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Health Updates 13 January 2012

  • Too much vitamin D as bad as too little: “Too  much vitamin D may be just as bad as too little, a recent study suggests.  Vitamin D supplements reduce blood levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP, an indicator of inflammation that is linked to cardiovascular disease.  But supplements help only up to a point.  In a study of more than 15,000 adults ages 18 to 85, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that after blood levels exceeded 21 nanograms per millilitre – the lower end of what is usually considered normal – any additional vitamin D led to an increase in CRP….’Vitamin D is good to a certain level’ said the lead author, Dr. Muhammad Amer, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins. ‘But don’t just keep on taking it.  Have your blood drawn and your levels checked’.” (Nicholas Bakalar, NY Times)
  • Could internet addiction disrupt the brain’s connections? “A small Chinese study suggests that the brain of teenagers who are seemingly addicted to the internet have abnormal ‘white matter’, the biological insulation that surrounds the wiring between neurons.  It’s not clear if this difference could cause internet addiction or actually be caused by it.  And the research doesn’t point to a treatment for internet addiction, a controversial diagnosis that the mental health community hasn’t universally accepted.” (MedlinePlus)
  • Antidepressants in pregnancy may risk pulmonary hypertension in babies: “Women who use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy may be placing their unborn children at risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH) of the newborn, a large cohort study showed….Although an observational study cannot prove causality, Kieler and colleagues recommended caution when using SSRIs for pregnant women.  ‘It is essential to plan the treatment and to weigh the risks of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn when treating women in late pregnancy with those of relapse of depression…’.” (Todd Neale, MedPage Today)
  • Synthetic windpipe is used to replace cancerous one: “Surgeons in Sweden have replaced the cancerous windpipe of a Maryland man with one made in a laboratory and seeded with the man’s cells.  The windpipe, or trachea, made from minuscule plastic fibers and covered in stem cells taken from the man’s bone marrow, was implanted in November.  The patient, Christopher Lyles, 30, whose tracheal cancer had progressed to the point that it was considered inoperable, arrived home in Baltimore on Wednesday.  It was the second procedure of its kind and the first for an American.”  (Henry Fountain, NY Times)
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