• U.S.

Your Health: Jun. 14, 1999

2 minute read
Janice M. Horowitz


BONE BUILDERS Elderly women concerned about osteoporosis may have a kinder, gentler way to build strong bones. Low doses of hormone-replacement therapy, combined with calcium and vitamin D supplements, produce minimal side effects and may increase bone mass just as effectively as today’s higher-dose hormone regimens.

TICK TOC One drawback of the Lyme-disease vaccine that came out in April was that it took so long to kick in. Doctors were supposed to administer it in three injections over the course of a year. Now there’s a reprieve. A new study shows that the shots work as well when given over six months. But don’t go rolling around in the grass just yet. If you start now, by July you will have 50% protection against the tick-borne disease. And after the last shot, you’ll still be only 78% protected.


HEART-STOPPING HIGH Everyone knows that getting high on cocaine isn’t great for your health, but here’s the lowdown on just how bad it really is. The odds of having a heart attack jump 24-fold during the first hour after taking the drug. That’s true even for folks who don’t seem to be at risk for heart disease. Apparently the white powder constricts coronary arteries and sends blood pressure soaring.

ZAP, CRACKLE, YUCK! Here’s something to chew on this summer: every time your bug zapper vaporizes a fly, it sends off a cone of bacteria-and-virus-laden mist that can be up to 6 ft. wide. Most of the microbes are probably harmless–unless the insect has been feeding on manure. Best advice: mount your zapper far from your food.

–By Janice M. Horowitz

Sources–Good News: Clinical Infectious Diseases (6/99); Annals of Internal Medicine (6/1/99). Bad News: Circulation (6/1/99); American Society for Microbiology meeting

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