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Statins may slow heart valve disease

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          HEALTH TIPS - Wednesday, February 7, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"


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           Statins may slow heart valve disease

CHICAGO, -- A study of Portuguese patients has found that 
statins, heart medicines aimed at lowering cholesterol, 
can limit the progression of heart valve disease. Design-
ed by Northwestern Memorial Hospital cardiologist Nalini 
Rajamannan, the study of 121 patients in Portugal found 
that the cholesterol-lowering drugs help to slow the pro-
gression of heart valve disease -- the second-leading 
cause of open heart surgery, the Chicago Sun-Times said.
Heart valve disease progressed half as slowly in the 61 
patients who took the statin Crestor, in comparison to 
those who did not. Rajamannan said the study's findings 
suggest that statins could eventually be proven to be an 
effective non-surgical treatment for heart valve disease.
The study's findings contradict a 2005 study published 
in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that 
the drugs did little to limit the progression of valve 
disease. Rajamannan told the Sun-Times the difference 
was likely due to the fact that the patients in the 
earlier study suffered from an advanced form of heart 
disease, and that it was too late for effective treat-
ment.

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         Cervical cancer drug could also help men

SAN FRANCISCO, -- A new vaccine for human papillomavirus 
could prevent thousands of cases of cervical cancer, and 
U.S. scientists say it might also work against anal 
cancer. The HPV vaccine was approved last year by the 
Food and Drug Administration for cervical cancer. Dr. 
Joel Palefsky of the University of California, San 
Francisco, told The New York Times it could also be ap-
plied on similar HPV strains in anal cancer. "The cervix 
is similar biologically to the anus, so there's plenty 
of hope that it will work there also," he said. The 
spread of anal cancer in men was once equal to the rate 
of cervical cancer in women. While scientists warned 
that the new vaccine has yet to be proven effective in 
men, test results have given them hope, the newspaper 
said. Previous tests found that the new HPV vaccine in-
creased immune responses in boys, while other tests on 
preventing infection have been inconclusive. Certain 
men have begun using the vaccine without FDA approval, 
the Times reported, while other clinical tests have 
begun on its possible future uses.

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            Binge eating most common disorder

BOSTON, -- A Harvard Medical School survey finds binge 
eating is the most prevalent eating disorder in the 
United States, far more common than bulimia or anorexia.
The lead author of the research, Dr. James Hudson, a 
Harvard professor of psychiatry, said the study -- the 
first U.S. survey of individuals with eating disorders 
-- involved more than 9,000 people. It found binge eat-
ing disorder, a condition in which individuals experi-
ence frequent uncontrolled eating binges without purg-
ing, afflicts 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of 
men at some point in their lives. "Everybody knows 
about anorexia and bulimia; however, binge eating dis-
order affects more people, is often associated with 
severe obesity and tends to persist longer," Hudson 
said. "The consequences of binge eating disorder can 
be serious -- including obesity, diabetes, heart 
disease, high blood pressure and stroke. It is impera-
tive that health experts take notice of these findings."
The study was conducted by researchers at Harvard-
affiliated McLean Hospital and appears in the current 
issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry.
 
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Copyright 2007 by UPI. All rights reserved.

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