Ancient Hook-ups With Neanderthals Left Lasting Effects On Our Health

Around 50,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans shacked up with some Neanderthals—and the genetic consequences are still doing a walk of shame through our generations.

Source: Ancient hook-ups with Neanderthals left lasting effects on our health

“Hook-ups” is rather charitable, no?  The myth of the noble savage is just that – a myth. Intelligent species, especially those with the ability to reason, all murder members of their own race. Dolphins, chimps, apes, etc all plan and kill each other.

So we have some insight to why those like my father have Factor V (still waiting on confirming for myself)…  I admit – before the blood thinner, I didn’t bleed much at all.  But then Life for me turned into Logan’s Run…

Don’t Stop Having Sex Just Because You Had a Heart Attack

Although the sex-induced heart attack is a staple of fiction (I’m looking at you, Downton Abbey), in real life it’s quite rare. That’s reinforced by a study from Dietrich Rothenbacher and his research team at Germany’s Ulm University, which found that only a tiny fraction of patients (0.7%) said they were having sex in the hour before their heart attacks.

Source: Don’t Stop Having Sex Just Because You Had a Heart Attack

Some guys just came and went? 😉

Study: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Increases Longevity In Men

Older men whose low testosterone is restored to normal through gels, patches, or injections have a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from any cause, compared to men who are not treated, scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have found.

Source: Testosterone replacement therapy may help men live longer

It wasn’t that long ago that I posted an article about the experimental treatment of administering testosterone.  The sample size and number of years is impressive – this isn’t a case of 100 or less being sampled.  What I have not been able to find is what the “acceptable level” is…

I, and I’m sure most medical professionals would agree, suggest pursuing natural means of raising testosterone levels before going for medication.

Most People Have Cholesterol All Wrong

Do you know which foods contain good cholesterol, and which contain bad cholesterol? If you think you do, ha! That’s a trick question! Cholesterol in our food doesn’t come in “good” and “bad” varieties, but cholesterol readings from blood tests do, and the two aren’t as closely connected as we used to think.

Source: Most People Have Cholesterol All Wrong

HDL is the one you want to be high; you want LDL to be low.

My doctor told me that my levels were a tad high, but the ratio mattered more.  The best part?  No cholesterol medication suggestion from the doctor.  It really does pay to eat better and look after yourself.

Related: The Dangerous Power of Health Media: 28,000 Quit Statins After Scare Documentary

The Dangerous Power of Health Media: 28,000 Quit Statins After Scare Documentary

Unbalanced and poorly researched health reporting is often criticised for the effect it can have on people’s health choices. That effect can be very difficult to quantify, but a paper published this week in the Medical Journal of Australia estimates that an extra 28,000 Australians stopped taking cholesterol-lowering statins after an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) documentary.

Statins are widely-prescribed drugs that are used to lower the levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol in the blood. According to the Australian government’s most recent estimate, they were the most commonly prescribed drug in Australia in 2011. Any change in the number of people taking statins therefore has a huge impact, affecting thousands of people.

Source: The dangerous power of health media: 28,000 quit statins after scare documentary

Let us not forget the ever-decreasing threshold that doctor’s use to prescribe statins, despite little evidence that the demands for extremely low LDL are actually beneficial.

And that’s all totally ignoring the fundamental issues with the ‘cholesterol hypothesis’ generally — it is possible that elevated LDL is a byproduct of metabolic syndrome or other inflammatory conditions, not vice-versa, and also that total LDL alone is a poor measure of cardiovascular risk. Doctor’s need to consider HDL and triglyceride levels, as well as certain ratios of these lipid levels, and even that is imperfect.

Just remember, folks: researchers and doctors, all too often, inappropriately draw narrow conclusions that are not adequately supported by their data. For example, for decades we’ve been told that dietary cholesterol is bad for our health, and raises LDL — except that it doesn’t, and the data has never adequately supported this conclusion. It was only this year that the FDA finally admitted “oh yea, turns out cholesterol is tightly regulated by the body [which we’ve known for awhile], and dietary cholesterol doesn’t matter” and they removed restrictions on cholesterol in the diet.

The Heart Attack Risk Factor Millions Deal With Every Night

It’s no secret that sleep is a basic function that plays a vital role in overall health and well-being. However, new research presented at EuroHeartCare 2015 says poor sleep is linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Source: The Heart Attack Risk Factor Millions Deal With Every Night

Onions Work As Blood Thinners (Sometimes To A Dangerous Degree)

If you are older, and are taking blood thinners, if you have a disease or condition that keeps your blood from clotting properly, or if you are soon having surgery, you may find yourself with some unexpected dietary restrictions. Onions and garlic, especially raw onions and garlic, are off the plate.

Source: Onions Work As Blood Thinners (Sometimes To A Dangerous Degree)

Yeah.. NO.

Onions have never been a risk when I looked.  Garlic was not recommended, but my experience to date says that’s rubbish.  I consume a fair bit of garlic, and my dose has not changed in years.  It might be different for others, but generally unlikely.

Why a Weak Handshake is Bad News For Your Heart

The strength of your handshake could indicate the chance of a future heart attack, a major study suggests.

Researchers found that the vigour of a person’s grip could predict the risk of heart attacks and strokes – and was a stronger indicator of death than checking systolic blood pressure.

The study in The Lancet, involving almost 140,000 adults in 17 countries, found weak grip strength was linked to shorter survival and a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Source: Why a weak handshake is bad news for your heart

While I agree that an inexpensive, non-invasive test would be great… A percentage under 20% is not worth the effort of pursuing.

As They Lay Dying: Terminally Ill and Organ Donation

…W.B.’s life was turned upside down by the diagnosis. But once the initial shock passed, he began researching his condition intensively. He learned that he was unlikely to survive five years, and that in the meantime his quality of life would diminish dramatically. With limited options, many patients retreat. But, quite bravely, W.B. had other ideas. After much consideration, he decided that if he was going to die, he would like to try to save another person’s life in the process, even if that person was a stranger. And so last May he approached the University of Wisconsin’s transplant program, where we are surgeons, as a prospective organ donor.

…From the earliest days of transplantation, surgeons subscribed to an informal ethical norm known as the “dead-donor rule,” holding that organ procurement should not cause a donor’s death. In practice, this meant waiting until patients were by all measures completely dead—no heartbeat, no blood pressure, no respiration—to remove any vital organs. Unfortunately, few organs were still transplantable by this point, and those that were transplanted tended to have poor outcomes by today’s standards.

Source: As They Lay Dying

The medicine, the US in this article particularly, operates in a strange paradox – we uphold the right to patient autonomy in nearly every situation… Except when an otherwise (legally) competent individual chooses a care option that involves the outcome of death/disability by intervention. Physician-aid-in-dying and this particular case are examples of decisions made by terminally-ill people where we interfere with their right to self-determination.

I don’t stand on a political soapbox – everyone gets an opinion and a vote – but rather an ethical one.

If we can not cure, what are the boundaries of what we do to palliate? What if we are able to simultaneously palliate (psychologically or physically) one patient, while providing an invaluable service to another? Is it truly against the spirit of the Hippocratic oath to provide psychologically and spiritually meaningful interventions at the expense of the physical body?

I personally am of the mind that if the patient and physician enter into a trusting and respectful relationship, that these questions can only be answered/defined within the context of that particular relationship.

The Literally Broken Hearts of Divorce

Scientifically, relationships have been shown to affect everything from your cardiovascular health to your mental well-being; anecdotally, it can mess with everything from your brand of toothpaste to control of your DVR. So it should come as no surprise that marriage, divorce, and widowhood come with their own health-related complications.

…Divorce is associated with a greater risk of heart attack, but researchers aren’t sure why.

Source: The Literally Broken Hearts of Divorce

Umm… stress?  Complete upheaval of your life, especially if you are the one who got blindsided…