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Health Updates 5 May 2011

  • An Omega-3 fatty acid shows a risky side: “Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects that may help protect against heart disease, studies have shown.  But men with high blood levels of the omega-3 fat docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, were at significantly greater risk for aggressive prostate cancer, a large study has found”.  And further, “another surprising find was that men with the highest blood levels of trans fatty acids, which are harmful to the heart, had half the risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared with those who had the lowest levels.  Both results confounded the scientists”.  (Roni Caryn Rabin, NY Times)
  • Strict exercise regimen beats back blood sugar: “Having a sustained exercise program to stick to can help diabetes patients lower their blood glucose levels, researchers say.”  According to Dr Marco Pahor, of the University of Florida, even with the limitations of the study, “the results were ‘largely consistent with regard to the benefits of exercise and physical activity'” and that “‘it may be time to consider insurance reimbursement for structured physical exercise programs'”. (Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today)
  • Night owls tend to be fatter: Those late sleepers ate an average of 248 more daily calories, twice as much fast food and half as many fruits and vegetables and more full-calorie sodas than the early-to-bed, early-to-rise contingent.  And the late sleepers took in those extra calories mostly during dinner and in the late evening – after 8 pm.  Perhaps not coincidentally, consuming extra calories after 8 pm was linked to higher Body Mass Index.” (Washington Post)
  • FDA still struggling to define ‘Gluten-Free‘: “In 2004, Congress gave the FDA until 2008 to create a definition for what a gluten-free product actually means.  Seven years later, we’re still waiting.  The Washington Post reports that as celiac disease rates are rising, there is still no set definition of what defines a gluten-free product”.  At least 3 million Americans have celiac disease and some 18 million have gluten sensitivity. (Huffington Post)
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