Federal Officials Reject Weight-Loss Drug Contrave
The federal government has rejected yet another weight-loss drug. The Food and Drug Administration announced today that it will not approve Orexigen Therapeutics' Contrave, and called for a long-term study to investigate the drug's effects on the heart, according to a company statement. Contrave—which mixes the antidepressant bupropion with the anti-addiction drug naltrexone—is said to work by boosting metabolism while curbing appetite and cravings. In December, it was endorsed by an FDA advisory committee, which voted 13 to 7 in favor of its approval. But the agency has since become concerned about the drug's safety, stressing that it won't approve Contrave until a sufficiently large and long-lasting clinical study proves its risks don't outweigh its benefits. In company studies, about 35 percent of nearly 5,000 patients lost at least 5 percent of their body weight while taking Contrave, Reuters reports. But they also experienced a slight rise in blood pressure and pulse rates. Contrave's failure comes on the heels of two other weight-loss drug rejections last year, and in October, diet pill Meridia was yanked off the market after being linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Is Breast-Feeding Always Best for Babies?
Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has issued a "call to action" on breast-feeding, urging families, communities, and employers to support women in their efforts to breast-feed. The American Academy of Pediatrics says women should breast-feed exclusively until a baby is six months old. But only 13 percent of women make that target, writes U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute.
Public health experts have pushed breast-feeding as being better for babies because the nutritional balance in breast milk is ideal for infant humans. Breast milk has also been touted for giving newborns immunity from disease, because they ingest antibodies their mothers have produced to fight off germs.
But new research investigating the makeup of human breast milk is uncovering surprises. A mother probably wouldn't say she favors her sons over her daughters, but her body may be doing that from the moment she first holds them to her breast. A mother's body creates different milk for baby boys than it does for baby girls—the boy milk has much more fat and protein, which presumably helps them grow bigger, faster. [Read more: Is Breast-Feeding Always Best for Babies?]
P90X Workout Program: Really the Best for Burning Fat, Building Muscles?
Have you heard of the latest fitness phenomenon that has folks working out like crazy six times a week? It's called P90X, and it's one of the top 5 fitness DVDs on Amazon.com. The program, which some users consider to be more like a newfound religion, employs lifting weights using a technique called muscle confusion. This involves switching-up resistance training exercises so your body doesn't become accustomed to the same repetitive movements every time you work out, fitness blogger Chelsea Bush writes for U.S. News. If your body adapts too well to your workouts, the theory goes, it won't build muscle as efficiently as when it's faced with unpredictable movements. Hence, the confusion.
Fitness trainers who teach muscle confusion techniques say that the ultimate goal is to avoid that muscle building plateau that most of us face when we've been lifting weights for a while. "The goal is to keep the body guessing," says John Romaniello, a New York-based trainer and creator of the Final Phase Fat Loss training system, a muscle confusion program that can be downloaded for purchase. "Once your muscles adapt, your body will become more proficient at a certain movement or type of exercise. You'll use less energy and thus see diminishing returns," he explains. [Read more: P90X Workout Program: Really the Best for Burning Fat, Building Muscles?]