Health News: March 2012

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Losing weight and improving fitness can have a profound impact on the health of people with type 2 diabetes. Such patients often struggle with weight and frequently have problems with mobility as their disease progresses. Some people are calling this... (Read More)
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Another approach to controlling type 2 diabetes involves bariatric surgery. In two studies of severely obese diabetic patients, weight loss surgery worked much better than medication to control blood sugar, triglycerides and other metabolic markers of type 2 diabetes. Although... (Read More)
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Two small studies of cancer patients for disease recurrence have shown a positive response to a modified smallpox vaccination. This immunotherapy is designed to trick the immune system into fighting the skin cancer melanoma as well as ovarian cancer. The... (Read More)
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Another potential breakthrough in cancer treatment involves an antibody to a cell surface marker called CD47. This protein normally serves as a cloaking device for healthy cells to keep the immune system from attacking. Cancer cells take advantage of this... (Read More)
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There's good news about spicy food. Scientists in Hong Kong report that adding capsaicin compounds called capsaicinoids to high-cholesterol chow protected hamsters from high LDL cholesterol and from plaque in their arteries. Capsaicin is the hot stuff in chili peppers.... (Read More)
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Cocoa flavonoids found in chocolate have documented health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, more flexible blood vessels and more sensitive insulin response. Despite these modest but consistent benefits, clinicians have warned that people should not eat chocolate because of... (Read More)
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Aspirin may be one of the most cost effective ways to prevent cancer. For more than two decades scientists have seen evidence that aspirin might help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Three new studies have just reinforced that conclusion.... (Read More)
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An inexpensive pain reliever may have unexpected benefits. Investigators at Stanford University have found that over the counter ibuprofen can ease the discomfort of altitude sickness. Common symptoms when someone travels to high altitude include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue... (Read More)
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Pediatricians may treat pain differently depending upon the race of the child. That's the conclusion from a new study in the American Journal of Public Health. The researchers surveyed 86 pediatricians for unconscious racial bias. Then the doctors were asked... (Read More)

Sex and Exercise

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Exercise is good for the heart, the brain and possibly even sexual satisfaction. Researchers at Indiana University surveyed women online about exercise-induced sexual gratification. A surprising number of women said that they experienced orgasm during exercise. Strenuous abdominal exercises appear... (Read More)
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In movies and TV shows, patients who experience seemingly fatal heart attacks are often resuscitated with a shot of adrenaline. Perhaps the most famous of these was in the movie Pulp Fiction when John Travolta plunges a needle into the... (Read More)
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Prostate cancer screening with a PSA test may not save lives. The prostate specific antigen or PSA test has been controversial for years. Many doctors have relied on the PSA test to help identify men who may have prostate cancer... (Read More)
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Regular red meat consumption may hasten a person's death from heart disease and cancer. Two large studies, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurses' Health Study, included more than 120,000 people who were followed for more than 20 years.... (Read More)
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You don't have to eat red meat to benefit from a low-carb diet. A study conducted by scientists at Johns Hopkins shows that losing weight, whether with a low-carb or a low-fat regimen has cardiovascular benefits. In the six-month study,... (Read More)
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British researchers writing in the journal The Lancet report that metal on metal hip replacement devices fail more frequently than older implants made with a plastic socket and a plastic or metal ball. They analyzed data on more than 400,000... (Read More)
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One of the country's most respected consumer organizations is calling for changes in the way the FDA approves and monitors medical devices. According to the president of Consumer Reports, "The implant that fixed your knee or your heart may actually... (Read More)
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A common environmental contaminant may be increasing the risk for heart disease. Bisphenol A or BPA for short is widespread in food packaging. It is in the plastic resin that is used to line most cans that contain food or... (Read More)
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There is increasing evidence that chocolate might be good for the heart. A meta-analysis of 42 studies confirms that chocolate or cocoa can help lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel flexibility. People given cacao compounds also had lower insulin... (Read More)
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A clinical trial at the University of California, San Diego, revealed a new benefit of dark chocolate. Five people with type 2 diabetes and advanced heart failure had the mitochondria in their muscles measured before and after three months of... (Read More)
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Vitamin A supplements have gotten some bad press of late. Research has not demonstrated a benefit and there is even some concern that vitamin A supplementation may lead to weakened bones. New research, however, suggests that people who get more... (Read More)
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Young women may also benefit from vitamin D. Researchers studied more than 6,000 girls between 9 and 15 years old for seven years. They collected information about the girls' intake of dairy products, calcium and vitamin D and also... (Read More)
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The FDA says statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs can cause memory problems. Drugs like atorvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin and simvastatin are widely prescribed to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. For years, some patients have complained that taking such drugs... (Read More)
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A study of more than 30,000 patients has concluded that those who take popular prescription sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta or Sonata are at a greater risk of dying over the next several years. The patients included approximately 10,000 who... (Read More)

Fish Is Brain Food

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By now most people have heard that fish and omega 3 fatty acids are good for the heart. There is now research to show that the old wives were right about fish being good for the brain as well.... (Read More)
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Women who suffer painful menstrual cramps might get relief from vitamin D3. Italian physicians recruited 40 women with dysmenorrhea to take either a very large dose of vitamin D3 or a placebo. The women had low levels of vitamin D... (Read More)
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Amantadine is an antiviral drug that was first used to treat Asian flu in 1966. Subsequently the FDA approved it to also treat Parkinson's disease and uncontrollable muscular contractions triggered by antipsychotic medications. A new study in the New England... (Read More)