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Harvard Reviews of Health News


Harvard News ReviewsA team of Harvard physicians reviews health news headlines 24/7/365, and creates commentary and provides advice on how a consumer should react to the news. For urgent breaking health news, articles are written within 6-18 hours of the news story’s first appearance. If desired, they can be delivered immediately upon completion. Over 200 new articles are written annually.

Fitness May Reduce Lung, Colon Cancer Risk

Men who are fit in middle age may have lower risks of some cancers in later years, a new study finds. The study included nearly 14,000 men who were part of a long-term health study. Their average age when the study began was 49. Nearly all were white. Men were given treadmill tests to assess their fitness. After the men turned 65, researchers looked at Medicare records to see who was diagnosed with cancer. On average, they looked at 6½ years of records for each man. Men who had the top fitness scores in middle age were 55% less likely to develop lung cancer than those who were least fit. They were 44% less likely to develop colorectal cancer. But they were 22% more likely than less fit men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The men who were most fit also had a 32% lower rate of death from lung, colorectal or prostate cancer.

Brain Stents May Increase Stroke Risk

Propping open a narrowed artery in the brain actually may lead to more strokes than giving medicines alone, a study has found. The study included 112 people. All of them had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini-stroke) within the last 30 days. A mini-stroke causes stroke symptoms that last less than 24 hours. People in the study were randomly divided into 2 groups. Everyone received standard "blood thinner" medicines to prevent clots. One group also received angioplasty. This procedure used a tiny balloon to open a narrowed artery in the brain. Then the artery was propped open with a wire-mesh tube called a stent. In the next month, 24% of those who got stents had a stroke or TIA, compared with 10% of those who got medicines only. Nearly 9% of those who got stents had bleeding in the brain. About 5% died. Nobody in the medicine-only group had bleeding or died.

Exercise May Reduce Fall Injuries in Elderly

A structured exercise program may reduce the risk of serious injury from falls in older women, a new study suggests. The study included about 400 women, ages 70 to 80. All of them had normal vitamin D levels when the study began. They were randomly divided into 4 groups. One group took daily pills containing 800 international units of vitamin D. Another group took part in a structured exercise program. They focused on improving balance, agility and movement. They also worked on strength and the ability to lift weight. Classes occurred twice a week for a year, then once a week for a second year. A third group took vitamin D and also took exercise classes. The fourth group did neither. During the 2-year study, women in all 4 groups were equally likely to fall. But those in the 2 groups that did exercise were only about half as likely to have a serious injury when they fell.

Harvard Reviews of Health News

Men who are fit in middle age may have lower risks of some cancers in later years, a new study finds. The study included nearly 14,000 men who were part of a long-term health study. Their average age when the study began was 49. Nearly all were white. Men wer...

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