Health Highlights: Aug. 9, 2007

Users suck on oral snuff by placing it between their cheeks and gums. This study compared 182 oral snuff users with 420 cigarette smokers and found that oral snuff users were exposed to higher levels of 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK).

NNK is known to cause lung cancer in humans as well as cancers of the pancreas, liver and nasal mucosa in laboratory animals.

The study is published in the August issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

"Smokeless tobacco products have been proposed by some as safer alternatives to cigarettes, but they are not safe. The only likely safe alternative to smoking is the long term use of nicotine replacement therapy as a means to reduce dependence," study author Stephen S. Hecht, professor of cancer prevention, said in a prepared statement.


Stress Linked to Periodontal Disease

Anxiety and stress may increase your risk of periodontal disease, says a research review in the August issue of the Journal of Periodontology.

The authors reviewed studies conducted between 1990 and 2006 and found that 57 percent of them identified a strong correlation between stress, distress, anxiety, loneliness, depression and periodontal disease, CBC News reported.

"More research is needed to determine the definitive relationship between stress and periodontal diseases. However, patients who minimize stress may be at less risk for periodontal disease," review author Daiane Peruzzo said in a prepared statement.

The review authors suggested that the stress-related hormone cortisol may be linked to increased destruction of gums and jaw bone. The hormone may also suppress the immune system, allowing bacteria in the mouth to flourish, CBC News reported.

The authors also noted that stress can trigger unhealthy oral habits in people, such as smoking, eating unhealthy foods, forgetting to properly clean their teeth and gums, and failure to have regular dental checkups.


President Bush in Good Health

President George W. Bush is "fit for duty," doctors said Wednesday after Bush had his annual physical, the Associated Press reported.

Bush usually gets his annual physical in August at the National Naval Medical Center in suburban Maryland. But this year, he had it at the White House. The time and place of the physical were not announced beforehand.

Also Wednesday, the White House revealed that Bush was successfully treated for Lyme disease nearly a year ago. He was treated for what the White House called "early, localized Lyme disease" last August after developing the characteristic bulls-eye rash, the AP said.

Among the other results of Bush's checkup:

  • His cholesterol count is at a healthy level (170), his resting pulse is 52 beats per minute, and he's at low to very low risk of coronary artery disease.
  • His weight dropped to 192 pounds from 196 pounds last year and his body fat percentage declined to 16.6 from 16.8.
  • He has seasonal allergies that are controlled and he's recovering from a sinus infection.
  • He's had no recurrence of occasional spells of stomach acid reflux and there's been no worsening of his mild high frequency hearing loss.
  • He takes a daily multivitamin but doesn't routinely taken any prescription medications.
  • Overall, he's in the "superior" fitness category for a man of his age.


Peter Pan Peanut Butter Back in U.S. Stores

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