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Get a Grip: Global Study Finds Grip Strength Is a Simple and Powerful Predictor Of Death (13 May 2015)

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A large global study finds that grip strength is a simple, powerful, and broadly applicable test that can help predict the risk of death and cardiovascular disease. The new findings from the Prospective Urban-Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study were based on data from nearly 140,000 adults in 17 countries. The study participants had their grip strength…

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Diet Drug Study Crashes and Burns in the Wake of Leaked Results (12 May 2015)

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The ill-fated Light trial, which was supposed to examine the cardiovascular outcomes of the weight loss drug Contrave, a combination of naltrexone and bupropion marketed by Orexigen and Takeda, came to a spectacular halt today. The action was probably inevitable given the extreme controversy generated earlier this year when it became known that Orexigen had widely disseminated results from an early…

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Advocates Say Precision Medicine Could Lead to Enormous Benefits (7 May 2015)

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Personalized and precision medicine (PPM) could deliver hundreds of billions of dollars worth of improved health in the next 50 years in the United States, writes Victor Dzau, the new president of the Institute of Medicine, and coauthors in a Viewpoint published in the Lancet. The authors used a health simulation model to estimate the effect…

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Red Yeast Rice: Let’s Lower Cholesterol with Unknown Amounts of a Statin (1 May 2015)

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Anthony Pearson, MD

Anthony Pearson wonders why some patients would choose unregulated “natural” cholesterol-lowering dietary supplements over safe and effective prescription statins.

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More Evidence Linking Sugared Drinks to Diabetes (30 Apr 2015)

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A new study uncovers some potentially important new details about the association between sugared drinks and diabetes. In a paper published in Diabetologia, researchers in the U.K. report on more than 10 years of followup of more than 25,000 adults. During the course of the study 847 participants went on to develop diabetes. Instead of relying on…

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Cardiovascular Outcomes with Sitagliptin: No Better or Worse Than Conventional Care (28 Apr 2015)

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Late Monday afternoon, Merck released the top line results of TECOS, the cardiovascular outcomes trial with its diabetes drug sitagliptin (Januvia).  The company said that the trial “achieved its primary endpoint of non-inferiority for the composite cardiovascular (CV) endpoint.” Merck announced only one additional detail: “Among secondary endpoints,” they reported, “there was no increase in hospitalization for heart…

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More Preliminary Signs That PCSK9 Inhibitors May Improve Outcomes (27 Apr 2015)

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A new analysis of available data from early trials with PCSK9 inhibitors adds to the growing evidence showing that this much-anticipated new class of drugs dramatically lowers LDL cholesterol and offers additional preliminary evidence showing that they are safe and may confer a mortality benefit. But, the authors and other outside experts warn, the outcome…

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Diabetes Drugs Get Neither Restrictions Nor Endorsements from FDA Committee (15 Apr 2015)

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Two diabetes drugs survived a meeting of the FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee on Tuesday. Rejecting recommendations from critics that the drugs should either be withdrawn or get new restrictions on use, the committee voted against any harsh measures, recommending only that information from two neutral clinical  trials be added to the drugs’ labels. The two trials…

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Weight-Loss Programs: Slim Evidence and Thin Results (6 Apr 2015)

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A new study concludes that some weight-loss programs may be slightly better than other programs but that in the long run none of the programs have been able to show a substantial weight loss over a sustained period. For even the best programs, an editorialist writes, “weight loss is modest and likely below patients’ expectations.”…

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Cardiac Arrest During Exercise in Middle-Aged People (6 Apr 2015)

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Dropping dead while exercising is a common fear, especially among middle-aged men. Unfortunately there have been limited data on the precise rate of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in middle-aged people and little understanding about the medical history of the victims of SCA. Now a new study fills in some important gaps in knowledge and shows that this…

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