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Health Tips ... from UPI

By LIDIA WASOWICZ, UPI Senior Science Writer   |   July 4, 2003 at 9:00 AM   |   Comments

BLOOD TEST TO DETECT HEART ATTACK EARLY

Canadian scientists are devising a blood test that may help doctors determine quickly and accurately whether a particular chest pain portends a heart attack. They say the test could save lives by allowing quicker intervention to prevent more advanced heart damage. In preliminary studies, the test produced results in 5 minutes and had a 99 percent accuracy rate, the researchers report in the Journal of Proteome Research. They say the test is a step above conventional blood tests that can take several hours to reveal results that are only 50 percent to 70 percent accurate.


DIABETES DRUG MAY BENEFIT HEART

Researchers say rosiglitazone, a drug used to treat high blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes, may lower the risk of heart disease. They say if the results are corroborated, the drug may be a good option for patients with diabetes who need additional medications to prevent heart attacks. "If you have a diabetes drug that lowers not only blood sugar but also the risk for heart disease, that might be favorable for the patient with diabetes who already takes as many as eight to 12 pills a day," said Dr. James Chu, director of the Diabetes Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and adjunct clinical investigator at Stanford University.


PEELING PAINT, CHILDREN DON'T MIX

Health officials are advising parents with small children to have their landlords fix any peeling paint. New York Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden says the percent of children newly identified with elevated blood lead levels has declined 79 percent since 1995. He says it is important for parents to know landlords are required by law to inspect and repair peeling paint at no cost to tenants. "Childhood lead poisoning is preventable, and in recent years great strides have been made," he said. Parents also should take steps to safeguard their homes by wet mopping and damp wiping floors and other surfaces and frequently washing toys, pacifiers or other objects children place in their mouths.


MOMS-TO-BE NEED DAILY DOSE OF FOLIC ACID

Doctors recommend pregnant women consume 400 micrograms of folic acid each day to ensure their baby's health. Yet, studies show less than one-third of them do so. Researchers say the B vitamin helps prevent birth defects. Experts advise women to get the recommended amount of folic acid each day during their childbearing years because some birth defects occur very early in pregnancy, often before a woman knows she has conceived. Evidence suggests half of neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida, could be prevented if women got enough folic acid before pregnancy, scientists say.


(Editors: For more information about HEART, contact Michael Bernstein at 202-872-6042 or m_bernstein@acs.org. For DIABETES, Michelle Brandt at 650-723-0272 or mbrandt@stanford.edu. For PAINT, Sandra Mullin at 212-788-5290 or smullin@health.nyc.gov. For FOLIC, Krista Hopson at 734-764-2220)

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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