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Health Updates 10 February 2012

  • It’s buyer beware when getting statins off the internet: “Be wary of buying the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins on the Internet, British researchers say.  Common statins such as Lipitor, Crestor or Zocor may not be the same as advertised and sites often don’t include warnings about side effects or even require a prescription, the researchers noted….’Potentially, customers who obtain statins in this way, without their doctor’s prescription, may not be aware of potential side effects and may put themselves in harm’s way….Information necessary for safe use of the product is often poorly presented and in a majority of cases, incomplete…Where present, side effect information such as warnings, contraindications and possible side effects was in general, unstructured and unhelpful….Moreover, up to  90 percent of the sites didn’t include information on adverse symptoms to watch out for, including myopathy, liver disease, hypersensitivity and pancreatitis, the researchers found.” (HealthDay)
  • Playing sports may help keep kids from smoking: “Middle-school kids who participate in lots of sports are less likely to start smoking than other kids, new  research finds.  Yet, students with teammates who smoke are more likely to smoke, too.  This apparent influence of peers is more pronounced among girls.  ‘This result suggests that peers on athletic teams influence the smoking behavior of others even though there might be a protective effect overall of increased participation in athletics on smoking’ study leader Kayo Fujimoto, who conducted the research while at the University of Southern California, said in a journal news release.”  The authors suggest using their findings to improve anti-smoking programs that target children. (Womenshealth.gov)
  • Untreatable‘ gonorrhea looms, CDC warns: Gonorrhea is putting up increasing resistance to the last antibiotic class highly effective against it, the CDC has again warned.  The prevalence of gonorrhea resistant to the cephalosporin cefixime (Suprax) was just 0.1% in 2006 but had jumped 17-fold to 1.7% as of mid-2011….’It is time to sound the alarm,’ [the CDC] wrote.  ‘There is much to do and the threat of untreatable gonorrhea is emerging rapidly….’Investing in rebuilding our defenses against gonococcal infections now, with involvement of the health care, public health, and research communities, is paramount if we are to control the spread and reduce the consequences of [treatment]-resistant strains’ they wrote.” They recommend a return to dual treatment therapy, including intramuscular doses of drugs as well as oral antibiotics.  (Crystal Phend, MedPage Today)
  • Booze and family history of colon cancer a bad mix: “People who consume a few alcoholic drinks a day and have a family history of colorectal cancer are at increased risk for developing colon cancer, new research suggests….People with a family history of colorectal cancer who drank an average of 30 or more grams of alcohol per day (about 2.5 typical drinks in the United States) were at increased risk for colon cancer….Those at greatest risk also ate the most red meat, smoked more and consumed the least folate, which suggests they ate fewer green vegetables and cereal.  The findings indicate that other lifestyle factors, such as diet, play an important role in colon cancer risk”. (Medline Plus)
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