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Editor's e-Note
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center recently looked at three healthy diets, each highlighting different macronutrients. Their findings suggest it’s the consumption of healthy foods—not the emphasis on particular macronutrients—that improves heart health.

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— Kate Jackson, editor
e-News Exclusive
Focus on Food, Not Diet

It’s common knowledge that achieving or maintaining a healthy body weight is one key to preventing cardiovascular disease. But even experts don’t agree on the best way to achieve that goal, with some recommending eliminating carbohydrates and others emphasizing reducing fats to lose weight. Few studies have investigated the effects of these specific macronutrients on cardiovascular health.

In a study recently published in the International Journal of Cardiology, researchers at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center examined the effects of three healthy diets emphasizing different macronutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, or unsaturated fats—on a biomarker that directly reflects heart injury. Using highly specific tests, the team found that all three diets reduced heart cell damage and inflammation, consistent with improved heart health.

“It’s possible that macronutrients matter less than simply eating healthy foods,” says corresponding author Stephen Juraschek, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. “Our findings support flexibility in food selection for people attempting to eat a healthier diet and should make it easier. With the average American eating fewer than two servings of fruit and vegetables a day, the typical American diet is quite different from any of these diets, which all included at least four to six servings of fruits and vegetables a day.”

Full story »
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An astonishing feature in The New York Times looks at the vestiges of long-held beliefs about physical difference among races. The article explores the ways in which contemporary doctors continue to make practice decisions based on myths about physiological differences—for example, failing to adequately treat pain in black and Hispanic adults and children.

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Results of an international clinical trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated that stenting all blockages and not only the one that causes a heart attack decreases by 26% patients' risks of dying or having a second heart attack, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Music Therapy
Neurologic music therapy—which relies on changes in pitch, rhythm, and volume to trigger movement—increases and enhances coordinated movement in individuals with memory deficits and who use wheelchairs. This particular form of music therapy helped Gabby Gifford regain her speech after having been shot in 2011, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Good News for Nappers
Nappers can indulge guilt-free. A study of 3,462 individuals in Switzerland found that people who nap once or twice a week are less likely than are others to have a heart attack or stroke. It doesn’t matter whether they nap for five minutes or an hour, but napping more than a couple of times per week brings no additional benefits, reports Newsweek.
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