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Cholesterol

HEALTH
August 9, 2010 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
In the next year or so, the market for statins may get a further boost. The National Cholesterol Education Program, the group that drafted the 2001 and 2004 guidelines on statin use, is expected to update its treatment recommendations. In doing so, the group will decide whether to suggest the broad use of statins for healthy patients with high readings of a marker for inflammation called C-reactive protein. If the group does urge statins for these healthy individuals, at least 6.5 million new patients could sign up for long-term statin use. Dr. Sanjay Kaul, a cardiologist at USC and a coauthor of one of the recent studies critical of the large-scale JUPITER trial, on which such a recommendation would likely be based, says such an expansion would be a mistake.
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SCIENCE
August 5, 2010 | By Rachel Bernstein, Los Angeles Times
Heart health depends in no small part on diet and exercise, but genes are also crucial. Now, scientists involved in a massive genetic study have come a step closer to understanding the role of the latter, identifying 95 DNA regions associated with cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Of those regions, 59 had not previously been identified and may, with further research, lead to new treatment options. "It's a goldmine of new discovery," said Dr. Daniel Rader, a geneticist at the University of Pennsylvania medical school and coauthor of two new studies on the research.
NEWS
August 2, 2010
Young adults out there, take note: The occasional Big Mac, slice of pizza or ice cream cookie binge may be fine — but you’d be wise not to make a habit out of it. Consistently high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol throughout early adulthood (which is what you’ll get if you keep eating junk food every day) can do more harm to your future health than to your current figure, according to a new study . They’re a leading risk factor for coronary heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
NEWS
July 20, 2010
Health screenings — they might be tedious, expensive, and time-consuming, but they also can be worth it, even if you're a healthy young adult. Take the case of cholesterol screening. Even though today approximately two-thirds of young adults have one or more risk factors for coronary heart disease, less than 50% of them are screened for high cholesterol, according to a study published in the July-August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine . Coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, is a buildup of calcium, plaque and fatty material in the arteries that restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and can lead to a heart attack.
NEWS
July 11, 2010 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
High cholesterol is common enough in children these days that all of them should be screened for the condition, say the authors of a new study examining the rates of high cholesterol in children. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening children and teens who have a family history of premature heart disease or high cholesterol or those children who already have risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity, high blood pressure or who smoke or have diabetes.
HEALTH
July 5, 2010 | Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon, The People's Pharmacy
What can you tell me about red yeast rice? Is it really good for lowering cholesterol levels, and are there any side effects? Red yeast rice (RYR) can help in lowering cholesterol. In one study, researchers recruited people who had high cholesterol but had discontinued statin-type drugs because of muscle pain or weakness. They were randomized to RYR or a placebo. Those taking red yeast rice lowered both bad LDL and total cholesterol significantly and did not suffer serious side effects (Annals of Internal Medicine, June 16, 2009)
SCIENCE
June 29, 2010 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
A simmering scientific dispute over statins, the cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs that rake in some $26 billion a year for their makers, heated up Monday with an exchange of published volleys that drove back the reputation of the widely prescribed medications in one area even as it advanced their stature in another. A meta-analysis — a review of previous studies — published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that statins do not lower death rates among patients with risk factors but no evidence of established cardiovascular disease who take them as a preventive measure.
SCIENCE
May 17, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
A stiffening of the aging brain's blood vessels reduces their ability to respond to changes in blood pressure, increasing the risk of falls by as much as 70%, researchers reported Monday. Although the change in the arteries is only one of many factors that lead to falls among the elderly, the findings provide a potential target for intervention, said Dr. Joe Verghese, a neurologist at Albert Einstein University College of Medicine who was not involved in the research. Treating high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, among other factors, can reduce the stiffening.
HEALTH
May 3, 2010 | Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon, The People's Pharmacy
I have taken statins to lower my cholesterol. Decreased libido was one of the many side effects I experienced. As things happened gradually, I hadn't fully taken note of how my normal nighttime erections had virtually ceased. I figured my lack of sexual interest was due to getting older. My wife felt I wasn't as interested in her anymore. During the first week after I stopped the statin, I had a sexual awakening like I was a teenager again. I didn't realize how far I had deteriorated until my libido came roaring back.
SCIENCE
April 26, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Nearly half of all adult Americans have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, all conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. One in eight Americans has at least two of the conditions and one in 33 has all three, sharply increasing their risk. Of those with at least one condition, 15% have not been diagnosed, according to the report released online. "The number that really surprises me is the penetration of these conditions into the U.S. population," said Dr. Clyde Yancy of Baylor University Medical Center, president of the American Heart Assn.
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