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden report that in early adulthood, we're continually renewing about 1 percent of our heart cells a year; that regeneration slows down, but it still occurs in old age, with a little less than half of 1 percent of cells regenerating at age 75. All told, we've renewed about 40 percent of our heart cells by age 70, neuroscientist Jonas Frisén told Science in a podcast.
Mar 27, 2009
Hold the salt.
Americans are eating far more salt than is healthy, and those for whom it's especially dangerous (including the elderly, African-Americans and people with high blood pressure) are consuming twice as much as they should, federal health officials warned yesterday. Too much salt raises the risk of hypertension, which is linked to heart disease and stroke.
“It’s important for people to eat less salt. People who adopt a heart healthy eating pattern that includes a diet low in sodium and rich in potassium and calcium can improve their blood pressure,” Darwin Labarthe, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, said in a statement released after the agency reported on the trend in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). “Reducing sodium intake can prevent or delay increases in blood pressure for everyone.’’
Mar 17, 2009
If you're trying to get or stay in shape, you've probably heard that walking 10,000 steps a day can do the trick. But maybe you've found that the recommendation, which the American College of Sports Medicine promoted in the 1990s and has since been widely adopted by exercise-promotion campaigns, isn't doable in your busy life — or that it doesn’t raise your heart rate enough to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Today, you've got additional guidelines to go on that may make whatever walking you do more heart-healthy. Walking 3,000 steps over 30 minutes, five days a week — or 1,000 steps for 10 minutes a day — can get your heart pumping enough to cut your risk of heart disease, according to research in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Mar 6, 2009 | 19
A perennial grump? Always see the glass as half empty instead of half full? Might want to brighten up a bit – if, that is, you'd like to live longer. A new study says that the optimists among us may have a lower risk of heart disease and early death.
Researchers led by Hilary Tindle, an internist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, analyzed eight years of data on 97,253 women, age 50 and over, participating in the Women's Health Initiative, a 15-year study launched in 1991 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their findings, released this week at a conference of the American Psychosomatic Society in Chicago: the women who were most cheery were 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 14 percent less likely than their pessimistic peers to die from all causes during the study period. The results were even more striking among black women; the optimists among them were 38 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 33 percent less likely to die from all causes.
Feb 18, 2009 | 8
Three years ago, the American Cancer Society (ACS) broke some exciting news: for the first time in decades, U.S. cancer deaths fell. The trend continued the following year. But new research today shows that the milestone has been a mixed bag for one segment of the population, African-Americans. They’re also dying less of cancer—in some cases, their gains are coming at a faster pace than for whites—but the disease still kills them more often.
About 150,000 cancers will be diagnosed in blacks this year, and more than 63,000 African Americans will die of the disease, says a new report from the ACS. Some more numbers: In 1990, 399 per 100,000 African-American men died of cancer; that number fell to 297 per 100,000 by 2005. But white men started off dying less often of cancer than black men did, and also showed an improvement: 272 per 100,000 in 1990, and 223 per 100,000 in 2005.
Feb 16, 2009 | 21
Vitamin D is the vitamin du jour these days, with many doctors urging more sun exposure following years of campaigns advising us to cover up and use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Many of us, especially in cloudier areas, don’t get enough of the sunshine vitamin. The elderly and post-menopausal women are more at risk for deficiency, as are those who live in northern climes.
But today comes news that one group seems to be at particular risk, doctors report in the journal Endocrine Practice. Arab-American women who wore the hijab (a Koran-derived dress code that includes a scarf or veil over their hair and modest dress) and didn’t get enough vitamin D through their diet had half the levels of the vitamin of those who didn’t adhere as closely to the dress code. There was no difference in rates of health problems linked to vitamin D deficiency, such as bone or joint pain or breaks, or muscle weakness. The study involved 87 women in Dearborn, Mich., which has a large Arab population.
Jan 21, 2009 | 2
Just how many months of life is clean air worth? Five to be precise, according to a new study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"Who would have thought you could get almost half a year in increased life expectancy on average just from cleaning up our air somewhat?" says study co-author Arden Pope, an environmental economist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. "That seems to me like a pretty good investment" in clean-air programs.
Pope and Harvard University colleagues compared improvements in air quality with increased life expectancy between 1980 and 2000. Their findings, based on air-monitoring and health data from 51 U.S. metro areas: five months of the nearly three additional years of life tacked on during that period stemmed from cleaner air.
Dec 23, 2008 | 3
Ah, sleep. You hardly need a doctor to tell you that getting too little of it can make you irritable and lethargic. Now it looks like how many zzz's you get may affect whether fatty plaque deposits build up in your arteries — a precursor to heart attacks and angina, or chest pain.
University of Chicago docs recorded how much sleep 495 middle-aged folks got over three nights using a monitor worn on their wrists, and examined their hearts for coronary artery calcification using computed tomography (CT) scans. Then the scientists checked back in with them five years later, conducting the same tests.
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