Consumer Reports Health News

Jul 28, 2008 (08:07 AM EDT)

NEW YORK, July 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Welcome to Health News for health and medical journalists. and cover issues pertaining to the efficacy and safety of prescription and non-prescription drugs (including natural medicines), mental health, diet and nutrition, food safety, and fitness. tests health and fitness products, rates the effectiveness and affordability of prescription drugs, and evaluates the claims made by drug companies and the health care industry -- all without commercial agendas or advertiser influence.

The August issue of explains why it's so important to avoid charring meat when barbecuing beef, chicken, lamb, pork and fish. Overcooking, burning and charring can transform amino acids and other natural substances into compounds called heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, which have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Some studies suggest that ingesting these and other compounds might increase the risk of breast, colon, pancreatic, prostate, and stomach cancer. Some ways to limit exposure:

For the full report, log on to HASH(0x1545b90) .

The difference between generic drugs and brand name ones is that there is very little difference. Soon after the antidepressant bupropion XL came on the market last year, some patients complained on the Internet that it didn't work as well as the brand name version, HASH(0x1546b80) XL. Generic drugs are required to have the same active ingredients as the original versions, but can contain different inactive ingredients. That can alter how they look and taste, which some people don't like. A small number of people may also have unexpected reactions to those inactive ingredients. The bottom line: Keep open the lines of communication with your doctor. Switching from any medication -- brand to generic, generic to brand, or brand to brand -- should be done with care. Read the full report online at .

Walking, running, or lifting weights in a pool is often safer than doing it on land, and water offers a challenge to the muscles which have to work against buoyancy, or the tendency to float. That's an advantage for those with back or joint problems, and people who are frail, overweight, or pregnant.

Another advantage of working out in a pool is that the experience is cooling, energizing, and, because of the buoyancy, literally uplifting. So aquatic exercises can seem less tedious and draining than their gravity-bound counterparts. HASH(0x155a920) recommends ways to find an aquatic exercise class ? checking with the local YMCA, community center, or private fitness center. It pays to observe a class or try one out before making a commitment. For more information about water workouts, log on to .

"Worried about cholesterol? Well, now you can lower it," promises a TV ad for Centrum Cardio. The two-a-day, multivitamin/multimineral supplement contains phytosterols, natural ingredients derived from soybeans that "can lower cholesterol," the ad claims, and "may reduce the risk of heart disease" when taken with a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Medical experts consulted by said Centrum Cardio is possibly beneficial, along with changes in diet and exercise, for reducing elevated cholesterol levels. But they recommended consulting a health-care professional to establish overall coronary risk and to develop treatment goals, which might or might not include supplements or prescription medication. Log on to for the complete report about Centro Cardio.

CONTACT: Tildy La Farge, of Consumer Reports, +1-914-378-2436,; or Carol Schadelbauer, Burness Communications,+1-301-280-5725, , for Consumer Reports

Web site: