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Roundup: More Recalls of Blood Pressure Meds; Obese Kids & Asthma; Update on Intermittent Fasting

More Blood Pressure Meds Recalled Over Potential Cancer-Causing Impurity

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [1] has added to its list of recalled blood pressure medications over concerns about an active ingredient which may cause cancer.

The pills to treat hypertension contain an impurity known as N-nitrosodiethylamine, or NDEA. The substance is a probable human carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

This week, the FDA added two drugs to the list of NDEA meds after Teva Pharmaceuticals pulled all lots of Amlodipine/Valsartan and Amlodipine/Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide combination tablets. Both combinations contain too much NDEA in its Valsartan, the agency said.

Last week, Mylan recalled 15 lots of blood pressure and heart attack medications including Valsartan because they have trace amounts of NDEA. Also this month, the blood pressure medicine Losartan was recalled by Sandoz over the same concern. Several Valsartan meds were recalled in July for the same reason.

Anyone with questions regarding their blood pressure meds and the recalls should consult their doctor. Click here [1] for more information from the FDA.

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One Quarter of New Asthma Cases in Kids May Be Linked to Obesity, Study Finds

Adult obesity has been linked to the development of asthma, leading to an estimated 250,000 new cases of asthma every year. But no similar correlation has been made between obesity in kids and the onset of asthma during childhood — at least until now.

A new study has found that overweight children were 17 percent more likely to have an asthma diagnosis — and obese youth were 26 percent more likely — compared to kids who had a healthy weight. An estimated 23 percent to 27 percent of new asthma cases in children with obesity may be linked to obesity, researchers found.

Research until now on the link between obesity in kids and childhood asthma has not been conclusive, researchers behind the new study say in an article published in Pediatrics [5]. The new study followed more than 500,000 kids, ages two to 17, for an average of four years. Overall, about eight percent had been diagnosed with asthma.

The study did not provide a direct cause-and-effect between obesity and asthma in kids, but the results offer some of the most compelling evidence to date about this potential link, says lead study author Jason Lang, M.D., from the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.

“With our study, we provide a novel understanding for the extent to which childhood obesity worsens the pediatric asthma epidemic in the United States,” researchers stated.

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Intermittent Fasting No Better Than Normal Calorie-Reducing Diet Plans, Researchers Say

Some studies have shown that intermittent fasting can have benefits. But other studies have shown that simply eating smaller meal portions and making healthier food choices is more effective for maintaining a healthy weight and improving metabolism.

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [9] confirms that intermittent fasting is not better than conventional calorie-restriction diet plans.

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital monitored 150 overweight and obese study participants over one year. At the start of the study, they were randomly classified in three groups: One third followed a conventional calorie-restriction diet that reduced daily calorie intake by 20 percent. The second group kept to a “5:2 dietary plan” that also saved 20 percent of calorie intake over the whole week. The 5:2 diet is a popular intermittent fasting plan that calls for five days of the week as normal eating days, while the other two restrict calories to 500–600 per day.

The control group followed no specific diet plan but was advised, like all other participants, to eat a well-balanced diet as recommended by the German Nutrition Society (DGE). Investigators documented the participants’ weight and health status for another 38 weeks.

Researchers found that results were the same with both dietary methods. “In participants of both groups, body weight and, along with it, visceral fat, or unhealthy belly fat, were lost and extra fat in the liver reduced,” said Ruth Schübel, researcher with the German Cancer Research Center.

The researchers concluded that everyone should find a diet plan that fits them best after consulting with their doctor.

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