Statins, Pravastatin, Pravachol, lower cholesterol, work stress, obesity, smoking, BMI

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Mike Furci offers research, trends and other info to help with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

…statins, a class of cholesterol lowering drugs, may not lower your risk of death, and may actually increase your risk of death from cancer and stroke? PROSPER (Prospective Study of Pravastatin [Pravachol]), a randomized control trial, assigned 5,804 men and women aged 70-82 years to one of two groups. One group took 40mg of Pravachol per day, the other took a placebo. The drug treated group saw a reduction in primary endpoint (all cardiovascular events) by 15%. However, mortality rates in the drug treated group from stroke and cancer were 57% and 26% higher, respectively. Even more compelling is the fact that there was no difference in total mortality between the two groups. In other words: not one life saved.
(The Lancet 2002; 360:1623-1630.)

…people are often too late to guard against infection while around people who are sick? The flu can be contagious for 24 hours before symptoms appear. Strep throat can be contagious for as long as five days prior to onset of symptoms. You need to take preventative measures to protect yourself against illness.

  • Approach hand washing as a survival skill, which it is.
  • Never touch your mouth, nose or eyes without washing your hands before and after.
  • Teach your kids not to share, as in guzzling milk from the carton or double dipping chips.
  • Family members should cover their mouths with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue themselves.
  • You should also avoid sharing personal items like toiletries, towels and pillows.
  • Use paper towels for hand drying in the kitchen.

(Skamulis, Leanna. “Keeping catchy infections contained.”

…job stress may harm your health? Dr. Tarani Chandola and colleagues at University College London evaluated 10,308 participants ages 35-55 from 20 civil service departments. Compared with subjects who never reported work stress, those who reported work stress three or more times over the 14-year study period had double the risk of metabolic syndrome. People who are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome have an increased risk of heart disease. Stress is a killer.
(Peters, Ann. “The broadening Domain of the Metabolic Syndrome.”

…men would rather have sex with a female who is mentally ill than a fat chick? Researchers from the University of Washington, Seattle, asked 449 college students to rank in order six drawings of potential sex partners. The drawings included members of the opposite sex with the following characteristics: lean and healthy, obese, wheel chair bound, having STD’s, having mental illness, or armless. Males found obese women the least desirable of the pictures of possible sexual partners. Does this surprise anybody? The authors claim this shows the need to address attitudes and behavior toward overweight people. I say an aversion to obesity is a normal reaction. To be overweight as one gets older is one thing, but to be obese, for the vast majority of cases, is inexcusable. Tell these obese women, and men for that matter, to take responsibility, get off their lazy asses and put down the donuts.
(Chen, Eunice, and Molly Brown. “Obesity Stigma in sexual relationships.” Obesity Research 2005; 13:1393-1397.)

…smokers have lower BMI’s (body mass index) than nonsmokers? Researchers from the University of Cambridge in Great Britain analyzed data from 21,828 men and women between the ages of 45 and 79. They found waist-hip ratios to be the highest among current smokers and the lowest among never smokers. Current smokers had higher waist circumference but lower hip circumference compared with nonsmokers. Although smokers have a lower BMI (less overall fat), they have a more metabolically adverse fat distribution around their abdomen. Increased abdominal fat is linked to increased risk of heart disease, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. This cluster of symptoms tends to occur together and is known as the Metabolic Syndrome.
(Canoy, Dexter., et al. “Cigarette Smoking and fat Distribution in 21828 British Men and Women: A Population-Based Study.” Obesity Research 2005; 13:1466-1475.)

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