HEALTH

Majority of swine flu victims predisposed to illness

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK A preliminary analysis of 152 hospitalized patients due to H1N1 influenza found that at least 82% have belonged to one or more groups at higher risk of severe illness or complications from traditional influenza, such as seniors, the very young and those with upper respiratory diseases, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced Wednesday.

So far, the most common risk factor in New York City has been asthma – an underlying risk factor among 41% of the New Yorkers hospitalized for H1N1 flu. Other important risk factors included being less than 2 years of age (18% of hospitalized patients), having a compromised immune system (13%), having heart disease (12%) or being pregnant.

The New York City Health Department also linked two more deaths to H1N1 influenza on Wednesday. The latest fatalities – both in adults in their early and mid 40s – bring the total number of deaths in New York to seven.

Emergency room visits have declined somewhat after spiking dramatically during the third week of May, the agency reported. More than 300 New Yorkers have been hospitalized with H1N1 flu since late April.

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HEALTH

Garden of Life teams up with WomenHeart

BY Michael Johnsen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Garden of Life on Tuesday announced it is teaming up with WomenHeart, the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, to improve the health and quality of life of women living with or at risk of heart disease.

“We are privileged to work with WomenHeart to help provide education, support and hope to millions of women at risk or suffering from heart disease,” stated Brian Ray, president.

As part of the partnership, Garden of Life will feature a WomenHeart logo on the packaging of its recently-launched Oceans 3 Healthy Hormones dietary supplement, a percentage of sales from will be donated to WomenHeart, the company stated.

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Study suggests probiotics may affect metabolism

BY Michael Johnsen

TORRANCE, Calif. Results of a new study published in the journal Molecular Systems Biology showed probiotics have a tangible effect on metabolism — suggesting that the digestive flora may provide weight loss benefits in addition to helping to maintain digestive health.

Researchers from Imperial College London and Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, fed mice two different strains of probiotics, Lactobacillus paracasei and Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Each strain showed a range of biochemical effects that were markedly different.

They also observed that one biological change was in how the treated mice metabolized bile acids. The primary function of bile acids is to emulsify fats in the upper gut. If probiotics influences the way bile acids are metabolized, they could change the amount of fat the body can absorb.

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