Japanese women lose longevity crown after 2011 disaster
Japanese women lost their longevity crown last year after 26 years at the top of world life expectancy rankings, the government said on Thursday, blaming the 2011 earthquake and tsunami for the drop.
The health and labor ministry said the disaster, which left nearly 20,000 dead or missing, was mainly behind a decline in average lifespan by 0.4 years to 85.90 years. That put Japanese women behind Hong Kong, in the top spot with 86.7 years.
The ministry said a rise in the number of suicides last year also contributed to the decline.
For men, average life expectancy fell 0.11 years to 79.44, leaving them tied for 7th place with Italians. Switzerland led male longevity rankings with average expectancy of 80.2 years.
Physical inactivity causes 1 in 10 deaths worldwide, study says
Physical inactivity causes 1 in 10 deaths worldwide, according to a series of studies released in British medical journal The Lancet, putting it on par with the dangers of smoking and obesity. The results also suggest that public health officials treat this situation as a pandemic.
Specifically, Harvard researchers say, inactivity caused an increase in deaths from coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancers and caused more than 5.3 million deaths in 2008 worldwide.
If physical inactivity rates were to go down by even 10% to 20% worldwide, they say, it could save between a half-million and 1.3 million lives each year. This could also raise global life expectancy by almost a year.
RA Patients Get Cancer Screens, May Need More
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are receiving the recommended cancer screening tests, but the recommendations may not be adequate for these patients, researchers reported.
Compared with controls, women with RA were more likely to have had a Pap smear (HR 1.21, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.24), a mammogram (HR 1.49, 95% CI 1.45 to 1.53), and a colonoscopy (HR 1.69, 95% CI 1.61 to 1.77), according to Seoyoung C. Kim, MD, and colleagues from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
However, “given the increased risk of some cancers in RA and concerns in the association between various types of RA treatment and malignancy, it may be worth investigating the effectiveness of current cancer screening guidelines in patients with RA and in subgroups on specific treatments,” Kim and colleagues wrote online in Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Heart surgery safe in Jehovah’s Witnesses
Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose religious beliefs don’t allow for blood transfusions, seem to do as well or better than other patients after heart surgery, new research suggests.
Doctors sometimes give heart patients a transfusion of red blood cells if tests show they have low levels of hemoglobin or hematocrit after the procedure to prevent severe anemia, despite some transfusion-related risks. Because Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t have that option, surgeons typically take extra pre-procedure precautions - such as giving patients B vitamins and iron - to ensure their red blood cell counts don’t get too low during surgery. And those precautions seem to be working, according to the new study.
“The current management strategy… does not appear to place patients at increased risk, and actually some of the complications are fewer,” said Dr. Colleen Koch, who worked on the study at the Cleveland Clinic. That could have implications for managing people who are okay with getting blood transfusions - but might be better off if they could avoid one, Koch said.