People with high levels of arsenic in their system — often from drinking contaminated well water — are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, the New York Times reported Oct. 30.
The findings were drawn from a study of Native Americans who relied on well water, which is not subject to the arsenic standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for public water systems (maximum 10 parts per billion).
In the case of well water, arsenic contamination often comes from natural sources. However, arsenic is also a component of industrial air pollution.
Experts say even low levels of arsenic can cause free radical damage to cells, stress blood vessels and thicken arterial walls.
“We need more cardiologists to be thinking about environmental effects on the heart,” said Gervasio Lamas, chief of cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. “It’s not just some abstract EPA problem. It’s actually affecting our patients.”
The findings were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
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Many Americans say they are hurting financially and see no way to recover in the near future, NBC News reported Oct. 29.
A new Harris poll found that:
- more than half of Americans call themselves lower-middle class or working class, with low economic security
- 75 percent said factors like credit-card debt and healthcare and housing costs are holding them back financially
- 45 percent don’t expect their finances to recover to where they were before the 2008 financial crisis
- 44 percent report having less than $2,000 in savings, and 21 percent had no savings
- 53 percent have $10,000 or more in debt, and 32 percent had more than $20,000
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If your child has a cough, try giving them a little water flavored with honey or agave nectar: studies show that the placebo effect can provide relief for children with coughs.
U.S. News reported Oct. 28 that a study found that kids given a placebo or pasteurized agave nectar coughed less than those given no treatment.
“It is possible that giving a sweet liquid ‘placebo’ is preferred for families and children than doing nothing or, even worse, taking an unnecessary antibiotic,” said lead researcher Ian Paul, chief of the Division of Academic General Pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine.
Parents also should keep kids with coughs well-hydrated, doctors say.
The findings were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
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Energy drink need to be more highly regulated due to their high caffeine content and dangers associated with consumption with alcoholic beverages, a new report contends.
Reuters reported Oct. 23 that the study led by Joao Breda of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe noted that there are more than 500 brands of energy drinks released each year, many containing poorly researched ingredients like taurine and guarana. In fact, there are few studies at all about the health impact of energy drinks, Breda said.
A review of past research did find that:
- energy drinks are responsible for 43 percent of the caffeine consumed by European children, and 18 percent of the caffeine consumed by teens
- teens who consumed energy drinks were more likely to use alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
- 70 percent of young adults who use energy drinks mix them with alcohol
The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.
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Fish in general is a good dietary choice — but deep-fried fish and chips really isn’t. Health reported Oct. 30 on five ways to make your fish as healthy as possible, including:
- Use healthier fats: cook with olive oil, or add avocado or nuts to your dish, for example.
- Add herbs and spices for flavor (rather than butter, for example).
- Layer your fish with other filling, healthy ingredients, like hummus, sautéed spinach, roasted tomatoes, wild rice, mashed sweet potatos, or spaghetti squash.
- Chill your leftovers and use them to top a salad later.
- Add fish to stews, stir-frys or tacos in place of meat.
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