Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here.

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Sweet Potato Soufflé
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Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

You can make individual soufflés or one large one, which is easier to make than a pie.

Tylenol Is Ineffective Against Flu Symptoms
By Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times

Tylenol is a popular remedy for treating the symptoms of flu. But a randomized trial has found that the drug is no more effective than a placebo, with no discernible effect at all on reducing fever or other flu symptoms.

Researchers in New Zealand randomized 80 adults with flu symptoms to either 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a placebo four times a day for five days. Twenty-two people in the placebo group and 24 in the Tylenol group had laboratory-confirmed flu virus infections.

Martin Shkreli’s Latest Plan to Sharply Raise Drug Price Prompts Outcry
By Andrew Polack, New York Times

Martin Shkreli is once again provoking alarm with a plan to sharply increase the price of a decades-old drug for a serious infectious disease. This time the drug treats Chagas disease, a parasitic infection that can cause potentially lethal heart problems.

“It’s caused a lot of angst in the Chagas community,” said Dr. Sheba Meymandi, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of a Chagas treatment center at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. “Everyone’s in an uproar.”

The plan also is upsetting some organizations that supply drugs for neglected diseases because Mr. Shkreli has said he wants to take advantage of a federal program intended to encourage companies to develop such drugs. The program awards vouchers that can be sold to other companies for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Tied to Alzheimer’s Risk
By Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times

Hormone therapy, a common treatment for prostate cancer, is associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has found.

The goal of hormone therapy, also known as androgen deprivation therapy, is to lower the level of male sex hormones, or androgens, that stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Researchers used records of 16,888 people with prostate cancer, of whom 2,397 were treated with hormone therapy. Over a median follow-up of 2.7 years, there were 125 new diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease.

Teenagers Aren’t Getting Enough Exercise at School, or Anywhere
By Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times

Teenagers can be a notoriously sedentary group. Now a new study showed that school may be a big part of the problem.

The study, which used GPS devices to track when and where teenagers were getting physical activity, found that, on average, they were physically active only 23 minutes a day while at school. Meager as that figure is, it made up over half the 39.4 minutes of physical activity the average teenager got every day.

False Positive Breast Tests Tied to Increased Cancer Risk
By Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times

Women with a false positive mammogram or breast biopsy result have an increased risk of breast cancer over the next 10 years compared with those with a true negative result, a new report has found.

The study, in the December issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, used data on more than two million mammograms nationwide, from women age 40 to 74, examined from 1994 to 2009. Compared with women who had a true negative result, a woman with a false positive referred for further imaging had a 39 percent increased relative risk for cancer. Among those with a false-positive result who were referred for biopsy, the relative risk was 76 percent greater.

Distracted Walkers Pose Threat to Self and Others
By Jane E. Brody, New York Times

While distracted driving has commanded lots of attention (albeit not a commensurate amount of correction), another digital hazard — distracted walking — is on the rise, with sometimes disastrous consequences.

We’ve all seen it, and often felt it, as people looking down to text, tweet, read or play games on their smartphones crash into us, typically as we walk in a straight line and they don’t. A study by Eric M. Lamberg and Lisa M. Muratori at Stony Brook University found that distracted walkers veer off course by as much as 61 percent while texting and walking.