Today’s Headlines: Cholesterol, Misery at Work, and Diet Soda

Rare Mutation Ignites Race for Cholesterol Drug: “She was a 32-year-old aerobics instructor from a Dallas suburb — healthy, college educated, with two young children. Nothing out of the ordinary, except one thing. Her cholesterol was astoundingly low. Her low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the form that promotes heart disease, was 14, a level unheard-of in healthy adults, whose normal level is over 100. The reason was a rare gene mutation she had inherited from both her mother and her father. Only one other person, a young, healthy Zimbabwean woman whose LDL cholesterol was 15, has ever been found with the same double dose of the mutation.” (New York Times)

Work Makes People Miserable: “Being out of work causes unhappiness — but apparently, so does working. New research based on surveys using a smartphone app found that workers were unhappy and stressed while on the job. In fact, respondents ranked being sick in bed as the only activity more unpleasant than working. When offered dozens of options ranging from leisure, such as going to a concert, to personal paperwork, such as paying bills, workers preferred cleaning the house or waiting in line to being on the job. The findings, which were published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and Political Science, are based on a project conducted by Alex Bryson and George MacKerron. Mr. Bryson is a visiting research fellow with the Centre for Economic Performance. Mr. MacKerron is a lecturer in economics at the University of Sussex.” (Wall Street Journal)

Diet Soda May Do More Harm Than Good: “Diet soda drinkers have the same health issues as those who drink regular soda, according to a new report published Wednesday. Purdue University researchers reviewed a dozen studies published in past five years that examined the relationship between consuming diet soda and health outcomes for the report, published as an opinion piece in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism. They say they were “shocked” by the results. ‘Honestly, I thought that diet soda would be marginally better compared to regular soda in terms of health,’ said Susan Swithers, the report’s author and a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of psychological sciences. ‘But in reality it has a counterintuitive effect.’” (CNN)