Today’s Headlines: Falls Are Leading Cause of Death Among Older Americans, States Team Up To Fight Drug Company That Sabotaged Heroin Treatment, and Bad News for Those Who Swear By Fitness Trackers

A report published by the CDC on Thursday shows that falls are the top cause of death among Americans over 65. These fatal falls might be on the rise because older Americans are unlikely to report preceding, nonfatal falls that result in serious injury. “’Elderly patients tend to not report falls to their families, or even doctors. A fall is a very frightening thing that you keep quiet about. They think if they mention it that it’ll start the ball rolling – the move to a nursing home, or the need for aides to help out in the house – and that they’ll lose their independence,’ said Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein, the director of geriatric education at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York.” Doctors emphasize that these falls are preventable. They urge those over 65 to visit their health care providers, who’ll be able to screen for low blood pressure and dizziness. Doctors also suggest that older Americans get enough vitamin D, which contributes to healthier bones, muscles, and nerves. (CBS)

35 U.S. states and the District of Columbia are suing Indivior, a British pharmaceutical company, which allegedly tried to keep generic, more affordable reproductions of Suboxone unavailable. Suboxone has been heralded as an effective medication for those addicted to heroin. Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, strongly criticized such harmful practices: “When prescription drug companies unlawfully manipulate the marketplace to maximize profits, they put lives at risk and drive up the cost of health care for everyone,” she said. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has warned that the U.S. is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. In 2014, according to the HHS website, “more than 15,000 people died from heroin.” The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has called on doctors and health care providers to join the fight against addiction. (FOX)

A new study published in JAMA suggests that those who depend on fitness trackers do not have a greater chance of achieving their diet and exercise goals. Research subjects were divided into two groups—both were instructed to diet and exercise more, but only one group was given fitness trackers. Over the course of two years, those who used fitness trackers were no better off; in fact, they lost, on average, less weight than the other group. Dr. John Jakicic, who led the study, speculated that having clear information about increased exercise might cause an individual to indulge in unhealthy snacks: “You might think to yourself, ‘I’m being so active I can eat a cupcake now,’” he said. Manufactures note that such technology has since advanced. In future studies, researchers hope to find out if certain people—people who are goal-driven, for example—are more likely to benefit from fitness devices. (BBC)

Today’s Headlines: Long Naps Might Indicate Risk for Diabetes, Drug Researchers To Face Stronger Regulations, and Older Americans Not Getting Enough Exercise

In a presentation at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes this week, researchers argued that those who take long naps are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes (which is often referred to as a lifestyle-related disease). The researchers reviewed 21 studies, which involved more than 300,000 people in total. “Their research found there was a link between long daytime naps of more than 60 minutes and a 45% increased risk of type-2 diabetes, compared with no daytime napping – but there was no link with naps of less than 40 minutes.” Researchers have yet to distinguish whether long naps are a cause or symptom of type 2 diabetes. (BBC)

Soon, drug companies and researchers will be required to reveal negative clinical findings. Government agencies announced the change in policy as a measure to ensure that all data, positive and negative, is released. “The rules will apply to most studies of drugs, biological products and medical devices regulated by the FDA. In addition, scientists conducting NIH-funded behavioral studies and phase 1 clinical trials – where a new drug or treatment is given to a small group of people for the first time to evaluate safety, safe dose range and side effects – will also now have to share information.” The agencies responsible for ensuring that researchers comply with the new policy intend to build a substantial online database for the public—the database will be housed at ClinicalTrials.gov, which currently lacks important information about clinical trials because of existing regulation policies. (CBS)

In a new study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers suggest that up to 31 million Americans over the age of 50 lead sedentary lives. Researchers reached this estimate by analyzing surveillance data. “Other findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study are that geographically, people in the South were the least active—39% of adults in Arkansas were inactive, more than in any other state—followed by the Midwest. People in the West were the least inactive.” If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, incorporate light movement into your daily routine and build up more physical activity as your body adjusts. Get started with the beginner-friendly No Excuses: Workout Series. (Time)

Today’s Headlines: New Eye Implants Approved by The FDA, Studies Funded by Sugar Industry Downplayed Sugar Role, and Scientists Rethink Statins

The FDA has approved two new eye implants that are designed for people with presbyopia or age-related vision loss. These devices fill a void in eye care; they offer a solution to middle-aged Americans who have trouble reading but whose eyes are not yet cloudy enough to warrant cataract surgery. “The most recent [device] to receive approval, the “Raindrop”, is made mostly from water and works by reshaping the cornea helping the eye to focus better on close-up objects. Both of the new implants, Raindrop and KAMRA, go into only one eye. The other eye will be for seeing distance…” After receiving an implant, a patient is able to see better almost immediately afterward. Unfortunately, insurance or Medicare doesn’t yet cover the implants. The procedure is expensive, with a current price tag of $4,000 to $5,000. (NBC)

In two new papers published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researches reveal that the sugar industry funded studies that masked the link between sugar and heart disease. The papers show that the Sugar Research Foundation (now called the Sugar Association), paid large sums of money to researchers in the 1960s and 1970s who conducted studies on behalf of the foundation. US policymakers relied, in part, on these studies to enact policies that pointed to fat, not sugar, as the primary cause of heart disease. “Our findings are a wake-up call…that the sugary industry, like the tobacco industry, seeks to protect profits over public health,” one of the authors notes. Both papers in JAMA argue that the sugar industry continues to engage in similar deception. (NBC)

A new report published in Lancet suggests that concerns about statins — inexpensive drugs prescribed to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease — are largely misplaced. “There seemed to be a lot of confusion, particularly around the alleged side effects of statins,” says the researcher who led the study. Those who warn of statins’ adverse side effects often refer to statin intolerance, which can lead to severe muscle damage and, in turn, kidney damage. But when researchers reviewed studies with the highest standards of protocol, they found that subjects who were given statins reported no more problems than those who were given a placebo. While adverse side effects from statins are a real concern, the paper concedes, these effects are rare. The greater risk is for those who decide to do without them. (Time)

 

Today’s Headlines: The FDA Statement on Ovarian Cancer Tests and How Exercise Can Help Lower Both Your Risk of Death and Healthcare Bills

The FDA announced that the current ovarian cancer screening method is not always accurate. The test, called CA 125, which is most commonly used to diagnose women with ovarian cancer, may lead to many false diagnoses. “While certain cancers, including ovarian cancer, may raise the blood level of CA 125, the test is far from foolproof. Many noncancerous conditions may also raise the level of CA 125, causing healthy women to undergo needless follow-up. According to the American Cancer Society, no major medical or professional organization recommends the routine use of CA 125 blood tests to screen for ovarian cancer. Still, the test has been used extensively. Based on the FDA’s review of available clinical data from ovarian screening trials and recommendations from health care professional societies and the US Preventive Services Task Force, the agency said, ‘available data do[es] not demonstrate that currently available ovarian cancer screening tests are accurate and reliable in screening asymptomatic women for early ovarian cancer.’” The statement applied primarily to asymptomatic women who have a risk for ovarian cancer. (Fox)

  

Exercising after a night out drinking could decrease your risk of an early death. A recent study found that while drinking alcohol can decrease your lifespan overall, supplementing it with physical fitness could keep your risk in check. “Not surprisingly, they found that drinking itself is linked to higher rates of early death from any cause, as well as death from cancer. And the more alcohol is consumed, the higher the risk of early death. But when Stamatakis layered in the amount of exercise people reported, he found that only those who weren’t physically active—meaning they did not meet the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise a week—showed similar patterns of higher mortality. Among those who reported getting the recommended amounts of activity, their death rates were slightly lower as long as they drank with recommended guidelines (one to two drinks per day). People who drank beyond these amounts, at levels considered dangerous for their health, showed higher rates of death from any cause or cancer regardless of how much they exercised.” But this finding does not mean you can drink as much as you want just because you exercise regularly. The lead researcher cautioned that drinking in excess leads to many other health problems that can increase your risk for death. (Time)

  

Working out could decrease your healthcare costs, especially if you have heart disease. Exercising for at least 150 minutes of a week was found to lower costs significantly. “Patients with heart disease who did moderate to vigorous physical activity for 30 minutes at least five times a week saved an average of more than $2,500 in annual healthcare costs, the study found…The research suggests that if just 20 percent of patients with cardiovascular disease who are not getting enough physical activity would meet exercise goals, it might save up to $6 billion a year in health care costs…” The study noted that even people without heart disease could reduce their bills by exercising because regular physical activity severely lowers the chance of illness and improves overall health. (Reuters)

Today’s Headlines: The Ban on Antibacterial Soaps, Acupuncture and Yoga May Help Alleviate Pain, and Why Your Commute Could Lead to Poor Health

The FDA announced today that some antibacterial soaps will no longer be sold to consumers. This statement comes after careful assessment and evaluation of antibacterial soaps in comparison to regular soaps. “Antibacterial soaps and washes…are no more effective than conventional soap and water in preventing illnesses and may not be safe to use over long periods of time. The rule applies to products — such as liquid soaps, bar soaps and body washes — that contain one or more of 19 active ingredients, including the most commonly used, triclosan and triclocarban. Manufacturers will have one year to reformulate their products or take them off the market, the agency said.” The new mandate doesn’t apply to antibacterial soaps and washes used in hospitals and other medical centers. (Washington Post)

An analysis of numerous studies concluded that alternative treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, and massage therapy can help manage pain. Although studies done on these methods usually have low participation and are less common, government researchers were able to analyze enough of them to draw probable conclusions. “[Researchers] found evidence that: Acupuncture and yoga can help back pain. Acupuncture and tai chi can help osteoarthritis of the knee. Massage therapy gives short-term relief for neck pain. Relaxation techniques can ease severe headaches and migraine.” Americans spend over $14 billion annually on pain management, and these natural methods may help individuals save money. (NBC)

Your commute could be making you more stressed, less active, and heavier. A new study from the UK found that commuting could be hurting your health. “For one, there’s the added stress of traveling. Of the 1,500 commuters polled, the majority said stress was a major issue for them. Delays, overcrowding, uncomfortable temperatures, and a long journey were some of the frustrations they listed as detrimental to their well-being.  A longer commute may also lead to weight gain. Almost 38% of people polled said they had less time to prep healthy meals at home… Workers estimated that because of their commute, they were consuming an average of 767 additional calories a week. And of course, sitting in a car or on a train or bus leaves less time for exercise. Forty-one percent of commuters reported reduced physical activity, which can contribute to a higher body mass index and elevated blood pressure levels.” Walking, biking, or adopting more active commutes is not a realistic option for everyone so experts recommend taking on healthier habits such as standing rather than sitting on long commutes. (Time)

Today’s Headlines: Updates on the Zika Virus and The EpiPen Problem

Mosquitos carrying the Zika virus can pass it onto their offspring. Researchers have found that it’s possible for female mosquitoes to both transmit and inherit the Zika virus although occurrences are rare. “The Zika virus can be transmitted by a female mosquito to her eggs, eventually infecting her adult daughters, researchers reported on Monday. But mother-daughter transmission happens so rarely among mosquitoes that it is probably not an important factor in the global Zika epidemic, according to the lead author of the study …In the case of Zika, only one daughter Aedes aegypti mosquito out of 300 inherits the virus from an infected mother, Dr. Tesh’s team estimated.” While this may not create a larger threat for the virus, it does mean that the Zika virus has a higher chance of surviving the winter. (NYT)

The Zika virus may cause hearing loss. A new study was released that said the virus could affect babies’ hearing. “Scientists report that out of 70 kids with Zika-related microcephaly, four had hearing loss that was caused by damage to the inner ear or damage to the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. The hearing loss couldn’t be attributed to any other cause.” Hearing loss joins microcephaly in the list of growing risks associated with the Zika virus.  (Time)

Mylan, the company that manufactures and sells EpiPen, announced they will be making a generic version of the drug. The company will sell the generic epinephrine medicine at a 50 percent discount than the branded drug, that skyrocketed to $600 for a pack of two recently. “The company said Monday that its U.S. subsidiary will put out a generic version of the EpiPen that will have a list price of $300 for a two-pack — about half the current price. It will be available in both 0.15 mg and 0.30 mg strengths.” Meanwhile, two other drug companies are looking for government approval to sell their epinephrine products to rival EpiPen. (NBC)

Today’s Headlines: Why You Should Snack on Nuts, The Link Between Obesity and Cancer, and How Your Coffee Cravings May Be Determined by Your DNA

Adding nuts to your daily diet may significantly reduce inflammation in your body. A new study has shown that eating a handful of nuts several times a week is beneficial. “Nuts may lower inflammation because they contain fiber, magnesium, antioxidants and other health-boosting ingredients, the researchers write. People who ate nuts at least five times per week had 20 percent lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) compared to people who never or rarely ate nuts. They also had 16 percent lower levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), another inflammatory marker.” The type of nut did not seem to matter, although researchers noted that peanut butter did not have the same beneficial results. (Reuters)

Watch: How to Make Lisa Oz’s Not-Too-Spicy Nuts

A higher BMI may put you at risk for cancer. In a new analysis of more than 1,000 studies, researchers found that being overweight or obese could increase your risk of eight types of cancer. “While previous studies have found obesity can increase the chances of developing health issues like diabetes and heart disease, which can also raise the risk of early death, study authors noted excess weight can specifically drive cancer growth by promoting inflammation…Being overweight or obese leads to an overproduction of estrogen, testosterone and insulin, which can further fuel the progression of cancer.” Researchers identified the eight diseases as liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, gallbladder cancer, stomach cancer, thyroid cancer, ovarian cancer, brain tumor meningioma, and multiple myeloma. (Fox)

More: The Plan to Reduce Your Cancer Risk

Whether or not you crave coffee may be related to your genes. Researchers have found that a variation of a gene may determine why you need your daily coffee fix. “Those with a gene variant called PDSS2 drank one cup less a day on average than those without the variation, the investigators found… The findings suggest that PDSS2 reduces cells’ ability to break down caffeine. That means it stays in the body longer. The upshot: People with the gene variant don’t need as much coffee to get the same caffeine hit as those without it, the researchers said.” More research needs to be done to confirm these new findings and establish the biological cause and effect. Learn more about the pros and cons of drinking coffee. (CBS)

Today’s Headlines: The FDA-Approved Head Injury Test, Why Crossing Your Legs is Bad for You, and How Often You Should Get Mammograms

The FDA has approved the ImPACT test. The ImPACT test stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Cognitive Testing which is the first cognitive test of its kind to be approved. “ImPACT is intended for individuals aged 12 to 59 while ImPACT Pediatric was designed for patients aged 5 to 11. The devices are not intended to diagnose concussion, but are meant to test cognitive skills such as word memory, reaction time and word recognition. Results are compared to an age-matched control database of 17,000 cases or to a patient’s pre-injury baseline scores, if available.” The ImPACT program can be downloaded and taken on a computer. (Fox)

Sitting cross-legged may be hurting you. Many people don’t know that the crossed-leg position is an unnatural way to sit. According to Dr. Naresh Rao from NYU Langone Medical Center, crossing your legs “is not a nice ergonomic position for your pelvis…The top knee puts pressure on the lower knee, while the pelvis is rotated and strained. The knees are at an unnaturally twisted angle, and you also hunch the lower back, giving it a little bit of torque.” Dr. Rao doesn’t think that alternating which leg you cross makes the situation any better and believes extended cross legging can lead to back problems and other issues. (WSJ)

Women with dense breast tissue might need to get mammograms more frequently. Roughly one percent of women between the ages of 50 and 74 have dense breast tissue, which could increase the risk for breast cancer. “The research recommends that women older than 50 with dense breast tissue who have higher-than-normal risk of developing breast cancer should get annual mammograms. Many women, however, could go as long as three years between mammograms without increasing their risk of death from breast cancer, the study found.” The general recommendation for mammograms is every two years, although this suggested time frame may change based on a woman’s low or high risk density. Researchers recommend speaking with your physician to determine the screening time that is best for you. (LA Times)

Today’s Headlines: Gallstones May Increase Heart Disease Risk, The Link Between Calcium Supplements and Dementia, and an Update on the Zika Virus

Gallstones may put you at risk for heart disease. A new study has found that heart disease risk may be correlated to a medical history of gallstones. “Among women, Qi’s team found, those with a history of gallstones were up to 33 percent more likely to eventually develop heart disease. For men, gallstones were linked to an 11 percent increased risk. The researchers then pooled those results with findings from four previous studies that included nearly 900,000 people. All together, they found that adults with a history of gallstones were 23 percent more likely to develop heart disease​.” While the reason for the connection has not yet been established, researchers advised people who have had gallstones to pay more attention to their heart health. (CBS)

Calcium supplements may raise the risk of dementia. Older women who took calcium supplements for osteoporosis were found to have a high risk. “The study can’t prove cause-and-effect. However, dementia risk was seven times higher in female stroke survivors who took calcium supplements, compared to women with a history of stroke who didn’t use the supplements, the findings showed. The risk of dementia also was three times higher in women with white matter brain lesions who took calcium supplements, compared to women with white matter lesions who didn’t take the supplements.” Since the link has not yet been confirmed and proven, researchers recommend that women with osteoporosis and who have also had a stroke should continue to discuss their risks and follow up with their doctors. (CBS)

The Zika virus has spread to Miami Beach. This is now the second area in Florida where a non-travel related case has been reported in the U.S. “Governor Rick Scott confirmed Friday. He said five people have been infected by Zika locally in Miami Beach, including three tourists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new travel warning, telling pregnant women to avoid the popular tourist area if at all possible. The area includes much of South Beach, the quirky beachfront district popular for its outdoor restaurants and sidewalk promenades.” The CDC advises all pregnant women avoid traveling to Miami-Dade County and experts encourage everyone to stay indoors and take precautions. (NBC)

Today’s Headlines: Surprising Mosquito Magnets, How a Sedentary Lifestyle Can Negatively Affect You, and The Correlation Between Weight and Cancer

What you drink, what you wear, and the make-up of your skin may put you at risk for mosquito bites. Grayson Brown, a mosquito scientist who works at the University of Kentucky, says there are many factors that could lure mosquitos to your body. “One study by Japanese researchers found that drinking a single beer increased mosquito attraction. Brown said it’s not clear why that might be, but it’s possible alcohol raises the body temperature of drinkers and makes them sweat more, both known mosquito magnets… ‘Color is [also] a cue. They are much more likely to go to someone in dark clothes versus somebody in light clothes,’ he said.” Other attractions that could lead to mosquito bites included yeast, blood type, and skin bacteria. (CBS)

Read More: The Best Ways to Stay Zika-Free This Summer

Sitting too much during the day can decrease your lifespan and cause health problems. But new research suggests that these same health problems can be caused even if people exercise to counteract their sedentary lifestyle. “The trouble is, it’s hard to measure just how inactive people are and there’s not enough evidence yet to show just how much, or how often, you have to exercise to counteract the effects of sitting, the group said in a scientific update. At least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise — walking briskly rather than strolling around the house — should be the minimum goal…And it may be worthwhile to encourage desk-bound workers to get up and move a bit every hour or so. Yet even this may not outweigh the effects of sitting at a computer all day, driving home in a car, and then relaxing in front of the TV or with a tablet computer. ‘Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels…’” The new evidence encourages people to move more throughout the day as a preventative measure. (NBC)

Read more: How to Move More During the Work Day

A women’s cancer risk could increase if she’s overweight. A study found that the length of time a woman is overweight may increase her risk for breast, endometrial, colon, and kidney cancers. “The risk of developing any of those cancers rose in tandem with the number of years a woman had been overweight. On average, the study found, the odds rose by 10 percent for every 10 years a woman had been obese. Similarly, they climbed by 7 percent for every decade she’d been overweight. When the researchers took a closer look, four cancers were clearly connected to the duration of a woman’s excess weight: breast, endometrial, colon and kidney. But the findings do not prove excess weight causes these cancers.” Researchers suggested that extra weight could indicate an unhealthy lifestyle that may lead to cancer. (CBS)

Read more: 22 Ways to Cut Your Risk of Cancer