Today’s Headlines: Atrial Fibrillation, Instant Noodles and Traveling with Medications

Working out keeps your heart regular. For some time, doctors worried that the stress of exercise might increase your risk of an irregular beat, also known as atrial fibrillation (AF). A new study this week lays those fears to rest in finding that “ the risk of atrial fibrillation was lowered by up to 44 percent with regular physical activity” in post-menopausal women. Weight was also tied to risk, with the study finding that “obese women were most likely to develop AF, but more physical activity reduced that risk. Obese, sedentary women’s AF risk was 30 percent higher than that of a sedentary woman with normal BMI, and 44 percent higher than that of a normal-weight woman who exercised.” The authors suspect that exercise’s role in decreasing inflammation may play a role, but caution to consult a physician before starting a new exercise routine. (Reuters)

Instant noodles may be hurting your health. In a pinch, instant noodles have always seemed like a good way to get in a quick meal. But new research suggests that doing so may actually be bad for you. The study “found that independent of other factors, [South Korean] women who ate instant noodles at least twice a week were 68 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome,” a constellation of health conditions that includes high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Interestingly, the same effect was not seen in men. Researchers said this “may be because women report their diet more accurately or because postmenopausal women are more sensitive to the dietary effect of carbohydrates, sodium and saturated fat.” (NYT)

There are challenges of traveling with medications. Think twice about what you might need to carry with you next time you board a plane with your meds on hand. A study by Australian researchers of embassy requirements for those traveling with medications found “their recommendations varied widely, and tended to be much more strict than the recommendations of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an independent body implementing United Nations Drug Control Conventions.” According to the researchers, many embassies said all drugs required special certification of ownership and personal use, beyond a valid prescription. In some countries, a visitor is required to consult a local clinician to validate ongoing need for the medication. Some countries warn that if authorities are in doubt, they have the right to deny entry or confiscate the medications.” The authors recommend discussing medications and travel plans with a physician well before departing. (Fox)