Smoking marijuana quintuples a person's heart attack risk
Smoking marijuana quintuples a person's heart attack risk for an hour after lighting up, a study out Thursday said. As a heart-attack trigger, smoking marijuana is safer than a snort of cocaine or a jolt of intense exercise for a couch potato. But it is twice as risky as sex for a sedentary person or exercise for someone who is fit. Pot smoking hasn't emerged as an issue in heart disease because older people typically don't indulge.
That could change with the aging of the baby boom gneration. "As baby boomers enter the age at which coronary disease is the most important cause of death and the leading cause of (illness), we may see an increase in marijuana-associated heart attacks," said researcher Murray Mittleman of Beth Israel.
SAN DIEGO - A new study shows that surprisingly little weight loss - if it can be sustained - carries a big payoff in better health. The researchers looked at middle-aged people who took off a pound a year for four years and then kept the weight off for at least four more years. These people lowered their risk of high blood pressure over the next 40 years by about 25%. The study by Dr. Lynn L. Moore, an epidemiologist from Boston University.
Teen Sexual Questions
Question: Which teens are most likely to delay having first sex:
1) those with high intelligence
2) those with average intelligence
3) those with below-average smarts?
The surprising answer:
Adolescents at opposite ends of the intelligence spectrum -- the brightest and the least smart -- are most likely to put off having sex, says a University of North Carolina (UNC) study published in the March issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.
HOSPITAL INFECTIONS JUMP
The risk of acquiring an infection while being treated in a hospital has increased 36% in the past 20 years, say federal researchers. An estimated 2.2 million people a year get sick and at least 88,000 die from diseases they pick up in U.S. hospitals, nursing homes or home healthcare settings, says William Jarvis of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jarvis says bacteria associated with medical settings have moved to where the patients are: clinics, dialysis centers, nursing homes and home health care.
BREAST MILK NUTRIENTS MAY MAKE A BABY SMARTER
Enriching bottle formula with two essential fatty acids found in mother's milk can significantly improve babies' mental development, a new study says. The study, conducted by the Retina Foundation of the Southwest in Dallas, adds to growing international support for adding to commercial baby formula two fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA).
Doctors have long advised patients to drink cranberry juice to help prevent urinary tract infections, despite the fact that this was considered an old wives tale. Quantitative research conducted by the Harvard Medical School and Rutgers University in 1994 and 1998 revealed that the cranberry actually does help by preventing the bacteria, Escherichia coli, from adhering to the lining of the bladder.
Cranberries also contain many phytochemicals and antioxidants that may help to prevent diseases including cancer and heart disease, along with slowing the aging process.
CAT'S CLAW (Uncaria tomentosa)
CAT'S CLAW (Uncaria tomentosa) is a vine that grows wild in the tropics of South America. Native Amazonians use it to treat arthritis, intestinal disorders and tumors.
Studies from Peru, Austria and Germany have isolated six active alkaloids. The most significant is isopteropodine, which enhances phagocytosis which means: Once a white cell has left the vessel and migrated to the enemy, the next job is to EAT the microbe. This human macrophage, like its cousin the neutrophil, is a professional "phagocyte" or eating cell (phago = "eating", cyte = "cell"). The macrophage is using its internal cytoskeleton to envelop cells of the fungus Candida albicans.
Other components have antioxidant activity and immune-stimulating effects. The majority of testing has been done in vitro (in a dish or test tube), but human trials are under way in Europe.
THE IDEAL HUSBAND
A man who makes more money than his wife can spend.
Shitake Mushrooms, Lentinus edodes, contain a powerful anti-tumor polysaccharide (a type of large complex carbohydrate molecule) called lentinan.
An important component of traditional Chinese herbal medicine, and one of the most common anti-cancer drugs in Japan, lentinan is used in combination with chemotherapy in the treatment of lung cancer, melanoma, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. It is effective in helping to suppress cancer recurrence and in prolonging the lifespan of cancer patients.
Lentinan and a group of similar polysaccharides help the body resist and fight off cancer and other invasions by stimulating various parts of the body's defense system including the production of T lymphocytes, macrophages, and the natural killer cells.
Lentinan is also being studied as an adjutant therapy during chemotherapy, since it may decrease the cytotoxicity and other unwanted side effects of chemotherapy. Its immune-boosting activities are used to help AIDS and heart-bypass patients fight off infections. Other studies suggest that shiitake extracts can help lower blood cholesterol and aid in the reduction of blood clots.
CHOLERSTEROL DRUGS MAY BE YOUR DEATH SENTENCE
In 1987, Merck made headlines when it came out with Mevacor (lovastatin), the first cholesterol-lowering statin drug. Statins block enzyme pathways involved in the production of cholesterol, thereby lowering cholesterol levels. But that's not all these drugs do.
The same enzymes that are involved in the production of cholesterol are also required for the production of an essential compound called coenzyme Q10. Not surprisingly, lower cholesterol levels in statin drug users are accompanied by reduced levels of CoQ10.
Coenzyme Q10 -- also called ubiquinone, which means "occurring everywhere" -- plays an important role in the manufacture of ATP, the fuel that runs cellular processes. Though it is present in every cell in your body, it is especially concentrated in the very active cells of your heart. Depriving the heart of CoQ10 is like removing a spark plug from your engine -- it just won't work. Low levels of CoQ10 are implicated in virtually all cardiovascular diseases, including angina, hypertension, cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.
Merck knew that statins deplete CoQ10, and knew that this could contribute to heart disease. In 1990, this drug manufacturer sought and received a patent for Mevacor and other statin drugs formulated with up to 1,000 mg of coenzyme Q10 to prevent or alleviate cardiomyopathy, a serious condition that can cause congestive heart failure.
However, Merck has not brought these combination products to market, nor has this drug company educated physicians on the important of supplementing CoQ10 to offset the dangers of these drugs to the heart. Because they hold the patent, other drug companies are prevented from coming out with a statin/CoQ10 product.
If you're taking a statin drug (Zocor, Provacol, etc.), don't wait for your doctor to warn you of the substantial risks. Consider this fact: in the last 15 years (roughly the time that statins have been on the market), the incidence of congestive heart failure has tripled. If you want to avoid becoming a statistic, it is imperative that you take 200 mg of coenzyme Q10 daily. You should also try to lower your cholesterol levels with a low-fat diet, targeted nutritional supplements and exercise.
MEN ARE AFRAID OF DOCTORS
A survey of 1,500 men and 2,850 women released by the Commonwealth Fund, a non-profit research organization, revealed what most of us knew all along - men are cowards when it comes to medical care. They will try to avoid seeing a doctor at all costs and often ignore symptoms that signal a medical problem. About 1/4 said that they would wait as long as possible before going to a doctor if they felt sick or were in pain.
One in 4 did not see any doctor in the past year and more than half did not have a physical exam. In contrast, less than 1 in 10 women did not see a doctor in the previous year. One in 3 men did not even have a regular doctor (1 in 5 in women). About 60% of men over 50 did not have a test for colon cancer and 40% were not checked for prostate cancer. If you are a man over 45, call your doctor and schedule a physical exam.
A WORD OF CAUTION
Any practices or advice given in this publication are not intended to replace the services of your physician, or to provide an alternative to professional medical treatment.