New findings show calcium supplements may raise the risk of heart attack by as much as 30 percent. Researchers advise talking to your doctor if you take the pills and suggest calcium-rich foods as an alternative to preventing osteoporosis:
"'People regard calcium supplements as natural but they are really not natural at all,'" Ian Reid, professor of medicine at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said in a telephone interview.
"Reid and colleagues in Britain and the United States conducted a meta-analysis encompassing 11 studies that tracked nearly 12,000 elderly people over four years.
"Half of them were given calcium supplements and the other half placebo or dummy pills with no therapeutic content. The results were published in the British Medical Journal."
Next, tossing and lashing out in your sleep may help predict Parkinson's decades earlier. According to the medical journal Neurology, the link between REM behavior and the brain suggests disorders may start developing earlier than previously suspected:
"Once researchers can identify which patients with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) will go on to develop a neurodegenerative disease — something that is not yet possible — they may be able to intervene earlier.
"'It just makes sense that we're not going to really impact diseases like this unless we intervene early,' said Dr. Bradley F. Boeve, senior author of a paper released online July 28 in advance of publication in the Aug. 10 print issue of Neurology."
Scientists say the secret to happiness is keeping busy, even if it's a pointless task. A study from Chicago University found that keeping the mind occupied staves off negative emotions.
"[Professor Christopher] Hsee concluded keeping busy helped keep people happy... He said the findings, reported in the journal Psychological Science, had policy implications.
"'Governments may increase the happiness of idle citizens by having them build bridges that are actually useless,' he proposed."