Archive for HEALTH
by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel
This year delivered some thrilling breakthroughs: the discovery of a new ovarian-cancer marker, the development of a more sensitive test for determining people’s risk of acquiring serious diseases and confirmation that there’s a safer way to relieve hot flashes with hormones. But in 2010, scientists also looked at certain unremarkable but essential daily tasks, such as flossing and serving dinner, and found new approaches that may help you prevent Alzheimer’s disease, depression and skin cancer and perhaps make dropping a few pounds a bit easier, too. Big or small, each of these 12 standout pieces of advice is a holiday gift—because it will help you stay healthy in the years to come.
Sick of hot flashes?
Stick on a patch: If you’re gritting your teeth through hot flashes because you’re afraid that hormone therapy will cause blood clots or stroke, new research suggests that you don’t have to assume risk to get relief. Unlike estrogen and estrogen-progesterone pills (which can raise the risk of stroke by as much as 35 percent), hormone skin patches that have 50 micrograms or less of estrogen (with or without additional progesterone) do not increase the chances for stroke, a study in the British Medical Journal found. These transdermal patches are believed to be safer than pills because the estrogen goes through the skin and directly into the bloodstream. Oral estrogen, on the other hand, is filtered through the liver, where it produces enzymes associated with clotting and inflammation. “We think that bypassing the liver avoids generating the mechanisms associated with increased cardiovascular risk,” explains study author Samy Suissa, PhD, professor of epidemiology at McGill University.
The BMJ study did reveal a danger: Patches with more than 50 micrograms of estrogen raise stroke risk by 89 percent. “But most women will find relief with 50 micrograms,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. (No one knows if patches reduce the small correlation between HT and breast cancer.)