Health Updates 3 November 2011

  • Mouse research reveals aging process, may lead to therapies: “In a potentially fundamental advance, researchers have opened up a novel approach to combating the effects of aging with the discovery that a special category of cells, known as senescent cells, are bad actors that promote the aging of the tissues.  Cleansing the body of the cells, they hope, could postpone many of the diseases of aging.” (NY Times)
  • Just three alcoholic drinks per week ups the risk of breast cancer: “Risks increased by 10 percent for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed daily.  That’s equal to a little less than one 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine or a shot of whiskey.  The increasingly elevated risks were a little higher than seen in other research.  It made no difference whether the women drank liquor, beer or wine.  Given research suggesting that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol including red wine may protect against heart disease, deciding whether to avoid alcohol is a personal choice that should be  based on a woman’s other risks for breast cancer and heart disease, the researchers said.” (Associated Press)
  • Curbing holiday weight gain with exercise: “The next few months, filled with holiday feasting, represent a dire threat to most people’s waistlines.  Even those of us who normally eat a wholesome diet can find ourselves gorging on fatty, high-calorie  foods and gaining the annual Christmas inner tube.  But several new studies promote a simple and effective response: Run or walk from the buffet.  Even if you’ve already overindulged, the studies suggest, exercise can lessen or reverse the unwelcome consequences.” (NY Times)
  • Research finds little evidence linking heart attacks in kids to ADHD drugs: “But critics of the widespread use of prescription amphetamines to treat the symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder – 2.7 million children are taking the drugs – say this latest study still doesn’t give ADHD drugs a clean bill of health.  In this new study, the researchers looked at the medical records of 1.2 million children and young adults in four health plans in time frames from 1.5 to 3.9 years.  They found that 81 had heart attacks, strokes, or died suddenly while taking methylphenidate, sold under the brand name Ritalin.  That translates to three serious problems for every 100,000 years people took the drug.  That risk was the same as for people of the same age who weren’t taking Ritalin.” (Booster Shots/NPR).

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