New Drugs for Gout and Ulcerative Colitis
New drugs for gout and ulcerative colitis, two diseases that plague millions of people worldwide have been found.
Identifying the Signs of Breast Cancer
The early stages of breast cancer may not have any symptoms. That is why you must learn how to identify the signs of breast cancer before it's too late!
Full Body Detox
Lose 10 - 50lbs in 3 week with detox!
Do I Have Healthy Prostate Gland?
Don't wait until it's too late! Make sure you have healthy prostate gland.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New Blood Transplant Method Stops Fatal Side Effect, Stanford Study Finds

Marty Holmes, a landscaper from Stockton, Calif., had never heard of a regulatory T cell before his doctor suggested that it could be the key to helping him survive his cancer.

Holmes recalled that he didn’t bat an eye when the doctors proposed an experimental radiation and drug procedure to help boost these cells, even though it had been tested almost solely in mice. “As long as there was any percentage of hope, I just shot for that,” he said of the decision he made last year. “I felt privileged to be a human guinea pig.”

Findings published in the Sept. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that the new therapy pioneered at Stanford University School of Medicine has paid off for Holmes and other lymphoma and leukemia patients. Holmes became the 40 th person to undergo this procedure after Stanford researchers had shown that it could boost the relative levels of regulatory T cells in the immune system of mice — an effect that turned out to be beneficial before undergoing a hematopoietic (blood) stem cell transplantation, a common treatment for blood cancers.

Blood stem cell transplantation replaces the cancerous blood cells of a leukemia or lymphoma patient with those from a healthy donor. The transplantation cures the cancer, but in up to 80 percent of the cases there is a potentially deadly side effect: The donor’s incoming immune cells attack the patient’s body as “foreign” in what is known as graft-versus-host disease.

The new method tested at Stanford appears to retain the desired result of the transplantation — killing the cancerous cells — without inducing the acute form of graft-versus-host disease. “It allows you to throw out the one effect but not the other,” said Samuel Strober, MD, professor of medicine (immunology and rheumatology) and the senior author of the study.

Read more: New Blood Transplant Method Stops Fatal Side Effect, Stanford Study Finds

Fitness trumps cholesterol as key to heart health

Being physically fit can dramatically reduce men’s deaths from heart disease – even when their cholesterol rates are high, says Queen’s researcher Peter Katzmarzyk.

His new study to be published Tues. Sept. 6 by Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association shows that, regardless of their cholesterol level, men can cut by half their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease if they are physically fit.

Other Queen’s members of the team, from the School of Physical and Health Education, are Chris Ardern and Ian Janssen. Researchers Timothy Church and Steven Blair from the Cooper Institute Centres for Integrated Health Research in Dallas, Texas, are also on the team.

The primary aim of the study was to analyze the effectiveness of last year’s modifications to the guidelines from the U.S. National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III) for lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol to predict death from cardiovascular diseases.

Read more: Fitness trumps cholesterol as key to heart health

Researcher Finds New Use for Botox

The research is exploring basic nerve cell function, minute changes which underlie memory and learning, and possible causes of nerve diseases.
Dr Meunier is one of seven UQ winners in the 2005 UQ Foundation Research Excellence Awards announced on September 22 as a highlight of UQ Research Week 2005. He receives $80,000 in the awards.

As one research strategy, he is taking advantage of the exquisite selectivity of powerful nerve toxins such as botox or glycerotoxin to selectively dissect basic nerve cell (neuronal) processes in Australian Research Council funded research.

“Botox is the most potent neurotoxin currently known,” Dr Meunier said.

“It derives from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism (food poisoning).

Read more: Researcher finds new use for botox

Beauty Queens Urge Girls Not To Sacrifice Their Bones

Speaking movingly of their own experiences, the women, who won their titles between 1972 and 2003, noted that many pre-teenage and teenage girls worldwide have an obsession with beauty at the expense of health. The beauty queens pointed out that the standard of beauty, even for beauty queens, is changing. They urged women and men of all ages to take responsibility for their bone health, to recognize that while beauty is partly physical it is also made up of inner beauty that includes respecting one’s health and behavior.

Medical specialists from IOF noted that with Asia’s aging population, it is expected that the burden of osteoporosis will increase dramatically if no preventive action is taken

Dr Khunying Kobchitt, president of the IOF member society Thailand Osteoporosis Foundation, and professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand remarked that osteoporosis is already a huge health problem in Asia, and getting more serious every day—in 45 years (by 2050), one out of every two fractures in the world will occur in Asia. All women and men should take immediate action to review their life styles and take the IOF One Minute Osteoporosis Risk Test.

Read more: Beauty Queens Urge Girls Not To Sacrifice Their Bones

Muscle Building Workout For This Week: Workout for Biceps and Triceps

As experts says, "NO PAIN, NO GAIN." This specially applies to Muscle Building. If your fast life, strict job schedule or family commitments dont allow you to keep regular dates with gym, you can always workout at your home. After all, you just cant compromise on your health. Here is making things easy for you:

Workouts to build biceps and triceps this week:

1) Bicep Curls using resistance tube: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and feet pointing forward. Now, press the resitance tube under the feet and hold on to the handles firmly, holding the arms close to the body. Lift the fists towards the shoulders while exhaling and take the fist as close to the shoulder as possible. Inhale as the arm is releases.

Recommended Sets: For Beginners: Three set of six to eight repititions.

For Intermediate level: three set of 12 to 16 reps.

For Advanced Level: Three sets of 16 to 24 reps.

Tip: Exhale on the exertion and inhale on the relaxation . Never lock the elbow joint.

2) Triceps workout using resistance tube: Maintain the same position as being mentioned above and bend forward from the hips so that your chest is parallel to the floor. Keep the abdominal muscles tight so the back gets support. Lift both elbows to the side and hold them as high as possible. The elbow should point upwards. Extend the forearm and fist towards the back of the room. Feel the tension in the muscles on the back of the arm.

Tip: Exhale while taking the arm upwards and inhale as the arm comes down.

3) Maintain the starting stance and bring both forearams half way up, keeping them parralel to the floor. The fists should be pointed upwards. Just curl the fist up and down several times in a controlled move of the small wrist joint.

Tip: Make sure to keep the wrist in line with the forearm.

by Jasdeep

Heavy smokers who halve the number of cigarettes they have a day reduce their lung cancer risk

Heavy smokers (more than 15 cigarettes per day) can reduce their risk of lung cancer if they decrease smoking by 50 percent, according to a study in the September 28 issue of JAMA.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and an estimated 90 percent of lung cancer cases are tobacco-related, according to background information in the article. Despite efforts to prevent people from beginning smoking and to encourage smoking cessation, the overall prevalence of cigarette smoking is still high and many smokers are unable or unwilling to completely quit.

Read more: Heavy smokers who halve the number of cigarettes they have a day reduce their lung cancer risk

Want to stop spread of flu, wash your hands - study

We can catch flu by various means - through coughs and sneezes, touching an infected person and also touching something that an infected person has come into contact with. All you need to do to get infected yourself is to touch an infected object and then wipe your face with your hands.

Hand washing would ‘break the chain', said Prof. Oxford. He said that over the past few decades we have become lax about personal hygiene. Unfortunately, microbes are using this route more and more to spread infection.

Prof. Oxford put the following in order of importance:

1. Hand washing.
2. Cleaning surfaces with disinfectant.
3. Cleaning equipment that is shared, such as tables, telephones, door knobs, desks and arm rests.

Read more: Want to stop spread of flu, wash your hands - study

A Guide to Treadmill Reviews

Are you in need of some good exercise, but you don't want to miss your favorite shows by going to the gym? If that is the case, you may be interested in getting a treadmill. With your own treadmill, you can exercise and watch TV at the same time! If you aren't sure about which treadmill to get, let this be your guide to treadmill reviews.

There are many places to go to learn about treadmill reviews. Most of these treadmill reviews go over several aspects. Some treadmill reviews go over the ease of use and functionality of the treadmill. Other treadmill reviews go over the price of the treadmills. Other treadmill reviews just go over comparing the different brands of treadmills. Some great web sites to go to for treadmill reviews are and Both of these websites have very thorough treadmill reviews.

We will go over the top 3 treadmill that were listed in the treadmill reviews. These treadmills are listed as the best buys. The first treadmill is in the below $1000 category. It is the Smooth 5.15. This treadmill has an excellent 2.5 HP motor which is never found in treadmills priced this low. It also comes with a 10 year warranty which is also never found in treadmills priced this low.

The second treadmill is in the best mid priced category. This is the Sole F83 priced at $1799.99. This treadmill has a nice 3.0 HP ultra torque motor. It also has several extended warranties. Lastly, this is a folding treadmill with several safety features that are not available with most folding treadmills. It is said to be more stable than most non folding treadmills.

Lastly, we have the best premium treadmill. This treadmill is the Landice L7 Pro Sports trainer. This treadmill is priced at $3095.00. It has a 3.0 HP Baldor motor, which may treadmill enthusiasts know is one of the best motors to have. This treadmill is made with aircraft quality aluminum and hardware. It can support a person up to 500 pounds! It also comes with a life time warranty, which suffices to say, no other treadmill can beat.

Those were the treadmill reviews for the top 3 treadmills for the year 2005. If you would like to hear the treadmill reviews of the dozens of other kinds of treadmills, simply go to one of the websites listed above to get some great information about them. All of the treadmill reviews on these websites are incredibly accurate and quite helpful. Now that you know how to learn about treadmills, it is time you got out there and picked one out! You will be glad you did!

by Bob Hett

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Is Your Colon Toxic?

The colon is the part of the large intestine extending from the cecum to the rectum. The most common sign of a toxic colon is constipation. Dead food leads to constipation, toxic build up, weight gain, and low energy. Constipation results when waste materials move too slowly through the large bowel, resulting in infrequent and/or painful elimination.

This process causes putrefied, nasty materials to stay in the colon too long and old fecal matter starts to harden and stick to the colon. Over 2.5 million North American's suffer from constipation. Most North Americans are storing 5 to 10 pounds of old fecal matter in their bodies. We are all subject to this problem, even the rich and famous. It has been documented that John Wayne had 40 pounds of built up fecal matter in his colon and Elvis Presley had 60 pounds of built up fecal matter when he died.

You could say we are all full of s_ _ t!

Now, you are probably wondering what causes constipation? Basically the causes are our life style. We lack fiber and water in our diet, eat junk food, lack of exercise, advanced age and bowel disorders. It may also be the side effects of iron supplements, some drugs or pain killers.

Dr. Bernard Jensen D.C. PhD. says "poor bowel management lies at the root of most peoples health problems". This is because the poisons back up in the system polluting our inner environment. We call this auto intoxication or self poisoning.

The following conditions can be related to constipation; allergies, bad breath, foul spelling gas and stools, diarrhea, sluggish elimination, irregular bowel movements, frequent congestion, colds, viruses, frequent headaches, general aches and pains, intolerance to fatty foods, low energy, low back pain, low resistance to infection, needing to sleep a long time, pain in liver or gallbladder, P.M.S., breast soreness, vaginal infection, skin problems, boils, pimples or acne.

Some healers in the natural world have implicated constipation as a contributing factor in the following diseases and disorders; Appendicitis, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, benign tumors, I.B.S. (including spastic bowel ulcerative colitis & Crohn's disease, gout, rheumatoid arthritis and obesity. Let's face it, this doesn't sound healthy.

To rid the body of this condition you need to change your lifestyle and cleanse your body; for the lifestyle changes, I refer you to the free E-Book, "9 Steps To A Healthy Vibrant Life", Step Four "Examining Your Life Style". The book as available at Remember, you must increase your water and fiber!

Now it is time to cleanse the body and cleanse the body and cleanse the body. Any time we have a life style disease it is safe to say the first step is to cleanse. The cleanses are also in the book "9 Steps To A Healthy Vibrant Body". The Colon Cleanse is excellent and very inexpensive. These cleanses can be done fairly often, if needed. I recommend two cleanses a year for maintenance of good health.

There are also some herbs that help activate the bowel and they are; parsley, black seed, cascara and worm wood. You might also find relief using Psyllium Husk as this contains dietary fiber.

Does colon cleansing look like a cure all to a lot of lifestyle diseases? It is! cleansing your colon will remove a lot of poison from your body and it will help you assimilate the goodness from your vitamins and minerals. This and a better lifestyle will give you a healthy, vibrant body.

@ 2005 Jane Kriese

Potential New Treatment For Insulin-dependent Diabetes

Scientists in Japan have found a way to improve on a promising diabetes treatment. In the October 3 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine, Masaru Taniguchi and colleagues report that transplanted insulin-producing cells survive better when the activation of a specific type of immune cell is blocked.
Taniguchi's group used a mouse model to show that a subset of cells known as natural killer T (NKT) cells instigates the rapid destruction of the islet cells. NKT cells become activated -- likely in response to the stress of the transplant procedure -- and produce an inflammatory molecule called interferon (IFN)-gamma, which helps to activate the auto-reactive T cells. In mice that lack NKT cells or are unable to produce IFN-gamma, the transplanted cells survived.

The group went on to show that multiple doses of a drug (called alpha-galactosylceramide), which activates NKT cells in single doses, caused these cells to produce less IFN-gamma. The decreased IFN-gamma production protected the transplanted islet cells. The authors thus suggest that multiple doses of the same compound, currently in clinical trials in humans, might help prevent the early loss of transplanted islet cells in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes.

Read more: Potential New Treatment For Insulin-dependent Diabetes

Veggies, fruit may ward off lung cancer

Bolstering the diet with fruits, vegetables and legumes rich in plant-based estrogens tends to protect against lung cancer, researchers report in an analysis published today.

Conducted by a team of cancer-prevention researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the analysis marks one of the few studies - and to date the largest - to examine dietary effects on lung tumor development. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States.

Plant-based estrogens, or phytoestrogens, come in three main classes: isoflavones, lignans and cumestrans, with isoflavones and lignans the most widely seen in nature. All act as weak estrogens with varying capacities to influence the life and death of cells.

Isoflavones, the most common, are found in a range of foods, especially soybeans, chickpeas, yams and red clover. Lignan sources include spinach, broccoli, tea, carrots and rye grains. Cumestrans are found in beans, peas, spinach and sprouts.

"Basically we found that people with lung cancer were less likely to consume these foods," said Matthew Schabath, a postdoctoral fellow specializing in cancer prevention.

Read more: Veggies, fruit may ward off lung cancer

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Doctor set to receive kidney transplant arranged through Internet

A doctor and a kidney donor found over the Internet underwent additional tests Tuesday in preparation for a transplant scheduled after a surgical team at another hospital refused to perform the operation.
If completed as planned tomorrow (Wednesday) at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, it would be the second such transplant in that city and the 16th nationally set up through Canton-based

Read more: Doctor set to receive kidney transplant arranged through Internet

Child Heart Problems

In August, an 8-year-old pee-wee football dropped dead on the field at the start of practice. He was the victim of a heart condition. This news has parents wondering if their children could also fall victim.
Cardiologists studying potential heart problems know it's a one in a quarter million longshot, but still a scary situation. "Adolescents that die suddenly, during sporting activity, every year in accidents."

It happened when 8-year-old Matthew Surcy died after he collapsed at football practice. He had an undiagnosed heart ailment.

Dr. Sam Mobarek says most victims of sudden adolescent cardiac death are, "young, normal body weight. For some reason it's predominately male, for some reason it's predominately African-American. For whatever reason, it most commonly happens between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m."

Read more: Child Heart Problems

New Options for Cataract Patients

For many people over 40, having to wear reading glasses is just a part of getting older. But new technology is giving some patients visual freedom without reading glasses.
Radiologist Dr. Gordon Randall is now the patient during an eye exam. In his line of work, vision is everything. So when he needed cataract surgery, he turned to Dr. Michael Kelly of the Kelly Eye Center in Raleigh.

"Now I don't have the lens I was born with. I have artificial lenses in both eyes," Randall said. "But thanks to great technology they're as good as the lenses I was born with."

Read more: New Options for Cataract Patients

Hospital to pay fine for treatment errors

St. Joseph Regional Medical Center has agreed to pay a fine of over $19,000 to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for causing radiation burns to three patients being treated for cervical cancer.

The fines end a six-month investigation of the South Bend hospital's cancer program.

The women were burned in February and March of 2004 when a medical device incorrectly exposed them to radiation on their inner thighs. The incidents were not reported until a year later.

The NRC says the hospital has changed its procedures so the mishap won't happen again.

Read more: Hospital to pay fine for treatment errors

Pomegranate extract fights prostate cancer in lab tests

Pomegranate juice may be able to prevent prostate cancer if initial findings in the lab can be confirmed in humans, say US researchers.

Their study is the latest in a line of studies to be published on the health benefits of this fruit, originally native to the Middle East.

Much of the recent focus has been on heart health properties but already by 2001, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology had reported that pomegranate seed oil triggered apoptosis in breast cancer cells.

University of Wisconsin researchers have also shown that the antioxidant-rich pomegranate is effective against tumours in mouse skin.

In the new trial, a team from the same institute found that an extract of the fruit had a dose-dependant effect on human prostate cancer cells cultured in laboratory dishes.

Read more: Pomegranate extract fights prostate cancer in lab tests

High Blood Pressure Triggers Heart Disease in Obese

It's not the fat per se that leads to cardiovascular disease mortality among the obese, according to a team of researchers here. The real culprit is the high blood pressure that is part and parcel with obesity.

"The important message in our study is that we observed that cardiovascular risk is not clearly increased unless hypertension is present in these overweight and obese subjects," said Athanases Benetos, M.D., Ph.D., of the Medical School of Nancy. "In our population, if the subject didn't have hypertension we didn't find that the subject had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease."

But in men and women who were both overweight and hypertensive there was a doubling of the risk for fatal heart attacks and strokes, reported Dr. Benetos and colleagues in the Sept. 13 issue of Hypertension, Journal of the American Heart Association.

Read more: It's High Blood Pressure That Triggers Heart Disease in Obese

Monday, September 26, 2005

Gum disease affects young adults, too

Even though it is regarded as a disease for middle-aged men and women, gum disease is becoming more prevalent in twenty-somethings, especially for those that still have their wisdom teeth.

Periodontal, or gum disease comes about when bacteria gets in between and under teeth, digging into the root of the tooth and gum. Periodontal disease can affect other parts of the body as well, as those with the disease have been shown to be more likely to develop infections and cardiovascular disease.

Researchers from the University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill examined 400 adults in their 20s that planned on keeping their wisdom teeth. Over 60 percent showed signs of oral infection and one in four subjects were diagnosed with periodontal disease even though they did not overtly possess any of the symptoms related to the disease.

Read more: Gum disease affects young adults, too

Heart patients miss out on life-saving scanner

PATIENTS in Scotland are being denied access to revolutionary heart scans that could save thousands of lives a year after almost all of the country's health boards admitted they had no plans to buy the machines.

An NHS report claims that new 64-slice computed tomography (CT) scanners, which produce three-dimensional images of the heart, could help slash the country's appalling heart disease death rate.

The document claims the CT machines provide a crucial early warning for patients at risk of heart attacks by detecting the early stages of blockages in the heart's arteries.

Experts say the machines could help save nearly 2,000 lives every year by diagnosing patients before they suffer fatal heart attacks.

Every year more than 11,400 adults die as a result of coronary heart disease, one of the highest rates in Europe. About 20% of those who die have no idea about their illness until it's too late.

Read more: Heart patients miss out on life-saving scanner

Breast cancer risk doubled for left-handed women

LEFT-HANDED women are more at risk from breast cancer, according to new research published today.

A team in the Netherlands looked at the relationship between left or right-handedness and cases of breast cancer in more than 12,000 middle-aged women who were born between 1932 and 1941.

The researchers also took body measurements and assessed risk factors such as economic status, smoking habits, family history of breast cancer and reproductive background.

The study, published online by the British Medical Journal, found left-handed women were more than twice as likely to develop pre-menopausal breast cancer as right-handed women.

Read more: Breast cancer risk doubled for left-handed women

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Quarter of diabetes 'undiagnosed'

A quarter of people with diabetes in England have not had the condition diagnosed, a study suggests.

Among women over 40 who had diabetes, 45% had not had it diagnosed, the Healthcare Commission reported.

The NHS watchdog carried out an audit in 2003-4 of 250,000 patients in the country, covering 1,700 GP practices and 47 hospital trusts.

More than 1.7m people in England have diabetes - 75% of whom are type 2, which is linked to obesity.

Campaigners said the NHS must make sure people are identified before long-term complications took effect.

Read more: Quarter of diabetes 'undiagnosed'

Monday, September 19, 2005

Soy May Strengthen Women's Bones

Soy may help older women reduce their risk of bone fractures, a new study finds.

"We found that soy food consumption was associated with a significantly lower risk of fracture, particularly among women in the early years following menopause," conclude researchers at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.

Soy contains isoflavones -- natural, plant-based estrogen-like compounds that experts believe might help strengthen bones.

Read more: Soy May Strengthen Women's Bones

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug May Improve Function

The experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug Orencia is safe and effective, researchers report in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers show that Orencia offered pain relief and increased movement in arthritis patients who had exhausted other treatment options.

"This drug works where others haven't," researcher Mark Genovese, MD, says in a news release. He is the associate chief of the immunology and rheumatology division at Stanford's medical school and an associate professor of medicine at Stanford.

Read more: Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug May Improve Function

Organ Transplant Drug May Up Skin Cancer Risk

Scientists may have found a clue about why skin cancer rates are high for organ transplant patients.

In lab tests of cultured cells, they found that a drug used by transplant recipients called azathioprine made cells more sensitive to UVA light. The researchers did not perform their tests on humans.

However, studies have found that a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma is 50 to 250 times more common among transplant patients. "Twenty years after transplant, between 60% and 90% of patients are affected," write Peter Karran, PhD, and colleagues in Science.

Read more: Organ Transplant Drug May Up Skin Cancer Risk

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ecstasy moves out of the nightclubs and into the hands of 10-year-olds

The drug that epitomised the acid house scene of the late 1980s is now being taken 20 at a time by children to relieve the boredom and trauma of their everyday lives. Sophie Goodchild, and Andrew Johnson reveal the trend
Published: 11 September 2005

They are known on the street as "sweeties" and that is what ecstasy pills have almost literally become for a new breed of user.

Disturbing research among pupils excluded from school has revealed that children as young as 10 are buying them with pocket money.

Read more: Ecstasy moves out of the nightclubs and into the hands of 10-year-olds

Medieval appetite suppressant could be new slimming aid

An 800-year-old herbal potion used by medieval monks to curb the appetite could soon find new popularity among 21st century dieters.

Archaeologists investigating an ancient hospital site founded by Augustinian monks about 845 years ago have found evidence that they used to chew on the bitter vetch plant to stave off hunger pains.

Read more: Medieval appetite suppressant could be new slimming aid

Cannabis drug could be new obesity treatment

A natural constituent of cannabis can suppress the appetite and may open the door to a new class of drugs for treating obesity, a scientist has said.

Professor Roger Pertwee, a neuropharmacologist at Aberdeen University, said it was well known that cannabis stimulated the appetite, but not widely known that the plant also contained substances that produced the opposite effect.

Read more: Cannabis drug could be new obesity treatment

Inhaled insulin may mean end for diabetic injections

The ubiquitous syringe, carried everywhere by diabetics for their regular dose of insulin, could soon be replaced by a puffer, similar to those carried by asthmatics.

A new kind of powdered insulin, which is inhaled rather than injected, was yesterday recommended by an expert panel of the US Food and Drug Administration. If approved by the FDA, the drug, called Exubera, could be on the market within months. However, the FDA is not obliged to follow the recommendation of its expert panels.

Read more: Inhaled insulin may mean end for diabetic injections

Exercise stress testing helps identify people at risk of developing coronary heart disease

Performing cardiac stress tests that measure exercise capacity and heart rate recovery can improve dramatically on existing techniques that predict who is most likely to suffer a heart attack or die from coronary heart disease (CHD), the leading cause of death in the United States, a team of cardiologists at Johns Hopkins reports.

In the Sept. 13 edition of the journal Circulation, the Hopkins team reports that 90 percent of men and women with no early signs of CHD who, nevertheless, died from it had had below average results from their cardiac stress tests conducted 10 to 20 years earlier.

Read more: Exercise stress testing helps identify people at risk of developing coronary heart disease

New treatment option for childhood cholera

Researchers in Bangladesh have found that severe cholera in children can be treated effectively with a single dose of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, according to a study published online by The Lancet.

Cholera is a major global health problem particularly in children in areas in less-developed countries. In the resource-limited countries where cholera occurs, any reduction in hospital stay is important as it reduces the demands on the healthcare system. Currently, WHO recommends a 3-day, 12-dose course of antibiotic treatment with either tetracycline or erythromycin for treatment of cholera in children.

Read more: New treatment option for childhood cholera

Abbott's prostate cancer drug, Xinlay, turned down by FDA panel

In what is seen as a serious setback for Abbott Laboratories, the Oncology Drug Advisory Committee (ODAC) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised against the approval of Xinlay (atrasentan), an experimental drug for prostate cancer. Abbott was hoping Xinlay would become a blockbuster (big-selling drug). The panel were concerned about lack of clear efficacy evidence, they also wondered about its cardiovascular safety.

The panel, in its report, mentioned some protocol violations.

Abbot disagreed, saying the benefits are great while the safety profile is manageable.

Abbott says it is hopeful the FDA's final decision may be different. Historically, the agency tends to go by what the panel has recommended.

Read more: Abbott's prostate cancer drug, Xinlay, turned down by FDA panel

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Dangerous visceral fat builds up if you don't exercise, can go down if you do

Visceral fat surrounds your vital organs, the fat is located in the abdominal cavity (stomach area).

According to researchers from Duke University Medical Center, exercise can significantly reduce the amount of visceral fat you carry around. The more exercise you do, the more of this type of dangerous fat you will lose. Researchers in this study said that extra exercise can reverse the amount you have, while some moderate exercise can stop your visceral fat mounting up.

If, on the other hand, you remain inactive, more likely than not you will pile on the weight at a rate of four pounds per year, say researchers.

The more visceral fat you carry around the higher your chances of developing insulin resistance (leading to type two diabetes), heart disease and other metabolic syndromes.

Read more: Dangerous visceral fat builds up if you don't exercise, can go down if you do

Infertility affects 2.5 million males in the UK

A Norwich Union Healthcare report says that two and a half million men in the UK could have fertility problems - this is about 9% of the male population.

Many doctors say that smoking could be a factor. This is a puzzling conclusion - thirty years ago over 50% of the male population smoked, now less than 25% smoke, but fertility problems during this period have increased. Some doctors say alcohol may also play a part in this increase (we do not have statistics for alcohol consumption in the UK over the last 30 years among adult males).

Some doctors say stress could be playing a part.

Doctors say that the number of sperms per ejaculation has gone down significantly over the last 30 years. The quality of the sperm has also deteriorated.

There is concern that an increase in infertility will accelerate an already ageing population.

When couples have difficulty in conceiving a child, male infertility accounts for just over 30% of cases.

Read more: Infertility affects 2.5 million males in the UK

TV viewing hours predicts child obesity risk

According to new research carried out at Otago University, New Zealand, the amount of TV a child watches can predict whether he or she will become obese or overweight - and the prediction seems to be pretty accurate.

The children in this study were aged 5-15. Over 40% of obese 26-year-olds watched the most television when they were children, say the researchers.

If you want to reduce your child's chances of becoming obese, you should restrict their viewing time to no more than 120 minutes per day, say the researchers.

Read more: TV viewing hours predicts child obesity risk

Smoking Damages Key Enzyme in the Lungs

Smoking appears to disrupt an important enzyme in the lungs, possibly explaining some of the habit's damaging health effects, researchers report.

The study focused on the effect of smoking on monoamine oxidase A, or MAO A, an enzyme that breaks down many compounds that affect blood pressure.

Using a radiotracer to track the enzyme, researchers found that smokers had MAO A levels that were 50 percent lower than nonsmokers, said lead researcher Joanna S. Fowler, program director of the Brookhaven Center for Translational Neuroimaging in Upton, N.Y.

MAO A breaks down many compounds affecting blood pressure, and the lung is a major organ focused on degrading some of these compounds, Fowler said. So lower levels of the enzyme in smokers' lungs could contribute to high blood pressure or pulmonary disease, the study said.

Read more: Smoking Damages Key Enzyme in the Lungs

Lens frees cataract patients of glasses

Much like a camera lens, the lens of the eye focuses light and controls the ability of the eye to focus on objects. For the first 40 years or so of life, that lens works fine for most people. But eventually, the lens begins losing flexibility, leading to age-related presbyopia, which limits the eye's ability to focus. Cataracts develop as proteins in the lens start clumping together.

Treating cataracts long meant removing the entire lens and wearing "coke-bottle" glasses. Then came the popularization of intraocular lenses some 30 years ago. The intraocular lens procedure involves removing the clouded inner portion of the lens from the outer sac and replacing it with an artificial substitute.

Until recently, however, most substitute devices have been monofocal lenses, which provide only one range of focus -- near, intermediate or distance. Users have to wear corrective glasses even after surgery in order to see clearly at all distances, or have one lens focused for near vision and another focused for distance.

"So we put the lenses in there, but then the question was, where do we focus the lens?" said Dr. Gary I. Markowitz of Delaware Eye Care Center in Dover, the first ophthalmologist in Delaware to implant the new Alcon device.

The ReStor lenses -- termed pseudo-accommodative lenses -- allow doctors to forgo that decision by affording good vision at all distances and, for most users, eliminating the need for eyeglasses. In clinical trials, 80 percent of patients fitted with the lenses did not need glasses after having the implants. And, though they were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March for the treatment of cataracts, they also can be used to treat presbyopia in people without cataracts.

Read more: Lens frees cataract patients of glasses

Health Tip: Treating Leg Cramps

If leg cramps wake you during the night, there's no cause for alarm.

In most cases, the spasms are innocuous and are caused by simple muscle fatigue or an imbalance of chemicals such as sodium, potassium, phosphorous, calcium and magnesium in the blood, according to Calgary Health Region in Canada.

Night-time cramps usually subside by themselves, but sometimes applying heat, massaging the leg or stretching the muscle by pulling your toes up toward you will help.

Read more: Health Tip: Treating Leg Cramps

Smokers less likely to visit Dentist

Smokers are less likely to seek dental care than nonsmokers, even though they are more susceptible to oral disease, new research shows.

Researchers drew their conclusions from data gathered in a 2000 government health care survey of more than 15,000 Americans.

"We found that 33 percent of current smokers reported having at least one dental visit that year compared to 45 percent of nonsmokers," said lead author Susan K. Drilea, whose study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This occurs even though smokers face increased risk of gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancers, she said.

Read more: Smokers less likely to visit Dentist

Hypertension may be Inflammatory disease

A study of more than 20,000 women provides evidence that high blood pressure in part may be an inflammatory disease, a finding that could provide new avenues for treatment, researchers said the other day.

The report from Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital said the conclusion was based on a blood protein that is a marker for inflammation and that appears to be a predictor of high blood pressure.

"Besides some long-established lifestyle and dietary risk factors, little else is known about how to identify individuals at risk for developing high blood pressure," said Dr. Howard Sesso, lead author of the study published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.

"This has made primary prevention efforts difficult. The data from this study are exciting as they represent the first major demonstration that C-reactive protein levels may help us predict the risk of developing hypertension," Sesso added.

Increased levels of the protein are associated with chronic activation of the immune system, otherwise known as an inflammatory response.

Read more: Hypertension may be Inflammatory disease

Weight, hypertension linked to heart risks

If you are overweight, new research shows how important it is to control your blood pressure besides trying to lose those extra pounds.

Scientists studying nearly 250,000 people in France found that only overweight people who also had high blood pressure were at significantly greater risk of dying of heart-related problems than normal-weight people. Overweight people with normal blood pressure faced no increased risk.

This doesn't mean that extra pounds aren't dangerous, because overweight people are more likely to develop blood pressure problems.

But it does for the first time show that blood pressure may be an important "mediator" or mechanism by which excess weight can cause heart problems, said one expert who reviewed the work, Dr. Frank Hu, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Read more: Weight, hypertension linked to heart risks

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

New breast cancer pill 'cuts relapse risk'

A new breast cancer pill that is said to slash the risk of relapse by almost a third was launched in the UK today.

Aromasin is the latest in a new generation of drugs that fight breast cancer by blocking production of oestrogen in post-menopausal women.

It is licensed for women who have already undergone treatment with the standard drug tamoxifen for two to three years after surgery.

Trials have shown that switching to Aromasin instead of continuing with tamoxifen for five years cuts the chances of cancer returning by an extra 30%.

The chances of breast cancer appearing in another breast is reduced by half.

From today, doctors throughout the UK can prescribe Aromasin to their patients.

But, like its predecessor Arimidex, the drug is yet to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) which vets and recommends new treatments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Read more: New breast cancer pill 'cuts relapse risk'

Pupils urged to skip themselves fit

SKIPPING is being touted as the perfect antidote to Welsh schoolchildren's couch potato lifestyles.

As traditional games begin to find their way back into the school yard, Welsh pupils are being urged to pick up a skipping rope to combat obesity and to help protect their heart health.

The British Heart Foundation wants more children to start skipping when they return to school this month.

The charity, which runs the Jump Rope for Heart scheme, believes skipping can help to reverse the worrying trend which has seen the number of physical inactivity rates double.

It is now looking for volunteers to promote the skipping project in Welsh schools.

All children and teenagers, from the age of five to 18, should be doing at least an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity every day.

But in Wales, statistics reveal that only 55% of boys and 39% of girls are active for at least an hour on five or more days a week.

Glenda Meakin, the BHF's community fundraising and volunteer manager, said, "Skipping is a good way to get kids moving at school.

"It's suitable for all key stages and can be taught to a number of different abilities at the same time.

"It is also non-competitive, which means everyone can succeed in their own way."

And a spokeswoman for the Sports Council of Wales said, "Amid fears of increasing obesity levels, playground games like skipping - both affordable and portable - offer a good aerobic workout, tone the muscles and improve co-ordination, balance and agility.

"A great way of getting active both in school and out, research has shown that skipping burns more calories than jogging and football, and just 10 minutes of skipping offers the same health benefits as a 45-minute hard run."

The Jump Rope For Heart scheme is a sponsored skipping challenge which helps to raise vital funds for heart research, education and patient care, and encourages healthy habits by showing children that keeping fit can be fun.

Read more: Pupils urged to skip themselves fit

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Different therapies can work for alcoholism

The research team with the UK Alcohol Treatment Trial (UKATT) compared two approaches to helping people with alcoholism, and found that they were equally beneficial and cost-effective.

Specifically, the study looked at "social behavior and network therapy" and the more established "motivational enhancement therapy."

"Motivational enhancement is an alcohol-focused treatment that works on people's motivation to change their behavior, which is a quite well-known and well-researched intervention," Dr. Christine Godfrey of the University of York told Reuters Health.

"Social behavior and network therapy is more person-centered," she explained, which helps provide patients with better social environments and alternative activities. "It gets them to think about who they associate with, and how their network can help them in changing their behavior."

Social behavior and network therapy involves eight 50-minute sessions, while motivational enhancement involves three sessions.

Read more: Different therapies can work for alcoholism

Blood disorder has little impact on pregnancy

Women with hemoglobin SC disease, an inherited blood disorder, can expect relatively normal pregnancy outcomes, according to a report in BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

With hemoglobin SC disease, red blood cells assume odd shapes, resulting in their premature destruction and anemia. Hemoglobin SC disease is closely related to sickle cell disease but is usually milder. Both disorders primarily affect people of African descent.

The new finding runs counter to claims that pregnancy related-problems are more common with hemoglobin SC disease than with sickle cell disease, lead author Dr. Graham R. Serjeant, from the Sickle Cell Trust in Kingston, Jamaica, and colleagues note.

In the current study, 95 pregnancies in 43 hemoglobin SC disease patients were compared with 94 pregnancies in 52 sickle cell disease patients and 157 pregnancies in 68 healthy comparison subjects.

All of the subjects had been followed from birth to assess the age at which menstruation began. Despite having a delay in menstruation of nearly 1 year relative to healthy subjects, patients with hemoglobin SC disease had a similar age at first pregnancy.

Read more: Blood disorder has little impact on pregnancy

Bats may have been source of SARS

Bats found in Hong Kong carry a virus very similar to the severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS virus and might be able to spread it, Chinese researchers reported on Friday.

They said the horseshoe bats, valued both as food and for their use in Chinese medicine, should be handled with great care. They may have helped spread the virus among different species of animals, the researchers said.

SARS first emerged in China in 2002 and in 2003 spread around the world via jet, killing more than 700 people and infecting around 8,000.

It is caused by a new virus called SARS coronavirus. Coronaviruses are common in people and animals and usually cause nothing more serious than a cold.

But SARS was different.

"The isolation of SARS-coronavirus from caged animals, including Himalayan palm civets and a raccoon dog, from wild live markets in mainland China suggested that these animals are the reservoir for the origin of the SARS epidemic," Kwok-yung Yuen of the University of Hong Kong and colleagues wrote in their report, published in the Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences.

"However, several lines of evidence suggested that the civet may have served only as an amplification host for SARS virus and provided the environment for major genetic variations permitting efficient animal-to human and human-to-human transmissions," they added.

So they studied wild animals in the Hong Kong countryside that may have come into contact with civets.

Read more: Bats may have been source of SARS - study

Gyms are going gray

In the fitness world, which so often seems dominated by young, hard bodies in Spandex, an unlikely group is rapidly increasing its presence: seniors.

Industry experts say people in their golden years now represent the fastest growing segment of the health club population.

Statistics from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) show that people over age 55 account for about 17 percent of gym-goers. In 2004, there were 10.2 million health club members over 55, up from 4.9 million in 1998 and 1.8 million in 1993.

"It's a huge change," says Brooke MacInnis Correia, a spokesperson for IHRSA, based in Boston.

She says baby boomers are one of the major driving factors. As they age, they're hoping to hang onto their health — and their looks — for as long as possible.

Read more: Gyms are going gray

Breastfed babies may become dehydrated

When breastfeeding is not properly established, the baby may become dehydrated and levels of sodium in its blood can become excessive, according to a study published this week. The condition is relatively common but can be difficult to recognize.

In the journal Pediatrics, clinicians explain that so-called “hypernatremic dehydration” in newborns arises from the inadequate transfer of breast milk from mother to infant. Poor milk drainage from the breasts leading to persistently high sodium concentrations in milk may worsen sodium levels in the infant.

According to Dr. Michael L. Moritz of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, “New mothers, especially first-time mothers, may have difficulty producing an adequate supply of breast milk in the first week after birth because of physiological issues or because the baby may not be able to latch on properly.”

Pediatricians and parents need to be aware that when this occurs, the risk of dehydration is much higher than previously assumed, he continued.

“If infants are becoming dehydrated, we strongly recommend that the breast milk be supplemented with formula or breast milk from another source,” Moritz said.

Read more: Breastfed babies may become dehydrated

Daytime Sleepiness Linked to Depression, Overweight, and Diabetes

Daytime sleepiness is likely to stem from depression or metabolic factors such as diabetes and obesity, rather than sleep apnea, researchers here report.

A cross-sectional study of 16,583 men and women found depression to be the strongest risk factor for excessive daytime sleepiness (P<0.0001), researchers reported in the latest issue of Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. A body mass index of 28 or higher and diabetes (P<0.001) were also significant and independent risk factors.

On the other hand, sleep apnea was not as significant a risk factor as once believed (P=0.266), wrote investigators led by Edward O. Bixler, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at Pennsylvania State University here.

"When we addressed the relative contribution of various factors for the complaint of excessive daytime sleepiness, current treatment for depression was most strongly associated," the researchers wrote. This relationship held even after controlling for antidepression medication.

Read more: Daytime Sleepiness Linked to Depression, Overweight, and Diabetes

Breakfast slims teen girls

Girls who regularly ate breakfast, particularly one that includes cereal, were slimmer than those who skipped the morning meal, according to a study that tracked nearly 2,400 girls for 10 years.

Girls who ate breakfast of any type had a lower average body mass index, a common obesity gauge, than those who said they didn't. The index was even lower for girls who said they ate cereal for breakfast, according to findings of the study conducted by the Maryland Medical Research Institute. The study received funding from the National Institutes of Health and cereal-maker General Mills Inc.

"Not eating breakfast is the worst thing you can do, that's really the take-home message for teenage girls," said study author Bruce Barton, the Maryland institute's president and CEO.

The fiber in cereal and healthier foods that normally accompany cereal, such as milk and orange juice, may account for the lower body mass index among cereal eaters, Barton said.

Read more: Study: Breakfast slims teen girls

High Stress, Lower Breast Cancer Rate

Daily stress may be bad for the heart, but it could protect women against breast cancer, suggested researchers here.

Among 6,689 Danish women followed for almost 20 years, those who reported having high levels of daily stress at the outset had a 40% lower risk of breast cancer than their initially more serene counterparts, reported Naja Rod Nielsen, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Danish National Institute of Public Health and other institutions.

The known estrogen-suppressing effects of high stress could account for the lower cancer risk, but that doesn't mean that women should consider adding high pressure to their daily routines, the investigators cautioned in the Sept. 10 issue of the British Medical Journal.

"High endogenous concentrations of estrogen are a known risk factor for breast cancer, and impairment of estrogen synthesis induced by chronic stress may explain a lower incidence of breast cancer in women with high stress," the investigators wrote. "Impairment of normal body function should not, however, be considered a healthy response, and the cumulative health consequences of stress may be disadvantageous."

Their findings are in direct contrast to at least two other studies suggesting that increased stress either correlates with an increased risk of breast cancer or doesn't affect it.

Read more: High Daily Stress Equals Lower Breast Cancer Rate

Monday, September 05, 2005

Experts warn of flip-flop hazards

Flat flip-flops may be fashionable, but they are not as sensible and safe as some people may think, experts warn.

The shock of moving from heels to flats, extra pressure on the heel of the foot and blisters from the thong on the flip-flops are among the problems.

Those who wear flip-flops for more than just the beach risk accidents caused them slipping off, they add.

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists recommends a sandal with a slight heel and more support instead.

The flatness of flip-flops is the main problem with the shoe, the experts say.

People used to wearing a shoe with a bit of a heel may find their Achilles' tendons feel tender when they swap to flip-flops.

They may also feel a tight pull either at the back of their calves or under their feet.

Having to grip the flip-flop by clenching the toes can lead to arch strain and pains - which can also be caused by the footwear's lack of support.

Read more: Experts warn of flip-flop hazards

Plastic surgery prizes condemned

Companies offering plastic surgery as competition prizes are violating ethics of good medical practice, say doctors.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons condemned the practice saying it was bound for catastrophe.

Of even greater concern is the message it sends to people - that plastic surgery is a commodity, and can be purchased mindlessly, BAAPS said.

Read more: Plastic surgery prizes condemned

Ibuprofen-related asthma a concern in kids

The rate of ibuprofen-sensitive asthma in children with mild or moderate asthma is low, the results of a study indicate. Nonetheless, because asthma is so prevalent in children, ibuprofen-sensitive asthma is a “public health concern,” the investigators say.

In fact, “more than 100,000 children with asthma in the U.S. may be at risk for (airway narrowing) following exposure to ibuprofen” (Motrin, Advil), Dr. Jason S. Debley told Reuters Health.

Because thousands of children with asthma take ibuprofen each year, often during an illness that can exacerbate asthma, the possibility that an asthmatic child may be sensitive to ibuprofen needs to be considered before it is administered, he emphasized.

Read more: Ibuprofen-related asthma a concern in kids

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Heart disease missed in women

Cardiovascular disease has been considered as male disease, but in fact that it kills 55% of women but only 43% of men. Dr Ghada Mikhail said that coronary heart disease in women is under-diagnosed, under-treated and under-researched.
Dr Mikhail, based at North West London Hospitals and St Mary's Hospital Trusts, said many women were unaware that coronary heart disease is their main killer - their biggest fear is breast cancer.

But even more worrying, she said, was the apparent lack of awareness of cardiovascular disease in women among healthcare professionals.

Dr Mikhail said women may have less common symptoms, such as back pain, burning in the chest, abdominal discomfort, nausea, or fatigue, which makes diagnosis more difficult.

They are also less likely to seek medical help, and tend to present late in the process of their disease.

In addition, they are less likely to have appropriate investigations, such as coronary angiography, which can delay the start of effective treatment.

She said research into heart disease also tended to focus on men - making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about how to manage the condition in women.

Women typically account for less than 30% of participants in most trials.

Read more: Heart disease missed in women

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Is your tap water safe to drink?

Americans prefer drinking bottled or filtered water than tap water which is free. They claim that tap water should contains impurities that may lead to health problems. But according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there is nothing to worry about.
But is there a problem with tap water in the United States? Not according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which reports that more than 90 percent of water systems in the country exceed standards. (The nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council finds that a few major cities, including Atlanta, San Francisco and Albequerque, N.M.,fall short.) “[In general] it is definitely safe for you to turn on the tap,” says Jack Hoffbuhr, executive director of the non-profit American Water Works Association, which represents 57,000 water industry workers from treatment plant operators to regulators. Compared to other countries, America has one of the best water systems in the world, he says. Water utilities monitor for more than 103 contaminants and must comply with the EPA’s standards on 80 of the most harmful, including disease-causing microbes and synthetic industrial material. While some traces of contaminants may remain, as long as they occur within the limits of EPA standards, they pose no significant health threats, according to the NRDC.

Read more: Water Down the Drain?

Nonsmokers can be cancer victims, too

Most lung cancers occur in smokers, but nonsmoker Dana Reeve's situation isn't as uncommon as it appears.

Like Reeve, widow of "Superman" star Christopher Reeve, 1 in 5 women diagnosed with the disease never lit a cigarette, doctors say. Yet they share an unfortunate stigma with cancer patients who smoked.

"The underlying assumption is, you were a smoker and you caused this, therefore you're not going to get my sympathy," said Tom Labrecque Jr., who started a foundation to raise awareness after his nonsmoker father died several years ago of the disease.

No one "deserves" lung cancer, doctors say. But nonsmokers do have one silver lining: They respond better to the newest targeted cancer drugs like Iressa and Tarceva.

That's because people who get lung cancer early in life, like the 44-year-old Reeve, are more likely to have genetic factors fueling their disease, doctors say. Only 3 percent of lung cancers occur in people under 45, regardless of smoking status.

Read more: Nonsmokers can be cancer victims, too

Skin cancer triples in women under 40

The incidence of two types of skin cancer has nearly tripled among women under age 40, a sign that tanning is still popular among the young despite warnings about the harm it can cause, researchers said Tuesday.

The rate of basal cell and squamous cell cancers rose to 32 per 100,000 women under 40 in 2003 from 13 per 100,000 in the late 1970s, their study said.

Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are the two most common forms of the disease and can be removed and treated more easily than the deadlier melanoma type.

"Tan is still accepted as a sign of health and a sign of beauty and so changing that message is going to be important to accept fair skin as very healthy and beautiful," said study author Dr. Leslie Christenson of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Read more: Skin cancer triples in women under 40

Anti-depressant pregnancy risk

Use of a type of anti-depressant medication during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects such as cleft palate, research suggests.

Danish and US scientists found use of SSRIs in the first three months of pregnancy was linked to a 40% increased risk - but the results are preliminary.

Cardiac defects appeared to be 60% more likely when the women used SSRIs.

But the researchers stress the results, featured in Pulse magazine, do not mean women should stop taking the drugs.

The findings were presented an International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology conference.

Read more: Anti-depressant pregnancy concern

Coil can cut aneurysm death risk

Treating burst aneurysms by blocking them with platinum coils could offer patients better long-term survival than major brain surgery, researchers say.

Tests of the technique in an international study were halted early in 2002 because results were so good.

Now a longer-term follow-up confirms it does boost the chances of patients - who risk a stroke without treatment - surviving without disability.

The latest study, by the University of Oxford, is published in The Lancet.

Read more: Coil can cut aneurysm death risk

Supplements are routine for young athletes

In order to have a better to perfect body, young people tend to take supplements.
Eight percent of girls and 12 percent of boys age 12-18 said they used supplements in pursuit of a better body, according to a survey funded by the National Institutes of Health and cereal-maker Kellogg Co. published this month. For high school athletes in competitive sports, the percentage may be far higher.

“Everybody’s tried them, pretty much,” said quarterback Andrew Davis, surveying the Cordova Lancers weight room, where the team spends at least four hours a week.

Most popular are protein shakes and powders that add calories to fast-growing teenage bodies. They are often blends of whey protein and nitric oxide. Many athletes said they’ve experimented with creatine, a natural substance found in muscle tissue and also in lean meat and fish. All those substances are legal, over-the-counter and easily accessible.

The goal for many high school athletes is to try to get faster and stronger. What’s less obvious to many teenagers and parents is whether supplements are needed to do it.

The Schwarzenegger controversy was the result of the governor and body-builder having close ties to the nutritional supplement industry at the same time he vetoed a bill that could have hurt it. Schwarzenegger has long defended his own use of such products.

“Wherever I am, I have food supplements. That’s part of me. I just happen to believe in it very strongly,” he said last month.

But according to Dr. Gary Wadler, a professor of sports medicine at New York University and an expert on performance-enhancing drugs, actually most of them do not need those supplements because they are not suffering from a typical disease that need something (the supplement).

Read more: Supplements are routine for young athletes

Restaurants with gluten-free menus

Awareness of celiac disease - an incurable wheat allergies that makes the body unable to take anything containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye - has been growing rapidly in recent years and become a niche.

More and more restaurants offering gluten-free menu to fit demands of people with celiac disease.
Not every customer may be as effusive as that one, but Pace says he gets tremendous amounts of feedback from customers, which also helps him try out new recipes. His latest experiment is a pasta made from white beans. Rice, the main ingredient in risotto, is naturally gluten-free.

Founded just five years ago, Pace’s restaurant quickly became known among people with celiac disease, who make heavy use of the Internet and e-mail to share restaurant recommendations.

Several major restaurant chains are also reaching out to the celiac community. Outback Steakhouse, P.F. Chang’s and other restaurant companies offer menus of gluten-free dishes, and more are joining them.

Last month, Mitchell’s Fish Market, a 13-restaurant chain based in Columbus, Ohio, introduced gluten-free menus, and six months ago Boston-based Legal Sea Foods did the same in its 31 restaurants. Richard Vellante, the executive chef for Legal Sea Foods, said his company adopted a gluten-free menu after hearing requests from customers and also noticing that competing restaurants were doing it.

Read more: More restaurants offering gluten-free menus