Health Updates 22 July 2011

  • Optimism and bright attitude can stave off strokes: “Optimism could be working by reducing blood pressure, or the extent to which blood pressure spikes when stressed out, or it could be that those who are optimistic are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors such as good eating and exercise, says Dr. Redford Williams, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University who has studied the connection between personality traits and health extensively.” (ABC News)
  • Going to the hospital is riskier than flying: “‘If you were admitted to hospital tomorrow in any country…your chances of being subjected to an error in your care would be something like 1 in 10.  Your chances of dying due to an error in health care would be 1 in 300,’ Liam Donaldson, the WHO’s newly appointed envoy for patient safety, told a news briefing.”  The chance of dying in a plane crash is about 1 in 11 million, though these flying risk numbers are hard to compare. (Reuters)
  • FDA issues alerts on the heart drug Multaq: “American and European regulators issued safety alerts on Thursday about Multaq, a drug approved two years ago to treat abnormal heart rhythms. The Food and Drug Administration said a study of the drug in patients with a long-term form of the disease, known as atrial fibrillation, showed twice as many deaths as those who did not take the drug.” (NY Times)
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says women should start mammograms at 40: “It veers from the US Preventative Services Task Force, which in 2009 enraged many women and breast experts when it recommended mammograms every other year starting at 50….The change was made based on a combination of factors, chief among them the speed with which cancer often grows in younger women…”. (Columbus Dispatch)

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