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Americans pay three times more for cholesterol medication Americans pay three times more for cholesterol medication
Date: 2012-11-02 02:07:17

According to a recent update from Boston University's Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program, the price that Americans under 65 years old pay for statins - which are drugs to control cholesterol - is at least three times greater than the cost that the U.K. government pays for the same medications.

The study, which was published in the journal Pharmacotherapy, reported that the use of statins in the U.S. increased from 103,000 people to 125,000 people from 2005 to 2009, and in the U.K. it rose from 67,000 people to 105,000 people during the same time period.

U.S. private insurance companies paid $87 million for statins in 2005, but that number decreased to $47 million in 2009 due to the advent of a less expensive statin known as Zocor. In the U.K. the price of statins paid by the government was reduced from $17 million to $14 million between 2005 and 2009 for the same reason.

Cholesterol statistics... Full Story

Healthy living habits may add 14 years to life Healthy living habits may add 14 years to life
Date: 2012-11-07 21:47:17

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that included data from the Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project found that people who have a healthy heart in middle age may have a life expectancy that's 14 years greater than people who have at least two risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

"We found that many people develop cardiovascular disease as they live into old age, but those with optimal risk factor levels live disease-free longer," said research author John T. Wilkins, M.D. "We need to do everything we can to maintain optimal risk factors so that we reduce the chances of developing cardiovascular disease and increase the chances that we'll live longer and healthier."

The study analyzed the risk of developing all forms of cardiovascular disease in people who were older than 45, and it looked at risk factors like blood pressure, diabetes and total cholesterol, which can be measured with cholesterol testing, in each of the participants.

Other results of the study showed that middle-aged men had a 60 percent chance of developing cardiovascular disease during their lifetime, while women had a 56 percent chance of developing a heart condition within their lifetime.

Heart disease statistics... Full Story

New medication may be effective in combating rare cholesterol disease New medication may be effective in combating rare cholesterol disease
Date: 2012-11-06 22:20:45

A new report in the journal The Lancet, reports that a new medication known as lomitapide showed promise in its phase 3 clinical trial in combating the the rare cholesterol disorder homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) by significantly lowering "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, which can be detected with cholesterol tests.

Patients who have HoFH have a high levels of LDL because of a genetic mutation in the LDL gene, which inhibits the liver from removing the the bad cholesterol from the blood. HoFH usually results in the development of cardiovascular disorders at a young age and death at about 30 years old.

The study, which was conducted by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania looked at the effect of lomitapide on 29 patients, 23 of whom also engaged in a year-long process that gauged the safety and tolerability of the drug. Each patient received lomitapide along with other lipid-lowering therapies and at the end of the efficacy phase, the average LDL levels were reduced by nearly 50 percent.

"The magnitude of this reduction in LDL-C and the fact that some patients reached or approached the LDL-C therapeutic goals is truly remarkable for this high risk population that historically doesn't respond to lipid-lowering drugs," said research author Marina Cuchel, M.D., Ph.D. "A reduction in LDL-C of this magnitude is certainly expected to favorably alter the clinical course of this devastating disease."

High cholesterol risks... Full Story

Diabetes drug may help increase cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients Diabetes drug may help increase cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients
Date: 2012-11-21 22:41:46

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston found that a drug known as rosiglitazone, which is normally used for insulin-resistant diabetic patients, helped improve cognitive function in memory and learning.

The study, which used mice as test subjects, found that rosiglitazone improved the transmission between neurons in the brain by helping control a molecule in brain known as extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) that becomes frenetic and results in impaired learning and memory.

"Using this drug appears to restore the neuronal signaling required for proper cognitive function," said research author, Larry Denner Ph.D. "It gives us an opportunity to test several FDA-approved drugs to normalize insulin resistance in Alzheimer's patients and possibly also enhance memory, and it also gives us a remarkable tool to use in animal models to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie cognitive issues in Alzheimer's."

Alzheimer's statistics and diagnosis... Full Story

There may be a shortage of primary healthcare providers There may be a shortage of primary healthcare providers
Date: 2012-11-28 19:09:22

Researchers at the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital have found that with the potential influx of patients due to President Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA), primary care physicians who may provide services such as cholesterol tests and blood tests may not be able or willing to take on additional patients.

"This study raises very serious concerns about the willingness and ability of primary care providers to cope with the increased demand for services that will result from the ACA," said research investigator Eric G. Campbell, PhD, of the Mongan Institute. "Even with insurance, it appears that many patients may find it challenging to find a physician to provide them with primary care services."

As part of the study, the researchers looked at a 2009 survey that sought to find the percentage of physicians' patients who were either uninsured or were covered by Medicaid. It also asked about the healthcare providers' willingness to take on more patients in this demographic, as well as their willingness to partake in programs that would help improve the quality of their practices.

While 840 doctors responded to the survey, 53 percent were classified as "safety-net providers," meaning more than 20 percent of their patients were uninsured or were covered by Medicaid. Out of all the safety-net physicians, only 72 percent said that they would take on additional Medicaid patients and 61 percent indicated that they would take on patients with no health insurance. According to the 2012 Current Population Survey Report, in 2011, nearly 48 million people in the U.S. were uninsured.

The study investigators reported that the results show that there may not be enough safety-net, primary care physicians to take on the increased number of patients. Research author Lenny López, M.D., M.P.H., M.D.iv., of the Mongan Institute also reported that before this study, the medical community was aware of the need for increased resources, but the results emphasize how critical that need is.

... Full Story

Statins and physical fitness decrease risk of cholesterol-related death Statins and physical fitness decrease risk of cholesterol-related death
Date: 2012-11-28 17:27:22
A recent study led by Peter Kokkinos from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which analyzed the records of more than 10 million veterans, found that combining cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins with physical fitness may be the most effective way to reduce the chance of dying from dyslipidaemia, report Medical News Today. Dyslipidaemia is a condition in which patients experience high levels of cholesterol and blood fats.... Full Story

Cause of high blood pressure in expectant mothers revealed Cause of high blood pressure in expectant mothers revealed
Date: 2012-11-28 14:00:03
Medical News Today reported that recent research conducted at the Max Delbrück Center and the Helios Klinikum Berlin-Buch in Germany has found an enzyme that may be linked to preeclampsia, a disorder that is most commonly found in pregnant women, which causes a sudden increase in blood pressure. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), preeclampsia can cause bleeding, premature separation of the placenta from the uterus, stroke and death.... Full Story

Americans consume excessive calories from alcohol Americans consume excessive calories from alcohol
Date: 2012-11-16 14:59:43
According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many Americans unknowingly consume large amounts of empty calories on a daily basis from beer, wine and hard alcohol, reported My Health News Daily. Males between 20 and 39 years old usually have the highest average daily intake of calories from alcohol - 175 - while women of the same age range tend to drink approximately 60 calories from alcoholic beverages a day. One of the researchers also noted that nearly 20 percent of men and 6 percent of women consume more than 300 calories from alcohol daily.... Full Story

Six sodium rich foods to be aware of Six sodium rich foods to be aware of
Date: 2012-11-09 17:48:14
To mark National Eating Healthy Day on Nov. 7, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a list of six sodium-rich foods, also known as the "Salty Six," that are commonly found in peoples' diets.... Full Story

Signs of aging may be a predictor of heart disease Signs of aging may be a predictor of heart disease
Date: 2012-11-07 16:52:52
Research recently presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012 shows that a receding hairline at the temples, baldness at the crown of the head, creases in the ear lobes and xanthelasmata - a condition in which fatty deposits form around the eyelids - may indicate a greater risk of heart attack and heart disease.... Full Story

Close proximity to a bar may encourage drinking habit Close proximity to a bar may encourage drinking habit
Date: 2012-11-05 18:03:59
Reuters has reported that research conducted in Finland found that the proximity of a bar from someone's home may be linked to increased levels of alcohol consumption.... Full Story

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