Colorectal Cancer Appears More Common in Men

COLON CANCER MORE COMMON in MEN Colorectal cancer appears to be more common in men than women, according to a new study from Poland published in this week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Doctors using colonoscopy on 50,000 patients found 73 percent more advanced cancerous lesions in males than in their female counterparts. Currently, recommendations say that both men and women go in for a colonoscopy at age 50 and follow up about every 10 years, with earlier and more frequent visits advised for people with a family history of colon or rectal cancers. The authors of this study predict that their findings may lead to the adjustment of screening recommendations for colorectal cancer based on sex, where men may need to be screened more often.

TREATING GUM DISEASE in PREGNANT WOMEN DOESN'T HELP BABIES There is plenty of evidence that women with gum disease are more likely to have premature and undersize babies, so doctors naturally thought that treating the gum disease in the moms would improve the babies' situation. The theory was that the gum disease allowed bacteria to get into the mother's bloodstream and cause problems in the pregnancy. Turns out it's not that simple. A new study from researchers at the University of Minnesota finds that treating pregnant women improves their gums, but does not change the likelihood of having a premature baby. Doctors are not sure whether treating the women during pregnancy is too late in the process to benefit the babies, or whether gum disease really has no role causal role in prematurity. These findings were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

RELIGIOUS LIFE MAY LENGTHEN LUNG HEALTH Senior citizens who regularly attend religious services may experience lower levels of lung decline, report researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health. In a five-year study of 1,174 senior citizens ages 70 years to 79 years, scientists found that the lung function of people who attended religious services decreased at half the rate of those who never attended. Because the difference in lung health could not be explained by smoking or physical-activity levels, researchers suggest that spirituality may influence well-being. Attending regular religious services also provides emotional and physical benefits, such as reducing stress and providing people with a support system when they need it. These findings were published in the most recent issue of the Annals Behavioral Medicine.

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.