US Pharm. 2007;32(3):123.

Black Tea More Beneficial Without Milk
Black tea has been cited in many research studies to have positive cardiovascular qualities due to its antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilatory effects. Now, a group of German researchers claim that adding milk--even skim milk--may mitigate any cardiovascular benefit of black tea.The study was published online in the European Heart Journal.

Researchers investigated the tea-drinking habits of 16 postmenopausal women. They discovered that those who drank about two cups of black tea without milk had a greater than four-fold increase in vasodilation from baseline in the forearm brachial artery. However, those who drank a mix of 90% black tea with 10% skim milk had no more of an increase in vasodilation than if they had consumed two cups of hot water.

"The most striking finding of our study is that addition of milk to black tea completely prevents the biological activity of tea in terms of improvement of endothelial function," reported lead investigator Verena Stangl, MD, of the Charité-Universitätsmediz in Berlin.

A Positive Side to Being Heavy?
Although overweight patients are constantly being reminded by health care professionals of the adverse medical effects of their obesity, a recent study published in the American Heart Journal discussed a benefit of obesity as it relates to survival rates of patients with heart failure (HF). Prior studies on chronic systolic heart failure have talked about an "obesity paradox" that demonstrate an inverse relationship between body mass index (BMI) and mortality. According to researcher Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, and his colleagues from the University of California, Los Angeles, every five-unit increase in BMI reduces the likelihood of in-hospital death by 10% in patients with HF.

Dr. Fonarow said the reason for the unlikely effect of extra pounds on HF is unclear. He cautioned that the results should not be taken as an excuse by overweight patients not to lose weight. "Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight are particularly important given the epidemic of obesity and the strong epidemiologic evidence that obesity is an independent predictor for developing HF, other cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes in general," said Dr. Fonarow.

The investigators concluded that further research was needed to clarify the mechanisms behind the "obesity paradox" and to determine whether better nutrition might help leaner patients with acute HF.

Work Can Actually Give You a Headache
An online survey of more than 1,400 working adults, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Institute of Health Productivity Management and GlaxoSmithKline, uncovered that more than one-third have at least one bad headache per month. And among that group, about half reported their headaches impaired their productivity. The survey also revealed that despite this, fewer than one in five frequent sufferers sought medical attention for their condition.

Frequent bad headaches were defined as a bad headache occurring at least once a month. Of those who fell into this category, nearly 90% said they developed a bad headache. Of this group, one-third had to leave work early or have rested in their office and more than 25% called in sick because of their headache. 

Living Near Busy Highways Unhealthy for Children
Living near busy highways may not only be a safety issue for young children but may also  stunt the growth of their lungs, according to results of the Children's Health Study, which were recently published in the Lancet.

W. James Gauderman, PhD, of the University of Southern California, and his colleagues reported that children ages 10 to 18 who were exposed to freeway traffic pollution while their lungs were still developing had eight-year lung growth that was significantly stunted. In fact, the researchers discovered that lung growth was slowed in children who lived about a third of a mile from a freeway, compared to those who lived about a mile away. The study also revealed that local exposure to freeway traffic had adverse effects on a child's lung development independent of regional air quality.

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