Health News: February 2011

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Some osteoporosis drugs may actually cause fractures rather than preventing them. Bisphosphonates like Actonel, Boniva and Fosamax have become very popular. Commercials on television urge older women to ask their doctors for a prescription to keep their bones strong. New... (Read More)

New Use for Old Drug

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Women at risk of osteoporosis may get help from an unexpected medication. Nitroglycerin is a very old drug that is prescribed primarily for the chest pain called angina. It dilates blood vessels in the heart to improve circulation. Doctors have... (Read More)
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Exercise has been shown to be good for the heart. New research confirms it can also benefit the brain. Aerobic exercise reversed brain shrinkage, especially of the hippocampus, a structure associated with memory. The study included 120 people between their... (Read More)
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Americans have become phobic about germs. We've been urged to wash our hands dozens of times a day to avoid catching colds or the flu. Antibacterial gels, sprays and wipes are promoted to reduce exposure to bacteria and viruses. A... (Read More)
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Cardiologists have focused on cholesterol as a major risk factor for heart disease. Neurologists, on the other hand, may start paying more attention to triglycerides for preventing strokes. A new study from Denmark suggests that the danger of having a... (Read More)

Fiber for Health

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A high fiber diet saves lives. Manufacturers of processed foods have worked hard to take the fiber out and put the sugar in to a lot of packaged foods. But a new study from the National Institutes of Health and... (Read More)
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For people who want to avoid extra sugar and the calories it entails, diet soft drinks seem very appealing. In other words, this has long been thought of a way to have your cake and eat it too. But a... (Read More)

Zinc for the Common Cold

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People have been searching for a cure for the common cold for centuries. To date there is nothing that actually overcomes cold viruses the way antibiotics conquer bacteria.That said, there are dozens of remedies on drugstore shelves purported to soothe... (Read More)
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The Cochrane Collaboration has tackled a controversial health practice. These experts in evidence-based medicine reviewed the content and quality of studies involving spinal manipulation such as chiropractic. The investigators examined 26 studies with six thousand volunteers. Only nine trials were... (Read More)
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The diabetes drug Avandia has been controversial for years because of concerns that it might increase the risk of heart attacks. The drug was banned in Europe and the U.S. FDA severely restricted its use. Now another concern about this... (Read More)
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More aggressive breast cancer surgery may not offer a survival advantage. Surgeons have been removing lymph nodes from the armpit since the earliest days of radical mastectomy a century ago. The idea was to catch any cancer cells before they... (Read More)
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Antidepressants are among the most popular pills in the pharmacy. At last count, over 150 million prescriptions were dispensed in the U.S. each year. A new study suggests, however, that some people may be taking them unnecessarily. The scientists reviewed... (Read More)
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There is nothing cozier on a cold winter night than a blazing fire in the hearth or in a wood-burning stove. But Danish chemists have raised concern about the invisible pollution those lovely flames create. The particles thrown off in... (Read More)
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People who have been avoiding eggs because of their high cholesterol content may be cheered to learn that eggs have lost cholesterol over the past decade. Instead of 215 mg per large egg, there are now 185 mg of cholesterol.... (Read More)
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People with higher levels of vitamin D in their bodies appear to be at lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis. This isn't the first time that scientists have made a link between vitamin D and this neurological condition. In this... (Read More)
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Scientists are closing in on the mechanism behind chocolate's heart healthy benefits. They have discovered how the polyphenols in cocoa can boost beneficial HDL and help lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels. In tissue cultures, cocoa polyphenols increased the cell's output... (Read More)
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Using a checklist to make sure that catheters are put in and maintained properly can dramatically reduce bloodstream infections. New research shows it can also reduce mortality. The checklist was developed at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and covers... (Read More)
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Women suffering from hot flashes during menopause can comfort themselves that such symptoms may be good for their overall health. Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle conducted a case-control study of women with breast cancer. They found... (Read More)

Breast Implant Risk

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The FDA is concerned that women who have gotten breast implants may be at increased risk of a very rare cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Earlier reports had raised suspicion about implants containing silicone gel, but the current reports... (Read More)

Sniffing Out Cancer

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Periodic colonoscopies are the gold standard for detecting colorectal cancer, but a research team in Japan is working on an unusual alternative. They have trained a Labrador retriever to sniff out colorectal cancer from stool samples. The dog also appears... (Read More)
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More and more Americans are using the Internet to access health information. A new survey from the Pew Internet Project and California HealthCare Foundation reveals that health is the third most popular topic Americans look for online. Two-thirds of Internet... (Read More)