Today’s Headlines: Hospitals Are Not Equal Following A Heart Attack, Herbal And Dietary Supplements Might Be Damaging to Your Liver, and Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Less Likely Among Women

A new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that those who receive care in a top-rated hospital following a heart attack live a year longer, on average, than those treated in a low-rated hospital. Researchers analyzed Medicare records to determine if a certain standard of care has enduring benefits long after someone has suffered a heart attack. “A year of life from high-quality care is a big deal; consider that some cancer drugs won approval for adding a few months or weeks. But if you’re having possible heart attack symptoms, don’t delay getting help because you’re worried about which hospital to go to, said [one of the researchers], Yale cardiologist Dr. Harlan Krumholz. ‘Just call 911. Too many people wait at home too long,’ and any delay means more risk of permanent heart damage.” (NBC)

Herbal and dietary supplements might pose a risk for liver damage. Researchers found that supplements caused about 1 in 5 cases of chemical-induced liver damage. The study’s leader, Victor Navarro of the Einstein Healthcare Network, said that, when “used for very prolonged periods or in combination with conventional medications, [supplements] may become harmful.” However, he did point out, “Overall, liver injury from supplements is rare.” The study could not determine which ingredients are best to avoid; supplement labels do not always provide a complete list of ingredients in the product. (FOX)

Alzheimer’s disease might go undetected in women longer than in men. The gender disparity in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s has to do with verbal memory (the ability to recall words), researchers suggest. “Women perform better than men on tests of verbal memory through life…so women may not be diagnosed until they are further along in the disease,” said Erin Sundermann, who led the research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Sundermann went on to suggest that, if this research holds up, it might be necessary to adjust memory tests accordingly. (CBS)