Health Updates 26 October 2011

  • British scientists grow super broccoli: “The new broccoli was specially grown to contain two to three times the normal amount of glucoraphanin, a nutrient believed to help ward off heart disease.  Glucoraphanin works by breaking fat down in the body, preventing it from clogging the arteries.  It is only found in broccoli in significant amounts.  It’s been on sale as Beneforte in select stores in California and Texas for the last year, and hit British shelves this month.  Later this fall, the broccoli will be rolled out across the US”. (Associated Press)
  • Troubles with heart are linked to HPV: “A new study suggests that a common sexually transmitted virus already linked to cancer many also cause cardiovascular disease.  Women infected with the human papillomavirus, or HPV, are two to three times as likely as uninfected women to have had a heart attack or stroke, according to a report published on Monday in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology….the new study is the first to connect the virus to heart disease.  The heart findings are not definitive: They show the virus may be associated with heart disease, but do not prove it caused the disease.” (Denise Grady, NY Times)
  • CDC recommends boys get the HPV vaccine: “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s immunization experts now support the Gardasil vaccine as strongly for adolescent boys as for girls of the same age.  For both, it protects against the human papillomavirus, of HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection.  HPV is estimated to infect at least half of sexually active Americans at some point in their lives, though in most cases it clears up on its own.  But the virus is associated with about 18,000 cancers in women each year, with cervical cancer being the most prevalent.  About 7,000 men also get HPV-linked cancers affecting the anus, penis, mouth and neck, according to the CDC.” (St Petersburg Times)
  • Insurer drops fight to keep rate filings from public: “The largest health insurer in New York, United Health/Oxford, has agreed to drop a fight to keep its filings for rate increases secret, putting pressure on other insurance carriers to follow suit rather than keep battling against state regulators for disclosure….The agreement was hailed as a victory by a consumer advocacy coalition….Carriers say rate increases simply reflect rising health care costs.  Consumer advocates have long complained that it is hard to challenge the increases without access to the company filings.” (Nina Bernstein, NY Times)

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