Michael Jackson is Making Us Safer – and other news

by DavalosMcCormack on July 9, 2009

I know the world is in mourning for Michael Jackson, that his death was tragic and his life cut too short. But his death is raising awareness about the dangers of abusing prescription medication. In an ironic twist to his song “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”, people are now taking home the message, stop before you get too much!

In the days after Jackson’s sudden death the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) did a survey of their members. Now these are the people who dispense drugs to people in ambulatory and chronic care practices, so they get to see folks who are taking a lot of drugs, a lot of the time.

The survey found that in the days after Jackson’s death 28 percent of the pharmacists found that their patients were asking more questions about the risk of prescription pain medications.

Now, at the time of writing the actual causes of Jackson’s death are still unknown but enough has been written/broadcast about his problems with pain/sleep medications to raise people’s awareness about the dangers of these.

It’s a pity that it takes a tragedy to make us aware of the dangers we run in just popping pills without giving it too much thought. But sometimes a tragedy is what we need to avoid us becoming victims of something equally tragic.

Lack of zzzzz’s Increase Women’s Risk of Heart Disease

Most of us think that not getting enough sleep leaves us tired and cranky and that is it. Well, that’s enough isn’t it! But now a new study in the journal Sleep says lack of sleep can increase a woman’s risk of heart disease.

Now that may seem like a real downer but there are two good pieces to this. First of all, it found that didn’t apply to men. So that’s good for me. Not so good for Shirley. But hey, we all have our burdens to live with.

The second piece of good news is that the study was done by researchers at University College London and my alma mater the University of Warwick. By the way, that’s pronounced WAR-ick. The second ‘w’ is silent. Gosh, I wish we could have said the same for the second W Bush…. but i digress.

Anyway. Pretty straight forward stuff. The researchers measured stuff called IL-6 and hs-CRP among 4,000 London-based civil servants (and if any job is designed to put you to sleep it’s working in the British civil service – it’s more powerful than Ambien)

The bottom line is that too little sleep is bad for women. The gals who got less than 5 hours of sleep a night were at much greater risk compared to men who got the same lack of sleep and women who got more sleep.

So, ladies. Get some rest. Which of course may mean whacking the husband/boyfriend/partner upside the head to stop them snoring which is the reason you couldn’t sleep in the first place.

My Favorite Study of the Day… Guess Why.. Booze!!!

Speaking of heart disease.. here’s a really cool study.

Now we have known for a number of years that the so-called Mediterranean diet is good for preventing heart disease. It’s pretty basic stuff, good healthy food and regular dancing to either Zorba the Greek or for you younger folks “Mamma Mia” (though how a bunch of Swedes ended up promoting Greek tourism is a mystery to me – but that’s another story)

However, now those clever folks at the University of Athens – and let’s face it, if anyone is going to know about the Mediterranean diet its the Athenians – and their mates at the Harvard School of Public Health have crunched the numbers and found that the biggest benificiaries of the Med diet are.. drum roll please.. moderate alcohol consumption (that was top of the list, I kid you not, I didn’t make this up)

After that it was low consumption of meat and meat products, then high vegetable consumption followed by high fruits and nut consumption.

Interestingly high consumption of grains, low consumption of dairy products and high consumption of fish etc didn’t seem to make much difference.

But, to paraphrase Rene Zelwegger in the movie ‘Jerry McGuire’, you had me at alcohol consumption.


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