Archive | Human Health & Wellness

Amish Prove Clean Living Pays Off for Avoiding Cancer

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 4 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say an examination of cancer rates among the Amish underscores the virtues of exercise, not smoking, healthy food and fewer sex partners.

Researchers at the Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute in Columbus say they were not surprised tobacco-related cancers were 63 percent lower among the non-smoking Amish than in the non-Amish.

Other factors such as eating organic food, having few sexual partners and wearing long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats, may also have helped keep cancer rates 40 percent lower in the Amish community, the researchers say.

However, the researchers say they were surprised to find genetic factors may contribute to the lower cancer rate. At the beginning of the eight-year study that looked at 24 types of cancer, the researchers expected some cancers which run in families to be common among the Amish since they were all so closely related.

The researchers went door-to-door, documenting cancer case-by-case in 92 families in Holmes County, Ohio.

“As we looked and looked we did not find any increased risk of cancer in the Amish,” lead author Dr. Judith Westman said in a statement. “In fact, they may have some genetic factors that actually protect them from cancer that we haven’t yet identified.”

The findings are published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Human Health & Wellness, Smoking0 Comments

Dog Gene Linked to OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) Could Aid Humans

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 4 (UPI) — Discovery of a gene linked to compulsive behavior in dogs could lead to better understanding of the disorder in humans, scientists in Massachusetts said.

Scientists at the Broad Institute in Cambridge studied the DNA of 92 Doberman pinschers that displayed compulsive behavior and found a common link in a gene called Cadherin 2, The Boston Globe reported Monday, noting Cadherin 2 recently was linked to autism in humans.

The dog findings will be used to study the Cadherin 2 gene in more than 300 people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD, and about 400 of their relatives, said Dr. Dennis Murphy, a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health.

“Identifying a specific gene that could be a candidate gene for a complex disorder like OCD is a gift to have,” Murphy said. “This might be a quick route in to a meaningful gene that just could be involved in the human disorder, as well.”

Dogs with OCD obsessively chase their tails, lick their legs and pace and circle in behavior similar to that of people with OCD, who obsessively wash their hands, count numbers or repeatedly check objects. Murphy said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Animals, Human Health & Wellness, Mammals0 Comments

Drug from Mushroom May Help Treat Cancer

NOTTINGHAM, England, Dec. 29 (UPI) — A drug derived from a mushroom — cordycepin — may be used to treat some cancers, British researchers say.

Dr. Cornelia de Moor of The University of Nottingham in England and colleagues are investigating the drug originally extracted from a rare parasitic mushroom called cordyceps that grows on caterpillars.

“Our discovery will open up the possibility of investigating the range of different cancers that could be treated with cordycepin,” de Moor says in a statement.

“We have also developed a very effective method that can be used to test new, more efficient or more stable versions of the drug in the petri dish. This is a great advantage as it will allow us to rule out any non-runners before anyone considers testing them in animals.”

The researchers say low-dose cordycepin seems to inhibit the uncontrolled growth and division of cells and at high doses it also inhibits growth by stopping cells from sticking together. Both of these effects, they say, probably have the same underlying mechanism — interfering with the production of cell proteins.

The findings are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Effects Of Air Pollution, Human Health & Wellness0 Comments

National Steak and Poultry Recalls 248,000 Pounds of Beef for E. Coli

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) — National Steak and Poultry has recalled 248,000 pounds of beef products from six states because of a risk of E. coli, U.S. inspectors said.

The inspectors, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said they linked meat from the plant to an outbreak of E. coli in the six states.

National Steak and Poultry, of Owasso, Okla., issued the recall in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Michigan, and Washington, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a release.

The recall included products labeled National Steak and Poultry beef sirloin steak, boneless beef tips, boneless beef sirloin steak, savory sirloin tips, bacon wrapped beef filet, select beef shoulder, marinated tender medallions, Philly steak and boneless beef trimmings.

Each package contained a label marked “EST. 6010T” inside the USDA mark of inspection and packaging dates of Oct. 12-14 or Oct. 21.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Farming & Ranching, Food & Nutrition, Food Consumption, Food Industry, Food Quality & Safety, Human Health & Wellness, Packaging0 Comments

CDC: Coal Miners Dying at Younger Ages

ATLANTA, Dec. 23 (UPI) — The occupational overexposure to coal mine dust by coal miners continues to occur despite legally enforceable limits, U.S. health officials say.

Deaths occurring among younger persons from coal workers’ pneumoconiosis declined substantially from 1968-2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Wednesday says. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis is the accumulation of coal dust in the lungs and the tissue’s reaction to its presence.

However, annual years of potential life before age 65 of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis have been increasing since 2002, and mean years of potential life before age 65 per decedent has been increasing since the early 1990s — meaning that workers die at younger age — the study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health finds.

The NIOSH study recommends hazard surveillance, workplace-specific interventions and strengthening of current coal workers’ pneumoconiosis prevention and elimination efforts to protect workers’ health.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Coal, Energy & Fuels, Human Health & Wellness, Occupational Health0 Comments

Air Pollution Linked to Pneumonia Hospitalizations in Seniors

HAMILTON, Ontario, Dec. 23 (UPI) — Prolonged exposure to higher levels of air pollution can lead to hospitalization for pneumonia in adults age 65 and older, Canadian researchers found.

Infectious disease specialist Mark Loeb of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in Hamilton led a research team in recruiting 365 older adults from Hamilton who had been hospitalized with radiologically confirmed pneumonia from July 2003 to April 2005. Control subjects randomly selected from the same neighborhoods as the patients were also enrolled in the study.

The researchers used structured interviews to collect health data from participants and compared the two groups’ exposures to data from air-quality monitoring stations and land-use regression models.

The researchers found that exposure for more than 12 months to higher levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter of less than 2.5 micrometers more than doubled the risk of hospitalization for pneumonia in adults age 65 and older. However, exposure to sulfur dioxide was not associated with an increased risk of hospitalization.

“Our study found that among older individuals, long-term exposure to traffic pollution independently increased their risk of hospitalization for pneumonia,” Loeb said in a statement.

The findings are scheduled to be published in the Jan. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Air Pollutants, Air Pollution, Air, Atmosphere, & Weather, Effects Of Air Pollution, Human Health & Wellness, Pollution & Toxins, Seniors’ Health0 Comments

H1N1 Infants Vaccine Recalled

ATLANTA, Dec. 15 (UPI) — About 800,000 doses of H1N1 flu vaccine for infants made by Sanofi-Aventis are being recalled, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the shots from the French drug maker may have been slightly under-strength. Most of them are presumed to have been administered already and parents are not being urged to contact their doctors, The New York Times reported.

“We think children who got the vaccine are fully protected, assuming they got the two shots we recommend for that age,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the thimerosal-free vaccine, meant for children 6-to-36 months old, was fully potent when released but had dropped 12 percent during follow-up testing, the Times reported.

The recall of the prefilled syringes, which were released a month ago, is voluntary. Doctors are being told to return any supplies they have left.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Children’s Health & Parenting, Human Health & Wellness, Medicine & Pharmaceuticals0 Comments

Mesothelioma, Tumors and 2,200 Dead are Focus at Asbestos Trials

TURIN, Italy, Dec. 11 (UPI) — The trial of two former executives of a Swiss building firm accused of negligence in 2,200 asbestos-related deaths moved into its second day in Italy Friday.

The two suspects, one a Swiss billionaire and the other a Belgian baron, are being tried in absentia in Turin. They are accused of causing an environmental disaster and failing to take proper safety measures at the cement giant Eternit.

Italian media are calling the case, in which nearly 3,000 people are seeking damages, the “trial of the century,” ANSA reported.

Eternit’s Swiss owner, Stephan Schmidheiny, 62, who has a defense team of 26 lawyers, and the former managing director, the Belgian baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, 88, deny any wrongdoing. If convicted they could each face 12 years in prison.

Thousands showed up for the trial’s beginning on Thursday with interest so high it required three courtrooms with hundreds of relatives and journalists watching on videolink.

Outside, demonstrators and relatives of victims who worked at Eternit plants in Europe held placards calling for justice.

Prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello told reporters asbestos dust in the air from roofs, streets and courtyards caused tumors among Eternit staff, their families and people living near the factories and has left around 800 seriously ill.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Human Health & Wellness, Other0 Comments

Children Attend H1N1 Vaccination Clinic in Arlington, Virginia

H1N1 Vaccination Clinic in Arlington, Virginia

A health officer administers an H1N1 vaccination shot to 4 year-old Marley Kurey, as her mother Heather holds her, at the Department of Human Services in Arlington, Virginia on December 10, 2009. UPI/Alexis C. Glenn

Date Taken: December 10, 2009

Posted in Human Health & Wellness, Services0 Comments

EPA Declares Greenhouse Gases as Public Health Hazard

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Monday declared greenhouse gas emissions a public health hazard that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

“These long-overdue findings cement 2009′s place in history as the year when the United States Government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said during a news conference. “Business leaders, security experts, government officials, concerned citizens and the United States Supreme Court have called for enduring, pragmatic solutions to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution that is causing climate change.”

She said the declaration allows the federal government to move toward clean energy reform that will cut greenhouse gases and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Greenhouse gases are the primary driver of climate change, which can lead to hotter, longer heat waves that threaten the health of the sick, poor or elderly. Climate change also increases in ground-level ozone pollution linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses, among other things, the EPA said in a release.

EPA’s final findings respond to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that greenhouse gases fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. The findings don’t impose any emission reduction requirements but allow the EPA to finalize the greenhouse gases standards proposed earlier in 2009 for new light-duty vehicles as part of the joint rule-making with the Department of Transportation.

The endangerment finding covers emissions of six greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollutants, Energy, Human Health & Wellness, Other, Ozone, Transportation0 Comments

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