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your health
July 17, 2014
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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

Greek debt crisis
4:26 p.m. ET
Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images

Former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced he was stepping down from his role as the head of the nation's conservative opposition party, New Democracy, on Sunday, Reuters reports. His statement came after it became increasingly clear the public voted against Greece taking the eurozone bailout deal, a decision likely to keep the economy in turmoil. With the majority of votes in, the Greek Interior Ministry shows about 61 percent voting "no" in the referendum.

"Our party needs a new start. As of today, I'm resigning from the leadership of New Democracy," he said in a televised statement. Julie Kliegman

Greece votes
4:06 p.m. ET
Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

About 60 percent of Greeks voted "no" on the eurozone bailout referendum Sunday, the Interior Ministry projected. That could lead to the nation being forced out of the eurozone, and a future of prolonged economic uncertainty. If finalized, the vote would support Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' plea to turn down a deal from eurozone creditors.

The deal from the International Monetary Fund, European Union, and the European Central Bank would have come in exchange for tax increases and economic reform in Greece. The nation missed its Tuesday deadline to make a $1.8 billion loan payment to the IMF. Read more at The New York Times. Julie Kliegman

FIFA Under Fire
12:47 p.m. ET
Valeriano Di Domenico/AFP/Getty Images

FIFA President Sepp Blatter continues to maintain his innocence in the ongoing FBI investigation of soccer's governing body. The U.S. Justice Department indicted 14 officials on charges of corruption in May.

But Blatter, who is expected to be replaced at FIFA's helm as early as December, is afraid to leave Switzerland for fear of being arrested, the Los Angeles Times reports Blatter told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

"Not because the Americans have anything concrete against me, but because it would cause a public stir," he said. "Until everything has been cleared up, I am not going to take the risk of traveling."

Blatter won't even attend Sunday night's Women's World Cup final in Vancouver, Canada. Julie Kliegman

we'll never be royals
12:17 p.m. ET

Britian's Princess Charlotte is being christened Sunday at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Eastern England. The outing is the first public one for Prince William and Kate Middleton's family since Charlotte's birth in May.

Ahead of the ceremony, the couple named five godparents for baby Charlotte, none of whom are royalty. Charlotte is fourth in line to the British throne. Julie Kliegman

ISIS
11:11 a.m. ET
Younis Al-Bayati/AFP/Getty Images

A U.S.-led coalition carried out a series of at least 16 airstrikes on ISIS' base in eastern Raqqa, Syria, late Saturday and early Sunday. It was one of the largest operations of its kind against the terrorist group in the country, The Guardian reports.

The attacks reportedly killed at least 10 militants and harmed others. They also destroyed ISIS structures and transit routes, a U.S. military spokesman told The Guardian. He said the damage would hurt ISIS' ability to move from their de-facto capital. Julie Kliegman

our selfies, ourselves
10:39 a.m. ET
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MasterCard is trying to cut down on fraud and appeal to young'uns. This fall, they're going to start experimenting with a new way to approve online payments — via selfie.

When checking out, rather than entering a password, users will be asked to hold their smartphone camera up to their faces and blink once, CNN reports. The blinking is designed to prevent a thief from simply stashing a selfie of you and uploading it to fool the system.

They'll have an Apple Pay-style fingerprint option as well for the curmudgeons of the world. Julie Kliegman

prison escape
10:15 a.m. ET

Convicted murderer David Sweat was incarcerated at the Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, New York, after being released from the hospital, the New York Department of Corrections announced in a news release Sunday. Sweat was hospitalized in serious condition after authorities shot and captured him near the Canadian border a week ago.

Sweat was on the run with convict Richard Matt after they escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility on June 6. Matt was fatally shot by law enforcement officials a couple of days before Sweat's capture. Julie Kliegman

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