Drink and Be Merry
Women with recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) may benefit from drinking cranberry juice often or consuming other cranberry-containing products, say researchers who evaluated 13 studies on the effectiveness of preventing UTIs with cranberries. The studies involved more than 1,600 people. Researchers say that children, those who use cranberry-containing products more than twice a day, cranberry juice drinkers and women with frequent UTIs are most likely to benefit. The results showed that UTIs occurred 38 percent less often in people who used cranberry products like supplements or juice compared to those who didn't. The research is published in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Effect Stronger with Zocor
Statin users are more likely than non-users to experience fatigue upon exertion, decreased energy, or both. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego say that the findings should be taken into account when weighing the risk versus benefit of statins, particularly since exertional fatigue may affect exercise participation. Published in Archives of Internal Medicine, the research reveals that patients on Zocor 20 mg (simvastatin) or Pravachol (pravastatin) 40 mg were significantly more likely than those on placebo to report fatigue with exertion, worsening energy levels, or both. Patients taking Zocor had greater cholesterol reduction, but Zocor appeared to have a stronger effect on energy levels than Pravachol.
Reduce Your Chances of Dying
Standing up more often could greatly reduce your risk of dying within the next three years, suggests a study of more than 200,000 people. Even if you're physically active, standing up more often can reduce death risk. The study revealed that adults who sat for 11 or more hours daily experienced a 40 percent increased risk of dying in the next three years compared to people in the study who sat for fewer than four hours daily. Researchers accounted for weight, health status and physical activity. The study, from University of Sydney's School of Public Health, was published in Archives of Internal Medicine. An editorial in the health journal suggested that the research was strong enough for doctors to prescribe "reduced daily sitting time."
Eat More Fresh Fruits, Veggies
A diet high in salt and low in potassium may increase the risk of death, concludes a CDC study. The new research, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, analyzed the long-term effects of sodium and potassium intake. The 15-year study included more than 12,000 people, reports MSNBC. By the end of the study, 433 people had died from blood clots and strokes, while 825 died from heart disease. Researchers found that those with a high salt and low potassium intake faced a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause, and 200 percent increased risk of death from a heart attack. Researchers recommend increasing potassium intake by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, including carrots, grapes, sweet potatoes and spinach.
Decision Support Not Effective
While President Obama has pushed for electronic health records, a new study reveals that they may not do much to improve the quality of care patients receive. According to Reuters, Stanford researcher Dr. Randall Stafford said that our expectations for electronic health records should be more realistic. However, he did note that stimulus funding used to standardize medical records might improve the current "patchwork of systems." Findings show that even with decision support software, electronic records didn't improve quality of care much. Decision support software provides tips on how to best treat patients. The study, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, included survey information from more than 250,000 doctor visits, including outpatient settings, between 2005 and 2007.
Coffee in, Diabetes Out
Drinking four cups of coffee a day has been shown to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes in women, says MSNBC. Researchers, writing in the journal Diabetes, report that four cups of java each day may cut a woman's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by more than half. Researchers believe that coffee acts to reduce Type 2 diabetes by increasing the amount of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in the blood. A 2009 study, reported in Archives of Internal Medicine, also found that coffee (including decaf) and tea reduce the risk of diabetes when three to four cups are consumed daily. Patients should speak with their doctors about ways to lower diabetes risk, with or without coffee.
The Painkiller That Killed
Vioxx (rofecoxib), a drug no longer on the market, may have been responsible for an estimated 40,000 deaths, say researchers from Yale School of Medicine. The painkiller, a COX-2 inhibitor made by Merck, was recalled in 2004. Now, researchers say that Vioxx was still harmful six months after stopping the drug. The effects of Vioxx may even have lasted up to a year after being discontinued. The new findings, based on data made available by Merck during litigation, reveal that those taking Vioxx experienced doubled risk of developing blood clots or dying in the first six months after discontinuing treatment, reports MSNBC. During the five years that the drug was available, researchers estimate that it caused nearly 40,000 deaths. The only COX-2 inhibitor still on the market is Celebrex.
Walk Away Breast Cancer Risk
Brisk walking can help lower the risk of getting breast cancer, say researchers at Harvard. MSNBC reports that the study, involving 95,396 women followed for 20 years, found that brisk walking appeared to be the exercise that offers the most protection against breast cancer. Study author Dr. A. Heather Eliassen noted that walking was the most common exercise of women in the study, a fact that may have skewed the findings. The research, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, revealed that regular exercise is linked with a lower risk of breast cancer. The benefit remained even after researchers accounted for the potential influence of drinking and weight.
Checking During Cut
Offering blood pressure monitoring at the barbershop may help black men improve control over their high blood pressure, researchers suggest. Study findings, to be reported in Archives of Internal Medicine, reveal that barber-based intervention resulted in greater improvement in control of high blood pressure. Barbers in the intervention group, but not the control group, offered patrons blood pressure checks during haircuts, and study participants were followed up on for 10 months. Providing community-based help with health care may be important for black men since study authors note that "compared with black women, men have less frequent physician contact for preventive care and thus substantially lower rates of hypertension detection, medical treatment and control."
Lose Weight and Cool Down
Bothersome hot flashes during menopause can be reduced by losing weight, find researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Specifically, overweight and obese women in the study who participated in a weight-loss program were twice as likely to experience an improvement in hot flash symptoms. According to CNN, for each 11 pounds the women lost, they were about one-third more likely to experience a decrease in the frequency or severity of hot flashes, compared to women who didn't lose weight. Women in the study who lost weight participated in a program that included 40 minutes a day of moderate exercise, weekly counseling sessions and a 1,500 calorie per day diet. Study findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Lower Triglycerides Too
Adding nuts to your diet can lower cholesterol according to a study in a recent issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. For the study, participants ate an average of 2.4 ounces of nuts per day resulting in a reduction of slightly more than five percent of total cholesterol; a 7.4 percent reduction in LDL, or unhealthy cholesterol, and a 10.2 percent reduction of triglycerides among participants with high levels. Explained Joan Sabaté, M.D., Dr.P.H., of Loma Linda University, CA, "The lipid-lowering effects of nut consumption were greatest among subjects with high baseline LDL-C and with low body mass index and among those consuming Western diets.” She called for the inclusion of nuts in the diet to favorably affect blood lipid levels and to potentially lower coronary heart disease risk.
FOUR STRIKES and YOU'RE OUT
Archives of Internal Medicine revealed this week that by having just four unhealthy habits can premature your age by as much as 12 years. The bad habits include smoking, not exercising, low intake of fruit and vegetables and consuming too much alcohol. The analysis was conducted with nearly 5,000 adults as they were tracked for two decades. The stats showed that the people who had all four unhealthy habits were nearly four times more likely to have died during the study compared with the healthiest people who had none of the habits. Dr. Walter Willett, the chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, responded to this study stating that a "healthy lifestyle practices that are modest and simple...can profoundly affect our chances of living to an old age."
Carbs Up Women's Heart Risk
Consuming white bread, pizza or white rice, as well as other foods rich in certain carbohydrates, can double a woman's risk of developing heart disease. According to new research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, carb-rich foods with a high glycemic index like white bread cause blood sugar to spike and may harm the heart if you're female. Since men process carbs differently, they don't appear have the same risk of heart disease when consuming foods with a high glycemic index like pizza. Carbs with a low glycemic index, such as fruit and pasta, weren't associated with an increased risk of heart disease since they're absorbed by the body less rapidly. The study was conducted in Italy, where carb-rich foods like pizza, bread and pasta are consumed often.