Sept. 12, 2006
-- LIFTING WEIGHTS BAD FOR EYES Weightlifting might lead to an increase risk of glaucoma -- the leading cause of blindness in the United States. A study in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology reports that lifting weights temporarily increases pressure within the eyes -- which they say could lead to a higher risk of getting a certain type of glaucoma called normal pressure glaucoma. Past studies have also suggested that people who play certain wind instruments or do things that strain their breath in certain ways also have a greater risk of NPG. The authors say patients with this type of glaucoma should talk to their doctor about exercise routines.
VITAMIN D PREVENTS PANCREATIC CANCER? Taking Vitamin D might help prevent pancreatic cancer. A study from the Wisconsin School of Medicine finds that people who take at least 400 international units a day of Vitamin D had a 43-percent lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Taking more than 400 IU did not seem to help more, and taking less than 400 showed no help at all. They also looked at calcium and Vitamin A, but neither showed any benefit. Although the findings are still a loose link, the deadly nature of this cancer and the ease and safety of taking Vitamin D supplements or even a daily multivitamin makes this item noteworthy. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cancer killer in the United States. About 32,000 new cases are diagnosed in America every year.
AMERICA'S "LONGEVITY GAP" IS WIDENING Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health say health in the United States is becoming even more divided: Some groups are living longer and longer while others are dying sooner. For example, Asian women living in Bergen County, N.J., have a life expectancy of 91 years, while American Indian residents in South Dakota live an average of only 58 years. The report finds that people in healthy counties are getting healthier, while the sickest ones have stayed the same or even worsened over time. Where you live, how much money you make, and what race you are seem to play the biggest roles in one's health. This report is published in the Public Library of Science.
POSTHURRICANE "TOXIC SOUP" NOT SO SERIOUS AFTER ALL After the high winds and flooding from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many feared that the "toxic soup" would create environmental pollution and public health problems. A collection of new studies presented this week at the American Chemical Society annual meeting, however, show that the dreaded toxic soup wasn't so toxic after all. Soil samples collected were similar to those before the hurricanes: Fish did not absorb toxic chemicals at a high rate, etc. Researchers say these findings show that the hurricanes did not stir up the deadly chemicals that people feared they would.
LIVER CANCER PREVENTER People with liver disease from viruses such as hepatitis have an increased risk for developing liver cancer, but now an old drug for gout could be the key. A study of people with liver disease finds that those who took the anti-inflammatory drug Colchicine had a much lower risk of getting liver cancer down the road. Of 116 patients taking the drug, only one in 10 later had liver cancer -- compared to one in four patients who did not take the drug. Of those who still got cancer, they developed it later and lived longer than untreated patients. This type of liver cancer is the fifth-leading cancer worldwide with 1 million deaths per year. The study comes from scientists in Mexico and is published in the journal CANCER.