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Statins Are Not a Pain

Scott LaFee on

One of the alleged side effects of statins -- a popular class of drugs used to prevent deaths from heart attacks and strokes -- is the perception that they cause muscle pain. A new trial asked older patients who had stopped taking statins (or were thinking about it) because of associated pain to go back on the drug or take a placebo. They would not know which they were getting.

Trial investigators found that there was no difference between the groups. While older people more often report aches and pains, study author Liam Smeeth told STAT, "we convincingly showed they are not made worse by statins and their pain is not caused by statins."

Noise Annoys

As people age, they tend to struggle more with navigating new environments, which can be a sign of impending dementia. It's one reason why older people often shun unfamiliar places in favor of places they know well.

A small study suggests "noise" in the hippocampus, a key brain region impacted by conditions like Alzheimer's disease, may be to blame. Researchers compared how young people and old people learned their way through a virtual reality town while brain activity was monitored using fMRI. As young adults improved at recalling which way to go, activity in the hippocampus fell while rising in other navigation areas of the brain. For the older people, there was no change, suggesting that too much activity in the hippocampus might explain deficits in spatial memory, and subsequent struggles.

Body of Knowledge

 

Two percent of people have a bifid uvula, which means there is an abnormal split of the bit of tissue (like a tiny punching bag) that hangs down at the end of the soft palate in the roof of the mouth. The uvula serves multiple purposes: It prevents food and liquid from entering the nasal cavity. It aids in speech. And it stops you from choking because it triggers the gag reflex should a large piece of food or foreign object reach the back of your throat.

Get Me That, Stat!

A new review of eight studies has found that women do better when they are treated by female physicians, in large part because female doctors spend more time, on average, with their patients, resulting in more personalized diagnoses and treatment.

Doc Talk

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