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The Checkup: December 5, 2010 - December 11, 2010

A rare heart disorder that can fell new mothers

Readers of today's shockingly sad Washington Post story about Shana Swers, who died soon after giving birth to her son, may want to know more about the disease that took her life.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | December 10, 2010; 11:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cardiovascular Health, Motherhood, Pregnancy, Reproductive Health, heart failure  
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Is that right? Aspirin reduces cancer risk?

The analysis revealed that for some cancers, taking a modest dose -- 75 milligrams, or roughly the equivalent of a U.S. baby aspirin, daily -- was associated with reduced likelihood of later dying from that cancer. The effect was stronger for some cancers (the 20-year esophageal cancer death risk was 60 percent lower for those taking aspirin than those on placebo; that number was 40 percent for colorectal cancer, 35 percent for gastrointestinal cancer and 30 percent for lung cancer) than for others (10 percent for prostate cancer).

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | December 10, 2010; 8:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cancer, Cardiovascular Health, Health News, Is That Right?, Prevention  
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Life expectancy drops in U.S.

Image via Wikipedia/Life Expectancy 2007 UN HDR & CIA Factbook Life expectancy in the United States dipped slightly in 2008, according to the latest federal data. Those born in 2008 can only expect to live to be 77.8 years old, down from 77.9 years for those born in 2007, according...

By Rob Stein  | December 9, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
Categories:  Asthma, Cancer, Chronic Conditions, Infant health, life expectancy  
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Keeping caffeine from kids

'm not recommending that youngsters be encouraged to take up drinking energy drinks to boost their brains; nor do I think it's a good idea for anyone to overindulge in, well, much of anything. But I'm really not in favor of legislative action regarding food and beverage consumption based on incomplete information. And shouldn't parents have some say in what their children are allowed to drink?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | December 9, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Alcohol and Drugs, Cardiovascular Health, Dietary supplements, FDA, Food Safety and Recalls, Kids' health, Nutrition and Fitness, Parenting, Prevention, Psychology, Teens  
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New tobacco warnings from surgeon general

Everyone knows that smoking is a terrible thing to do for your health and the health of those around you who are exposed to tobacco fumes. But the Surgeon General released a new report Thursday detailing how tobacco causes cancer, heart attacks and so many other ailments and why it is so addictive.

By Rob Stein  | December 9, 2010; 12:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Cancer, Cardiovascular Health, Chronic Conditions, Diabetes, Smoking, infertility  
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Hallucinogen salvia has no short-term dangers, study says

A hallucinogenic drug that is apparently becoming increasingly popular is extremely powerful but does not appear to produce any adverse effects in the short term in healthy people, according to what researchers say is the first careful study examining the substance.

By Rob Stein  | December 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Alcohol and Drugs, Drug Abuse, Mental Health, Neurological disorders, Psychology  
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FDA advisers endorse weight-loss drug

A federal advisory panel Tuesday endorsed a new weight-loss drug, potentially breaking a string of disappointments in the effort to find the first new pharmacological weapon to fight the obesity epidemic in more than a decade. The Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted 13-7 that the available evidence indicates...

By Rob Stein  | December 7, 2010; 5:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  FDA, Obesity  
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Losing weight is (mostly) great

Now that I'm 50 and about 14 pounds lighter, I've found that, yes, losing weight was a good thing to do. But as I write about in this week's "Eat, Drink and Be Happy" column, it hasn't been as purely positive as I anticipated. From flaps of extra skin to being forced to face things I was using food to hide from, there have been plenty of down sides to my downsizing.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | December 7, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Me Minus 10, Nutrition and Fitness, Obesity, Women's Health  
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Food-allergy guidelines released

Careful diagnosis should not only help identify allergies to certain foods but also rule out allergies to others. It's apparently common for patients to be advised to avoid foods for fear of allergic reaction when in fact they're not really allergic to those foods after all.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | December 6, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Family Health, Health News, Kids' health, Parenting, allergies  
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