• U.S.

Your Health: Jun. 7, 1999

2 minute read
Janice M. Horowitz


LOVING LATEX Condoms have come a long way since the Romans wore sheaths made from animal bladders. Today latex is king. Not only is it the most popular type of condom, but now a study finds that compared with newer polyurethane prophylactics, latex is one-tenth as likely to break during intercourse and one-third as likely to slip off.

OLDIE BUT GOODY Turns out that a 20-year-old beta-blocker called metoprolol is just as effective in treating congestive heart failure as the newer heart drug carvedilol, which costs about three times as much. Both drugs improve the heart’s pumping ability and patients’ endurance for physical activity.


SCHOOL DAZE College kids may love the camaraderie of living in dorms, but new data find that those who do are three times as likely as kids who reside off-campus to develop meningitis. Probable reason: overcrowding. The infection, while rare, is devastating. It starts as a fever and stiff neck but can quickly progress and cause brain damage, even death. What to do? Most cases can be prevented with vaccination. Consider getting one.

DEPRESSING CHOLESTEROL Low cholesterol may be great for the heart, but it may not be so great for a woman’s state of mind. A new study suggests that young women with low blood cholesterol (below 160 mg/dL) may be twice as prone to depression as those with higher levels. But don’t go wolfing down a pastrami sandwich; the findings need to be confirmed. And if your cholesterol starts inching up, you could be at risk for heart disease–which can be really depressing.

–By Janice M. Horowitz

Sources–Good News: Circulation, 5/25/99; Family Planning Perspectives, 4/99. Bad News: Journal of the American Medical Association, 5/26/99; Psychosomatic Medicine, 6/99

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