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    Top 10 Health News Stories of 2008

    Salmonella, Vaccines, Belly Fat Were Hot Topics in 2008

    7. Cholesterol Drugs: New Questions

    A medical mystery emerged at the beginning of 2008: Why did a drug that lowers cholesterol fail to reduce plaque in the arteries?

    The FDA has approved drugs based on their ability to lower cholesterol -- but only because this is supposed to cut the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease. But Vytorin, a combination of the cholesterol-lowering statin drug Zocor and the cholesterol-blocking drug Zetia, didn't seem to work better than Zocor alone.

    As the year went on, cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins (such as Zocor) looked better and better. Researchers dispelled fears they might raise cancer risk. And they found that statins cut the risk of heart disease in half for people with normal cholesterol levels but high levels of C-reactive protein in the blood.

    Here's how WebMD covered these stories:

    8. Belly Fat Makes Big Bad News

    Belly fat was big news in 2008 as study after study linked it to serious health problems -- and even an increased death risk -- even in people who aren't overweight. But simple changes in lifestyle and diet could trim this health risk.

    9. Economic Woes Hurting Health

    You're probably all too aware of your waning wallet, as gas and food prices soared and the stock market plunged in 2008. And the fallout may be taking a toll on your health, making the economic crisis one of the top health stories of the year.

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