Health Buzz: New Drug Shows Promise for Preventing Strokes

Why power naps at work are catching on; 10 ways to stay healthy during holiday travel.

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New Drug is Promising Alternative to Warfarin

A new anti-clotting drug shows promise for preventing strokes in people with the heart rhythm condition atrial fibrillation. Rivaroxaban, taken once a day, is at least as effective as the standard therapy, warfarin, researchers said Monday at an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago, and causes fewer side effects. That's based on a clinical trial of 14,000 patients presented at the meeting. Warfarin is linked to life-threatening bleeding, and patients need to be monitored with frequent blood tests, which isn't necessary with the new drug. "We have a drug you can take once a day, without monitoring, that is at least as good as warfarin and carries no additional risk," lead author Robert Califf told Bloomberg. "The findings as we dive into the details of the data look better and better." About 2.3 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation, which puts them at five times the risk of having a stroke compared to those without the condition. If approved, rivaroxaban would be sold by Johnson & Johnson in the United States and in other countries, by Germany-based Bayer AG.

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  • Why Power Naps at Work Are Catching On

    Falling asleep on the job may be evolving into office protocol—not grounds for termination. A growing number of companies are recognizing the health benefits of a quick snooze, including increased alertness, enhanced brainpower , and fewer sick days, U.S. News reports. While naps aren't necessary for those who get the recommended eight hours of shut-eye at night, they may be key for those who skimp on sleep. "Most people don't get enough sleep," says Nancy Collop, president-elect of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "And for those people, a nap will clearly help. The most important factor is duration, and it's well-accepted that short naps are good."

    Some companies are offering designated nap rooms or even setting up tents or lofted beds, but at Workman Publishing in New York, employees usually sleep underneath their desks or behind room-divider screens. "You can close your eyes for 10 or 15 minutes and wake up feeling completely refreshed," says Susan Bolotin, editor in chief of Workman, which has been nap-friendly since 2007. "We've seen very positive effects. I keep a nap mat in my office, and I'm still known to lie down, put my sleep mask on, and see what happens." Bolotin has distributed eye masks to her team, and sometimes lends her office floor to those without a private workspace who are in need of a nap. "We have one guy who works here who likes to nap, and you'll walk by and he'll be lying down on a mat like a kid in nursery school," she says. Other companies, including British Airways, Nike, Pizza Hut, and Google, offer reclining chairs and "renewal rooms." [Read more: Why Power Naps at Work Are Catching On.]

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    • 10 Ways to Stay Healthy During Holiday Travel

      Chances are, you'll be traveling during the holiday season to reconnect with family and friends or take a much-needed vacation. While holiday travel can be great for your psyche, it can take a hefty toll on your health, fitness blogger Chelsea Bush writes for U.S. News. The journey itself can be filled with stress—traffic, flight delays and those new, more invasive airport security screenings—as well as causing a disruption in your sleep schedule and eating habits; all of these can lower your immune system's ability to fight off cold and flu germs, making you more prone to getting sick. Once you arrive at your destination, you'll likely face large festive meals combined with a lot of sitting and schmoozing, not great for your waistline. If you have a smart action plan, though, you might be able to clear some of these hurdles to stay healthy and fit during the holiday season. Here are 10 tips for dealing with holiday travel provided by leading fitness and travel experts.