fda advisers back new drug for gout
Government health advisers recommend approval of the first new drug in 40 years for gout. About 50-million people in the United States suffer from gout, a painful condition causing intense pain and swelling in the joints. Uloric, the new drug, works by reducing levels of uric acid in the blood, which causes gout. Food and Drug Administration medical reviewers were concerned because early trials of Uloric found a higher risk of death and heart problems from the drug. But Takeda, which makes Uloric, commissioned a much larger clinical study that found no difference in heart risks when compared with the currently available drug, allopurinol. The FDA arthritis advisory committee voted 12-0 to recommend approval.
Be a friend to your back
If you see a gym membership in your immediate future, as many of us do as we greet the new year, consider a dedicated core strengthening or lumbar stabilization program to minimize spinal injuries. If you've ever had a bad back, prevention makes sense. A physical therapist or personal trainer can be helpful. Another spine saver: Walking, biking and swimming are beneficial to the discs of your spine. Talk to your primary physician or check out the Florida Knee and Orthopedic Centers Web site at www.fla-ortho.com.
Worth your salt on sodium facts?
Burger King announced last month it is reducing the sodium in its kids' meals to 600 milligrams or less. Do you know your sodium facts? Take this quiz (answers below):
1. The American Heart Association says the average adult should consume how many milligrams of sodium per day:
2. Which salty snack food is your best bet?
a) Rold Gold Classic Style Pretzels
b) Nabisco Original Premium Saltine Crackers
c) Lay's Potato Chips
3. True or false? Sea salt has less sodium than table salt because it is natural.
4. Which has the highest sodium level?
a) 1 cup of cottage cheese
b) 1 slice of American cheese
c) 8 ounces of yogurt
5. How much sodium is in 1 teaspoon of table salt?
a) 1,087 milligrams
b) 2,300 milligrams
c) 5,133 milligrams
ANSWERS: 1-b; 2-c (pretzels, 560 mg; crackers, 380; potato chips, 180); 3-false (it's the same amount of sodium); 4-a (cottage cheese, 420 mg; American, 300 mg; yogurt, 160 mg); 5-b.
Compiled from Times staff, wire reports