Researchers Connect Low Serotonin Levels to Sudden Infant Death
A new study suggests that sudden infant death syndrome is caused by insufficient levels of a brain chemical that helps control breathing during sleep, HealthDay reports. Researchers looked at levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, and the enzyme trytophan hydroxylase, which makes serotonin, in 35 babies who died of SIDS. They found that serotonin levels were 26 percent lower and enzyme levels were 22 percent lower in babies who died of SIDS than in another group of babies who died of other causes. The author of the study, Hannah Kinney of Children's Hospital Boston, says that the research confirms SIDS is a biological problem that, for now, cannot be recognized in advance, HealthDay reports. The findings are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Health Reform: Let's Work on Drug Costs and Premiums
In his State of the Union address, President Obama vowed not to "walk away" from healthcare reform, though he was clearly chastened by the upset in Massachusetts that had swept Republican Scott Brown into the Senate, writes U.S. News columnist and physician Bernadine Healy. That upset deprived Obama, at the 11th hour, of a signed bill before the speech. The president did not reveal how he would move forward, but whatever path he chooses, the walk provides a totally unexpected opportunity for the country: the chance to go back and make changes that would not have been possible before Massachusetts voters weighed in. Healy suggests two big-ticket areas that badly need attention: prescription drug costs and insurance premiums. Both must be affordable, or a central goal of reform—ready healthcare for all—will never be achieved. Read more.
7 Steps Toward a Healthy Heart (and Long Life)
More than 1 in 3 Americans have at least one type of cardiovascular disease—including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, or stroke. And yet many of them believe that their heart health is "ideal," U.S. News's January Payne writes. In fact, 4 in 10 Americans surveyed say their heart health is ideal, ignoring their risk factors for heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.
More than half of those who reported having ideal heart health admit that a health professional has told them in the past that they have a risk factor for heart disease or that they should change their lifestyle in order to improve their health. Whether you believe your heart is in great shape or not, Payne covers the AHA's seven steps to take early in life to ward off cardiovascular disease. Read more.
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