Father’s age linked to cancer risk of daughters

By jeremyc | April 17, 2014

A recent study suggests that the age of the father can be linked to the risk of breast, ovarian and certain hormone-related cancers in the daughter. More specifically, it suggested that daughters of fathers who were younger than 20 or older than 30 years during their birth had a higher risk.

The lead author for this study was Yani Lu, PhD, of the City of Hope cancer center in Duarte, California. Data on 133,479 female school administrators and teachers during 1995-2010, collected from the California Teacher Study cohort, was used for the study.  Out of this group, 5,349  got breast cancer, 1,110 got endometrial cancer and 515 got ovarian cancer.

On analysis, the researchers did not find a clear association between the age of the mother during the daughter’s birth and the risk of cancer in the later years of the daughter. However, they did find a link in the father’s age.

The researchers found that daughters had a 35 percent greater risk of breast cancer and two times the risk of ovarian cancer if their fathers were less than 20 years old during their birth, as compared to daughters of fathers who were 24-29 years old during their birth. Also, the daughters had a 25 percent higher risk of endometrial cancer if their fathers were 30-34 years of age during their birth.

The researchers noted, “These findings indicate that parental age at birth, especially paternal age at birth, may affect the adult-onset cancer risk of daughters, especially breast cancer.”

Topics: Cancer | No Comments »

Physical activity in COPD patients reduces re-hospitalization risk

By jeremyc | April 15, 2014

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients are often quite sedentary, but new research indicates that some physical exercise may help reduce the risk of their re-hospitalization.

More specifically, the research shows that people admitted in a hospital for COPD were less likely to be admitted again within 30 days of leaving if they stayed more active. The lead author for this study was Huong Nguyen, PhD, RN, of Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

The health records of 4,596 patients admitted for COPD from January 2011 to December 2012 were analyzed for the study, and so was the health data for the patients for a 12-month period before their hospitalization.

The patients were split into three groups based on their physical activity levels- those who were not active at all, those who were active insufficiently (less than 150 minutes per week), and those who were active (150 minutes or more per week). The exercise levels were self-reported.

On analysis, the researchers found that active patients were 34 percent less likely to get re-hospitalized than those who did no exercise. The patients who were insufficiently active were 33 percent less likely to be readmitted. In other words, any level of physical activity before hospitalization was likely to reduce the risk of readmission.

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Kids’ meal proportions linked to parents’ meal proportions

By jeremyc | April 13, 2014

How much a child eats is determined by more than just hunger. According to a new study, parents serve their kids more when they serve themselves more, and parents ate more when they served their kids more.

The study was led by Susan L. Johnson, PhD, from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado in Aurora, Colorado. It involved 145 parents and their children, all of which were in preschool. The researchers collected data on the parents’ employment, marital status and education levels. They also observed the amount of food that the children were fed at their evening dinner meal and how much of the food was eaten.

The study results showed that the amount of food that parents served was significantly linked to how much their children ate. The more children were served, the more they ate. Also, the portion size for the parents reflected the portion size of their children. The more food they served themselves the more they served their children.

The researchers also found that African American parents served and children ate more than Hispanic parents and children. They could not identify this difference in portion sizes of children. They noted that some parents may not have a clear understanding of the appropriate portion size for their children’s meals.

Topics: General Health News | No Comments »

Women more likely to die from heavy drinking than men

By jeremyc | April 12, 2014

Researchers who conducted a new study analysis reported that women had a greater risk of dying due to alcohol consumption than men. The researchers also found that the risk of death increased with the amount of alcohol a woman drank.

The lead author for the study was Chao Wang, PhD, of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, China. An online analysis of studies on death and alcohol consumption was done using Cochrane Library, PubMed and Embase databases. Data from 24 studies and 2,424,964 people was analyzed. The follow-up period was 4-23 years and the participants were all 18 years and over. A total of 123,878 people had died by the end of the study.

On analyzing the data, it was found that women had a seven percent higher risk of death due to drinking than men, especially for heavy-drinking women. The risk from alcohol was similar even when comparing women and men who drank lesser alcohol. However, there was higher risk when women drank more heavily.

The authors of the study suggested that some inherent biological differences between the genders may make alcohol risker for women. For instance, women have lower water content in their body, so alcohol is less diluted in their body than in men’s bodies when they drink. Moreover, women have a lower activity of alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that can breaks alcohol down in the body.

The authors said, “The present study suggested that female drinkers, particularly heavy drinkers, should moderate or completely reduce their level of consumption to have a health benefit.” They added, “In order to reduce excessive alcohol consumption for women, some effective interventions are needed. Supportive counseling and educational sessions have contributed to help women reduce their alcohol consumption. It should be recommended and emphasized in public policy to provide psychological and educational intervention programs to female heavy drinkers.”

Topics: Women's Health | No Comments »

Lifestyle factors can reduce life expectancy in middle-age

By jeremyc | April 10, 2014

According to a recent study, lifestyle factors and behaviors like unhealthy body weight and cigarette smoking are linked to a shorter life expectancy for middle-aged adults. The study concluded that healthy lifestyle promotion should be a major part of public health’s approach to reducing early death.

The study was led by Kuanrong Li, PhD, from the Division of Cancer Epidemiology at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, Germany. It involved data on 22,469 German adults recruited in 1994-1998 for the ongoing European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.

None of the 10,235 men and 12,234 women in the study had diabetes, cancer or heart disease during the beginning of the study. They were asked about their smoking, alcohol drinking and physical activity habits as well as their food habits during the previous 12 months. Their body mass index was also measured.

After a follow-up for an average period of 11 years, the researchers found that cigarette-smoking was linked the most to reduced life expectancy. The life expectancy of women and men smoking over 10 cigarettes daily was reduced by seven and nine years, respectively. For those who smoked 10 or fewer cigarettes, the life expectancy reduction was five years.

The researchers also found that obesity and very low BMI was linked to a lower life expectancy. Heavy drinking reduced the men’s life expectancy and eating over 120 g of red meat or processed meat daily reduced women’s lives.

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Moderate exercise reduces craving to smoke

By jeremyc | April 9, 2014

A study conducted by two scientists showed that moderate exercise can delay the urge and craving to smoke. The experiment followed up on previous related studies.

This study was done by Jesse Dallery, PhD, and Allison N. Kurti, MS, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. It involved two experiments on 18-55 years old smokers who wanted to quit the habit. They were asked to smoke half cigarette, spend an hour without smoking and participate in either of the two experiments.

The first experiment was done by 21 participants, and it involved filling a questionnaire measuring their craving on a scale  of zero to 100. This followed 20 minutes of no activity or low to moderate exercise. After this period, the participants were asked to answer the questionnaire again.

On analyzing the results, the researchers found that the desire to smoke reduced immediately and 30 minutes following moderate exercise. In the second exercise, 20 participants answered the questionnaire underwent two 20-minute sessions of no exercise or low to moderate exercise. After the sessions, they were asked fill the questionnaire and given two hours in which they could read watch television, use  the internet, read health magazines or smoke.

In this experiment, it was found that the smokers who exercised needed to smoke less than before they exercised. The group that performed moderate exercise waited 21 minutes before they smoked during the final two-hour period, versus just four minutes in the zero exercise group.

The authors of this study stated, “The fact that relatively brief bouts of exercise decrease craving implies that exercise may be a useful way for smokers to cope with craving during quit attempts. … In addition, exercise offers benefits that other behavioral and pharmacological treatments do not.”

Topics: Smoking Cessation | No Comments »

Virus infection aboard California cruise ship

By jeremyc | April 8, 2014

Illness struck over 80 people onboard a California-based ship. A contagious virus that causes intestinal and gastric inflammation called norovirus is suspected to be behind this incident.

Steps have already been taken aboard the cruise ship in order to stop the spread of the virus. On 9 April 2014, it was reported that 66 passengers and 17 crew members aboard the ship were ill, as compared to just 37 ill passengers reported first on 7 April.

The illness is suspected to have been caused by norovirus. The viral illness spreads through infected surfaces, people or contaminated water or food. The symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and body aches, according to the CDC.

The ship in question is the ‘The Crown Princess’ by Princess Cruises, sailing to the ports of Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and other Californian ports. Princess Cruises has advised the ill crew members and passengers to remain in their cabins to avoid spreading the illness.

Norovirus is a common virus according to the CDC, causing around 19-21 million illnesses, 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths in the US every year. The CDC also suggested various steps to prevent the virus from spreading, like washing hands with soap and water carefully and thoroughly. It stated, “Noroviruses can be found in your vomit or stool even before you start feeling sick. The virus can stay in your stool for 2 weeks or more after you feel better. So, it is important to continue washing your hands often during this time.”

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Moderate physical activity reduces heart disease-related death risk among diabetics

By jeremyc | April 6, 2014

Heart disease is one of the main reasons for disabilities and death in people diagnosed with diabetes. However, a recent study has found that diabetic patients have a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease when they exercise, and the more they exercise the lower their risk. This confirms the views of the American Heart Association, which states that moderate to vigorous physical activity can help reduce weight, blood pressure and cardiovascular risk.

The study was done by Mark Hamer, PhD, and colleagues from the Physical Activity Research Group, Division of Population Health and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London. Data on 3,038 diabetics from English and Scottish health surveys conducted in 1997-2008 was used for the study. They were followed for just over six years on average, and all the participants were at least 50 years old at the start of the investigation. At the end of the study, 675 of the participants had died, out of which 270 died due to cardiovascular disease.

The researchers recommended at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Around 40 percent met the recommendations, while a third reported no physical activity at all. On analysis, it was found that those who met the researchers’ recommendations had a 35 percent lower death rate than the inactive participants. Those who did some physical exercise but remained below the recommended level still had a 26 percent lower death rate as compared to the non-active participants.

The study authors wrote in their report, “Compared with those individuals not undertaking physical activity, the greatest reduction in the risks of both all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality were observed in those meeting the physical activity recommendations.”

Topics: Diabetes | No Comments »

Autism being diagnosed more in white males

By jeremyc | April 4, 2014

A study reports that autism spectrum disorder cases are becoming more prevalent in white male children than others.

The study was led by Jon Baio, EdS, of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For this study, data from 2010 and 2008 on autism in children who were eight years old was compiled and analyzed. This data was taken from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.

The researchers found that the prevalence of autism increased from 11.3 cases per 1,000 children in 2008 to 14.7 cases per 1,000 in 2010. They also found that the frequency of autism diagnosed varied by the ethnic group, race and gender of the child. White children were found to be 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the development disorder than black children. They were also 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than Hispanic children.

The researchers concluded, “Although the underlying reasons for the apparent prevalence changes are difficult to study empirically, select studies suggest that much of the recent prevalence increase is likely attributable to … factors such as improved awareness and recognition and changes in diagnostic practice or service availability.”

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Risk of birth defects, fetal death higher with gestational diabetes

By jeremyc | April 3, 2014

The rate of diabetes developed during pregnancy and diabetes developed prior to pregnancy, called gestational and pre-gestational diabetes respectively, has risen two-fold in the last 14 years. Moreover, it found that the risk of newborn or fetal death and physical birth defects was higher in women with either type of diabetes than in non-diabetic women.

The study was led by Denice S. Feig, MD, from Toronto’s Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Mount Sinai Hospital. Data on 1,109,605 women aged 15-50 years was used. All the women gave birth in Ontario sometime during the period from April 1996 to March 2010.

Out of this group of women, 45,384 were found to have gestational diabetes and 13,278 were diagnosed with pre-gestational diabetes. A total of 1,050,943 were non-diabetic.  The newborns were followed up for a year.

On analyzing the data, the researchers found that the rate of gestational and pre-gestational diabetes increased 3-6 percent and 1-2 percent respectively in 1996-2010. They found that women with gestational and pre-gestational diabetes had a 26 percent and 86 percent higher risk than non-diabetic mothers to have children with physical birth defects.

Moreover, the researchers found that those with pre-gestational diabetes had a 2.33 times higher risk of prenatal mortality and those with gestational diabetes had a 37 percent reduced risk for prenatal mortality.

Topics: Diabetes | No Comments »

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