ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
CANCER
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
CAREGIVING
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Aging Brain
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
EYE CARE, VISION
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
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Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack

(HealthDay News) -- People who have had a heart attack may be able to reduce the risk of another attack by 45 percent by taking a purified extract of Chinese red yeast rice, a new study suggests.

What's more, the need for bypass surgery or angioplasty was reduced by one third, and death from cancer was reduced by two-thirds among those taking the extract, called Xuezhikang (XZK).

"A purified form of Chinese red yeast rice significantly reduced the risk of having another heart attack," said lead researcher Dr. David M. Capuzzi, director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Although the results of the study are encouraging, people shouldn't run out and start taking Chinese red yeast rice to prevent heart attacks, Capuzzi said. He noted that the Chinese red yeast rice in health-food stores isn't pure. "This particular preparation [used in the study] was made by a biotech company. So the purity of the components was assured," he said.

In the study, almost 5,000 people in China who'd had a heart attack were randomly selected to receive capsules containing XZK or a placebo. The XZK capsules contained a combination of lovastatin, lovastatin hydroxyl acid, ergosterol, and other components, the report said.

During five years of follow-up, the researchers found that 10.4 percent of those receiving a placebo had a second heart attack, compared with 5.7 percent of those receiving XZK.

Also, those treated with XZK were 30 percent less likely to die from a cardiovascular problem and 33 percent less likely to die from any cause. And the need heart surgery or angioplasty was reduced by one third, the researchers reported.

The findings are published in the June 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Capuzzi said a drug that includes Chinese red yeast rice may soon be used much the same way as cholesterol-lowering drugs to prevent heart attacks.

One heart expert thinks this study shows that Chinese red yeast rice may be another way to lower cholesterol, thereby preventing heart attack.

"Numerous clinical trials have established that statin medications in conjunction with lifestyle modification reduce the risk of recurrent cardiovascular events and prolong life in patients with prior myocardial infarction [heart attack] and elevated, average, or below average cholesterol levels," said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.

This new study may extend these prior findings to the statin medication lovastatin, which is derived from Chinese red yeast, Fonarow said.

"However, it is very important to note, as the authors do in the paper, that the various components of the specific XZK preparation used in this trial have not been adequately studied for its consistency, stability, and individual pharmacologic properties. As such, further study is required," Fonarow said.

Another expert thinks that red yeast rice might confer an extra measure of protection against heart attack.

The extract of red yeast rice contains lovastatin, a drug that has been proven to improve cholesterol profiles and decrease risk of heart attack, said Dr. Byron Lee, an associate professor of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco.

"However, the improvement in the patients on the extract is far beyond what you would expect with lovastatin alone, so maybe there is some other natural component in the extract that is conferring the extra benefit," Lee said. "That would be quite exciting."

Chinese red yeast rice is rice that has been fermented by red yeast. This rice has been used in China for many centuries as a food preservative, food coloring, spice, and in rice wine. Red yeast rice remains a staple in China, Japan and in Asian communities in the United States.

Red yeast rice also has been used as a medicine for more than 1,000 years. It has been used to improve blood circulation and treat indigestion and diarrhea, the study authors said.

-Steven Reinberg

More information

For more on Chinese red yeast rice, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: David M. Capuzzi, M.D., Ph.D., director, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program, Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, University of California, Los Angeles; Byron Lee, M.D., associate professor, cardiology, University of California, San Francisco; June 15, 2008, American Journal of Cardiology

Last Updated: June 13, 2008

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