Vitamin D may cut 'bad' Cholesterol A randomized trial found that vitamin D appears to reduce levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. Researchers randomly assigned 576 postmenopausal women to either a daily dose of 400 units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium, or a placebo. By the end of the three-year study, published in Menopause, the vitamin D group had significantly higher serum levels of vitamin D and a small but notable drop in LDL. The researchers controlled for initial vitamin D level, smoking, alcohol and 20 other variables. They acknowledged that their sample was relatively small, but they said their use of blood tests for vitamin D levels gave the study considerable strength.

guidelines might expand Statin use Almost half of Americans ages 40 to 75 qualify to consider cholesterol-lowering statin drugs under new heart disease prevention guidelines, the first independent look at the November guidelines' impact found. Supporters said they reveal the true scope of heart risks; critics said they overreach. The analysis was published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Under the new guidelines, 56 million Americans ages 40 to 75 are eligible to use a statin.

Water births need additional study Sitting in a tub of warm water can relieve a mom-to-be's pain during the early stages of labor, but actually giving birth under water has no proven benefit and may be risky, according to recommendations for obstetricians. There's no count of how many babies in the United States are delivered in water, but it is increasingly common for hospitals to offer tubs to help women relax during labor. There has been little scientific study of underwater delivery, said the opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. They urged that underwater deliveries be done only in research studies.

anger can be a heart attack risk Outbursts of anger can significantly increase the risk for irregular heart rhythms, angina, strokes and heart attacks. Researchers combined data from nine studies of anger outbursts among patients who had had heart attacks, strokes and related problems. They found that in the two hours after an outburst, the relative risk of angina and heart attack increased by nearly five times. The findings appeared in the European Heart Journal.

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