STAT Medical News: Asbestos Exposure Now Linked to Laryngeal Cancer

ASBESTOS CANCER REPORT A new report from the Institute of Medicine finds sufficient evidence for a causal link between asbestos exposure and laryngeal cancer. Asbestos has previously been implicated in lung cancer and mesothelioma, and now cancer of the larynx can be added to the list. The Institute of Medicine also looked at whether asbestos exposure might be linked to other cancers, such as stomach and colorectal cancer, but ruled that there was no conclusive evidence on that front.

BLOOD PRESSURE DRUG LINKED TO BIRTH DEFECTS A new study suggests that the blood pressure drugs known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are associated with a nearly threefold increase in birth defects if taken by pregnant women during their first trimester. The labeling on ACE inhibitors states that a woman should stop taking them when she becomes pregnant, but the drugs have been considered safe for the first trimester. However, a new study of 29,500 infants in the New England Journal of Medicine found that babies exposed to ACE inhibitors during the early months of pregnancy were 2.7 times more likely to suffer birth defects than babies who were not exposed to the drugs.

RACE & BREAST CANCER African-American women may have a higher death rate from breast cancer because they are more likely to get a particularly aggressive form of the disease at a young age, researchers report in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association. Doctors examined 496 cases of invasive breast cancer and found that younger, premenopausal African-American women were more likely to have the aggressive subtype (37 percent) when compared to postmenopausal African American women (14 percent) and non-African-American women (16 percent).

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.