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75 or Older? Statins Can Still Benefit Your Heart  - web md

75 or Older? Statins Can Still Benefit Your Heart

People 75 and older who were free of heart disease and prescribed a statin wound up with a 25% lower risk of death from any cause and a 20% lower risk of heart-related death, researchers reported July 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
web md - 7 hours ago
Court: Employers Can Refuse Birth Control Coverage  - web md

Court: Employers Can Refuse Birth Control Coverage

More than 70,000 U.S. women could be left without cost-free birth control after the Supreme Court upheld a Trump administration policy change that permits some employers to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage on religious or moral grounds.
web md - 15 hours ago
As Cases Jump, Are We Better Prepared for COVID?  - web md

As Cases Jump, Are We Better Prepared for COVID?

There are record numbers of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with several states in the South and West driving the resurgence. Texas has closed its bars, California has closed its restaurants in some counties, and some beaches in Florida are closed.
web md - 6 days ago
MS Patients Turn to Marijuana, Other Alternative Treatments  - web md

MS Patients Turn to Marijuana, Other Alternative Treatments

A majority of just over 1,000 respondents said they used some type of alternative therapy, including marijuana, vitamins, herbs and minerals, plus mind-body therapies like exercise, mindfulness, massage and various diets.
web md - 6 days ago
Air Travel a Puzzle in Age of Coronavirus  - web md

Air Travel a Puzzle in Age of Coronavirus

United and American airlines, along with Southwest and Delta, require all passengers to wear cloth face masks or any high-tech masks while on the plane. American goes further by saying passengers must bring their own face masks and must comply with airport rules about wearing a mask.
web md - 1 week ago
An HIV Drug You Only Take Twice a Year?  - web md

An HIV Drug You Only Take Twice a Year?

A single injection of the experimental drug, called lenacapavir, was able to lower blood levels of HIV in a small group of patients. And it was capable of maintaining active levels in the blood for more than six months.
web md - 1 week ago
Trauma of Racism Fuels High Blood Pressure Among Black Americans: Study  - web md

Trauma of Racism Fuels High Blood Pressure Among Black Americans: Study

Black Americans who endure life-altering instances of discrimination are a third to a half more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who haven't been similarly traumatized, researchers report in the July 1 issue of the journal Hypertension.
web md - 1 week ago
Contact Tracer Teams Growing Amid New Challenges  - web md

Contact Tracer Teams Growing Amid New Challenges

Contact tracing, along with strategic testing, rapid isolation, and supportive quarantine, is an vital way of slowing the spread of the virus, which has been diagnosed in 2.6 million people nationwide and likely has infected millions more, say public health experts.
web md - 1 week ago
NBA to Use High-Tech Rings to Help Detect COVID-19  - web md

NBA to Use High-Tech Rings to Help Detect COVID-19

The NBA released its safety protocol this month with details for the upcoming return of the season, which gives a glimpse into what life will be like in the “bubble” -- an enclosed environment in Orlando, FL, where players will stay largely protected from potential infection.
web md - 1 week ago
Behind the Intermittent Fasting Fad  - web md

Behind the Intermittent Fasting Fad

In addition to promoting weight loss, so-called intermittent fasting may deliver a host of other surprising health benefits, from improved heart and brain health, to a lower risk of diabetes, and even a longer life, recent research shows.
web md - 2 weeks ago
COVID Surges Among Young Adults  - web md

COVID Surges Among Young Adults

The spike among those age 20-39 could be explained by a combination of increased testing, rejection of social distancing and the use of masks and continued misconception among young people that they’re not as likely to becoming infected or become seriously ill.
web md - 2 weeks ago
Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps - harvard

Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body generates an immune response against itself. Some people with rheumatic or autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, develop an autoimmune lung disease. Marked by lung inflammation and possible scarring, it's easier to treat if detected early. The post Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Video: How to keep your workplace happy despite COVID-19 - positive sharing

Video: How to keep your workplace happy despite COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken workplaces in so many ways. Remote work, social distancing, and staying home is the new normal. Companies are affected, and many of them switched to “survival mode”, trying to keep their business afloat. In the video above I talk to to visionary CEOs about how they handled the COVID-19 crisis … Continue reading Video: How to keep your workplace happy despite COVID-19 →
Despite Predictions, Loneliness Not Rising for Americans Under Lockdown  - web md

Despite Predictions, Loneliness Not Rising for Americans Under Lockdown

Since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, experts have worried that social distancing and stay-at-home orders would lead to a surge in loneliness. But a new U.S. study suggests it has not played out that way.
web md - 2 weeks ago
C. diff. Infections Double Death Risk  - web md

C. diff. Infections Double Death Risk

Hospitalized patients infected with the dangerous diarrhea bug Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) face more than twice the risk of dying than hospitalized patients without the infection, a Dutch study shows.
web md - 2 weeks ago
How COVID is Affecting U.S. Food Supply Chain  - web md

How COVID is Affecting U.S. Food Supply Chain

During the pandemic, meat processing businesses appeared to be the weakest link throughout the food supply chain. Meat processing plants have been virus hot spots as workers have fallen ill with COVID-19, some of them dying.
web md - 2 weeks ago
People With HIV Still Live Shorter, Sicker Lives  - web md

People With HIV Still Live Shorter, Sicker Lives

HIV may not be the death sentence it was 20 or 30 years ago, but people who are HIV-positive still face much shorter lives than other adults -- even if they're treated with medications that make the virus undetectable.
web md - 2 weeks ago
Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status? - harvard

Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status?

Coconut oil has been championed as having many benefits to health, but evidence to support these assertions remains sparse. However, there is far more evidence to support the benefits of olive oil, even in the context of typical American diets. The post Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what? - harvard

Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what?

For many teens, summer activities like jobs, internships, and camps are probably on hold this year, and a sense of uncertainty hovers over nearly everything. How can parents guide teens and help them flourish while also keeping them safe? The post Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop - harvard

4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop

“It’s a beautiful day outside,” you say, smiling. Your son replies, “It’s supposed to rain later.” You share, “That game was fun!” Your daughter adds, “I messed up one of my turns.” If you find that your child tends to channel Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh and has difficulty seeing some of the bright moments in a […] The post 4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
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harvard
Good for your teeth, bad for your bones?

Good for your teeth, bad for your bones?

harvard - 4 months ago

Regular brushing and flossing are the cornerstones of good oral health. But what if you learned that your toothpaste was good for your teeth, but bad for your bones? That possibility has been raised by a recent study. The cause of this unprecedented finding may be triclosan, an antibacterial agent added to toothpaste to reduce gum infections and improve oral health. However, it may actually be causing more harm than good.

Rethinking a popular germ killer

Triclosan is an antibacterial agent thats been around for decades. Not only has it been used in soaps, hand sanitizers, and deodorants, but its found its way into cutting boards, credit cards, trash cans, and, yes, toothpaste.

Adding triclosan to all of these consumer products allowed marketers to slap antibacterial on the packaging and emphasize this feature of the product. Though unproven, the implication is that products containing triclosan (or other antibacterial agents) might prevent serious infections.

But for many years, studies done in animals or on human cells in the lab have raised concern about whether all this cleanliness might have some unintended and negative consequences, including:

  • promoting the development of resistant bacteria (see my previous post about this)
  • interfering with normal hormonal function: in animal studies, triclosan has been linked with abnormal thyroid function and bone mineral density (a measure of bone health and strength)
  • more allergic reactions, perhaps because lowering exposure to bacteria may prevent the immune system from developing as it should
  • impaired muscle function, as noted in mice, minnows, and human heart cells in the lab
  • uncertain environmental impact, since many products containing triclosan wind up in wastewater and, eventually, into bodies of water. And theres this disturbing observation: it can survive treatment at a sewage facility.

If triclosan is bad for humans, the problems it causes could be widespread: one study found that more than 75% of the public have detectable amounts of triclosan in their urine. While we are still uncertain of the health impacts of this, if any, the FDA has taken action in recent years to curtail its use.

Triclosans fall from grace

First, the FDA asked companies using triclosan in their cleaning products to produce research demonstrating that they were more effective than soap and water. In 2016, when no such proof had been offered, triclosan was banned from soaps sold to consumers. The following year, it was banned from healthcare cleansers. And, in 2019, the FDA announced that triclosan would be banned from consumer hand sanitizers as of April 2020.

What did the new research find?

In the study, researchers reviewed data from more than 1,800 women and found that

  • Those with the highest levels of triclosan in their urine had the lowest measures of bone density.
  • Osteoporosis (as measured by bone density) was most common among those with the highest urinary triclosan levels. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bone density is so low that fracture risk from even a minor fall or injury is increased.
  • The connection between low bone density and urinary triclosan was stronger for postmenopausal women than among younger women. This may be important, since menopause is a time when bone density often falls dramatically, and postmenopausal women have the highest rates of osteoporosis-related fractures.

Now what?

This is just the latest research to raise concerns about the safety of triclosan. My guess is that it wont be long before the FDA bans its use in toothpaste, especially if no new studies find that its particularly beneficial. The impact of such a ban at this point may not be large; most toothpaste makers have stopped putting triclosan in their products.

To be fair, a previous review of research in 2013 concluded that there was less plaque, gum inflammation, and gum bleeding among users of a toothpaste containing triclosan compared with users of toothpaste without triclosan. However, the authors noted that these reductions may or may not be clinically important. There was also a small reduction in dental cavities among users of the triclosan-containing toothpaste, and no safety concerns were raised over a three-year period of use.

Still, the more recent studies may have tipped the balance. Triclosans days in consumer products may be numbered.

The bottom line

Check your toothpaste when you next brush. If you see triclosan listed among the ingredients, you may want to switch to a brand without it, at least until you can discuss it with your doctor or dentist.

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling

The post Good for your teeth, bad for your bones? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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