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Health Highlights: April 29, 2008

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In this study of 714 people from 388 white families with premature heart disease, the Cleveland Clinic team identified an area on chromosome 1 that's linked with triglyceride levels. It contains 375 known genes, but the researchers have zeroed in on three genes.

The genes are: angiopoietin-like 3, which inhibits enzymes that break down fats; sterol carrier protein 2, which helps convert cholesterol into bile acids; and the receptor for the appetite hormone leptin,UPIreported.

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American Women Concerned About Health Costs

Many American women are worried about rising health costs, suggests a survey conducted by Meredith Corp. and NBC Universal.

The survey of 3,000 women, ages 18 to 64, found that two-thirds of respondents felt financial strain was a major threat to the American family. In fact, they rated it a much greater threat than divorce, loss of faith/spirituality, both parents working, unwed mothers, couples living together, and liberal views on sex and sexuality,United Press Internationalreported.

Among the survey's other findings:

46 percent of respondents said they were extremely concerned about rising health care costs, and 18 percent said they didn't have health insurance. That rate was 24 percent among single mothers with minor children.Among women with health insurance, 46 percent were worried about being able to afford healthcare when they retired, and 40 percent said their co-payments kept increasing and were becoming too expensive.One-quarter of women with health insurance said they could only afford generic prescriptions and 22 percent said they sometimes didn't fill a prescription because it was too expensive.69 percent of mothers ages 18 to 34 had incurred medical debt, compared to 30 percent of all women in the United States.

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FDA Rejects Merck Cholesterol Drug

An experimental cholesterol drug developed by Merck & Co. has been rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In issuing the "not approvable" letter, the agency said Monday that it needed more information about Cordaptive, also known as MK-0524A. The FDA also rejected Cordaptive as a brand name for the drug, theAssociated Pressreported.


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