More than 700,000 prescriptions are written for niacin each month in the United States, but a new study finds that the pills might do more harm than good.
Niacin is a B vitamin, and is often given to patients who need to lower their "bad" cholesterol while raising the "good" kind. Researchers at Oxford University studied more than 25,000 people in Europe and China who took niacin while undergoing standard cholesterol treatment. The "bad" cholesterol (LDL) did decrease, but the niacin was also linked to a 32 percent increase in diabetes over four years. There were other side effects, like bleeding, heartburn, and stomach ulcers, and taking niacin didn't seem to lower rates of chest pain, stroke, or heart attack.
"On the basis of the weight of available evidence showing net clinical harm, niacin must be considered to have an unacceptable toxicity profile for the majority of patients, and it should not be used routinely," Dr. Donald Lloyd-Hones of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine wrote in a commentary. The Mayo Clinic still recommends taking niacin, but only after consulting with a doctor.
The report was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Catherine Garcia
The Mexican government announced Thursday that drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been extradited to the United States, where he is wanted in several jurisdictions on federal drug trafficking charges.
The former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Guzman has been in a prison near Ciudad Juarez; last January, he was recaptured nearly six months after he escaped from a maximum-security prison in Mexico. Catherine Garcia
President-elect Donald Trump's impending inauguration prompted the bands the Gorillaz and Arcade Fire to release new songs Thursday, the day before Trump is officially sworn into office. The Gorillaz song, "Hallelujah Money," was the band's first release in six years and was released alongside a video depicting singer Benjamin Clementine inside a cartoon rendition of the Trump Tower elevator:
Arcade Fire, meanwhile, teamed up with gospel singer Mavis Staples for their new song, "I Give You Power." The lyrics, "I give you power / I can take it away," seem to send a clear message to both Trump and any elected official. The song is only available for streaming on Tidal. Becca Stanek
President-elect Donald Trump reportedly plans to make a trip down to Langley, Virginia, home of the CIA's headquarters, on Saturday, his first full day in office. A senior official told NBC News that Trump is planning to attend the swearing-in of CIA director nominee Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), an event that hinges upon whether Pompeo's nomination is confirmed by the Senate on Friday.
Trump's visit could also be seen "as a conciliatory gesture," NBC noted. Trump has repeatedly questioned the capabilities of U.S. intelligence, most notably hesitating to accept their reports about Russian cyberattacks ahead of the U.S. presidential election.
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to confirm Trump's visit, only saying he was sure "at some point, shortly, [Trump] will visit not just the CIA but a lot of the departments." Becca Stanek
TV show reboots are dropping left and right, and NBC just hopped on the bandwagon.
Will and Grace will return for a 10-episode limited run in the 2017-18 season, NBC announced Wednesday. The show's four stars — Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, and Megan Mullally — will reprise their original roles. Director James Burrows and creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will also return, per The New York Times.
Will and Grace joins a growing number of 1990s and 2000s TV favorites getting a new life, including recent reboots of Full House and Gilmore Girls. But unlike a lot of other shows revived on Netflix and other networks, Will and Grace will return to its original home on NBC.
Reboot rumors started in late 2016, when the original cast reunited to film a scene about the 2016 election. For a flashback to the show's eight-season run, check out the video from NBC below. Kathryn Krawczyk
Inauguration weekend kicked off Thursday afternoon with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. As their families looked on, President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without being officially identified.
Pres.-elect Trump, Vice Pres.-elect Pence lay wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. pic.twitter.com/Oq7ThPL8B2
— ABC News (@ABC) January 19, 2017
The ceremony, which was slated to last roughly 20 minutes, instead wrapped up in just a few minutes as Trump and Pence placed the wreath. Hours earlier, Trump and his family arrived in Washington, D.C., from New York City.
Trump's first order of business in the nation's capital was a luncheon meeting at his D.C. hotel, which was attended by transition officials and incoming White House staff. Later Thursday, Trump will stop by a celebratory concert at the Lincoln Memorial and attend a reception and dinner at Union Station.
Trump's official inaugural ceremony begins Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET. Becca Stanek
On his last day in office, President Obama commuted the prison sentences of 330 federal inmates serving time for non-violent drug offenses. This latest round of commutations, likely Obama's "last major act as president," marks the "most any U.S. president has issued in a single day," The Associated Press reported.
To date, Obama has commuted the sentences of 1,715 people, 568 of whom were serving life sentences, a total that far surpasses that of any other U.S. president. Earlier this week, Obama commuted the sentences of 209 people, including former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Obama's record number of commutations comes as part of his push for criminal justice system reform. Becca Stanek
President-elect Donald Trump's treasury secretary nominee, Steven Mnuchin, did not necessarily find friendly faces among each and every Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. During Mnuchin's hearing Thursday, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) repeatedly pressed Mnuchin, specifically on the issue of the tax cut that comes with repealing ObamaCare.
Mnuchin did not directly commit to an answer: "I haven't been as involved in the 'repeal and replace,'" he said, when asked who would benefit from the tax cut that would come with repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Mnuchin ducks on ObamaCare: "I haven't been as involved in the repeal and replace."
— Pete Schroeder (@peteschroeder) January 19, 2017
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) also pressed Mnuchin on whether any taxpayer making under $200,000 a year would see even "a dime" of the ObamaCare tax cuts. Mnuchin admitted most of the ObamaCare taxes currently in place are on the wealthy — who would then stand to benefit if they were repealed — but asserted that tax reform "overall" will be scrutinized. Jeva Lange