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Health Highlights: Oct. 15, 2013

Health Highlights: Oct. 15, 2013

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Bush's Recent Heart Trouble More Serious Than Thought: Report

Described at the time as a routine procedure, former President George W. Bush's recent heart surgery was actually aimed at fixing a potentially life-threatening condition, experts now say.

During a routine physical exam at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas in early August, doctors discovered that Bush, 67, had a blocked coronary artery, NBC News reported Monday. Bush agreed to undergo an operation where doctors place a mesh tube called a stent into the artery, to help re-open it.

Blocked coronary arteries can be life-threatening, although it's not clear how close to a heart attack Bush may have come.

"You can get along very well with some tight narrowings," Dr. Jeff Brinker, an interventional radiologist and a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told NBC News. He explained that when major arteries narrow, the body often finds ways to divert blood flow around the area of closure, using nearby blood vessels.

Another heart expert agreed. A blocked artery "doesn't mean you are going to drop dead or have a heart attack the next day," Dr. Howard Hermann, a professor of medicine and director of interventional cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania, told NBC. "There are other factors that go into the decision of whether to put a stent in, including where the blockage is, how fast it developed, whether there were symptoms, what the stress test showed and others."

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'Craze' Sports Supplement Contains Meth-Like Substance: Report

Two popular supplements appear to contain a chemical similar to methamphetamine, according to an investigation by USA Today.

The products include the Craze pre-workout powder, made by New York-based Driven Sports, and a pill called Detonate, marketed as a diet aid by New Jersey-based Gaspari Nutrition. Both are marketed as containing only natural ingredients, the newspaper said, but its own analysis conducted in both the United States and South Korea found they contained an amphetamine-like compound called N,alpha-diethylphenylethylamine.

"These are basically brand-new drugs that are being designed in clandestine laboratories where there's absolutely no guarantee of quality control," Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the analysis of the Craze samples, told USA Today.

"It has never been studied in the human body," Cohen said. "Yes, it might make you feel better or have you more pumped up in your workout, but the risks you might be putting your body under of heart attack and stroke are completely unknown."

The newspaper noted that Craze was named the "New Supplement of the Year" by Bodybuilding.com. While Walmart and many online retailers have stopped selling the supplement, it continues to be available on some websites and the GNC health supplement chain of stores, USA Today said.

A lawyer representing Driven Sports declined to comment on the latest findings. "We have previously provided USA Today with a plethora of data from a DEA Certified Lab indicating the absence of any amphetamine-like compound in Craze," attorney Marc Ullman said in an e-mail to the newspaper. "In light of USA Today's decision to ignore the data we have provided, we respectfully decline to comment for your story."

Officials at Gaspari Nutrition did not respond to the newspaper's requests for comment.

Cohen said his team informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May about discovering the amphetamine-like compound in Craze. Due to the federal government shutdown, officials at the FDA could not be reached for comment on the latest findings, USA Today said.

The analysis of the Craze samples is being published Oct. 14 in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis.

 
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