Niacin Won’t Help, May Harm, Heart Patients

For 50 years we’ve been told that taking high doses of the B vitamin niacin was one way to lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Now some prominent physicians have had an abrupt change of heart: New research shows that niacin not only doesn’t help but could be very risky for patients. Two large studies, published July 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that taking niacin didn’t reduce deaths from heart disease and it put patients at …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Americans who are 65 or older feel better about their physical appearance than younger  — even much younger — people. (Learn more at Gallup) 2. Paul McCartney and Warren Buffett are buddies. (Learn more at AARP) 3. There’s no need to fast before a routine cholesterol test. (Learn more at AARP) 4. Google and Novartis are teaming up to make a contact lens that can monitor blood sugar levels. (Learn more at New York Times) >> Sign up …

Brain-Healthy Lifestyle Works to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease; U.S. Dementia Rates Drop

After just two years, older people who exercised, socialized and ate a healthy diet improved their memory, focus and other signs of brain health, according to a breakthrough study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week. In another piece of good news, researchers announced at the conference that dementia rates are dropping in the United States — quite possibly because people are getting the message that healthy living can protect brain health. “These findings show that prevention …

Study Questions the Need to Fast for Cholesterol Test

For years we’ve been told we need to fast for eight to 12 hours before getting a blood test to measure our cholesterol. But for the second time in two years, a large study finds there’s no evidence that fasting is necessary. “The evidence on which the fasting recommendation is based is weak at best, said senior author and cardiologist Sripal Bangalore of New York University Langone Medical Center. “Our study and data from other studies now really question this …

To Lower Cholesterol, Eat These 4 Foods, Study Says

Lowering your cholesterol and reducing your heart disease risk may be as easy as adding a daily serving of beans or other legumes to your diet, according to a new analysis of Canadian and American studies. Canadian researchers reported that a ¾-cup daily serving of beans, chickpeas, lentils or peas resulted in a 5 percent drop in “bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — and, by association, a potential 5 percent drop in heart disease risk. It also didn’t matter which of …

Huh? 87 Percent of Men Age 60-Plus Should Take a Statin?

If statin guidelines released last fall were followed to the letter, nearly all men between ages 60 and 75 would be taking a cholesterol-lowering drug even if they didn’t have heart disease, according to a new study that analyzed the impact of the controversial recommendations. The Duke University-led study projected that following the guidelines would result in nearly 13 million more Americans taking statins, most of them 60-plus. Among adults 60 to 75 without heart disease and not on statins, …