Even in similar health-care settings, poor
people are more than twice as likely to die of heart disease than
people with higher incomes, a new analysis has found.
Other studies have found that being poor is bad for your health,
but the new research is one of the first to include actual measures of
Previous work has relied largely on indirect measures of income,
such as education levels or the median income of particular ZIP codes.
The study findings were somewhat unexpected because the people in
the study should have received equal medical treatment. Researchers
from Duke University Medical Center analyzed data from people who had
enrolled in a clinical trial of a drug to prevent blood clots.
Everyone in the trial was supposed to get the same medical care. As
volunteers enrolled, they reported their annual incomes.
Last week, during a meeting of the American College of Cardiology,
the researchers reported that patients with the lowest incomes - less
than $10,000 annually - had a higher death rate at six months, more
than twice as high as the patients with higher incomes. The study's
authors believe that the poorest patients, who tend to be elderly, may
not be able to afford their prescription drugs once they leave the
hospital, or may return to situations with little social support.
One in four young women showed early signs of heart disease in a
study released last week in Atlanta at the annual meeting of the
American College of Cardiology.
Researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
performed echocardiograms, which are ultrasound exams of the heart, on
575 generally healthy women, average age 19.
The tests looked for an increase in heart mass or a thickening of
the wall in the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart.
Twenty-five percent of the women showed signs of the heart
malformations, which the researchers linked to obesity.
''These results suggest that preventive efforts should be aimed at
weight control,'' said Dr. Tom Kimball, senior author of the study and
director of echocardiography at the medical center. ''Echocardiography
should be considered a screening tool in obese adolescent and young
adult women to identify those at risk for cardiovascular diseases.''
Some brands of an herbal treatment commonly used for mild to
moderate depression may not contain enough active ingredients, a new
study has found.
Researchers at the University of Southern California conducted
chemical tests on eight commercial brands of St. John's wort,
measuring two key types of ingredients - hyperforin and hypericins.
Only two of the tested brands contained levels of hyperforin shown
to be effective in treating depression, the scientists wrote.
Hyperforin is not typically measured to gauge the potency of St.
John's wort products; however, it appears to affect how the herb
interacts with other drugs.
In addition, one of the eight products fell far short of its label
claim about its hypericin content. Hypericins are the active
ingredient listed on most labels of St. John's wort products.
The study, which appears this month in the American Journal of
Health-System Pharmacy, recommends that manufacturers measure
hyperforin as well as hypericins to standardize St. John's wort