Vitamin D deficiency ups heart disease risk
Low levels of vitamin D are associated with a markedly higher risk of heart attack and early death, according to a new research.
The study involved more than 10,000 Danes and was conducted by the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen University Hospital.
Vitamin D deficiency has traditionally been linked with poor bone health. However, the results from several population studies indicate that a low level of this important vitamin may also be linked to a higher risk of ischemic heart disease, a designation that covers heart attack, coronary arteriosclerosis and angina. Other studies show that vitamin D deficiency may increase blood pressure, and it is well known that high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack.
Gel balls new threat to toddlers, doctors say
After surgically removing a large gel ball blocking the intestines of a baby girl, Texas doctors are warning parents about a new kind of water-absorbing balls often sold as playthings.
The colored balls, marketed under the brand name Water Balz by Ohio-based DuneCraft Inc, are small to begin with, but can grow to the size of a racquetball when placed in water.
For orally fixated toddlers, that can be a problem, said Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, a pediatric surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
“It goes in small and grows on the inside and may not come out,” he told Reuters Health.
Preterm birth of mother increases risk of pregnancy complications
Women who were born preterm are at increased risk of complications during pregnancy compared to those born at term, and the risk almost doubles for mothers born before 32 weeks, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Pregnancy complications include gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, and preeclampsia or eclampsia.
The findings are based on a study of 7405 women born preterm and 16 714 women born at term between 1976 and 1995 in the province of Quebec. Of the preterm women, 554 were less than 32 weeks at birth and 6851 were at 32- weeks’ gestation.
“We found that the risk of pregnancy complication was significantly higher among women born preterm, independently of their own fetal growth,” writes Dr. Anne Monique Nuyt, Sainte-Justine University Hospital and Research Center, University of Montréal, with coauthors. “When divided into categories of gestational age, the risk of having at least 1 pregnancy complication nearly doubled among women born before 32 weeks’ gestation versus those born at term.”
Soda & Obesity
There is a new assault on sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages, with multiple studies linking them to unnecessary weight gain.
15-year-old Maggie Caudill has entered a weight loss program at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Her goal is to lose about 40 pounds so she can get back to cheerleading and softball.
“I want to be able to run as fast as I can through those bases. I don’t want to get winded and have to use my asthma inhaler,” she says.
Study reveals genomic similarities between breast cancer and ovarian cancers
One subtype of breast cancer shares many genetic features with high-grade serous ovarian cancer, a cancer that is very difficult to treat, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health. The findings suggest that the two cancers are of similar molecular origin, which may facilitate the comparison of therapeutic data for subtypes of breast and ovarian cancers.
The researchers, using data generated as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), described new insights into the four standard molecular subtypes based on a comprehensive characterization of samples from 825 breast cancer patients.
The study, a collaborative effort funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both part of NIH, was published online Sept. 23, 2012, and in print Oct. 4, 2012, in the journal Nature.
“TCGA’s comprehensive characterization of their high-quality samples allows researchers an unprecedented look at these breast cancer subgroups,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Colorado man awarded $7.2 mill in “popcorn lung” lawsuit
A U.S. federal court jury on Wednesday awarded a Colorado man $7.2 million in damages for developing a chronic condition known as popcorn lung from a chemical used in flavoring microwave popcorn.
Jurors agreed with the claims by Wayne Watson, 59, that the popcorn manufacturer and the supermarket chain that sold it were negligent by failing to warn on labels that the butter flavoring, diacetyl, was dangerous.
The condition is a form of obstructive lung disease that makes it difficult for air to flow out of the lungs and is irreversible, according to WebMd.
Watson, of suburban Denver, was the first consumer of microwave popcorn diagnosed with the disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, his attorney Kenneth McClain said.
It’s Not Just About Showing Your Genitals: Time to Talk About Sexting
Around one in four teenagers has sent venereal texts or emails, and those who have are about seven times more likely to have old-fashioned, body-on-body sex. Often it’s “risky sex,” and not in the good way.
Depending which of the recent self-reported studies you read, the number of teenagers who’ve emailed or texted elicit messages or photos of themselves is between 14 and 28%. A study yesterday in the journal Pediatrics called attention to an association between sexting and likelihood of having real (too-often unprotected) sex. In an interview with Reuters, lead researcher Dr. Eric Rice of the University of Southern California said, “Is there a link between sexting and taking risks with your body? The answer is a pretty resounding ‘yes.’”
Should you talk to your kid about sexting? If they use a phone or the Internet and are alive, the answer is an even more resounding “yes.” “Ye-Esss,” if you will. Because sexting isn’t just about pubescent curiosity and lust; it’s also about trust, commitment, self-image, and acceptance - the timeless issues of our formative years, and topics on which you’re surely by now an expert.
New York approves tougher legislation on circumcision
New York City’s Jewish ritual circumcisers who use their mouths to draw away blood from the wound on a baby’s penis must now get the parents to sign a consent form, health officials said on Thursday.
The New York City Board of Health voted unanimously in favor the new regulation, citing the risk that infants could catch a potentially deadly herpes infection through the ancient ritual.
The decision to amend the city’s health code has angered some members of the city’s Orthodox Jewish communities, who say it is an unwarranted intrusion by the government on religious freedom.
Could smoking pot raise testicular cancer risk?
Do men who frequently smoke pot have a higher risk of testicular cancer than those who do not? It’s possible, according to a new study. However, the researchers say the link is currently a “hypothesis” that needs further testing.
Testicular cancer is relatively rare - a man’s lifetime chance of developing the disease is about 1 in 300 (and dying of it is about 1 in 5,000). Frequent or long-term marijuana smokers could have about double the risk of nonusers, according to the report in the February 9 issue of the journal Cancer.
In the study, a team led by Dr. Janet R. Daling of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, interviewed 369 men between the ages of 18 and 44 from the Seattle-Puget Sound area whose testicular cancer had been diagnosed. They compared those men with 979 men who lived in the same area, but did not have cancer.
Popular kids in US and Mexico more likely to smoke, USC studies show
Be warned, popularity may cause lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema.
New research from the University of Southern California (USC) and University of Texas finds that popular students in seven Southern California high schools are more likely to smoke cigarettes than their less popular counterparts.
The study, which appears online this week in the Journal of Adolescent Health, confirms trends observed in previous USC-led studies of students in the sixth through 12th grades across the United States and in Mexico.
“That we’re still seeing this association more than 10 years later, despite marginal declines in smoking, suggests that popularity is a strong predictor of smoking behavior,” said Thomas W. Valente, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and lead author of three prior studies on the subject.
Genome-wide scan maps mutations in deadly lung cancers; reveals embryonic gene link
Scientists have completed a comprehensive map of genetic mutations linked to an aggressive and lethal type of lung cancer.
Among the errors found in small cell lung cancers, the team of scientists, including those at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, found an alteration in a gene called SOX2 associated with early embryonic development.
“Small cell lung cancers are very aggressive. Most are found late, when the cancer has spread and typical survival is less than a year after diagnosis,” says Charles Rudin, M.D., Ph.D., professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. “Our genomic studies may help identify genetic pathways responsible for the disease and give us new ideas on developing drugs to treat it.”
The scientists found an increase in the copy number of the SOX2 gene in about 27 percent of small cell lung cancer samples. The resulting overproduction of proteins made by the SOX2 gene may play a role in igniting or sustaining abnormal cell growth in the lung. SOX2 offers a new target for scientists working to develop new drugs to combat this intractable cancer, say the investigators.
Planned Parenthood asks court to reconsider Texas health ruling
Planned Parenthood asked a federal appeals court on Tuesday to reconsider a ruling that would allow Texas to exclude it from a health program for low-income women, as opponents of the rule packed a public hearing to express their outrage.
A three-judge panel of a federal appeals court ruled last month that Texas may exclude groups affiliated with abortion providers from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which provides cancer screenings, birth control and other health services to more than 100,000 Texas women.
In a filing with the court, Planned Parenthood asked the full court to rehear the matter, saying the rule violates its First Amendment rights to speech and association by barring it from participating in the program because it uses non-government money to engage in constitutionally protected conduct.
Organic food no more nutritious than non-organic: study
Organic produce and meat typically isn’t any better for you than conventional food when it comes to vitamin and nutrient content, although it does generally reduce exposure to pesticides and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to a U.S. study.
“People choose to buy organic foods for many different reasons. One of them is perceived health benefits,” said Crystal Smith-Spangler, who led a team of researchers from Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care.
“Our patients, our families ask about, ‘Well, are there health reasons to choose organic food in terms of nutritional content or human health outcomes?’”