If there were an activity that elevated your risk of sudden death by a factor of more than 1,000, would you partake in that activity? What if this activity were supposed to be good for you? I’m confused. According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, participating in triathlon events translates into a death rate of 1.74 per 100,000 triathlon competitors, per event. Still pretty small, but that’s 1,000 times higher than the rate of sudden death in otherwise healthy athletes. So, next time you see one of those (in air quotes) overachiever types running with their fanny pack and $300 shoes, you can rest easy knowing that maybe you’re safer driving to Dunkin’ Donuts.
While some drug brands are turning to celebrity endorsers to give their advertising efforts a boost, Merck has gone the other way in an advertisement for their new immuno-oncology drug, Keytruda. Meet Donna, a patient in Merck’s Keynote-024 drug trial that ultimately led to the drug’s approval. Why might celebs be more appropriate for some conditions than others? Maybe the extraordinarily personal and serious nature of a late-stage cancer diagnosis lends itself to not faking it? It’s probably smarter—and more effective—to have a real patient talking about her actual experiences with advanced non-small cell lung cancer and her treatment than, say, Tiger Woods, who once tried to convince us he drove a super ugly Buick.
Sometimes you conduct a study, and the results suck, but you still have to report them. That’s what the authors of an influenza safety study found last week, when they discovered an association between miscarriage and flu vaccination. It’s bad enough that this gives more ammo to antivaxxers, but it also sucks because flu vaccines are particularly important for expecting mothers. Flu symptoms can be more severe for this population, and can lead to pre-term births and miscarriages all on their own. Plus, the vaccine is the only way for developing babies to receive long-term flu protection since infants younger than six months can’t receive it. So please, protect yourself, your kids, and the rest of us too.
Getting rid of artificial sweeteners and dyes in foods, especially those targeted at children, sounds great. General Mills, the makers of Lucky Charms breakfast cereal announced in July 2015 that it was “removing artificial flavors and colors from all of its cereals.” Sweet. As the aging Lee Corso would say “Not so fast my friend.” Two years later there are still artificial sweeteners and dyes in Lucky Charms. Why? Because General Mills says, “that effort has since stalled — company scientists have yet to find natural substitutes that won’t affect flavor.” No s&*t Sherlock. It’s the same reason fat-free cheese doesn’t taste like cheese…because it’s not cheese! Many people are becoming more health conscious. Great. Our advice? Leave the bad stuff bad and make new/different good stuff.
Happy belated International Coffee Day to all our readers (even the ones who have their coffee celebrations on the incorrect date.) It sure was a happy week for coffee proponents—a study published in the Journal of Hepatology found that three cups of coffee a day can halve the risk of death for HIV and Hep C patients. The results were most prominent when the coffee drinkers combined it with other positive health behaviors, namely not smoking, consuming too much alcohol, and having a decent amount of physical activity… all things that generally contribute to not dying. The best part for non-caffeine fans is that you can still receive the anti-inflammatory benefits from decaf. Here are 13 other health benefits of coffee, cheers!
Societal cost savings from weight loss:
Source: Johns Hopkins University