The ancient practice of mindfulness may be a powerful tool in fighting the modern-day epidemic of opioid addiction, new research suggests. Compared to research subjects who discussed their opioid use in group sessions for eight weeks, those who focused on their breathing, sensations and emotions showed evidence of reduced drug-craving and greater control over those impulses. The results were published in the journal Science Advances.

Time may affect blood pressure medications

Blood pressure medicines may work better if they are taken at night. Spanish researchers randomized 19,084 men and women with high blood pressure, half to take their medicine at bedtime and the other half when they awoke. The six-year study, published in the European Heart Journal, found that compared with those who took their medicine in the morning, those who took it at night were 43% less likely to have any cardiovascular event. Their risk for stroke was 49% lower, for heart attack 34% lower, and for heart failure 42% lower. Bedtime users had a 45% lower risk for death from any cause, and a 56% lower risk for death from cardiovascular disease.

Trans fats linked to higher dementia risk

Trans fatty acids, known to increase the risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes, have now been linked to an increased risk for dementia. Researchers measured blood levels of elaidic acid, the most common trans fats, in 1,628 men and women 60 and older. Trans fats are added to processed food in the form of partly hydrogenated oils. The scientists found that compared with those in the lowest one-quarter in elaidic acid levels, those in the highest were 50% more likely to develop dementia and 39% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease in particular. Dr. Toshiharu Ninomiya noted that the study published in Neurology is observational. “The risk of a small amount of trans fats is unclear,” he said. “But it would be better to try to avoid them as much as possible.”