Top stories in health and medicine this morning, May 18, 2012

This series is brought to you by MedPage Today.

1. Distractions Help Cut Pain. Distracting the mind not only can take the focus off pain but can actually dampen the body’s early physiological response to pain signals by way of endogenous opioids.

2. VA Uses More ‘Last-Resort’ Antibiotics. The use of “last resort” antibiotics by the nation’s largest medical system has been increasing in recent years, a likely indication of a growing problem with drug-resistant pathogens.

3. ‘Good’ Cholesterol May Not Be That Good. Individuals born with a genetic predisposition toward high plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels do not have a lower risk of myocardial infarction, calling into question whether HDL cholesterol is causally related to cardiovascular risk.

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