HealthWise at 5 for 4.1 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/1/09

HealthWise at 5 for 4.1

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Polypill for Heart Disease

Combining several heart medications into one pill can lower the risk for heart disease and stroke nearly as well as taking all the medications separately, without an increased risk for side effects.  Researchers in Canada and India studied over 2000 adults and each had at least one risk factor for heart disease.  Two-hundred people took a "polypill", which combined aspirin, a cholesterol-lowering drug called a statin, and three blood pressure drugs all in one.  The rest took the individual drugs at various doses.  They found people taking the polypill had lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels after 12 weeks.

Another benefit is that experts say patients are less likely to stick to their medication the more pills they need to take, so combining all the drugs they need could improve their benefit.

Childhood Obesity Indicators

New research suggests that childhood obesity may begin in the first few months of life.  In a study of over 500 children, Harvard researchers found that babies who gained weight quickly during their first six months were more likely to be obese by their third birthday.  The findings in the journal Pediatrics showed rapid weight gain during the infant months, rather than a heavy birth weight, is more likely to determine the risk of obesity in later childhood.

Due to the skyrocketing childhood obesity rate, researchers suggest pediatricians closely monitor this type of weight gain early in infancy.

A New Vaccine for HPV in the Works

Drug maker Glaxo-Smith-Kline is asking the Food And Drug Administration to approve its cervical cancer vaccine called "Cervarix".  The company just submitted final data on a Phase III clinical study involving more than 18,000 teen girls and women.  Like Merck's Gardasil, which is already on the market, Cervarix works by protecting against the Human Papilloma Virus, which can lead to cervical cancer.  Cervarix is currently used in more than 90 countries and drug makers hope it will be available in the us within 6 months.

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