Archive for May 16th, 2012

Bill would set federal health standards for school pizza [no, seriously]

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., has introduced legislation that would prevent tomato paste used to make pizza from qualifying as a vegetable. Under the bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would be empowered to set "healthful" standards for pizza served in schools, such as requirements for sodium and whole-wheat ingredients.

The Hill/Healthwatch


Plavix Set to Lose Patent Protection

The drug, which prevents clots among heart attack patients, will no longer be promoted by Bristol-Myers Squibb because of an influx of cheaper generic alternatives …

Bristol-Myers is hardly the only company to face the loss of a best-selling drug: at least 19 are set to lose patent protection this year, which is expected to cost the pharmaceutical industry about $38.5 billion in lost sales, according to an analysis by Barclay’s. About 80 percent of the prescriptions written in the United States are now filled with generic drugs.


Study ties coffee to longer life

Coffee seems to be good for you. Or at least it's not bad, say researchers who led the largest-ever study of coffee and health.

They found that coffee drinkers seemed a little more likely to live longer than folks who drink no coffee at all. Regular or decaf didn't matter.

Denver Post

Vitamin D & Lupus

Some studies suggest that vitamin D may play a role in lupus. Just this past week, Dr. Eric Morand of the Monash Lupus Clinic announced that in a five year observational study, low vitamin D levels were associated with more severe symptoms for people with lupus.

This agrees with previous research on lupus and vitamin D. In 2011, a trio of research teams all found that lupus patients with more severe vitamin D deficiency had worse disease activity. Their results were published in the journals Rheumatology, Annals of Rheumatic Diseases and Lupus. Dr. Bodakdar, lead investigator in one of the studies concluded, “Routine screening for vitamin D deficiency and its prompt treatment in patients with newly diagnosed SLE is recommended.”

Furthermore in an interventional study, a group of French researchers found that vitamin D supplementation was well tolerated in lupus patients and improved their immune system by administering 100,000 IU of vitamin D every week for 4 weeks, then 100,000 IU once a month for 6 more months in lupus patients. While larger randomized controlled trials are underway on the effects of vitamin D on lupus patients, these preliminary findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation may be important in the meantime.


Poll: Majority believes “personal choices” are behind obesity

Data from a Reuters/Ipsos online survey indicate that 61% of adults believe personal choices about food and exercise play key roles in the obesity epidemic, and 49% of respondents said they favor higher health insurance costs for obese patients. Researchers found 52% of respondents support government interventions to address obesity, while 48% oppose them, but 87% said they support requiring schools to promote 30 minutes of daily exercise.



Fossilized Ancient Sea Reptile Suggests Dinosaurs Got Arthritis Too

Imagine having arthritis in your jaw bones … if they're over 2 meters long! A new study by scientists at the University of Bristol has found signs of a degenerative condition similar to human arthritis in the jaw of a pliosaur, an ancient sea reptile that lived 150 million years ago. Such a disease has never been described before in fossilized Jurassic reptiles.

Science Daily


[Unsurprisingly] Parent’s Income, Schooling Affect Kids’ Health

A higher income and educational level for the head of a household is associated with a wide range of health improvements for children, according to the CDC’s annual report card on the nation’s health.

MedPage Today


Studies Explain Why That Itch Needs Scratching

The itch-scratch cycle in humans tracked to specific regions of the brain, including areas related to reward, pain sensation, and addiction, functional brain imaging studies showed.

MedPage Today


[Unsurprisingly] sexy women’s bodies in ads seen as objects

Both men and women see images of sexy women's bodies in advertisements as objects, but they see sexy-looking men as people, Belgian researchers found.



Fructose diet hampers learning, memory

A diet steadily high in [high-fructose corn syrup] slows the brain and hampers memory and learning, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, said.



Soda Makers Scramble to Fill Void as Sales Drop

Americans are abandoning carbonated drinks, and Coke and Pepsi are relying more than ever on the “flat” drinks and bottled waters.



Flaxseed, walnut oils highest in omega-3

Nut, fruit and seed oils have some of the highest amounts of omega-3s, an essential fatty acid believed to be good for heart health, a U.S. food expert says.