Friday, 10 October 2008

Just a minute!!

Cary G Dean.

(Scroll down for complete stories)

1. Red Wine Cuts Lung Cancer Risk
2. Pneumonia Vaccine Halves Heart Attack Risk
3. Link Between Air Pollution and Appendicitis
4. New Genetic Fetus Test Reduces Miscarriage Risk
5. Using Fans May Slash SIDS Risk

Red Wine Cuts Lung Cancer Risk

Enjoying a glass or two of red wine daily may slash your risk of developing lung cancer by 60 percent if you’re a smoker.

A study published in the October issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, found that moderate consumption of red wine lowered the risk of lung cancer in men.

“An antioxidant compound in red wine may be protective of lung cancer, particularly among smokers,” said Chun Chao, Ph.D., a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Pasadena, California.

The study collected information on over 84,000 men aged 45 to 69 years old in California’s health care system.

Scientists measured the effects of beer, white wine, red wine and liquor on the risk of developing lung cancer.

Factors such as race, education, body mass index, and smoking history were also considered.

The researchers found that for every glass of red wine consumed each month, the risk of developing lung cancer dropped by two percent.

The biggest reduction was seen in smokers who drank one or two glasses of red wine daily. Their risk was reduced by 60 percent. Beer, white wine and liquor had no measureable effect.

“Red wine is known to contain high levels of antioxidants,” said Chao. “Red wine is known to contain high levels of antioxidants.

There is a compound called resveratrol that is very rich in red wine because it is derived from the grape skin.

This compound has shown significant health benefits in preclinical studies.”

Researchers warn that their findings shouldn’t encourage heavy drinking and also noted that even smokers who drank red wine had a higher risk of lung cancer than non-smokers.

Link Between Air Pollution and Appendicitis

Could there be a link between high levels of air pollution and the risk of appendicitis?

New research presented at the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando, suggests a novel connection.

“Adult onset appendicitis is a common condition whose cause is unclear and almost universally requires surgery,” explained Dr. Gilaad G. Kaplan of the University of Calgary.

Dr. Kaplan and his colleagues identified more than 5,000 adults who were hospitalized for appendicitis in Calgary between 1999 and 2006.

The team used data from Environment Canada’s National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) monitors that collect hourly levels of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter of varying sizes.

Regression analysis was used to evaluate whether short-term daily changes in air pollution levels were related to the development of appendicitis.

When researchers compared the 5-day average of ozone concentrations prior to admission to the hospital, patients were approximately 15 percent more likely to be hospitalized for appendicitis on days of highest ozone concentrations compared to days of lowest ozone concentrations.

Similar findings were seen for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter, though with lower effect.

Notably, the effect of air pollution was strongest during the summer months, when people were more likely to be outside.

Exposure to air pollutants, particularly ozone, was associated with a modest increased risk of developing appendicitis.

Previous studies have shown that air pollution may promote other disease states through inflammation, and this may be the mechanism by which air pollution increases the risk of appendicitis.

“If the relationship between air pollution and appendicitis is confirmed, then improving air quality may prevent the occurrence of appendicitis in some individuals,” said Dr. Kaplan.

New Genetic Fetus Test Reduces Miscarriage Risk

A new prenatal test to detect genetic disorders such as Down's Syndrome could render current riskier procedures "obsolete," according to new research published Monday.

The new method, developed by researchers at Stanford University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, California requires a simple blood sample from the mother to spot chromosomal disorders.

The test examines fragments of fetal DNA in the mother's blood.

"Right now, people are risking their pregnancies to get this information," said Yair Blumenfeld, a postdoctoral medical fellow in obstetrics and gynecology and co-author of a paper describing the technique.

Current prenatal gene tests carry a small risk of miscarriage, as the sampling requires inserting a needle in the uterus.

"Non-invasive testing will be much safer than current approaches," said Stephen Quake, professor of bioengineering and the study's senior author.

Not only is the new test safer, but researchers suggest it will be able to spot genetic problems earlier in gestation than other methods.

The new technique scans for fetal aneuploidy in the maternal blood sample, which is an abnormality in the number of fetal chromosomes.

Humans typically inherit 46 chromosomes, half from each parent, and errors in the chromosome number result in serious problems in physical and mental development, such as Down's Syndrome.

The study is published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using Fans May Slash SIDS Risk

Fan use appears to be associated with a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in rooms with inadequate ventilation, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The national incidence of SIDS decreased 56 percent from 1992 to 2003, according to background information in the article.

This decline is largely attributed to the increased use of the supine sleep position (lying on the back with head facing up) after the introduction of the “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1994.

In more recent years, the decrease in SIDS has leveled off. “Although caretakers should continue to be encouraged to place infants on their backs to sleep, other potentially modifiable risk factors in the sleep environment should be examined to promote further decline in the rate of SIDS.”

The association between room ventilation and SIDS risk is a factor that has not received sufficient attention.

Inadequate room ventilation might facilitate the pooling of carbon dioxide around an infant’s nose and mouth, increasing the likelihood of rebreathing.

The movement of air in the room may potentially reduce the risk of SIDS.

Kimberly Coleman-Phox, M.P.H., and colleagues at Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., analyzed information from interviews of mothers of 185 infants who had died from SIDS and mothers of 312 randomly selected infants from the same county, maternal race/ethnicity and age.

Mothers were asked about fan use, pacifier use, open window in the room at the infant’s last sleep, room location, sleep surface, number and type of covers over the infant, bedding under the infant and room temperature.

Compared with infants who did not die from SIDS, at the last sleep, more infants who died from SIDS:

• were placed on their stomachs or sides (68.9 percent vs. 43.9 percent)

• did not use a pacifier (95.9 percent vs. 76.4 percent)

• were found with bedding or clothing covering the head (11.4 percent vs. 4.5 percent)

• slept on a soft surface (12.1 percent vs. 6.8 percent)

• shared a bed with someone other than a parent (14 percent vs. 5.5 percent)

The use of soft bedding underneath the infant and room temperature at last sleep were the same for both groups of children.

Having a fan on during sleep was associated with a 72 percent decrease in SIDS risk compared to sleeping in a room without a fan.

Fan use in warmer room temperatures (above 21 degrees Celcius/69 degrees Fahrenheit) was associated with a 94 percent decreased risk of SIDS compared with no fan use.

Fan use also was associated with a decreased risk of SIDS in infants who slept in the prone or side position, shared a bed with someone other than their parents or did not use a pacifier.

Despite the effectiveness of placing infants on their backs to sleep in lowering SIDS risk, approximately 25 percent of child care providers do not regularly follow this practice.

“Use of the prone sleep position [lying with the front or face downward] remains highest in care providers who are young, black or of low income or who have low educational attainment,” the authors conclude.

“In this study, the frequency of fan use was similar in young and less educated women as in other women; thus, fan use can be easily adopted by these populations.

“Although improving the methods used to convey the importance of the supine sleep position remains paramount, use of a fan in the room of a sleeping infant may be an easily available means of further reducing SIDS risk that can be readily accepted by care providers from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds.”

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