Today’s Headlines: Stress, Fish Oil, and Sunburn

Feeling Stressed? It’s Probably Harming Your Health: “If you believe stress is affecting your health, you are probably right, a new study concludes, and that perception may increase your risk for heart disease. Researchers studied 7,268 men and women, average age 50 at the start of the project, using periodic questionnaires. There were 352 heart attacks or deaths from coronary disease over the 18 years of the study. The participants rated the effect of stress on their health – none, a little, or a lot – and then researchers controlled for more than 20 variables, including actual stress as measured by psychological tests.” (New York Times)

Fish-Oil Pills Lure Drugmakers Even as Benefits Unproven: “Fish oil has been touted as useful for everything from growing hair to treating clinical depression. Now drug makers are stepping up their promotion of its benefits for treating heart disease. AstraZeneca Plc (AZN), Amarin Corp. (AMRN) and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) (GSK) are betting the market for prescription fish-oil pills will follow the success of cholesterol-lowering drugs including Lipitor, once the world’s best-selling medicine with revenue of $13 billion a year. Heart disease remains the world’s biggest killer, accounting for 30 percent of global deaths, even as statins and other treatments have become more widely used.” (Bloomberg News)

The Best Ways to Soothe a Painful Sunburn: “Despite people’s best intentions to protect their skin with sunscreen, sunburns sometimes happen. Like other types of burns, sunburns can be extremely painful. They can also trigger a fever and cause an outer layer of skin to slough off, leaving a red and mottled appearance. More serious than an unsightly appearance, sunburn can increase the risk for skin cancer. The culprit is ultraviolet rays from the sun. The injury they cause inflames the skin, leading to increased blood flow that turns the affected area red, explains David Leffell, professor of dermatology and surgery at Yale Medical School. Dr. Leffell shared some tips on what to do once the damage is done.” (Wall Street Journal)