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Is marathon running bad for the heart?

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ON MAY 21, 2012, the United States Preventive Services Task Force reaffirmed the recommendation of the independent panel that sets U.S. cancer-screening policy that “men should not get routine PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer; men get far more harm than benefit from routine PSA tests.” Many urologists and patient groups protested.

Our advice: before rejecting routine PSA test, discuss the matter with your physician and find out which is the best option for you.

***

Is marathon running bad for the heart? This was the lingering question after the famous ultramarathoner Micah True (nicknamed Caballo Blanco, or White Horse) developed a heart attack and died during a wilderness solo run last March 2012. He was the subject of an earlier book, “Born to Run,” by Christopher McDougall, which might become a movie.

A Johns Hopkins research showed that 28 people died during or within 24 hours after a marathon out of more than 473,000 finishers in 2009, which translates to one death per 100,000 runners, concluding that “our

data shows, quite strongly, that marathon is safe for the vast majority of runners.” Some of those died from

hyponatremia (low blood sodium among those who drank excessive amount of fluid).

Before undertaking any severely strenuous activity, it is prudent to have a medical check-up.

***

Like colonoscopy, stress test saves lives. But who should undergo this cardiac test? Stress test is recommended for those who are 45 years old and older, even if the individuals are doing regular exercises. For those who are younger, it is done if the person has at least one of these risk factors: (1) diabetes or hyperthyroidism (2) a parent or sibling with coronary heart disease (3) a smoker (4) obese (5) high blood pressure and/or high blood cholesterol (6) if the person has chest pains. The cardiologist will recommend how often the stress test should be done.

***

Weight loss supplements could damage your liver. Data from the US national registry revealed that herbal and dietary supplements resulted in 18 percent liver

injury from 2003 to 2011. Body building and weight loss supplements were associated with 34 percent and 26 percent of 93 cases studied, respectively. These include the so-called “health juices” and other over-the-counter “food supplements” in pills or potions.

The best and safest way to reduce weight and be healthy is to control the amount of calories and fats consumed, and to do exercise for at least 30 minutes

every day. Avoiding tobacco, red meats, processed foods, and soft drinks, and drinking at least 8 glasses of filtered water, and disciplined alcohol intake, if any, are a part of a healthy lifestyle regimen.

***

Electronic lights, from computers, TVs, energy-efficient light bulbs may be hazardous to health, says the Harvard Health Letter. It is not exactly clear but “studies have linked working the night shift and getting

exposed to light at night to several types of cancer

(incl;uding the breast and prostate cancer), diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Blue wavelengths appear to be worst. The study suggests using red for night lights, since red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin, and to avoid looking at the TV or computer screen two hours before going to bed. For those working nights shifts and exposed to bright lights should consider wearing blue-blocking glasses.

***

An alarming paradox: To prevent fractures, bisphosphonates (Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Reclast), which were introduced in the 1990s, became the “treatment of choice” for osteoporosis for hundreds of millions. Now, the US-FDA is questioning its long term use beyond five years. A recently released report in the Archives of

Internal Medicine links “bisphosphonate use to a higher risk of unusual fractures in the femur (thighbone). Those on any of these medications are advised to confer with their physician about this issue.

***

Smoking, which is associated with pulmonary

diseases, heart disease, and various cancers, has now been shown to affect the brain also. A new study in the archives of General Psychiatry states that smoking

“appears to accelerate the pace of age-related cognitive decline in middle-aged men.” The damage to the brain and the reduction in its function are more alarming if we consider the fact that the adverse effects of smoking on the body starts within minutes (not months or years) after the first inhaled smoke. Indeed, one stick of cigarette is one too many.

***

Are you legally liable if you text someone who you know (or may not know) is driving at the moment when he/she gets into a car accident as she tries to text you a reply? There is currently a case in the United States where a friend is suing a friend for injuries sustained in a car mishap for replying to the text message. While the recipient of the text had the power not to text back while driving (and texting while driving is a illegal), it seems the sender is not legally culpable. However,

common sense, logic, and fairness do not always prevail over a prosecuting lawyer’s possible convoluted interpretation of the law as to what is right and just. Let’s watch what happens to this case. In the meantime, let us not use our phone at all while driving.

***

The health of our justice system is in jeopardy as Cuevas, et al. twist our laws through technicalities to

defend at all cost an obvious crook, Chief Justice Renato Corona, a callous and shameless person with no integrity and dignity. Caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he continues to lie through his teeth and maintains his

arrogance and contempt for the law. The only persons worse than he in the impeachment trial are the

members of the defense team who know the truth, the crimes committed by this apparent criminal. Legal counsels are not supposed to help a criminal escape from justice.

Except for the constitutional mandate, the legislator-judges in this impeachment trial could easily be

replaced by individuals without bias or political agenda. Any group of fifth-graders, given all the facts and evidences, can easily discern between right and wrong and with unanimity expeditiously come with a just verdict in this humiliating case, and save the dignity and honor of our justice system, our nation, and our people.

*For more data, please visit: philipSchua.com


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