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The blood thinner warfarin recently was found to help ward off cancer in people treated for blood clots. The same week, three studies suggested that popular cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins may somehow reduce the risk of broken bones. Huh? This sort of pharmaceutical serendipity is increasingly common: A drug approved for one use is found, by accident or design, to have other intriguing effects. It's distracting to health consumers already teetering on the risk-benefit balance beam.
May 24, 2004 | Jane E. Allen
Statins, the prescription drugs used by millions of Americans to reduce cholesterol levels, are showing early promise as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease that affects about 1.5 million people worldwide, attacks the myelin sheaths around nerves of the brain, eyes and spinal cord. The formation of scar tissue or lesions can lead to such symptoms as blurry vision, numbness, loss of balance and fatigue.
December 27, 2004
Re "The National Institutes of Health: Public Servant or Private Marketer?" Dec. 22: I am appalled that researchers who speak for the NIH and have the ability to influence what doctors are prescribing for their patients are being paid as consultants by drug companies. I have taken a number of statins, including Crestor, and I am aware of the guidelines issued in 2001 by the National Cholesterol Education Program that recommended new target levels for cholesterol. Now I am wondering how seriously I should regard the advice of the NIH. Carol Karas Camarillo There is no credibility at the NIH. If major scientists are promoting a particular drug or treatment and they are accepting consulting fees from that company, how can you believe anything they are saying about that product?
August 9, 2010
Three months after suffering a stroke or a transient ischemic attack, sometimes called a mini-stroke, one in four patients sent home with medications prescribed to drive down the risk of a repeat stroke or heart attack aren’t taking those medications, a new study finds. TheĀ  medication study , published online Monday in the journal Archives of Neurology, found that in the majority of cases, physicians are discontinuing patients’ medications — for reasons that aren't known.
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.
February 27, 2006 | From Times wire reports
Taking prescription beta blocker or statin drugs appears to boost the chances of having only mild chest pain instead of a heart attack as the first symptom of heart disease. Scientists studied 1,400 patients newly diagnosed with heart disease to try to pinpoint why some had a heart attack while others experienced chest pain known as exercise-induced angina, which is far less dangerous.
November 8, 2005 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
Lovastatin, a widely used cholesterol-lowering drug, reverses common learning disabilities in mice, offering the first hope for a treatment of the problem in humans, UCLA researchers reported Monday. Three separate human trials in children and adults will begin within weeks at UCLA and other U.S. and European locations, said Dr. Alcino J. Silva, a neurobiologist at UCLA and the lead author of a paper appearing in the journal Current Biology.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients with heart disease, even if their cholesterol levels already are normal, according to the largest study of the drugs ever conducted. The research, performed at Oxford University in England, could lead to a major shift in the treatment of heart disease--reducing death rates and the need for surgery.
February 27, 2006 | Marc Siegel, Special to The Times
She was in good health, rode horses regularly and, as an articulate attorney, was not one to simply accept my medical advice without explanation. She came in for yearly checkups, and we had developed a good rapport during the last 10 years. Our main discussion concerned her cholesterol level: It generally ranged between 230 and 260, with a "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) measurement of between 140 and 160.
November 6, 2006 | From Times wire reports
A device that helps severely damaged hearts pump may be able to do what was once thought impossible -- reverse heart failure in people who are weeks from death. The left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, can boost the heart's ability to function, allowing it to recover if used with the right drugs, British researchers have found. The team used the device and a combination of heart drugs in 15 patients who had severe heart failure.
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