Debunking Holiday Myths
You may have heard that sugar makes kids hyper, or that poinsettias are toxic. Those are just two health myths debunked in an analysis published yesterday in the British Medical Journal. Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis found that several commonly held beliefs don't have sufficient evidence to back them up. The researchers examined medical literature and conducted Google searches to look for evidence that supported or refuted the beliefs. Among the myths: Suicide rates go up during the holidays; most body heat is lost through your head; nighttime eating makes you fat; and you can cure a hangover. None of these beliefs is true, CNN.com and other news outlets report.
Why Statins Don't Work That Well for 1 in 5 Users
Often hailed as "wonder drugs" because of their ability to lower cholesterol and reduce heart attack risk, statins actually don't work that well in about 20 percent of users, Deborah Kotz reports. These people may have certain genetic mutations that lower the drugs' effectiveness, according to a new study from Duke University Medical Center. Those who carry a specific mutation in the ABCA1 gene, which is responsible for cholesterol transport into and out of cells, had a 24 percent decline in their "bad" LDL cholesterol levels after going on a low-dose statin, compared with a 32 percent reduction in those who didn't carry the gene mutation. These folks might need to switch to a more powerful statin, according to Deepak Voora, the study's author. Or perhaps they might want to try combining a statin with a cholesterol-lowering fibrate drug. A new one, called TriLipix, was approved this week.
Here are seven reasons you shouldn't dismiss statin-related pain and tips on what to do if you have mildly elevated cholesterol.
Snoring Is a Loud Distress Call
Some people are suggesting it might be good news that loud snorers—who are typically overweight—use up more calories than those who sleep quietly. But U.S. News's Bernadine Healy says this may actually be bad news. These are not the calories burned off during an aerobics class or a 20-minute jog in the park but rather an energy expenditure that reflects a body struggling to breathe instead of resting. And when those noisy, fitful nights are habitual and cause daytime sleepiness, snoring is linked to chronic hypertension, elevated pressure in the arteries of the lungs, and a markedly greater risk of heart attack and stroke.
—January W. Payne
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