Health Buzz: Study Says Vioxx Risks Were Apparent Early and Other Health News

Breast cancer risk not so easy to gauge; Thanksgiving meal tips for people with diabetes or allergies.


Study Says Early Vioxx Trial Data Showed Clear Risks

A new study suggests that evidence linking heart risks to Vioxx, the Merck arthritis drug pulled from the market in 2004, was apparent in 2000, Health Day reports. Researchers looked at data from 30 clinical trials that compared Vioxx with a placebo. Of those, 21 trials completed before 2001 showed participants taking Vioxx had a 35 percent higher chance of heart attack, stroke, and death, according to Health Day. In later trials, the risk continued to increase, the group found. Lead author Joseph Ross, an assistant professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, says the U.S. drug approval process prevented the public from knowing the drug's risks, Health Day reports.

[Read Key Vioxx Research Was Written by Merck, Documents Allege and Vioxx's Heart Risk Lingered Long After Use Ended.]

Breast Cancer Risk Is Not So Easy to Figure Out

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's controversial new breast cancer screening recommendations are specifically for women who are at "normal" risk of breast cancer. But how do you know if you have a higher than average risk and thus should be more inclined toward getting screened in your 40s or should even follow special guidelines for breast cancer screening that go beyond what's usually recommended?

Some people are clearly at higher risk, U.S. News's Katherine Hobson writes. The task force specifically singles out women who have a known genetic mutation—such as mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (as well as less common inherited problems like Li-Fraumeni syndrome) —or a history of chest radiation (a part of treatment for a childhood bout with cancer) as falling outside the scope of its "normal risk" recommendations.

M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has its own detailed screening guidelines and puts women with other characteristics into the higher-risk group. Among them: women with a history of lobular carcinoma in situ—abnormal cells in the breast lobules, the milk-producing part of the breast. Read more.

[Read: Routine Mammograms Before 50--Not Much Point? and Women in their 40s Ponder Whether to Skip the Mammogram.]

Thanksgiving Meal Tips for People With Food Allergies or Diabetes

It's one thing to toss aside thoughts of calories and weight gain on Thanksgiving. But indulging isn't so easy for people with food allergies and diabetes, U.S. News's January Payne writes. Payne offers some Thanksgiving meal advice for people with special eating concerns—and for those preparing their dinner.

For those with diabetes, it's OK to indulge a bit on Thanksgiving, says Nora Saul, manager for nutrition services for the adult division of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. But you should not skip a meal before dinner in an effort to keep calories down or control blood sugar. Instead, "still have regular meals, but try to choose things that have good sources of fiber so you'll be more filled up by the time you get to dinner," Saul says. Also, think ahead to what favorite foods you are likely to encounter during Thanksgiving dinner—your aunt's dinner rolls, for example—and try to limit consumption of foods that you're not so excited about. That way, your overall carbohydrate count for that day "may be a little higher than normal but [still] remains reasonable," Saul says. And try to fit in a little exercise; physical activity helps to lower blood sugar levels. Read more.

[Read Smart Ways to Manage Kids' Food Allergies and It's OK to Incorporate Flexibility Into Your Diabetes Diet.]

Other Popular Articles From