Flu shots and what erections say about the heart: In health news today

Jan. 30, 2013, 9:07 a.m.

A stethoscope. A new study says men with no history of heart disease and severe erectile dysfunction have an increased risk of heart failure. (Zac Peckler/Flickr Creative Commons)

Although it's waned in other parts of the country, the flu is still hitting California hard, killing at least nine statewide and at least four in Los Angeles County. KPCC reports that it's still not too late to get a flu shot.

The U.S. needs a doctor – 16,000 of them, to be precise. Science World Report says a new Senate report estimates that the U.S. needs about that many more primary care physicians to meet the current need, which includes those who are newly-insured under the Affordable Care Act.

A new study appearing in the American Journal of Health Promotion says "short bouts" of exercise throughout the day that add up to 30 minutes may be just as beneficial as a gym membership – meaning that mowing the lawn, taking the stairs, biking to the store and doing push-ups during your favorite show's commercial breaks can be an effective way to prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.

When you eat may matter as much as what you eat, according to new research. The Los Angeles Times reports that among people who ate their main meal before and after 3 p.m., those who ate it after lost less weight than their counterparts who ate earlier. Researchers cited the link between the energy regulation in the body and its circadian rhythm as a potential factor.

Although his work is still in the preliminary stages, it appears that a scientist has developed a way to essentially make the HIV virus kill itself. The San Francisco Chronicle says he doesn't believe the technique is specific to HIV, and could be used on other infections, viruses and even cancer.

State officials in Sacramento are working on their plans to add more people to Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. KPCC reports that Assembly Speaker John Perez' legislation would allow anybody who earns up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level to apply for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act.

About one in four people living with HIV/AIDS is 50 or older, and those folks are far likelier to be diagnosed during the later stages of the infection. New research appearing in The Gerontologist indicates that mistrust of the government and fear of conspiracy often deters this group from getting tested for the virus.

A new study appearing in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine confirms an fairly unsurprising trend: People with cystic fibrosis who live in underserved areas have worse growth and lung function than their more affluent counterparts.

HealthDay has news on a study which suggests that men who take on more housework may have less sex with their wives than those who don't. While women report more satisfaction with their marriage when there aren't any spats over chores, said the study's author, "it doesn't translate to sex if the men help."

And finally: What can a man's erection tell him about his heart? Plenty, says the Atlantic. A new study says men with no history of heart disease and severe erectile dysfunction had eight times the risk of heart failure, leading researchers to conclude that as ED increases in older men, so does their risk of future heart disease – and premature death.

Photo by Zac Peckler via Flickr Creative Commons.

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