US Pharm. 2007;32(5):14.

Drink Up, You May Live Longer
Several studies have linked alcohol consumption to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, especially among wine drinkers. Now a study conducted in The Netherlands suggests that wine itself may be beneficial to overall survival.

Martinette T. Streppel, PhD, a student at Wageningen University in Bilhoven, The Netherlands, compared men who consumed wine, beer, or spirits to nondrinkers. They discovered that the drinkers had a 36% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 34% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality. She presented her findings at the American Medical Association-sponsored Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

And, according to Daan Kromhout, PhD, a professor of public health at Wageningen University and vice president of the Health Council of The Netherlands, "men who drank about a half a glass of wine a day had a 40% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 48% lower incidence of cardiovascular death." The researchers concluded that compared with men who did not consume alcoholic beverages, wine drinkers lived 3.8 years longer.

Statins Recommended in Children
The presence of high cholesterol is often not something most individuals think about in children, and yet it can be a problem, particularly in overweight and obese youths. For this reason, parents of overweight children should have them screened for lipid abnormalities and encourage diet and exercise to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels. When that does not work, statins may be used.

The guidelines issued a decade ago by the National Cholesterol Education Program did not address the use of statins in children. According to an article published online in Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association by Brian W. McCrindle, MD, MPH, a pediatrician at the University of Toronto and a cardiologist at the Hospital for Sick Children, in the years following those guidelines several trials in children showing a family history of high cholesterol have shown that the use of statins in children had similar safety and effectiveness as in adults.

The American Heart Association said there is definitive evidence that the atherosclerotic disease process begins in childhood, and the rate of progression is greatly increased by lipid abnormalities and their severity. Drug therapy should be considered in children with an LDL cholesterol level of 190 mg/dL or higher or an LDL cholesterol level of  is 160 mg/dL or higher accompanied by a positive family history of premature cardiovascular disease or two risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The minimum treatment target for statin therapy in children is an LDL cholesterol level of less than 130 mg/dL, but lower is better.

Eating Cured Meats May Be Tied to COPD
A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine revealed that frequent consumption of cured meats lowers lung function test scores and increases the odds for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

According to researcher Rui Jiang, MD, DrPH, of Columbia Medical Center in New York and colleagues, the odds ratio for developing COPD among individuals who consumed cured meat products 14 times or more per month was 1.93, as compared with those who did not consume cured meats. Dr. Jiang said, "cured meats such as bacon, sausage, luncheon meats, and cured hams, are high in nitrates." The nitrates "generate reactive nitrogen species that may cause damage to the lungs, producing structural changes resembling emphysema," she said.

Strep Vaccine Helps Reduce Recurring Ear Infections in Children
A population-based study conducted by researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has found that children prone to frequent ear infections may benefit from a new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. The study showed that as use increased, the occurrence of ear infections in children under the age of two decreased significantly. The vaccine was licensed in 2000.

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