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.’’
Feb 20, 2009 | 11
Do you live in a neighborhood with a lot of fast-food joints? Be advised: a new study suggests that living in an area densely packed with fast food ups the odds you will suffer from a stroke.
Lewis Morgenstern, who directs the University of Michigan’s stroke program in Ann Arbor, and colleagues studied ischemic strokes (caused by blocked vessels supplying blood to the brain) occurring between January 2000 and June 2003 in Southern Texas's Nueces County, which has a population of about 320,000. During that time period, 1,247 strokes occurred among people ages 45 and older.
Feb 10, 2009 | 1
Cholesterol-lowering statins are the best-selling class of drugs in the country. But as their pool of takers has expanded, critics have complained that the meds, while effective in reducing heart attacks and strokes, haven’t been proved to save lives.
But new research, published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine, indicates that statins do, in fact, reduce the risk of dying for both people with heart disease and for those who are taking the drugs because their cholesterol is elevated. (Not everyone who suffers a heart attack has high cholesterol, so prescribing statins just because a person's levels are high is controversial.)
Dec 16, 2008
The good news: U.S. deaths from heart disease and stroke are down by 30 percent, the American Heart Association is reporting. Heart disease deaths fell from 864,480 in 2005 to 829,072 in 2006, the most recent year statistics are available. Stroke deaths declined from 143,579 in 2005 to 137,265 in 2006.
The bad news: heart disease is still the nation’s top killer, and stroke is the third most common cause of death, behind cancer, new research shows. Combined, they account for 34 percent of all deaths.
"It's one of the most remarkable achievements of modern medicine to have this kind of decline," Gregg C. Fonarow, a cardiologist at U.C.L.A.'s Geffen School of Medicine, told the Los Angeles Times. "But there is still obviously a lot of work to be done."
Nov 19, 2008 | 2
A 30-year-old Colombian woman with damaged airways is healthy months after receiving what European doctors are reporting is a first-ever, stem-cell-based windpipe transplant. They say the technique has allowed the woman to thrive without the use of the drugs that other transplant patients must take to prevent their immune systems from rejecting the new organs.
The unique transplant was performed in June on Claudia Castillo, who was severely short of breath after part of her trachea had collapsed from tuberculosis, hampering the flow of oxygen to her left lung. Doctors in Barcelona took a trachea from a 51-year-old female donor who’d died of a stroke and, over a six-week “washing,” stripped it of its cells. British doctors then grew stem cells from Castillo’s own bone marrow in the lab and had them grow on the donor trachea with them before implanting it, creating a kind of hybrid windpipe with the donor organ as a scaffold, the doctors write in this week’s edition of The Lancet.
Oct 24, 2008 | 17
A Taiwanese student vying to become the "Big Stomach King" died after scarfing down two rice- and cheese-filled steamed buns, along with some of his teammates' food—a rare but not unheard-of competitive-eating death.
Twenty-three-year-old Chen (he's not fully identified in this Reuters report) fainted and died yesterday after "relentless" vomiting during the contest at Dayeh University in Changhua, Taiwan, according to the newswire.
Chen may have died from eating too fast, not too much, Huang Te-hsiang, the university's dean of student affairs, told Reuters. (Another report in Taiwan News quotes her as saying he may have choked to death.) "I can't say why he died," Huang told Reuters. "He had been in the contest before. He was a strong guy."
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