This is sweet: the FDA has okayed an all-natural progesterone derived from Mexican yams for use, along with estrogen, in hormone-replacement therapy. Called Prometrium, it's identical to progesterone in a woman's body. As a side benefit, it raises good cholesterol more effectively than today's synthetic progesterones.
Bad News on Smoking
Warning: cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your...marriage? Well, yes. New research finds smokers are 53% more likely to divorce than nonsmokers. Granted the filthy habit is a turnoff, but the real reason behind the breakups may be that smokers are more likely to suffer from problems like depression and anxiety--which can shake up any marriage.
Good News on Arteries
Two reports suggest that new non-invasive techniques can detect blocked arteries before a heart attack occurs. In one study, scientists used an ultrafast C.T. scan and computer technology to view and monitor plaque. In the other, researchers successfully used the scan with an injectable dye to see if arteries had actually narrowed. One conventional method, the stress test, isn't always reliable; in angiograms, the other technique, a catheter must be threaded to the heart.
Bad News on Drinking
Three-martini lunches are out, but workers are still imbibing--occasionally. Some 23% of managers sometimes have a drink during the workday, and 25% of all workers occasionally come in with a hangover. Why care? Researchers now think casual drinking is a big cause of absenteeism, tardiness and poor productivity.
Sources: FDA; Families, Systems & Health; New England Journal of Medicine; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation