Unless you live in a constant media blackout, most Americans can name several health trends or medical news stories that made it big this past year: the Affordable Care Act; organic, clean eating, and gluten free trends; extreme workouts like CrossFit and adventure races like Tough Mudder; and obesity being labeled as a disease.
Here are a few other top medical and health news from 2013 that you might have missed the first time around.
- Calcium supplement use is associated with higher all-cause and cardiovascular death rates but not with deaths from stroke, but the finding is controversial.
- Heavy coffee consumption, defined as more than 28 cups of coffee per week, is associated with an increased risk for all-cause mortality among men.
- Consumption of non-caloric, artificially sweetened beverages may increase the risk for excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
- A new controversial hypothesis proposes that metastasized cancer cells produce antioxidants responsible for resistance to cancer treatment. The theory hints that antioxidative nutritional supplements could prevent treatments from working once cancer cells have spread.
- First evidence in humans that probiotics influence gut health which influences not only digestive health but also brain activity and parts of the brain responsible for emotional responses.
- Patients with type 2 diabetes who took cinnamon supplements had improved fasting blood glucose and cholesterol levels but not glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels.
- New dietary guidelines were published for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Cultural Health News
- Under the ACA provision, called the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, drug and device makers must report any “transfer of value” of $10 or more made to a physician.
- The swift and effective medical response to the Boston Marathon Bombing provided reassurance of American disaster preparedness, at least in large urban areas. Among those who responded were student nurses transporting injured runners to the medical tents and runners themselves who were physicians and nurses. In local hospitals, staff found that disaster management plans worked well, with teams of trauma and orthopedic surgeons standing by, as well as emergency medicine and internal medicine physicians ready to help.
- A Make a Wish Foundation recipient, five year old Miles, received international support for his day as batkid saving San Francisco turned Gotham City.
Medical News that Really Will Affect Us
- New guidelines for the detection, evaluation, and treatment of elevated cholesterol were released in November this year, asserting that there is simply no evidence from randomized controlled trials to support treatment to a specific cholesterol target level. As a result, the new guidelines make no recommendations for specific LDL-cholesterol or non-HDL targets for the primary and secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Instead, the new guidelines identify 4 groups of primary- and secondary-prevention patients in whom physicians should focus their efforts to reduce cardiovascular disease events.
- A new study published in Science showed that the body’s glymphatic system washes away harmful protein build-up in the brain while we snooze. Researchers found that brain cells shrink by up to 60 percent during sleep so there is more room for fluids to rinse out toxins.
- A recent study was carried out comparing healthy athletes to those of the same age who suffered from a concussion 30 years ago. The results showed that those who experienced head trauma had symptoms similar to those of early Parkinson’s disease – as well as memory and attention deficits.
- Reducing daily sitting time by at least 90 minutes and moving around more frequently might reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other weight and metabolic related diseases.