Health Highlights: March 14, 2008

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Unique Risk Factors May Help Spread Heart Disease in Developing Nations

Certain health issues may be helping the rapid spread of heart disease in developing nations, suggests a study that looked at 1,593 black and white cardiovascular disease patients in South Africa.

Many of the patients were obese, a recognized risk factor for heart disease. But the researchers noted other factors in these patients, including HIV infection and tuberculosis, late diagnosis, and a tendency to seek medical care only after consultation with a traditional healer failed to help, Agence France-Presse reported.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Unique Factors May Help Spread Heart Disease in Developing Nations
    • Lubbock Has Worst Teeth in U.S.: Study
    • South Korean Researcher Retracts Anti-Aging Papers
    • Microwave Popcorn Chemical Damages Airways: Study
    • Officials Investigating Possible CJD Deaths in Quebec
    • More Americans Getting Colorectal Cancer Screenings

The study appears in The Lancet medical journal. An accompanying commentary noted that the study's findings are "relevant to many areas of the world that face similar threats and the emergence of epidemics of heart disease."

The commentary said that in "some developing countries, such as India, the epidemiological transition has been more rapid and the speed of transition will vary from country to country depending on the exposure time and competing causes."

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Lubbock Has Worst Teeth in U.S.: Study

The best teeth in the United States are found in Madison, Wis., Nashville, Tenn., and Raleigh, N.C., while the worst are in Lubbock, Texas. Three other cities in the Lone Star state -- El Paso, San Antonio, and Dallas -- are also in the bottom 15 cities, says an article in next month's Men's Health magazine.

The authors looked at U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on the number of annual dentists visits, canceled appointments, regular flossers, and households using fluoride in 100 large cities, the Associated Press reported.

Some experts theorized that high level of fluoride in Lubbock's well water may be a factor. Too much fluoride in water can cause tooth enamel to become rough, leaving white or brown stains.

Others suggested that dental care is too expensive, which means low-income people can't afford regular checkups or education, the AP reported.

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South Korean Researcher Retracts Anti-Aging Papers

Two papers on anti-aging technology published in international journals have been retracted by a professor at a South Korean technical university after it was discovered that he fabricated evidence, the Associated Press reported.

Officials at the state-run Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology said biotechnology professor Kim Tae-kook admitted that he used forged data in a 2005 paper on anti-aging technology published in the journal Science, and in a follow-up 2006 paper published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

Kim has been suspended from teaching and conducting research at the institute, which is still investigating whether to impose additional disciplinary measures, the AP reported. It's not clear if Kim will face criminal charges.

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