(Chanintorn.v, Adobe Stock) Plastic medical devices abound in hospitals. IV bags, catheters and feeding tubes cram every corner. But the chemicals that make these medical items so flexible may be changing transmission of the electrical impulses that help keep the heart pumping, according to new research. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used as “plasticizers”…

Charles Daniels Jr., founder of Fathers UpLift, holding son Clayton. (Photo by Ann Wang) All along, Charles Daniels Jr. believed it was his fault. Something he did kept his father from coming around. Something he couldn’t do prompted a teacher to declare he belonged in special-education classes. Something made him different from kids on the…

(Iarygin Andrii, Adobe Stock) Marijuana can damage cells that line the inside of blood vessels throughout the heart and vascular system, but new lab tests suggest a compound found in soybeans may provide protection. Earlier studies have linked marijuana use to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Medications containing a synthetic version of…

(abhijith3747, Adobe Stock) Heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 cause of death, killing about 650,000 people every year. Life expectancy is cut short by the disease and the health problems that stem from it. But by how much – and what can people do to take those years back? For heart attacks alone, more…

(Patrick Orton, Getty Images) When the Tubbs Fire swept through their neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California, in October 2017, there was little time for Richard Grundy and Jamei Haswell to think about how all the smoke they were inhaling was impacting their health. Trees already were burning when they pulled out of their driveway. Flames…

(iStock/Getty Images Plus) Space travel might look like fun, but it turns out there’s a price to pay for all that floating around without gravity: Astronauts often pass out when they return. But a new study shows exercising in space and receiving IV fluid after landing appears to alleviate the problem, and researchers say their…

(BlackJack3D) Broken heart syndrome is a serious medical problem that can be triggered by physical or emotional stress. For 1 in 6 people, it’s also connected to cancer, according to a new study. In people with the ailment, also known as takotsubo syndrome, the heart’s main pumping chamber temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well. It…

(Victor Habbick Visions/Science Photo Library) Many people can recite the major risk factors for heart disease, the stuff of posters, public service ads and dire warnings: smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, lack of exercise. But what about these? Air pollution, loneliness, lack of green space, lack of sleep and stress. They’re elements…

(Marina113, iStock/Getty Images Plus) Microvascular disease — a disorder of tiny blood vessels — might increase the risk of leg amputations no matter where on the body it is found, according to a new study. The study, which backs the idea of the blood vessel disorder as a systemic problem, looked at amputation risk among…

Cat Oyler’s heart defect wasn’t discovered until she was 45. (Photo by Brett Wills) Back in her office after the New Year’s holiday, Cat Oyler, then 45, struggled to catch her breath. She felt like a heavy weight was sitting on her chest. She could take only a fraction of a normal breath, unable to…