Health Updates 9 December 2011

  • Study says schools are best place to intervene on childhood obesity: “Australian researchers examined 55 interventions in previous studies and concluded that school-based programs were key in getting kids to healthy weights, and there was little evidence that these programs would have a negative effect on young students’ self-images.” (
  • More detail on risk urged for a contraceptive label: “Labels on the popular birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin should be strengthened to include more information about the possibility that the pills could lead to greater risk of blood clots in women, an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday.  The panel, which voted 21 to 5 in favor of changing the labels, stopped short of recommending that they warn that the drugs are more likely than other contraceptive pills to cause blood clots.  Instead, the experts suggested that the labels note that the evidence about blood clots is conflicting.  Currently, the labels suggest that these contraceptives have blood clot risks similar to those of other birth control pills that combine estrogens and progestins.” (NY Times)
  • Endurance athletes may incur heart damage: “Intense endurance exercise – such as running a marathon – may induce cardiac damage confined to the right ventricle, a small study showed.  Highly trained endurance athletes had reductions in right  ventricular function immediately after a race, although it mostly returned to normal about a week later….However, a handful of the athletes had signs of subclinical myocardial scarring on cardiac MRI, ‘suggesting that repetitive ultra-endurance exercise may lead to more extensive right ventricular change and possible myocardial fibrosis…”. (Todd Neale, MedPage Today)
  • Irregular night-shift work associated with higher diabetes risk: “We already know that the night shift may be hazardous to your health.  And now, a new study finds that mixing up night shifts with day and evening work hours is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes….The study can’t say why, but ‘we know that a wide range of biological processes are regulated by the circadian rhythms, including sleep-wake cycles, body temperature, energy metabolism, cell cycle and hormone secretion’…Disrupting the body’s natural clock has been shown to raise blood sugar and insulin levels, to lift blood pressure and to affect sleep quality”. (Wall Street Journal)

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