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Coronavirus

Coronavirus' Top Targets: Men, Seniors, Smokers

Early data suggested that men were more vulnerable, as they accounted for just more than half the cases, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Infected men died twice as often as infected women.
web md - 3 hours ago
Co-parent adoption: A critical protection for LGBTQ+ families - harvard

Co-parent adoption: A critical protection for LGBTQ+ families

Establishing a legal relationship between parents and their children allows both parents to make care decisions. For LGBTQ+ families, this can be especially important. In some states, co-parent adoption, which offers broader protection than a state birth certificate, is available. The post Co-parent adoption: A critical protection for LGBTQ+ families appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 day ago
With New Hotspots, Coronavirus on Verge of Pandemic  - web md

With New Hotspots, Coronavirus on Verge of Pandemic

Pandemics are more severe than outbreaks or epidemics. It’s a term that signals that a disease is a threat to the entire world.  While public health officials seemed to downplay the significance of attaching the word to COVID-19, there’s no doubt about its importance in public messaging.
web md - 1 day ago
Hands or feet asleep? What to do - harvard

Hands or feet asleep? What to do

It’s happened to all of us: a hand or leg temporarily “falls asleep,” usually from being in one position for too long. Why does it happen? Are there times when you should be concerned about it? The post Hands or feet asleep? What to do appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 5 days ago
C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat - harvard

C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat

The bacteria known as C. diff has become a leading cause of infection among hospitalized patients. The infection is more common following antibiotic therapy, and it is challenging to treat because of a high relapse rate. The post C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 6 days ago
Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder? - harvard

Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder?

One approach to treating bipolar disorders is manipulation of the body’s circadian rhythms. A recent review of research found that such therapies may help, often in combination with medications and psychotherapy. The post Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters - harvard

Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters

Lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event, but can they also help those with diabetes? A recent study found a positive association between healthy lifestyle choices and reduced cardiovascular risk for those with type 2 diabetes. The post Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Rethinking Milk: Science Takes On the Dairy Dilemma  - web md

Rethinking Milk: Science Takes On the Dairy Dilemma

Dairy products are rich in calcium and protein, and they have long been promoted as important for helping kids grow and helping kids and adults build and maintain strong bones. Now a new study questions whether diary deserves its health halo.
web md - 1 week ago
What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia? - harvard

What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia?

When people with dementia start exhibiting agitated behaviors, doctors often prescribe medications, but these have risks of serious side effects. A new study found that nondrug interventions were more effective than medications in reducing agitation. The post What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Good for your teeth, bad for your bones? - harvard

Good for your teeth, bad for your bones?

Could an ingredient in toothpaste be harmful to your bones? Triclosan, an antibacterial agent, has been banned from soaps and hand sanitizers by the FDA, and researchers have found that women with the highest levels of triclosan in their urine had low bone density measurements. The post Good for your teeth, bad for your bones? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
When is a heavy period too heavy? - harvard

When is a heavy period too heavy?

Girls and their parents often wonder when bleeding with a period is too heavy. It's normal for periods to be irregular and occasionally heavy in the first few years after menstruation starts, but some signs of heavy bleeding merit a call to your child’s doctor. The post When is a heavy period too heavy? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use - harvard

Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use

Researchers looking for ways to help people manage pain without drugs found that the practice of mind-body therapies was associated with reduced pain intensity, and may also assist some people in reducing their use of opioid medications. The post Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind - harvard

Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind

Because skin color affects the presentation of skin conditions, dermatologists must consider skin color in making diagnoses. Because of this, people of color may want to seek out a dermatologist who understands their specific needs and concerns. The post Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US - harvard

What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US

Between 1959 and 2014, average life expectancy in the United States rose astoundingly by nearly a decade. Then it began declining. A recent report examining this situation raises tough questions about that unexpected change. The post What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
More Patients Turning to

More Patients Turning to 'Direct Primary Care'

DPC Frontier, which tracks the number of direct primary care practices nationally, estimates there are 1,219 practices in 48 states and Washington, D.C. They range in size from solo practitioners to corporate, multisite direct primary care organizations with thousands of doctors.
web md - 2 weeks ago
With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice - harvard

With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice

There is ample evidence to support the healthfulness of a vegan diet. However, those who choose vegan eating may not get enough of some nutrients unless they pay careful attention to their food intake, or choose to take supplements. The post With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Coronavirus: What parents should know and do - harvard

Coronavirus: What parents should know and do

It’s natural for parents to be worried about whether their children could be at risk from the novel coronavirus. While there is much that is still not known, common sense and simple public health precautions will help protect everyone. The post Coronavirus: What parents should know and do appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Infertility the second time around - harvard

Infertility the second time around

If you have a child and wish for more but are struggling with fertility issues, you may have many feelings and concerns. Here are some steps and strategies you may find helpful. The post Infertility the second time around appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma - harvard

Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma

Though only about 1% of skin cancers are melanomas, they are responsible for 90% of skin cancer deaths. Recent advances in treatment options have improved survival rates for melanoma, but it’s still best to take preventive steps to protect your skin. The post Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus - harvard

Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus

New information about the spread of coronavirus is coming at us seemingly every minute from many sources. But how much of this information is trustworthy? And which sources should you believe? The post Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
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harvard
Beyond heart health: Could your statin help prevent liver cancer?

Beyond heart health: Could your statin help prevent liver cancer?

harvard - 4 weeks ago

Liver cancer is hard to treat. Its a top-five cause of cancer-related death worldwide and a growing cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Since liver cancer is often found at a late stage, when treatment has limited benefit, there has been increasing interest in prevention. Thats where statin medications might come in.

Liver cancer is usually caused by chronic liver disease, so an important way to prevent liver cancer is to treat the underlying trigger. For example, curing hepatitis C infection an important cause of chronic liver disease reduces the risk of liver cancer. However, if the liver disease has progressed to an advanced stage, the risk of liver cancer remains high even after removing the underlying cause.

Statins and liver disease: whats the connection?

Statin medications are widely known to lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. When statins first came on the market, there was great concern that statins might injure the liver. It turns out that not only are significant side effects rare, but statin medications are likely beneficial for the liver. In fact, research has shown that for people with liver disease, statins are associated with a reduced risk of liver failure, liver cancer, and death (see this study, this study, and this study).

It turns out that some statins may be better at preventing liver cancer than others. Specifically, lipophilic statins (those that dissolve more readily in lipids such as oils and fats) may be more effective for preventing liver cancer than hydrophilic statins (those that dissolve more readily in water). This suspected difference is supported by observations that lipophilic statins can more easily get into diseased liver cells, passing readily through cell walls, which are made mostly from lipids. Once inside cells, lipophilic statins may do a better job interfering with cancer formation.

Lipophilic statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), Fluvastatin (Lescol), and lovastatin (Altoprev). Hydrophilic statins include pravastatin (Pravachol) and rosuvastatin (Crestor).

Study links lipophilic statins to reduced risk of liver cancer

A recent study published in Annals of Internal Medicine took a closer look at the effect of different statin types on liver cancer risk. In the largest and most comprehensive study on the topic to date, the study researchers examined liver cancer risk over 10 years in a group of more than 16,000 adults with viral hepatitis (a possible cause of chronic liver disease). Based on records from the Swedish national registry, their results demonstrate that individuals who took a lipophilic statin (in this case atorvastatin or simvastatin) were at a significantly lower risk of developing liver cancer than those who were not taking a statin (3.3% versus 8.1%). In contrast, the study did not find a statistically significant benefit in liver cancer risk for individuals taking hydrophilic statins (rosuvastatin or pravastatin) compared to those not taking a statin. Taking either type of statin was associated with a lower risk of death compared to not taking a statin at all.

As with all studies, this one had some limitations. They include only looking at individuals from Sweden, only those with liver disease from viral hepatitis (as opposed to other causes of liver disease), and having relatively fewer data points for people taking hydrophilic statins, which might have made it harder to find a benefit.

A cause-and-effect relationship?

While a strong connection has been drawn between lipophilic statins and decreased liver cancer risk, research has not yet proven that these medications prevent liver cancer. Demonstrating a cause-and-effect relationship would require a study where people with chronic liver disease are randomized to receive either a lipophilic statin or a control medication.

It is possible that other unmeasured factors could actually account for the observed difference in cancer risk. These factors might include differences in liver disease severity, or other differences in treatment that correlate with statin prescribing patterns. However, the Annals study did demonstrate that higher doses of lipophilic statins were associated with a lower risk of liver cancer, implying a cause-and-effect relationship may indeed be present.

Weigh risks and benefits with your doctor

Further evidence is needed before recommending that individuals take statins specifically for liver disease. While there may be a benefit, there is also a small but real risk of side effects and the consideration of cost.

If you have liver disease and are planning to start a statin for cardiovascular disease, it would be worth discussing with your doctor the risks and benefits of selecting a lipophilic statin such as atorvastatin or simvastatin. In the meantime, ongoing and future studies will help to define the precise role of these medications for preventing liver cancer and the progression of liver disease.

The post Beyond heart health: Could your statin help prevent liver cancer? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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