Quick Hits: Light Exercise and Hypertension, Using Acupuncture to Relieve Menopause Symptoms & More

Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can reduce blood pressure in older people who are overweight or obese almost as much as taking medication. Researchers enrolled 67 people between the ages of 55 and 80. Depending on the day of the study, participants either did no exercise all day, did 30 minutes of morning exercise (walking on a treadmill at moderate intensity) followed by sitting the rest of the day or 30 minutes of morning exercise followed by light walking for a few minutes every 30 minutes. Results showed that blood pressure was reduced when participants took part in morning exercise compared to days when they didn’t. Women who took breaks throughout the day to walk saw additional reductions in blood pressure, though this same effect was not seen in men who engaged in walking. Posted February 20, 2019. Via Hypertension.

Acupuncture may provide a viable alternative to hormone replacement therapy for women suffering from menopause symptoms. A study enrolled 90 menopausal women who were randomly assigned to get acupuncture for six weeks or no acupuncture. For those in the former group, each session was weekly and lasted for 15 minutes. After six weeks, 80% of the women in the acupuncture group said they felt their symptoms had improved. Compared to women who didn’t get acupuncture, those who did had significantly fewer day and night sweats, sleep problems, emotional symptoms and skin and hair problems. Posted February 19, 2019. Via BMJ Open.

Both the FDA and opioid drugmakers failed to monitor the use of a fast-acting formula of the extremely powerful opioid fentanyl, leading to thousands of people getting the drug who shouldn’t have. A new study found that 51% of patients who were prescribed what are known as transmucosal immediate-release fentanyls (TIRFs) – which are nasal sprays, quick-dissolve tablets or lozenges designed to get the drug into the bloodstream quickly – didn’t require them. TIRFs are usually reserved for people who have constant, severe pain, such as those with cancer. If given to a patient who has not taken opioids before or is not tolerant to a strong opioid such as fentanyl, they run the risk of overdose and even death. Posted February 19, 2019. Via JAMA.

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

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