ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
CANCER
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
CAREGIVING
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Arsenic in Drinking Water Raises Diabetes Risk
Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
FITNESS
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
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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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