Psoriasis Sufferers May Be More at Risk for Heart Attacks

PSORIASIS MAY INCREASE HEART ATTACK RISK Adults with psoriasis, particularly younger people with severe psoriasis, may have an increased risk for heart attack, according to new results from a large study that included over 130,000 psoriasis patients. The results showed that a 30-year-old patient with mild psoriasis had only a very small increase in risk, around 36 percent greater risk compared to a person without psoriasis. Because overall risk of heart attack in a thirty year-old person is very low, an increase of 36 percent doesn't really change the picture that much. However, in a 30-year-old patient with severe psoriasis, risk of heart attack was more than three times as great. With age, though, the differences disappeared, and a sixty year-old patient with psoriasis, either mild or severe, did not have much increased risk of heart attack at all. This study was led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

OPTING OUT OF VACCINES MAY INCREASE WHOOPING COUGH RATES States that easily let parents opt out of vaccinating their kids tend to have higher rates of whooping cough, according to a new study by scientists at Johns Hopkins University. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that the average percentage of people opting out of vaccinations for personal, non-medical reasons has more than doubled from 1 percent in 1991 to 2.5 percent in 2004. States with easier, personal-belief exemptions had increased whooping cough rates compared to states with only religious or hard-to-obtain exemptions.

SMOKING BAN IMPROVES WORKERS' LUNGS A Scottish study looking at the changes in bar workers' health before and after a smoking ban finds that the reduction in second-hand smoke improved the workers' lung function, reduced the amount of nicotine in their systems, and reduced their inflammation levels. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, both asthmatic and non-asthmatic workers benefited from the smoke-free working environment, and improvements in health measured occurred in as little as one month's time.

STAT is a brief look at the latest medical research and is compiled by Joanna Schaffhausen, who holds a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. She works in the ABC News Medical Unit, evaluating medical studies, abstracts and news releases.

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