Health Headlines of the Week: May 14-18

Featured Article, Healthy Living
on May 18, 2012

No-Laxative Colonoscopy Could Be Coming Soon

Damn. That’s all I could say when I read this study on a new colonoscopy screening procedure that allows folks to skip the digestively disruptive prep—the worst part of the whole thing—and still get an accurate result. If I hadn’t rushed off to get my baseline colonoscopy after I turned 50, like a good little health editor, I wouldn’t have had to suffer through an afternoon spent on the porcelain throne, waiting for the inevitable eruption. But by the time I’m ready for my next one, perhaps the laxative-free computer tomographic colonography (CTC)—otherwise known as virtual colonoscopy—will be considered the gold standard in intestinal investigation. Virtual colonoscopy has been around for a while, but it still required the laxative prep, one of the biggest reasons why folks who need them don’t get colonoscopies. But in this new procedure, a computer program is used to distinguish the decaying remains of last night’s dinner from the normal mucosal folds of your colon—and from any polyps that may be present. The only problem: The test may miss smaller lesions of less than 10 mm. No word yet on when the test might be ready for prime time, but experts say that  laxative-free CTC might first be offered to people who have only a moderate risk of colon cancer (those 50 and older without a family history of the disease, or other risk factors, such as inflammatory bowel disease).

RELATED: 8 Ways to a Hassle-Free Colonoscopy

What’s Better for You at Breakfast: Eggs or Cereal?

Have you had your Wheaties today? Maybe that’s why you were reaching for a snack mid-morning. A small study suggests that a breakfast of eggs may be better than cereal at holding off hunger pangs. The study suggested that people who ate eggs for breakfast consumed fewer calories at lunch and had lower amounts of the hunger hormone ghrelin than those who had cold cereal. Now, the research was funded by the American Egg Board, so view it with a critical eye. But know that in recent years, eggs have been viewed more favorably by health, nutrition and weight experts. And if you’re a cereal eater who has trouble holding out until lunch—or is STARVING when the noon hour strikes—you may want to try an omelet instead.

Shape-Up Sneakers Get the Boot

Women were willing to sacrifice all sense of style when they heard that all you needed to do to get a backside like Beyonce was to strut around in Sketchers’ Shape-Ups sneakers. But now that the truth is out, we can (thankfully) hang up those curve-bottomed clodhoppers. Skechers agreed this week to pay $40 million to settle charges it misled consumers with claims that its toning sneakers would do everything from help them lose weight to make their “bottom half their better half” without ever going to a gym. Sorry to burst your bubble, girls.

Sugar Can Make You Dumb

Another reason to cut back on the sweet stuff: Scientists found that rats fed a steady diet of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) had trouble with clear thinking and memory in a lab study released this week.  The rats also showed (not surprisingly) signs of resistance to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar and regulates brain function. The rats were run through a maze before spending five weeks drinking a HFCS solution, and then put back through the maze again. The second time around, they were slower and had difficulty remembering their route (not to mention where they left their keys, or what they were supposed to pick up at the grocery store).