Study Says Omega-3s Slow Cellular Aging in Heart Disease Patients
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in some cold-water fish including salmon and mackerel, have long been linked to heart benefits; heart attack sufferers, for example, can reduce their risk of a second attack by eating more fish with omega-3s. Now scientists think they've unearthed an explanation for the advantage, HealthDay reports. Researchers measured the omega-3 intake of 600 patients with heart disease and found that those with higher blood levels of omega-3s also showed signs that their cells were aging more slowly. To gauge the rate at which a cell aged, the team studied its telomeres—pieces of DNA at the ends of a chromosome that shrink during cell division. Their results are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Must You Give Up Your Medical Secrets?
Why in the world would the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Senate's pending healthcare reform bill, contain an amendment protecting citizens' constitutional right to own and use and store firearms? This seems like an odd addition to any health bill, U.S. News columnist and physician Bernadine Healy writes. Some critics have dismissed it scornfully as the product of an overheated gun lobby and a bunch of right-wingers. As one posting on Slate put it: "A gun-nut win on health reform. A fringe group muzzles health insurers on gun ownership."
Taking a cooler perspective, the truth is that personal privacy concerns are legitimate ones as the government takes more centralized control over healthcare. And it was a group of liberal senators who promised gun lovers that they would not be forced to answer any questions about their lawful personal firearm habits as part of prevention and wellness programs. But wait: Isn't that a constitutional right already? Read more.
Screening for Childhood Obesity, Without an Easy Solution
There's been mixed news recently on childhood and adolescent obesity, the tricky issue that will be the subject of an initiative led by first lady Michelle Obama. According to statistics released last week, obesity rates for both kids and adults seem to be leveling off, U.S. News's Katherine Hobson reports.
The prevalence of high body mass index among kids and teens seemed to plateau between 1999 and 2006, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But that leaves almost 32 percent of kids weighing more than they should, with a full 17 percent classified as obese. And the heaviest boys between the ages of 6 and 19 actually seem to be getting heavier.
Childhood and adolescent obesity is a particularly tricky problem because the emphasis on losing weight—even in kids who really need to do so—may do more harm than good, Hobson writes. A solution has remained elusive, and, until the past few years, there hasn't been a lot of good research published on what actually works. On Monday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force—the same folks who brought you the controversial new breast cancer screening recommendations—said children 6 and up should now be screened for obesity. Read more.
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