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Body & Brain

Antibiotics fight breathing ailments, cat-loving rats and more in this week’s news

2:58pm, August 25, 2011

Antibiotic helps in lung disease
A potent antibiotic can lessen breathing problems in people with emphysema and other lung ailments collectively known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, U.S. and Canadian researchers report in the Aug. 25 New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists randomly assigned 1,142 COPD patients to get azithromycin or a placebo daily for a year in addition to their usual treatment. Those on azithromycin, which suppresses inflammation in addition to fighting infection, were less likely than the others to have an acute bout of lung problems marked by coughing, shortness of breath or the need for a change in routine medications. —Nathan Seppa

High-fiber diet lowers LDL
A diet high in fiber, soy and nuts can substantially lower a person’s LDL, or bad cholesterol, Canadian researchers report in the August 24/31 Journal of the American Medical Association

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