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Lack of deep sleep contributes to high blood pressure
August 29th, 2011
04:01 PM ET

Lack of deep sleep contributes to high blood pressure

A lack of deep sleep may be one of the reasons why people develop high blood pressure.  A study of older men published Monday found that those who got the least amount of deep sleep were 80% more likely to develop high blood pressure, compared to those who got longer, less interrupted sleep.

Researchers studied almost 800 men over the age of 65 who didn't have hypertension when the study started. They were given at-home sleep tests that looked at their sleep patterns and measured their non-rapid eye movement sleep, also known as "slow wave sleep," or deep sleep.  Researchers monitored the men's blood pressure changes for a little more than 3 years. Results were published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.

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Study: Lipitor lowers more than cholesterol
August 29th, 2011
12:12 PM ET

Study: Lipitor lowers more than cholesterol

Cholesterol-lowering medications like Lipitor seem to protect the body against more causes of death than just cardiovascular disease.

According to a retrospective study published Sunday in the European Heart Journal, the popular drug atorvastatin – sold by Pfizer under the name Lipitor – can also prevent death from infection and respiratory illness.

A clinical trial measuring the drug’s effectiveness ended in 2003 after having successfully shown to help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Since then, the group taking atorvastatin has continued to experience “legacy effects” from that study – a 14% lower mortality rate compared to the group taking a placebo for the study.

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August 29th, 2011
07:59 AM ET

Rabies shots needed for bat exposure?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Question asked by Dan from South Carolina:

During a recent family trip to the mountains, our kids, who were sleeping in the attic, were awakened by a bat flying around the room. We called our doctor, who told us to go to the emergency room, where the kids got the rabies vaccine and immune globulin. Was that really necessary?
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Semi-sweet news for chocolate lovers
August 29th, 2011
04:10 AM ET

Semi-sweet news for chocolate lovers

Editor's note: Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: The Last Heart Attack at 8p and 11p ET on Saturday, September 3rd.

If only everything that looked good, felt good, or tasted good was good for us too. It comes as more welcome news for chocolate lovers, then, that yet another study has linked chocolate consumption with improved heart health. Maybe.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge analyzed the results of seven existing studies and concluded that high levels of chocolate consumption might be associated with a notable reduction in the risk of developing heart disease. Five of the seven studies reported a beneficial link between higher levels of chocolate consumptions and the risk of cardiovascular events. They found that “the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke, compared with the lowest levels [of consumption].”

The studies, notably, did not differentiate between dark or milk chocolate and included consumption of different types of chocolate (bars, shakes, etc.)

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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