• High-frequency spinal cord stimulation provides better results in chronic back, leg pain: For patients with severe, chronic back and leg pain, a new high-frequency spinal cord stimulation (SCS) technique provides superior clinical outcomes, compared to conventional low-frequency SCS, reports a clinical trial. Neurosurgery
• Many back pain patients get limited relief from opioids and worry about taking them, survey shows: Millions of people take opioids for chronic back pain, but many of them get limited relief while experiencing side effects and worrying about the stigma associated with taking them, suggests research. Anesthesiology Annual Meeting
• Fake Pills May Help Ease Back Pain: Researchers found that patients who knowingly took a placebo pill while undergoing traditional treatment for lower back pain had less pain and disability than those who received traditional treatment alone. Pain
COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
• Does Weed Help You Sleep? Probably Not: Marijuana users may believe that frequent use helps them sleep, but that perception has been challenged by a new study. It found that daily marijuana users actually scored higher on the Insomnia Severity Index and on sleep-disturbance measures than those who did not use it daily. Journal of Addictive Diseases
Using marijuana could help some alcoholics and people addicted to opioids kick their habits, a new study suggests. The research also found some evidence that medical cannabis may help with symptoms of depression, PTSD and social anxiety. However, the review concluded that cannabis use might not be recommended for conditions such as bipolar disorder and psychosis. Clinical Psychology Review
• Acupuncture Lowers Hypertension: Regular electroacupunture treatment can lower hypertension by increasing the release of a kind of opioid in the brainstem region that controls blood pressure, investigators have found. Scientific Reports
• Approved pembroliumab, an immunotherapy drug for people with advanced lung cancer
• Warns of Dangers from Testosterone Supplements
• Approved Amplatzer PFO Occluder device that prevents second strokes in certain heart patients.
• Approved Intrarosa for post menopausal pain during sex
• Regular Exercise Can Cut Diabetes Risk: Walking briskly or cycling for the recommended 150 minutes a week can reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 26%, according to new research. Diabetologia
• Exercise May Ward Off Memory Decline in Patients With Vascular Cognitive Impairment: Exercise may be associated with a small benefit for elderly people who already have memory and thinking problems. Neurology
• Smokeless Tobacco Product Tied to Higher Risk of Prostate Cancer Death: Smokeless tobacco called snus may increase a prostate cancer patient's risk of death, according to a new study. International Journal of Cancer
• Dental Cleanings May Help Keep Lungs Clean, Too: Twice annual visits reduce bacteria that can cause pneumonia, researcher says. A new study suggests that regular dental cleanings could lower your risk of pneumonia by reducing levels of bacteria that cause the lung infection. IDWeek
• Stressful Jobs with Little Control Shortens Life Span: Individuals in highly stressful jobs with little control die at a younger age than workers who have more control in their jobs. People in high-demand jobs who had high control over their work seemed to decrease their chances of death during the study by 34 percent. However, the study couldn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship between job control and death. It only showed an association between these factors. Personnel Psychology
• New Guidelines Urge Diabetics to Move More: To improve blood sugar management, people with diabetes should do three or more minutes of light activity every 30 minutes during prolonged periods of sitting, such as working on a computer or watching TV. This is especially true for those with type 2 diabetes, according to the latest recommendations from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
• Stronger Muscles May Pump Up Your Memory: Boosting muscle strength may boost brain function in people with mild memory and thinking problems, a new study finds. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
• Does “Good” Cholesterol Matter: Lifestyle appears more important than the HDL number, study suggests. The study, of nearly 632,000 Canadian adults, found that those with the lowest HDL levels had higher death rates from heart disease and stroke over five years. But they also had higher death rates from cancer and other causes. What's more, there was no evidence that very high HDL levels -- above 90 mg/dL -- were desirable. People with HDL that high were more likely to die of noncardiovascular causes, compared to those with HDL levels in the middle, the study found. Journal of the American College of Cardiology
• Pedal Your Way to Heart Health: Studies find bike users have fewer heart attacks, lower blood pressure. Circulation
• 'White Coat' High Blood Pressure May Signal Trouble in Older People: So-called "white coat hypertension" is mostly harmless, but in some older people it may indicate a risk for heart disease, a new study suggests. Journal of the American College of Cardiology
• Alcohol May Fuel Prostate Cancer Risk: Drinking may raise the risk of prostate cancer, and the more men drink the greater their risk, a new analysis of 27 studies suggests. Even low levels of drinking (up to two drinks a day) were associated with an 8 to 23 percent higher risk of prostate cancer when compared to no drinking, the researchers said. BMC Cancer
• Healthy Living Can Overcome Genes Linked to Heart Disease: New research shows that people can minimize an inherited risk for heart attack by living right -- exercising, eating healthy, staying slim and quitting smoking. Even with a little effort in these areas, people can cut their high genetic risk of heart disease by more than half. NEJM
• Community’s Well-Being Help You Live Longer: A new study found that counties' well-being scores were linked to life expectancy, beyond factors such as poverty, education and race. For every 1 standard deviation (4.2-point) increase in the county's well-being score, life expectancy rose by almost two years for women, and by 2.6 years for men. Health Affairs
• Additional benefit of omega-3 fatty acids for the clearance of metabolites from the brain: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, could improve the function of the glymphatic system, which facilitates the clearance of waste from the brain, and promote the clearance of metabolites including amyloid-? peptides, a primary culprit in Alzheimer's disease, report scientists. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
• Vitamin E can modify the risk of pneumonia in some older men depending on their life style: The effect of vitamin E on health outcomes may depend on various characteristics of people and their lifestyles. Therefore, a single universal estimate of the vitamin E effect might be substantially misleading for some population groups, say investigators. British Journal of Nutrition
• Cranberry Products May Not Prevent UTIs: Many American women swear by cranberry juice as a home remedy to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). But a new study finds that cranberry capsules didn't prevent recurring UTIs in older women who lived in nursing homes. JAMA
• Review Says Calcium Supplements Won’t Harm Heart: Calcium supplements, taken within recommended levels, can be considered safe for the heart, according to new guidelines. Over the past decade, a number of studies have raised questions about whether calcium supplements might contribute to heart disease or stroke. Just this month, a study of U.S. adults found that supplement users were more likely than nonusers to have plaque buildup in their heart arteries. (Calcium is a component of artery-clogging "plaques.") But a new research review, commissioned by the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), has come to a different conclusion.
• Is Chocolate Good for You: A new analysis of existing studies provides more support for the idea that cocoa in chocolate may actually be good for you. While it seems to be beneficial, the impact of chocolate on day-to-day health isn't clear. And the researchers aren't ready to offer recommendations about exactly how much chocolate -- and what type -- provides benefits that outweigh its unhealthy effects. The Journal of Nutrition
• Mediterranean Diet, Caffeine May be Good for Eyes: Eating a Mediterranean diet and consuming caffeine may lower your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness, according to a new study. American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO
• Canola Oil May Cut Belly Fat: Canola oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to have beneficial effects on body composition, especially in people with obesity. When participants consumed conventional canola oil or high-oleic acid canola oil for just four weeks, they lost abdominal fat, report researchers. Obesity
• Fruits and Vegetables May Slow ALS: A diet rich in antioxidants and carotenoids is linked to better outcomes for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, say investigators. JAMA Neurology
•Probiotics Help With Blood Sugar Control: Adding protein-rich or probiotic-laden foods to your diet may help control your blood sugar levels, according to a pair of new studies. Both proteins and probiotics appear to slow down digestion of carbohydrates, preventing blood sugar spikes that can lead to type 2 diabetes or exacerbate damage done by the disease, researchers found. AHA Annual Meeting
•Vitamin D Reduces Respiratory Infections: Researchers have found that high doses of vitamin D reduce the incidence of acute respiratory illness (ARI) in older, long-term care residents. The clinical trial, the first to examine vitamin D's impact on respiratory infections in nursing home residents, looked at 107 patients with an average age of 84 over a 12 month period. Of those, 55 received high doses of vitamin D or 100,000 units monthly (averaging 3,300-4,300 units daily). And 52 received lower doses averaging between 400-1,000 units daily. Those with higher doses saw ARIs cut nearly in half. They also had over double the incidence of falls, the study said. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
• Statins Often Interact with Other Heart Drugs: Cholesterol-lowering statins can interact with other drugs prescribed for heart disease. But there are ways to navigate the problem, according to new recommendations from the American Heart Association.
• High Rate of Antidepressant Use After Cancer: Treatment for depression and anxiety is nearly twice as common among U.S. cancer survivors as it is for those who never had the disease, a new study finds. Among more than 3,000 adult cancer survivors, 19 percent reported taking medication for anxiety, depression or both, researchers found. But when the research team looked at nearly 45,000 adults with no history of cancer, they found just one in 10 used these medications. Journal of Clinical Oncology
• Oxygen Therapy Little Help for Those with Mild COPD: A new study says that oxygen therapy may not help people in the less severe stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). NEJM
• Lower Cholesterol From a Twice a Year Shot?: Instead of popping a pill every day, people might soon control "bad" LDL cholesterol by getting an injection at their doctor's office two or three times a year. Researchers testing a new injectable drug called Inclisiran found it cut LDL cholesterol by half or more. According to early clinical trial data, the effect could last for four to six months.
• Celebrex May Not Pose Bigger Heart Risk Than Similar Drugs: Celebrex (celecoxib) is a COX-2 inhibitor, the same class of drugs as Vioxx and Bextra, which were pulled from the market in 2004 and 2005, respectively, because they were linked to heart problems. Celebrex didn't seem to share the same issues, so has remained available. A new study seems to reaffirm Celebrex's safety profile. However, several heart disease specialists aren't convinced that this study's findings are sufficient to say that Celebrex is safe for people with a high risk of heart problems. Circulation
• High Dose Statins Boost Survival: The study followed more than 509,000 patients with various forms of cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that survival increased by 9 percent when people took high versus moderate doses of statin for a little over a year. The study showed that people over 75 also have a survival benefit with high doses compared to moderate doses. JAMA Cardiology
• Hard of Hearing? It’s not your ears: The reason you may have to say something twice when talking to older family members at Thanksgiving dinner may not be because of their hearing. Researchers have determined that something is going on in the brains of typical older adults that causes them to struggle to follow speech amidst background noise, even when their hearing would be considered normal on a clinical assessment. Journal of Neurophysiology
• Study Links Disasters to Dementia: Earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters may raise dementia risk for seniors forced to leave their homes, a new study suggests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
• More Americans Getting Health Care Under Obamacare: Even as double-digit hikes in the cost of health plans offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) loom for many Americans, a new federal study finds that gaps in access to medical care have been shrinking since the landmark law was passed. Earlier this week, the Obama administration confirmed that the prices for these health plans will increase by roughly 25 percent while the number of choices in many markets will drop. Still, the latest look at what is known as Obamacare, from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), indicates that more Americans than ever now have health insurance, and the medical care that goes with it.
• US Surgeon General Declares War on Addiction: America's response to alcohol and drug addiction demands a shift in thinking -- away from moralizing and toward proven medical treatment instead, the U.S. Surgeon General. For too long, addiction has been looked at as a character flaw or a moral failing, rather than as a chronic disease of the brain, Dr. Vivek Murthy said. "We have 20.8 million people in America with substance abuse disorders, but only one in 10 is getting treatment, research shows.” The number of Americans with substance abuse disorders is around the same number who have diabetes and 1.5 times the number of all cancers combined. Yet stigma prevents many drug addicts and alcoholics from seeking help.