Sleeping position matters

Pregnant women might increase their risk of a stillbirth if they sleep on their backs during their third trimester, a new study has found. The research, published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is the largest of its kind and the clearest evidence yet that sleeping conditions during pregnancy could have significant effects on the fetus. Researchers compared sleeping practices among more than 1,000 women in the United Kingdom, 291 of whom had suffered a stillbirth in the third trimester, and 733 of whom had a live birth during the same period. The study found that women sleeping on their backs had 2.3 times the risk of stillbirth. Researchers said they can’t explain with certainty why sleeping position might affect stillbirths chances, but they pointed to data suggesting that the weight of the womb can impose pressure on the vessels carrying blood and oxygen to the baby. Another hypothesis raised by the researchers is that sleeping on your back can increase the possibility of impaired breathing.

Hemophilia drug gets OK

U.S. regulators have approved the first new treatment in nearly two decades to prevent internal bleeding in certain patients with hemophilia. The Food and Drug Administration approved Hemlibra, a weekly self-injection for hemophilia A patients who have developed resistance to standard medicines for preventing bleeding episodes. The list price will be about $482,000 for the first year and slightly less after that, said California-based Genentech, which developed the drug. Genentech says that’s half the cost of the only other preventive option for patients with this problem. That treatment requires a two-hour IV drip several times a week. About 20,000 Americans — mostly males — have hemophilia, an inherited, potentially life-threatening disorder. Their blood doesn’t clot properly because of a faulty gene. In severe cases, repeated bleeding in the joints leads to problems walking and intense pain. About 80 percent of hemophilia patients have hemophilia A and about one-third of those develop resistance.

Nuts may lower heart risk

Eating nuts may lower the risk for heart disease. Researchers studied 210,836 men and women involved in three large prospective health studies from 1980 to 2013. They assessed nut consumption with food frequency questionnaires, updated every four years. Over the years, there were 8,390 cases of coronary heart disease and 5,910 strokes. After controlling for other factors, they found that the more nuts of all kinds that people ate, the lower their risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Compared with those who ate none, people who ate less than one 1-ounce serving of nuts a week reduced their risk for heart attack and stroke 9 percent and their risk for coronary heart disease 12 percent. Eating a 1-ounce serving five times a week was associated with a 14 percent reduction in cardiovascular events and a 20 percent reduction in coronary heart disease. The study, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found similar effects when it looked at types of nuts, including peanuts, separately.

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