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Is your cell phone dangerous to your health? - harvard

Is your cell phone dangerous to your health?

Plenty of us use our phones in situations when we probably should be paying more attention. But how often does this behavior lead to actual injury? A data analysis offers some answers. The post Is your cell phone dangerous to your health? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 23 hours ago
Saying Goodbye to One-Sided Relationships - positively positive

Saying Goodbye to One-Sided Relationships

The problem is, it’s not that easy to call someone out or tell them you’re no longer going to stick around while they continue their selfish ways. We like to tell ourselves we’re strong enough to walk away, but it takes time, courage, and a lot of confidence to accept you’re not loving yourself by keeping this person in your life. It takes lots of self-love to walk away from a friend you’ve known all your life or a partner who you love because you know you’re hurting yourself by keeping them around. The post Saying Goodbye to One-Sided Relationships appeared first on Positively Positive.
positively positive - 1 day ago
LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go? - harvard

LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go?

Lowering LDL cholesterol has been shown to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have suggested that more aggressive goals for LDL levels in people who already have CVD can decrease risk even further. The post LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 day ago
Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help? - harvard

Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help?

Researchers examining dietary data from over 50,000 postmenopausal women found that women who ate foods with a higher glycemic index, and foods with more added sugars, were more likely to have insomnia. The post Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 5 days ago
Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss - harvard

Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss

Over 7 million people have diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of vision loss in working-age adults with diabetes. It’s recommended that people with diabetes should work to keep blood pressure in the normal range and their A1c level below 7% to avoid complications such as diabetic retinopathy. The post Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 5 days ago
Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery - harvard

Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery

Regular marijuana users who need surgery should disclose their use ahead of the procedure, because of its effects on the body and on the anesthesia medications required for sedation. The post Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 6 days ago
What to do when your child swears - harvard

What to do when your child swears

Even young children can surprise a parent with salty language. Regardless of where they first heard it, use the occasion to help your child learn appropriate behavior in and outside the home. The post What to do when your child swears appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things? - harvard

Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things?

Combining multiple medications into a single pill, or polypill, is one approach to improving adherence (taking medication as prescribed). Depending on the conditions being treated, it may be easier for people to take a single pill, but there are also downsides to this approach. The post Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Targeted Ultrasound Destroys Cancer Cells: Study  - web md

Targeted Ultrasound Destroys Cancer Cells: Study

Focused ultrasound is already used to destroy tumors, with most approaches using either high-intensity beams to heat and destroy cells or injected contrast dyes. But both approaches can harm healthy cells and contrast dyes work only for a minority of tumors.
web md - 1 week ago
What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health? - harvard

What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health?

Health advice tells us to eat less processed food, but what does that mean? Researchers compared diets with most of the calories from unprocessed foods and from ultra-processed foods, to see how the subjects were affected. The post What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk - harvard

Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk

Can health marketing be harmful? Watch out for health ads that make misleading or even dangerous claims that an unproven product or treatment is better than a proven one. The post Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Study: Young Women Getting Pelvic Exams They Don’t Need  - web md

Study: Young Women Getting Pelvic Exams They Don’t Need

The authors estimate that nearly one-quarter of young women aged 15-20 have received a pelvic exam in the last year. That’s 2.6 million girls. More than half of the exams -- 1.4 million -- may not have been needed.
web md - 2 weeks ago
What parents need to know about a vegan diet - harvard

What parents need to know about a vegan diet

If your family follows a vegan diet––or your child expresses the desire to do so on their own––it's important for parents to be aware of the nutritional challenges of vegan eating, and how to meet them. The post What parents need to know about a vegan diet appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Vestibular migraine: Progress in the search for treatments - harvard

Vestibular migraine: Progress in the search for treatments

A sense of dizziness or spinning associated with migraine headache is called vestibular migraine. A small study found that a type of nerve stimulation treatment improved symptoms of vestibular migraine in study participants. The post Vestibular migraine: Progress in the search for treatments appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Hiatus - positively psychological

Hiatus

Hello Everybody! It is good to take a minute to write again. It has been too long since I have posted on this blog. When I started the blog over the summer, I was feeling very inspired to read as much psychological research as possible in an effort to share it with you guys. This … Continue reading Hiatus →
positively psychological - 2 weeks ago
Why medical research keeps changing its mind - harvard

Why medical research keeps changing its mind

When a medical study announces findings that seem to say the opposite of what’s been understood and accepted about a particular condition or treatment, it can make you question all medical news. A study aimed to determine just how frequently this happens, and with which conditions. The post Why medical research keeps changing its mind appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
New Food Labels Help for Counting Calories, Sugar  - web md

New Food Labels Help for Counting Calories, Sugar

Foods with multiple servings in a single package -- like a big bag of potato chips -- will now have a two-column label that will list the nutrition information in a single serving alongside the calories, fat, cholesterol, protein, sugar, and sodium in the entire package.
web md - 2 weeks ago
Congenital heart disease and autism: A possible link? - harvard

Congenital heart disease and autism: A possible link?

A recent study confirms that people born with congenital heart disease have a significantly greater risk of being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The research highlights the need for autism screening in children with CHD as early as possible. The post Congenital heart disease and autism: A possible link? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Breast Density Alerts Might Not Be Helping Women  - web md

Breast Density Alerts Might Not Be Helping Women

The goal of dense breast notifications is to spur a conversation between a woman and her health care provider. The provider can let a woman know how having dense breast tissue affects her personal risk of breast cancer or detecting it.
web md - 3 weeks ago
Getting sleep in the hospital - harvard

Getting sleep in the hospital

There are many things about hospital routines that make it difficult for patients to sleep well. If you find yourself hospitalized, there are things you can do to improve the chances that you will get a better nights sleep. The post Getting sleep in the hospital appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
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harvard
Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things?

Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things?

harvard - 1 week ago

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as heart attack and stroke, is a leading cause of death and disability in the US. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors for CVD, and even though they are quite common and highly treatable, they tend to be undertreated. This is especially true among those who are poor or members of a minority. Its estimated that thousands of lives could be saved each year if more people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol received treatment for these conditions.

The appeal of the polypill

One reason that high blood pressure and high cholesterol are poorly treated is that medications prescribed to treat them arent reliably taken as prescribed (the common medical expression for this is poor medication adherence). Among the most important reasons for this are that these conditions usually cause no symptoms, its hard to remember to take multiple medications or multiple doses of medications each day, medications may cause side effects, and they may be expensive.

One potential way to improve medication adherence is to combine one or more medications into a single pill, or polypill. Advantages to this approach include:

  • Lower doses of each medication may be needed, possibly reducing the incidence of troublesome side effects.
  • Multiple medications (in low doses) may be more effective than higher doses of a single medication.
  • Fewer doses are easier to remember.
  • Depending on the specific medications and doses, a polypill could be less expensive than taking several individual medications.
  • Fewer pills and lower doses of medications may require fewer office visits, blood tests, and other monitoring.

Potential downsides of the polypill

While the potential advantages of a polypill are clear, they could be outweighed by their downsides, including:

  • Side effects. Taking multiple medications, even at low doses, may lead to higher rates of side effects. If a side effect does occur, it may be impossible to know which of the medicines in the polypill is responsible.
  • Drug interactions. When combined, medications can interact, causing serious problems such as too much or too little potency, allergic reactions, or combined side effects.
  • Overtreatment. Some people need only one or two medications to treat a condition; polypills may provide more medication than is needed.
  • Cost. A polypill may be more expensive than the individual medications they contain.
  • Less dosing flexibility. Polypills have fixed doses of several medications, so it may not be possible to adjust the dose of one medication without adjusting them all.

A new polypill study focuses on those who might benefit the most

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported positive results for people taking a polypill to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Researchers enrolled 303 people without known CVD but who were considered high-risk based on being members of a minority and having low income: 96% were African American and 75% had incomes less than $15,000/year. As a group, their estimated 10-year risk of CVD was estimated at 13%.

Half of the study subjects were randomly assigned to receive a polypill containing low-dose atorvastatin (to lower cholesterol) and three medications to lower blood pressure (amlodipine, losartan, and hydrochlorothiazide). The other half were randomly assigned to usual care (as recommended by their personal physicians) and compared to the polypill group after one year.

Those assigned to the polypill group had

  • larger reductions in blood pressure
  • larger drops in LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • excellent medication adherence. 86% of study subjects faithfully took their medication as prescribed. This is much higher than is typically observed in routine practice. Part of this high adherence might have been due to a financial incentive: all study subjects received $50 for each clinic visit, and at each visit those in the polypill group knew their remaining pills would be counted to monitor adherence. Medication adherence in the usual care group was not reported.

There were no serious medication-related side effects reported in either group. The cost of the polypill was low just $26 per study subject per month and it was provided free or nearly free of charge to study participants. However, the cost in a non-research setting could vary based on a persons insurance coverage, location of care, and which medications are included in the polypill.

While there were too few cardiovascular events in this one-year trial to know if the polypill could reduce them, the authors estimated that based on the observed reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, treatment with the polypill could reduce cardiovascular events by 25%. Indeed, another recent study, this one published in The Lancet, found a reduction in major cardiovascular events with a different polypill (which included aspirin).

A word about population-based treatment

Its worth emphasizing that for those receiving the polypill in the NEJM study, researchers used population-based treatment. That means every member of a particular (generally high-risk) population was treated regardless of their individual characteristics. This is quite different from the usual approach in which physicians make treatment recommendations based on an individuals risk profile.

Population-based treatment may make sense for people who dont have access to regular medical care. But it also means that certain individuals in the population may be treated for risk factors or health conditions they dont have.

The post Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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