night sweats 2For women in midlife, an earlier age of onset of vasomotor symptoms – hot flashes and night sweats – was linked to impaired endothelial function, a very early marker for cardiovascular disease.

In the first of two related studies, an earlier age of onset for vasomotor symptoms (VMS) was associated with increased endothelial dysfunction as measured by brachial artery ultrasound. Greater frequency of hot flashes was associated with endothelial dysfunction for younger but notnight sweats older participants in the second study.

Though more than 70% of women experience VMS during perimenopause and menopause, these symptoms largely have been viewed as a quality of life issue. However, this emerging research might mean that early onset of hot flashes might serve a potential marker for increased risk for cardiovascular disease, said Rebecca C. Thurston, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, psychology, and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work was presented in a briefing in advance of the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in San Diego.

Source: Family Practice News

pollution 1Air pollution — even for just one day — significantly increases the risk of stroke, a large review of studies has found.

Researchers pooled data from 103 studies involving 6.2 million stroke hospitalizations and deaths in 28 countries.

The analysis, published online in BMJ, found that all types of pollution except ozone were associated with increased risk for stroke, and the higher the level of pollution, the more strokes there were.

Daily increases in pollution from nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter were associated with corresponding increases in strokes and hospital admissions. The pollution 3strongest associations were apparent on the day of exposure, but increases in particulate matter had longer-lasting effects.

The exact reason for the effect is unclear, but studies have shown that air pollution can constrict blood vessels, increase blood pressure and increase the risk for blood clots. Other research has tied air pollution to a higher risk of heart attacks, stroke and other ills.

Source: New York Times

Strawberry 1Nearly half of food products in Europe contain residues of pesticides, with strawberries the most likely to exceed legal limits, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said on Thursday.

The official EU body also found traces of pesticides in organic foods, though it said its analysis of almost 81,000 food samples found the risk of any negative impact on health was low.

But campaign groups said the data was worrying, especially in the cases where residues of more than one pesticide were found. They said thestraberry 2 pesticides were mostly fungicides, which are possible carcinogens, and more research was needed into the implications of exposure to more than one.

The latest EFSA report, for 2013, found that almost 55 percent of the samples of food products in European Union and neighboring countries were free from detectable traces of chemicals.

Of the rest, only 1.5 percent clearly exceeded legal limits, meaning that fruit 1businesses responsible for them face action.

The highest rate of exceeding limits was for strawberries (2.5 percent of the sample). They are especially sensitive to disease and so undergo considerable spraying with pesticides.

EFSA said it had tested for 685 pesticides in the 27 nations that belonged to the EU for all of 2013 (Croatia joined in that year), plus Norway and Iceland, and had found multiple residues in 27.3 percent of samples.

Source: Reuters

Hearing 1Sufferers of tinnitus and other hearing disorders have had virtually no proved treatment options. That’s because the inner ear is one of the most inaccessible places in the human body—a bony, membrane-lined labyrinth measuring only a few cubic millimeters. These tight quarters make surgery all but impossible. “We can operate in the heart, in the brain, even inside the eye—the only place where we can’t operate in a functioning organ is the inner ear,” says Robert Jackler, a Stanford University School of Medicine otologist–neurotologist who specializes in complex ear diseases.

The tiny space has also thwarted most attempts to develop and deliver drugs to treathearing 2 hearing disorders, whether brought on by aging or exposure to loud noises. Such tiny amounts of fluid are needed, with even more finely tuned quantities of drugs, that attempts to dispense medication over long periods of time have failed. “We’ve tried directed medication when treating hearing disorders but the way we do it today is very imprecise and poorly calibrated,” Jackler says.

hearing 4Listen carefully, though, and a slow, steady din of progress in materials science and bioengineering can be heard gathering momentum to help those suffering from a range of debilitating auditory ailments.

Two systems, in particular, are gaining a lot of attention: one that infuses a little polymer matrix with drugs to stop relentless ringing in the ears and one that uses a miniscule pump to deliver the goods to damaged hair cells, or cilia, that cause hearing loss.

Source: Scientific American

vegan 3Vegetarian diets are associated with a lower incidence of colorectal cancer, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Nearly 80,000 adults from the Adventist Health Study 2 completed food-frequency questionnaires at baseline and then were divided into five dietary groups: vegan (8% of the population), lacto-ovo vegetarian (29%), pesco-vegetarian (10%), semi-vegetarian (6%), and non-vegetarian (48%).vegan 2

During 7 years’ follow-up, researchers documented 490 cases of colorectal cancer. Compared with non-vegetarians, all vegetarians combined had a significantly reduced risk for colorectal cancer (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.78). When examined by type of vegetarian diet, only pesco-vegetarians had a significant reduction in risk (hazard ratio, 0.57).

VEgan 1“The evidence that vegetarian diets may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, along with prior evidence of the potential reduced risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and mortality, should be considered carefully in making dietary choices and in giving dietary guidance,” the authors conclude.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

Cancer 3The report found that the most common cancer sites continue to be cancers of the prostate (128 cases per 100,000 men), female breast (122 cases per 100,000 women), lung and bronchus (61 cases per 100,000 persons), and colon and rectum (40 cases per 100,000 persons). Among these common cancer sites, 5-year relative survival was 97 percent for prostate cancer, 88 percent for breast cancer, 63 percent for colorectal cancer, and 18 percent for lung cancer.

The cancer survivor estimates are from CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries. CDC scientists reviewed the most recent data on cases of invasive cancers reported during 2011. With the exception of urinary bladder cancer, invasive cancer is defined as cancer that has spread to surrounding normal tissue from where it began.Cancer 2

The authors noted that disparities in cancer incidence still persist, with greater rates among men than women and the highest rates among blacks. Additionally, 5-year relative survival after any cancer diagnosis was lower for blacks (60 percent) than for whites (65 percent).

Data by state show incidence rates for all cancer sites ranged from 374 cases per 100,000 persons in New Mexico to 509 cases per 100,000 persons in the District of Columbia.

Source: CDC

The Presidential Healthcare Center’s Executive Physicals include cancer screening and tumor marker tracking.

Colon 33March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: a perfect time to direct attention to the tail end of your digestive tract. Contrary to what many believe, the colon isn’t an inert hollow tube that simply serves as a reservoir for waste until you can find a toilet. Rather, it’s a complex organ that performs the essential function of facilitating balance of fluid and electrolytes in the body in addition to its role in storing and eliminating waste. Equally important – if not moreso – the colon hosts a crucial ecosystem of bacteria that plays a vital role in health. Unfortunately, many of us fail to appreciate just how central the colon is to our health and survival until something goes wrong.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., claiming the lives of more than 50,000 Americans annually. The vast majority of cases occur in people over age 50, and African Americans have the highest rates of colon cancer incidence among all racial groups. Colon 11

As scary as these stats may sound, a large percentage of cases are preventable. Here are 10 lifestyle changes that may be of benefit in colorectal cancer risk reduction:

  1. Reduce your alcohol intake. When it comes to cancer prevention, less (alcohol) is more. Alcohol use is a known risk factor for colorectal cancer – among other cancers – with risk increasing as alcohol intake increases. If you choose to drink, try limiting your intake to no more than one drink daily.
  2. Quit smoking. Smoking is not just a risk factor for lung cancer, but for all digestive system cancers, including colorectal, stomach and esophageal. Make the decision to quit this month, once and for all.
  3. Get moving! Sedentary lifestyles are associated with an increased risk of digestive system cancers. Evidence supporting a significant protective effect of physical activity on colorectal cancer risk is particularly strong. The body of available research suggests that the most active adults have a 40 to 50 percent  reduced risk of developing colon cancer, compared to the least active adults. Importantly, the protective effect of exercise appears to be independent of weight status, meaning that regular physical activity appears to reduce risk of colon cancer even in people who are overweight or obese. So if regular exercise hasn’t yielded the weight loss you’ve hoped for, don’t be discouraged: There are substantial health benefits to physical activity that may not show up on the scale. Colon 22
  4. Get serious about weight loss. Obesity is a strong risk factor for colorectal cancer, and researchers estimate that risk increases about 15 percent with each five additional points of body mass index beyond the upper end of normal range. So, for example, weight loss that results in a reduction of BMI from 35 to 30 would be expected to result in about a 15 percent risk reduction.
  5. Eat less red meat. There is strong evidence supporting high intake of red meat as a risk factor for colorectal cancer. One large study that examined the diets of adults aged 50 to 71 showed that people with the highest intakes of red meat – an average of 5 ounces per day – had a 24 percent greater risk of developing colorectal cancer compared to those with the lowest intake – an average of about half an ounce per day. It has been proposed that multiple mechanisms may be at play, including the type of iron found in red meat (heme iron) and increased exposure to carcinogens called HCAs that are produced when red meat in particular is charred or cooked at a high temperature. If you can’t imagine life without red meat, try thinking of red meat as a garnish to veggie-heavy meals such as stir fries or salads, rather than a center-of-the-plate affair. And consider lower-temperature cooking methods such as braising, boiling or even sautéing instead of broiling or grilling.Colon 66
  6. Avoid foods preserved with sodium nitrite. As you go about reducing your meat intake, start with “pink” processed meats like bacon, salami and hot dogs. These foods – as well as other processed lunchmeats – are commonly preserved with sodium nitrite. When sodium nitrite encounters stomach acid during digestion, it may convert to a compound called a nitrosamine, which is a known carcinogen. Indeed, both high intake of nitrites and processed meats have been associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer compared to lower intakes. If you choose to consume processed meats, look for nitrite-free products, such as those marketed by the Applegate Farms brand.


Read more here: U.S News & World Report

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