what's the buzz...

what's the buzz...

High doses of statins could damage kidney

Statins that are taken daily by millions of people to control cholesterol could dramatically increase the risk of kidney damage, researchers have warned. 
They said that high doses of the wonder drugs, prescribed to prevent heart disease and stroke, are linked to higher rates of acute kidney injury.

The risk is highest in the first 120 days of treatment and stays raised for at least two years after patients start taking the pills, they stated. 

Leading doctors are now warning that the drugs should only be prescribed at a low dose where possible, the Daily Express reported.

Researchers from University of British Columbia and the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal studied more than two million statin users and found that patients taking higher strength pills were more at risk of suffering acute kidney injury.

They were at a 34 per cent greater danger of being hospitalised with kidney problems within 120 days of starting treatment with high-dose statins than low-dose pills.

About one in 500 patients were hospitalised for acute kidney injury within a period of up to two years – the length of the study – after starting a lower strength statin, according to study published on bmj.com.

Acute kidney injury, or acute renal failure, is the term used when the kidneys cannot remove salt, water and waste products from the blood.

Dr Pierre Ernst, professor of medicine at the McGill University Centre for Clinical Epidemiology in Montreal, who was involved in the research, noted that they are not saying that people should stop taking statins. 

Being conscientious can boost academic performances

A new research from psychologists at Rice University has revealed that conscientious people are more likely to have higher grade point averages.

They examine previous studies that research the link between the “Big Five” personality traits –agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness to experience – and college grade point average.

It found that across studies, higher levels of conscientiousness lead to higher college grade point averages. It also showed that five common personality tests are consistent in their evaluation of the “Big Five” personality traits; all five measures found a positive correlation between conscientiousness and grade point average and virtually no correlation between the other four personality traits and grade point average.

According to Sam McAbee, a psychology graduate student at Rice and the study’s lead author, the study has important implications for college admission offices and employers, who use personality tests to measure an individual’s capacity for success.

“Research on these personality tests helps us gain a better understanding of how various personality traits may affect academic outcomes and other important life outcomes,” McAbee said. “And although some researchers have questioned whether these personality measures might vary in their validity or effectiveness for predicting these outcomes, our analysis shows that all five measures produce similar results in the academic domain,” he stated.

Shoes with cushioned heels reduce athletes’ speed

Most running shoes feature a heavy cushioned heel, but a new research has revealed that these shoes may alter an adolescent runner's biomechanics (the forces exerted by muscles and gravity on the skeletal structure) and diminish performance.

The researchers found that shoe type "dramatically" altered running biomechanics in adolescent runners. When wearing cushioned heel trainers, the sample athletes landed on their heel 69.8 per cent of the time at all speeds. With the track flats, the heel was the first point of contact less than 35 per cent of the time; and when barefoot, less than 30 per cent of the time.

Shoes with cushioned heels promote a heel-strike running pattern, whereas runners with track flats and barefoot had a forefoot or mid-foot strike pattern.

"What we found is that simply by changing their footwear, the runners' foot strike would change," said Dr. Mullen.