FISH OIL: NOT A CURE FOR ALL Fish-oil capsules may do more harm than good for heart patients with implanted defibrillators, suggests a study in J.A.M.A. After six months, 46% of the patients taking fish oil had abnormal heart rhythms, compared with 36% of patients in the placebo group.
SOME TANS ARE HEALTHY A sun-kissed glow may bring a hidden benefit, according to a new study in Cancer Research: a lower risk of prostate cancer. The study of 905 Caucasian Californians found that as men's skin got darker, their prostate-cancer risk got smaller. Men with the highest levels of sun exposure had half the risk of men with the lowest levels. Warning: too much sun increases the risk of skin cancer.
A PMS DEFENSE IN THE DAIRY CASE A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can stave off the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Women in the study fared best when they got four daily servings of low-fat or skim milk. Is that too much milk? Try fortified orange juice or such low-fat dairy foods as yogurt and cheese.
A HEART DRUG JUST FOR BLACKS The FDA may decide this week to approve BiDil, a heart-failure drug aimed at African Americans. A one-year study of 1,050 black heart patients found that those taking the pill, which pairs two generic cardiac drugs, had a 43% lower death rate than patients who didn't take the drug. If approved, BiDil would be the first race-specific drug in the U.S.
SLEEP EASIER, LIVE LONGER A common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)--continuous positive airway pressure, in which air is forced through the patient's mouth or nose--sharply lowers the risk of heart-disease-related death in OSA sufferers, according to a study in Chest.
HEALTHY KIDS NEED CARE TOO The Sibling Center in San Francisco is a new program designed to help chronically ill children's brothers and sisters, who often feel jealousy, anger, resentment or depression when their parents pay too much attention to the child who is sick. A tip for parents: schedule some time just for you and the "forgotten" child.
EXERCISE Rx FOR KIDS: AT LEAST AN HOUR A DAY After reviewing 850 scientific studies, an expert panel concluded in the Journal of Pediatrics that school-age children should get at least 60 min. of exercise daily--double the recommended dosage for adults. Kids can rack up their hour of activity throughout the day--before or after school or during P.E. class, recess or school sports.