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Angioplasty’s Questionable Results

Angioplasty may not boost survival for heart disease patients. A 15-year follow-up shows that those who have had angioplasties do not live longer than those who received just medication. This supports other studies that have shown that some angioplasties should not have been done

Protein Found in Belly Fat Increases Cancer Risk

Visceral fat (the fat inside your belly and around organs) makes a protein called fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) in much larger amounts than fat underneath your skin does. FGF2 can convert normal cells into cancerous ones.

Can Your Cholesterol be Too Low?

Almost everyone agrees that having total blood cholesterol levels above 250 is likely to shorten your life and markedly increases your chances of suffering a heart attack, unless you have a very high HDL (which is good). Other studies also show that people with very low cholesterol are at increased risk for cancer of the stomach, esophagus, liver and colon, but it looks like the incubating cancers cause the low cholesterol, rather than a low cholesterol causing the cancers.

Agent Orange Does Not Cause Diabetes

In April 2000, a study from the Air Force was widely reported in newspapers to have shown that agent orange causes diabetes. Only Gina Kolata of the New York Times wasn't fooled (NYT, April 20, 2000).

Atrial Fibrillation: Irregular Heartbeats

Atrial fibrillation is the most common irregular heartbeat. It occurs in 1.5 to 2 percent of the general population and risk increases with age. It affects 10 percent of 75-year-olds and 20 percent of those over 85, because aging increases the risk factors for atrial fibrillation such as blocked arteries, high blood pressure or...

Healthful Diet Helps to Prevent Colon Cancer

A study published this week shows that vegetarians who eat fish have a 43 percent reduced risk for developing colon cancer, compared to people who eat meat (JAMA Internal Medicine, March 9, 2015). Researchers analyzed the diets of nearly 78,000 men and women. During an average seven years of follow-up, they identified 380 cases...

Varicose Veins Helped by Exercise

A regular exercise program may be the most effective treatment for varicose veins. Veins are supposed to contain valves that keep blood from backing up. When the valves cannot close properly, veins become varicose, blood backs up and causes the veins to widen and look like blue snakes underneath the skin. Since varicose veins...

Impotence is a Major Risk Factor for Heart Attacks

A review of published studies shows that the world-wide incidence of inability to achieve an erection varies widely from three percent to 76.5 percent, and the geographical incidence of impotence is associated with all the same risk factors as those for heart attacks, dementia and having an enlarged prostate (BJU International, July 3, 2019)....

How Excess Fat Can Spread Cancer

People who have cancer and are also overweight are at increased risk for having the cancer spread through their bodies. A new study shows how excess weight may spread cancer cells through the body.

The Hidden Cause of Many Heart Attacks

More than 40 percent of people who have had heart attacks are diabetic and these patients are the ones who are most likely to die from their heart attacks (Lancet, 2002; 359: 2140-44). Three tests are commonly used to diagnose diabetes: fasting blood sugar, blood sugar level two hours after eating, and HbA1c, a measurement of how much sugar is attached to cells.

Grapefruit Juice Effects on Drugs

Several reports show that taking certain medications with grapefruit juice can cause problems by markedly increasing absorption of the medication. Many drugs are broken down in your intestines by an enzyme called cytochrome P450 that is normally there, so these drugs have to be given in higher concentrations than normal to achieve adequate blood levels....

Dangers of Shoveling Snow

What's the most common cause of winter-time heart attacks, shoveling snow or breathing cold air? A study in Toronto showed that most heart attacks occur on the day after a snowfall, not on the coldest days. Your heart has to work two and a half times harder to pump blood through your arms than...

Daily Aspirin is Beneficial Primarily for People at High Risk for a Heart Attack

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has advised against people aged 60 and older taking aspirin for primary heart attack prevention because of their increased risk for bleeding into the brain or gastrointestinal tract.

Smoking Increases Cervical Cancer Risk

Cervical cancer is a venereal disease caused by the human papilloma virus called HPV. Nineteen different strains of HPV have been associated with cervical cancer. HPV-16 is the most carcinogenic. As solid cancers grow, they produce angiogenesis factors that increase blood flow to them to supply nutrients and energy. Tobacco contains nicotine, a potent...

New Studies on Fatty Liver

A liver full of fat can be caused by anything that damages the liver. Doctors used to separate liver damage into that caused by alcohol and that not caused by alcohol (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD). Now we know that a liver damaged by excess alcohol has the same harmful consequences as a...

LDL Cholesterol Can Be Too Low

A study of more than 100,000 healthy Chinese citizens followed for nine years showed that having very low levels of LDL cholesterol (<70 mg/dl) is associated with increased risk for bleeding into the brain, and the lower the LDL, the greater the risk (Neurology, July 2, 2019). Normal blood levels of LDL cholesterol are...

The Latest on COVID-19: Archive

This post contains older entries in my summaries of research on COVID-19 vaccinations and other aspects of the epidemic since it began in late 2019. Newer entries can be found in the main post titled The Latest on COVID-19.

What You Should Know About Monkeypox

So far, the monkeypox virus does not appear to be likely to cause an epidemic or to be any more dangerous than chicken pox. There is evidence that it can be spread from humans-to-humans, rather than from most cases previously of animal-to-human transmission, so there is concern that this recent monkeypox virus has changed to become more transmissible.