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HEALTH
August 24, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
For patients with high levels of so-called bad cholesterol, doctors routinely reach for two remedies: cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and a diet that cuts out foods high in saturated fat, such as ice cream, red meat and butter. But new research has found that when it comes to lowering artery-clogging cholesterol, what you eat may be more important than what you don't eat. Released online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., the study found that incorporating several cholesterol-lowering foods — such as soy protein and nuts — into a diet can reduce bad cholesterol far more effectively than a diet low in saturated fat. In fact, the authors assert, levels of LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, can drop to half that seen by many patients who take statins, sold under such names as Lipitor, Crestor or Zocor.
ARTICLES BY DATE
OPINION
November 22, 2013
Re "A second opinion on statins," Editorial, Nov. 19 When it comes to reducing heart attacks, decreasing inflammation in blood vessels trumps reducing cholesterol. Diet and exercise can be just as effective as statins in this area, but many dismiss these efforts. Maybe that's because most of the unimpressive research used a high-carb, low-fat diet. Individuals at risk for heart disease are often insulin resistant. Of course the high-carb approach was ineffective. Second, dietitians and other qualified nutritionists should be reimbursed by Medicare and other insurance plans for doing what they do best.
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NEWS
August 14, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, For the Booster Shots Blog
Just as you were ready to tuck into a nice three-egg omelet again, comforted by the reassuring news that eggs are not so bad for you, here comes a study warning that for those over 40, the number of egg yolks consumed per week accelerates the thickening of arteries almost as severely as does cigarette smoking. Server, can you make that an egg-white omelet instead, please? The study, published Tuesday in the journal Atherosclerosis , measured the carotid wall thickness -- a key indicator of heart disease risk -- of 1,231 patients referred to a vascular prevention clinic, and asked each to detail a wide range of their health habits, from smoking and exercise to their consumption of egg yolks.
SCIENCE
November 15, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
The weight loss that follows a successful bariatric surgery makes most patients feel younger. But a new study suggests that following bariatric surgery, some patients show signs of being biologically younger, as well. At Stanford University, researchers looked for evidence of change in bariatric surgery patients by measuring their telomeres -- regions of repeating DNA sequences at the end of a chromosome that grow a little shorter with age and chronic illness. Telomeres are considered a biomarker of the aging process.
NEWS
November 15, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Statins, the popular cholesterol-lowering medications, appear to actually break down some of the blockage in clogged coronary arteries, researchers reported Tuesday. Doctors gave high doses of rosuvastatin (40 milligrams), atorvastatin or Lipitor (80 mg) to 1,385 people with evidence of heart disease and used ultrasound to measure the amount of plaque in their arteries. This was the largest study ever using this method to assess heart disease progression or recession. The patients were followed for two years.
HEALTH
January 22, 2011 | By Amanda Leigh Mascarelli, Special to the Los Angeles Times
What should you be doing to keep your cholesterol under control? Here's what the experts advise: Get screened: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men have their cholesterol levels checked by age 35 and that women begin by age 45. Men and women with an increased risk of heart disease should start getting screened at age 20, according to the task force. Some doctors advocate for screening beginning in early adulthood — or even during childhood if kids have a family history of cholesterol problems.
NEWS
August 14, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Potentially good news for the 45% of Americans who have Type O blood : researchers said Tuesday that those people appear to have a slightly lower risk of developing heart diseasethan their neighbors with Type A, B or AB blood. Dr. Lu Qi, an assistant professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, analyzed heart disease risk in two large, multi-decade health studies - reviewing  data collected from 62,073 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study, which was launched in 1976, and from 27,428 men who took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, launched in 1986.  Adjusting for heart disease risk factors including diet, diabetes status, gender and race, Qi and his colleagues found that study participants with type AB blood had the largest heart disease risk - 20% greater than that of people with Type O blood.
NEWS
August 10, 2010
Women who have their cholesterol checked only to be taken aback at an oddly high level of HDL or LDL might want to check the calendar. Was the appointment at the latter end of the menstrual cycle? The beginning? Their estrogen level at the time might be a factor. Researchers knew that the estrogen in oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy could affect cholesterol levels, but they wanted to know more about the effects of normal estrogen fluctuations inside the body.
SCIENCE
May 18, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
A new genetic study suggests that high-density lipoprotein, the so-called good cholesterol commonly known as HDL, may not actually be as good for us as physicians previously thought. A study of more than 100,000 people found that those with genes that promote production of higher-than-normal levels of HDL do not have a lower risk of having a heart attack, a finding that has surprised researchers immensely. The results could have major implications for pharmaceutical manufacturers, who have been attempting to develop drugs that will raise HDL in the hopes of preventing heart attacks in people at higher risk.
NEWS
November 4, 2010 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
Lowering cholesterol is a concern of many people, some of whom turn to statins to do the job. But a new study finds that adding monounsaturated fats to an already low-cholesterol diet may improve cholesterol levels as well. The small study included 24 men and women with cholesterol levels that were mildly to moderately high who were on a month-long monitored diet low in saturated fat. After that, some were randomly assigned for a second month to a vegetarian diet -- also monitored -- that was either high or low in monounsaturated fats.
SCIENCE
September 3, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
With 78 million American adults in the obese column and showing slim chances of permanently dieting their way out of it, one way of mitigating the public health disaster to come would be to unhook the wagonload of obesity-related ills -- most notably Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease -- from obesity itself. In this scenario, a person could remain heavy, but take a medication or follow some regimen that drives down his or her risk of developing the metabolic dysfunction, the high blood pressure, worrisome cholesterol readings, fatty liver and inflammation that so often come with obesity.
NEWS
November 13, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Forget those long, grueling fasts you dreaded before getting blood drawn for a lipid test: A new study finds that it's probably OK to eat beforehand.  Doctors assessing their patients' cardiovascular risk often send patients to get their lipid levels checked, with the caveat that they must fast for nine to 12 hours - which would mean they'd have to come back at a later time and possibly skip mealtimes to boot. This often leaves physicians in a bind because it's very possible the patients won't return.
NEWS
August 14, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Potentially good news for the 45% of Americans who have Type O blood : researchers said Tuesday that those people appear to have a slightly lower risk of developing heart diseasethan their neighbors with Type A, B or AB blood. Dr. Lu Qi, an assistant professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, analyzed heart disease risk in two large, multi-decade health studies - reviewing  data collected from 62,073 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study, which was launched in 1976, and from 27,428 men who took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, launched in 1986.  Adjusting for heart disease risk factors including diet, diabetes status, gender and race, Qi and his colleagues found that study participants with type AB blood had the largest heart disease risk - 20% greater than that of people with Type O blood.
NEWS
August 14, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, For the Booster Shots Blog
Just as you were ready to tuck into a nice three-egg omelet again, comforted by the reassuring news that eggs are not so bad for you, here comes a study warning that for those over 40, the number of egg yolks consumed per week accelerates the thickening of arteries almost as severely as does cigarette smoking. Server, can you make that an egg-white omelet instead, please? The study, published Tuesday in the journal Atherosclerosis , measured the carotid wall thickness -- a key indicator of heart disease risk -- of 1,231 patients referred to a vascular prevention clinic, and asked each to detail a wide range of their health habits, from smoking and exercise to their consumption of egg yolks.
NEWS
May 21, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots Blog
American adolescents already carry a heavy burden of future heart disease risk, and while obesity has contributed mightily to their poorer health prospects, normal-weight kids are by no means off the hook, a study produced by the Centers for Disease Control says. In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics (read the full text here ), CDC researchers say that overweight and obesity among American adolescents -- those between 12 and 19 years old -- has pushed the  prevalence of pre-diabetes and Type-2 diabetes from 9% in 1999 to 23% in 2008.
SCIENCE
May 18, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
A new genetic study suggests that high-density lipoprotein, the so-called good cholesterol commonly known as HDL, may not actually be as good for us as physicians previously thought. A study of more than 100,000 people found that those with genes that promote production of higher-than-normal levels of HDL do not have a lower risk of having a heart attack, a finding that has surprised researchers immensely. The results could have major implications for pharmaceutical manufacturers, who have been attempting to develop drugs that will raise HDL in the hopes of preventing heart attacks in people at higher risk.
HEALTH
January 22, 2011 | By Amanda Leigh Mascarelli, Special to the Los Angeles Times
When it comes to cholesterol, doctors are sure of two things: High levels of the bad kind increase the risk of heart disease, and lowering those levels reduces the risk. So traditional treatments are aimed at cutting bad cholesterol through diet, exercise and drugs called statins. Now cardiologists are trying to harness the power of good cholesterol to help stave off heart disease. Clinical trials of drugs designed to boost good cholesterol are underway. Meanwhile, scientists are learning more about how it contributes to health: A new study suggests it's not just the total amount of good cholesterol that matters, but how efficiently it's able to gobble up bad cholesterol.
NEWS
November 13, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Forget those long, grueling fasts you dreaded before getting blood drawn for a lipid test: A new study finds that it's probably OK to eat beforehand.  Doctors assessing their patients' cardiovascular risk often send patients to get their lipid levels checked, with the caveat that they must fast for nine to 12 hours - which would mean they'd have to come back at a later time and possibly skip mealtimes to boot. This often leaves physicians in a bind because it's very possible the patients won't return.
NEWS
November 15, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Statins, the popular cholesterol-lowering medications, appear to actually break down some of the blockage in clogged coronary arteries, researchers reported Tuesday. Doctors gave high doses of rosuvastatin (40 milligrams), atorvastatin or Lipitor (80 mg) to 1,385 people with evidence of heart disease and used ultrasound to measure the amount of plaque in their arteries. This was the largest study ever using this method to assess heart disease progression or recession. The patients were followed for two years.
HEALTH
August 24, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
For patients with high levels of so-called bad cholesterol, doctors routinely reach for two remedies: cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and a diet that cuts out foods high in saturated fat, such as ice cream, red meat and butter. But new research has found that when it comes to lowering artery-clogging cholesterol, what you eat may be more important than what you don't eat. Released online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., the study found that incorporating several cholesterol-lowering foods — such as soy protein and nuts — into a diet can reduce bad cholesterol far more effectively than a diet low in saturated fat. In fact, the authors assert, levels of LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, can drop to half that seen by many patients who take statins, sold under such names as Lipitor, Crestor or Zocor.
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