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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.

Authors Urge Less Focus on Exercise Amount

It may be a mistake to urge people who are inactive to aim for 150 minutes a week of exercise, 2 new articles suggest. Rather, the authors say, the main message should be simply to sit less and move more. Health experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity, such as brisk walking, each week. But both new articles argue that the research shows some activity is better than none. Among older adults, only 10% to 15% get the recommended amount. And asking people to aim for 150 minutes may seem overwhelming. This may discourage people from making any changes at all, the authors say. One of the articles reviewed 6 studies on physical activity and its effects on health. It found that walking from 1 to 74 minutes a week can reduce the risk of death from any cause by 19%.

Possible Risk of Stomach Sleep for Epileptics

If you have epilepsy, sleeping on your stomach may increase the risk of sudden death, a new study suggests. Researchers reviewed 25 earlier studies about unexplained deaths among people with epilepsy. Such deaths are rare. The new study focused on 253 deaths with records that included the person's position when found. The people who died had been in good health. Autopsies could not find a clear cause of death. About 73% of them died while sleeping on their stomachs. That included 86% of those under 40 and 60% of those who were older. People with epilepsy have seizures related to a disruption in the brain's electrical activity. The study's author told HealthDay News that it's possible people who died had an airway obstruction and could not rouse themselves. This study was not designed to show whether sleeping chest-down actually causes sudden death.

Study Questions Strict Salt Limit after 70

Adults over 70 might not need to tightly restrict salt, a new study suggests. U.S. guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily for most adults. That's the amount in a teaspoon of salt. But the American Heart Association says that adults over 50 should aim for less, about 1,500 a day. The average American consumes about 3,400 mg a day. The new study included 2,600 adults, ages 71 to 80. They all filled out diet questionnaires. Researchers kept track of them for the next 10 years. In that time, 881 died, 572 developed heart disease or had a stroke, and 398 developed heart failure. The death rate was lowest, 30.7%, for those who consumed 1,500 to 2.300 mg of salt a day. So people did just as well with a moderate amount of salt as with a stricter limit. With less than 1,500 mg of sodium, the death rate was 33.8%.

Harvard Reviews of Health News

It may be a mistake to urge people who are inactive to aim for 150 minutes a week of exercise, 2 new articles suggest. Rather, the authors say, the main message should be simply to sit less and move more. Health experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate activ...

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