|MARCH, on heart, bacteria & calcium|
|IN THE NEWS
HEART DISEASE DOESN'T SLIGHT WOMEN
Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels may be
even more dangerous for women than men, according to new data from the
American Heart Association.|
--Women in the study who had all 4 risk factors were 10 times more likely to
die of heart disease during the 10 years following bypass surgery than men
with all four risk factors.
--If a woman has all 4 risk factors, she faces a 1-in-4 chance of dying
within 8 years after heart surgery, according to Dennis L. Sprecher, M.D.,
director of preventive cardiology for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
--Data was collected from almost 6,500 patients who underwent bypass surgery
at the foundation.
--Researchers say that patients who have heart surgery need to be encouraged
to lose weight, eat well-balanced low-fat diets, and maintain healthy blood
GOOD BACTERIA MAY REDUCE EAR INFECTIONS
A new experimental therapy that replenishes "good" bacteria appears to
reduce the recurrence of otitis media, a common childhood ear infection.
--Otitis media is often treated with antibiotics, but the infection often
reappears after treatment. Doctors propose antibiotics not only kill
infection-causing bacteria, but also helpful bacteria that form a part of
the body's defense system.
--A Swedish study involved 130 children ages 6 months to 6 years who had a
history of recurrent otitis media.
-- All the children in the study received a 10-day course of antibiotics for
their infections. After completing the treatment, half the children received
a nasal spray containing alpha-streptococci, a beneficial bacteria, for 10
days. About 2 months later, these children received another 10-day course of
--42% of the children who received the bacterial spray did not develop
another ear infection during the three-month study.
--Therapies that boost helpful bacteria may not only keep otitis media at
bay, but also prevent harmful bacteria from becoming resistant to
antibiotics by reducing the need for the drugs.
--Further testing will be performed before the spray can be considered for
approval. The study was featured in the Jan. 27, 2001 issue of the British
CALCIUM MAY AID IN WEIGHT LOSS FOR WOMEN
Women with the highest intake of calcium from dairy foods, relative to the
number of calories they consumed each day, lost the most weight and body fat
over a 2-year period, regardless of exercise, according to a recent study
published in the December 2000 issue of the Journal of American College of
--The study focused on women ages 18 to 31, a time during which overall
weight begins to increase with advancing age.
--Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that public health
recommendations for calcium targeting young women should emphasize weight
maintenance in addition to bone health.
--The average daily intake of calcium is 781 mg, below the recommended level
of 1,000 mg daily for young women.
LOW-SALT, LOW-FAT DIET CAN LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
A low-salt, low-fat diet may be as effective at reducing blood pressure as
blood pressure-lowering drugs, according to a report in the Jan. 4, 2001
issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
--The study found this to be true regardless of ethnicity or sex.
--The study's findings suggest the current recommendations to consume no
more than 2,400 mg of salt daily may be too high.
--The study focused on 412 people who followed either a typical American
diet or the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet (which
emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products,
poultry, fish, and nuts). Study participants consumed a diet with high-,
medium-, or low-salt intake.
--While the DASH diet alone reduced blood pressure, combining it with a
low-salt diet reduced it even further.
--Lower salt and the DASH diet should be recommended to the general
population in hopes of preventing hypertension and the rise of blood
pressure that occurs with advancing age, according to the study's
--Americans consume an average of 3,500 mg of salt daily.
--Nearly 50 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure.