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Yoga + Aerobics Doubles Heart Benefits

FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — A combination of yoga and aerobic exercise may benefit people with heart disease, according to a new study. "Combined Indian yoga and aerobic exercise reduce mental, physical and vascular stress and can lead to decreased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity," said study authors Sonal Tanwar and Dr. Naresh Sen, from Hridaya Ganesha Sunil Memorial Superspeciality Hospital in Jaipur, India. The study included 750 obese Indian heart disease patients with type 2 diabetes. They were divided into three groups. A group of 225 patients did aerobic exercise, a group of 240 did yoga, and the remaining 285 did both. All three groups saw improvements in their heart disease risk factors after participating in three sessions of the activities lasting six months each. Blood pressure went down similarly for the aerobic exercise-only and yoga-only groups. These groups also had similar improvements in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol. Weight and waist circumference also went down similarly for both of these groups, the study said. But patients who did both yoga and aerobic exercise had two times greater reductions for those measures than the other groups. They also had significant improvements in heart function and exercise capacity, the researchers said. The study was to be presented Thursday at the Emirates Cardiac Society Congress. This meeting is in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology Middle East Conference, in Dubai. "Heart disease patients could benefit from learning Indian yoga and making it a routine part of daily life," Tanwar and Sen said in a meeting news release. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on heart disease. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Drug OD Rate Now Higher in Rural U.S. Than Cities: CDC

FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Drug overdose death rates in rural areas of the United States are now higher than in cities, a trend that worries federal health officials. In 2015, drug overdose was the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States — with 52,000 fatalities attributed to opioid painkillers, heroin and other potentially deadly drugs, researchers said in a new report. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald said rising overdose death rates outside metropolitan areas warrant attention. "We need to understand why this is happening so that our work with states and communities can help stop illicit drug use and overdose deaths in America," Fitzgerald said in an agency news release. In 1999, drug overdose death rates were 6.4 per 100,000 in urban regions and 4 per 100,000 in rural areas. But the gap gradually disappeared. By 2015, the rate was 17 per 100,000 in rural areas and 16.2 per 100,000 in cities, the study findings showed. The researchers assessed illicit drug use and disorders from 2003 to 2014, and drug overdose deaths from 1999 to 2015 in urban and rural areas. The investigators were led by Karin Mack of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Although the percentage of people reporting illegal drug use is actually lower in rural areas, the effects appear to be greater, the researchers noted. Overall, "most overdose deaths occurred in homes, where rescue efforts may fall to relatives who have limited knowledge of or access to life-saving treatment and overdose follow-up care," the authors explained in the news release. Looking at where drug users live and where they die from overdoses might lead to better preventive measures, the team pointed out. Some other findings in the report: Rising rates of drug overdose deaths nationwide between 1999 and 2015 were consistent across gender, race and intent (unintentional, suicide, homicide or undetermined). The actual number of drug overdose deaths remains much higher in cities. In 2015, about six times as many drug overdose deaths occurred in urban areas (45,059) as in rural areas (7,345). The percentage of people reporting use of illicit drugs in the past month fell among those aged 12 to 17 over a 10-year period, but rose sharply in other age groups. On a positive note, past-year illicit drug use disorders declined during 2003-2014. "On the one hand, the decline in illicit drug use by youth and the lower prevalence of illicit drug use disorders are encouraging signs," Mack's team wrote. "On the other hand, the increasing rate of drug overdose deaths in rural areas, which surpassed rates in urban areas, is cause for concern." Since rural residents are less likely to have access to substance abuse treatment services, the findings point to a need to beef up such services outside cities, the authors of the report said. Moreover, doctors should be updated on guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. And communities with high opioid-use disorder rates might benefit from greater access to addiction/overdose treatments such as methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone, Mack and colleagues concluded. The findings were published in the Oct. 20 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. More information The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about drug addiction. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Oral Sex Plus Smoking a Cancer Danger for Men

FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Smoking and oral sex may be a deadly combo that raises a man's risk for head and neck cancer, a new study suggests. The key factor is transmission of oral strains of the cancer-linked human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be passed through oral sex. In fact, men who smoke and have five or more partners with whom they've had oral sex — in this study, that typically meant cunnilingus — have the highest risk of developing a type of head and neck cancer known as oropharyngeal cancer. Dr. Otis Brawley is chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society. Reviewing the new study, he noted that "the incidence of oral HPV infection seems to be rising among white men in their 50s and 60s," perhaps due to increasing acceptance of oral sex. Still, for most people, the risk of contracting an HPV-linked head-and-neck cancer remains very low, said lead researcher Amber D'Souza. She is an associate professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. D'Souza added that the risk is far lower among women and nonsmokers, and people who have few oral sex partners. The new findings "should reassure people that cancer-causing oral HPV prevalence is low among most groups," D'Souza said. But certain groups do have higher risk. One recent study found that 11 million American men are infected with oral HPV. That means one in nine U.S. males aged 18 to 69 is infected. Brawley said that the increase is partly a result of the sexual revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. "The increase in oral sex led to the increased number of people with [oral] HPV," he said. For the new study, D'Souza's team reviewed data on more than 13,000 people, aged 20 to 69, who took part in a major federal government survey and had been tested for oral HPV infection. This survey is a nationally representative group, so it's likely that the vast majority of male participants who said they were the active partner in oral sex were heterosexual men engaging in cunnilingus. To predict the risk of cancer from oral HPV infection, the researchers used the numbers of oropharyngeal cancer cases and deaths from U.S. cancer registries. The investigators found that men and women who had one or no oral sex partners had the lowest prevalence of cancer-causing oral HPV. Rates of HPV infection went up in smokers, however, and the rate also went up when men and women had two or more oral sex partners, though the rates were still low. The risk increased dramatically — to 7 percent — among men who smoked and had two to four oral sex partners. The risk rose to nearly 7.5 percent among men who didn't smoke but who had five or more oral sex partners, D'Souza's team found. And the greatest risk (nearly 15 percent) was seen among men who smoked and who also had five or more oral sex partners, the findings showed. More than 100 types of HPV exist, but only a few cause cancer, including cervical cancer, D'Souza noted. Most people who contract oral HPV rid themselves of it naturally within about nine months, Brawley noted. "But there are a group of people who get the infection and keep the infection for 20 or 30 years. Those are the people who end up getting head or neck or cervical cancer," he said. Each year in the United States, about 16,500 cases of oropharyngeal cancer are diagnosed. Of these, 11,500 (70 percent) are related to HPV infection, D'Souza said. Screening for oral HPV infection probably isn't the answer, D'Souza said, because the cancers are so rare. "Current tests might identify who has an oral HPV, but do not predict future cancer risk well," she explained. Brawley suggested that there is one easily available prevention: the HPV vaccine. Given early in life, it protects against cervical cancer and anal cancer, and most likely protects against head and neck cancer, too, he said. The hope is that over time as more kids are vaccinated, cancers caused by HPV will greatly diminish, Brawley said. Patti Gravitt is a professor in the department of global health at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She said the connection between oral HPV and smoking isn't clear. "We also see a connection between smoking and cervical cancer, so it's likely that smoking and HPV interact in some way to increase the risk of cancer," Gravitt said. The report was published Oct. 20 in the Annals of Oncology. More information For more about HPV, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Hepatitis C Screening May Boost Opioid Treatment Success

When people find out they have the infection, they're more likely to stay off drugs FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Opioid abuse therapy may be more effective if patients are screened for hepatitis C as part of the program, a new Canadian study says. The research found a sharp drop in opioid abuse among patients after they were told they tested positive for the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C causes liver disease that can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer and liver failure, the researchers said. "Our study showed awareness of HCV infection among this particular population may motivate them to reduce their consumption and hopefully high-risk behavior," said lead investigator Dr. Hooman Farhang Zangneh, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Toronto Centre for Liver Disease at Toronto General Hospital. The primary cause of hepatitis C transmission is infected blood, which is often transmitted through needle sharing to inject drugs. The study included more than 2,400 patients at 43 addiction treatment clinics in Ontario who were screened for hepatitis C infection. Of those patients, nearly 22 percent tested positive for the virus. After following these patients for a year, the researchers found that those who tested positive for hepatitis C were 33 percent more likely to significantly reduce their use of non-prescribed opioids, benzodiazepines and cocaine than those who tested negative for the virus. "Bearing in mind that effective, accessible and durable curative options are currently available, it is highly advisable to screen these clients and use this opportunity as an appropriate time to share motivational and educational resources and information with them. This way, we can provide enhanced support for them, which will have beneficial effects in both individual and societal levels," Zangneh said in a news release from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. The study is to be presented Friday at the association's annual meeting, in Washington, D.C. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on hepatitis C. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Can Aspirin Stop Liver Cancer in Hepatitis B Patients?

FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Daily aspirin may reduce the risk of liver cancer for people with hepatitis B infection, a new study suggests. Hepatitis B virus attacks the liver and can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. Previous research suggests daily low-dose aspirin therapy may prevent cancer, but there is little clinical evidence on whether regular aspirin use can prevent liver cancer in people with hepatitis B. Researchers from Taiwan analyzed data from close to 205,000 patients with chronic hepatitis B. They found that those on daily aspirin were much less likely to develop liver cancer over five years than those who did not take aspirin. It's important to note, however, that the study only found these associations, but did not establish a cause-and-effect link. The findings are scheduled to be presented Monday at an American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases meeting, in Washington, D.C. About 240 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis B, according to the association. While antiviral medicines can significantly reduce liver cancer risk in people with the hepatitis B virus (HBV), they don't eliminate it and are not appropriate for everyone, said lead investigator Dr. Teng-Yu Lee. Lee is a researcher in the department of gastroenterology at Taichung Veterans General Hospital. "For effectively preventing HBV-related liver cancer, the findings of this study may help hepatologists treat patients with chronic HBV infection in the future, particularly for those who are not indicated for antiviral therapy. We are pursuing prospective investigations for further confirming the findings," Lee said in a meeting news release. Research presented at medical meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on hepatitis B. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Exercising With Asthma or Allergies

FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Allergies and asthma can make exercise more challenging. But if your condition is well managed and you take a few precautions, you should be able to work out without worry. Know your allergy or asthma triggers and exercise around them. For instance, when the pollen count is high, exercise indoors with windows and doors closed. When you do exercise outside, avoid high-allergen areas like grassy fields, parks and heavily trafficked roads. Dry air can be particularly irritating to people with asthma while moist air often makes exercise easier. That might mean skipping endurance activities like cross-country skiing in favor of swimming in an indoor pool. When exercising outdoors, breathe through your nose rather than your mouth as much as possible — nasal passages filter air and trap allergens and irritants. Long-distance running and high-energy basketball are among the types of exercise more likely to cause exercise-induced asthma, or what's now called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, or EIB. Most people with asthma experience it when airways are narrowed from exertion, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Talk to your doctor about a regimen of bronchodilators that may help prevent EIB, allowing you to exercise with less fear of an attack. Also, a 15-minute warm-up and a 15-minute cool-down may prevent or limit the severity of exercise-induced asthma. Never leave your home without your medications, such as a rescue inhaler or, if you're allergic to insect stings, an epinephrine auto-injector. And be sure to postpone your workout any time your symptoms aren't well controlled or when you're sick. More information The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has more about exercise-induced bronchoconstriction and how to better manage workouts. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Smartphones, Tablets Sabotaging Teens’ Sleep

Study found more adolescents getting less rest because of temptations of technology FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Teens sleep less than they used to, sacrificing shuteye to spend more time on their phones and tablets. Experts say teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night to be engaged and productive during the day. Anything less can cause daytime sleepiness and interfere with school or daily activities. Faced with an array of tempting distractions, how much sleep are today's teens actually getting? To find out, researchers analyzed a pair of long-term, national surveys of more than 360,000 eighth- through 12th-graders. One survey asked eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders how often they got at least seven hours of shuteye. The other asked high school students how long they slept on a typical school night. In 2015, 4 out of 10 teens slept less than seven hours a night. That's up 58 percent since 1991 and 17 percent more than in 2009 when smartphone use became more mainstream, the researchers said. "Teens' sleep began to shorten just as the majority started using smartphones. It's a very suspicious pattern," said study leader Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University. The more time students reported spending online, the less sleep they got, according to the study published Oct. 19 in the journal Sleep Medicine. Those who were online five hours a day were 50 percent more likely to be sleep-deprived than classmates who limited their daily time online to an hour. Studies have shown that light from smartphones and tablets can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle. "Our body is going to try to meet its sleep needs, which means sleep is going to interfere or shove its nose in other spheres of our lives," said study co-author Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University. "Teens may catch up with naps on the weekend or they may start falling asleep at school." Though smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices are often an essential part of life, the researchers said moderation is key. Everyone — young and old alike — should limit use to two hours each day, they advised in a San Diego State University news release. "Given the importance of sleep for both physical and mental health, both teens and adults should consider whether their smartphone use is interfering with their sleep," Twenge said. "It's particularly important not to use screen devices right before bed, as they might interfere with falling asleep." More information The National Sleep Foundation provides more information on teens and sleep. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Pollution Tied to 9 Million Deaths Worldwide in 2015

FRIDAY, Oct. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Pollution led to more than 9 million deaths worldwide in 2015, or 1 in 6 deaths that year, a new report reveals. Air pollution, the worst culprit, was linked to 6.5 million heart- and lung-related deaths, The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health said. Water pollution was tied to 1.8 million deaths, mostly from gastrointestinal and parasitic infections. And workplace-related pollution and lead pollution also played a role, contributing to 800,000 deaths and 500,000 deaths, respectively. "Pollution is much more than an environmental challenge — it is a profound and pervasive threat that affects many aspects of human health and well-being," said Dr. Philip Landrigan, co-lead of the commission. "It deserves the full attention of international leaders, civil society, health professionals, and people around the world," added Landrigan, a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. The report is published in the Oct. 20 online issue of The Lancet. Two years in the making, it involved more than 40 international health and environmental authors. Air pollution-related deaths were attributed to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the report said. Occupational pollution led to deadly diseases such as pneumoconiosis (a lung disease caused by inhaling irritants) in coal workers; bladder cancer in dye workers; and asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and other cancers in workers exposed to asbestos, according to the report. Meanwhile, high blood pressure, kidney failure and heart disease contributed to deaths related to lead pollution. "Our goal is to raise global awareness of the importance of pollution, and mobilize the political will needed to tackle it, by providing the most in-depth estimates of pollution and health available," Landrigan said in a journal news release. Nearly all pollution-linked deaths (92 percent) were in low- and middle-income countries. In rapidly industrializing countries — such as Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, Kenya and Madagascar — pollution-linked deaths accounted for up to 1 in 4 of all fatalities, the report said. China and India suffered the most pollution-linked deaths — 4.3 million between them. The report authors said many emerging chemical pollutants remain unidentified, so the report likely underestimates the true extent of pollution-related disease and death. Richard Fuller, who also led the commission, said the way to tackle pollution is to make it a priority in terms of planning, research and finding. He is a founder of Pure Earth, a nonprofit group involved in pollution cleanup and prevention. "Pollution can be eliminated, and pollution prevention can be highly cost-effective — helping to improve health and extend life span, while boosting the economy," said Fuller. This has been seen in richer countries where legislation has helped to curb the most flagrant forms of pollution, he added. The result has been cleaner air and water, lower blood lead concentrations, removal of hazardous waste sites, and less polluted and more livable cities, Fuller said. More information The World Health Organization has more on the environment and health. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Ulster Hospital discrimination case over food allergies

A mother whose daughters have "life-threatening" food allergies took a discrimination case against a hospital after one had an allergic reaction. Maire-Iosa McVicker took her case after her children were twice exposed to food in an allergy clinic's waiting room. The waiting room in the Ulster Hospital originally had signs banning food and drink because of the risk to patients. The South Eastern Trust apologised after signs were removed and agreed to provide a specialised food-free room. 'Worried sick' The family was assisted in taking the disability discrimination case by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. Seven-year-old Aoibhe O'Donnell and her three-year-old sister, Meabh, attend regular appointments at the Ulster Hospital's allergy clinic. The girls both suffer from food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). The condition can result in "severe physical reactions leading to physiological shock when they come into contact with certain trigger foods," according to the commission. When the signs banning food and drink from the clinic's waiting room were removed, the family said they encountered two occasions where people were eating and drinking in the restricted area. On the first occasion, Aoibhe experienced an allergic reaction and the second time Ms McVicker removed her daughters from the room to keep them safe. "I came to the Equality Commission because I was worried sick about the exposure of my girls to what could be a life-threatening allergic reaction," she said. 'Great relief' "I felt that the trust, by allowing people to eat in the waiting room, had failed to make a reasonable adjustment which would help safeguard my daughters' health," said Ms McVicker. After settling her case, she said it was a "great relief" that the trust had come up with a solution to the problem. It has agreed to provide a separate parents' room which will be supervised at all times by a member of staff who will monitor the food and drink ban. The walls will be constructed of "fire glazing glass" and entry to the room will only be possible by swiping an electronic pass belonging to authorised staff. It will have clear signage informing the public of the ban and the room will be regularly cleaned with feedback from infection control. The work will begin next year as part of a wider refurbishment of the hospital's paediatric outpatients department. Until construction is complete, the trust will provide an interim waiting room where the food ban is monitored. Ms McVicker said the measures "will be of huge benefit to my children and to any others with similar conditions". The South Eastern Health apologised for "any upset and distress experienced" and settled the case without any admission of liability. Its director of hospital services, Seamus McGoran, said: "We recognise the challenges faced by children and parents living with complex allergies and are delighted that we have been able to find a solution for Aoibhe, Meabh and others when they attend for appointments." Anne McKernan from the Equality Commission, said: "This is a good example where, by using the opportunity provided by a refurbishment already scheduled, a reasonable adjustment has been made which will be of great benefit to the O'Donnell family and others in their position. "Every organisation providing services to the public, whether public or private, has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to make it easier for people with disabilities to use their services. "In this case the settlement involves no monetary compensation – but it does contain undertakings to provide a safe place for two little girls with a rare and serious condition." Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Pollution linked to one in six deaths

Pollution has been linked to nine million deaths worldwide in 2015, a report in The Lancet has found. Almost all of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, where pollution could account for up to a quarter of deaths. Bangladesh and Somalia were the worst affected. Air pollution had the biggest impact, accounting for two-thirds of deaths from pollution. Brunei and Sweden had the lowest numbers of pollution-related deaths. Most of these deaths were caused by non-infectious diseases linked to pollution, such as heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. "Pollution is much more than an environmental challenge – it is a profound and pervasive threat that affects many aspects of human health and wellbeing," said the study's author, Prof Philip Landrigan, of the Icahn School of Medicine, at Mount Sinai in New York. The biggest risk factor, air pollution, contributed to 6.5 million premature deaths. This included pollution from outdoor sources, such as gases, and in households, such as burning wood or charcoal indoors. The next largest risk factor, water pollution, accounted for 1.8 million deaths, while pollution in the workplace was linked to 800,000 deaths globally. About 92% of these deaths occurred in poorer countries, with the greatest impact felt in places undergoing rapid economic development such as India, which had the fifth highest level of pollution deaths, and China, which had the 16th. How bad is air pollution in the UK? In the UK, about 8% or 50,000 deaths are estimated to be linked to pollution. This puts the UK in 55th place out of the 188 countries measured, placing them behind the US and many European countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Dr Penny Woods, of the British Lung Foundation, said: "Air pollution is reaching crisis point worldwide, and the UK is faring worse than many countries in Western Europe and the US. "A contributing factor could be our dependence on diesel vehicles, notorious for pumping out a higher amount of poisonous particles and gases. "These hit people with a lung condition, children and the elderly hardest." In the United States, more than 5.8% – or 155,000 – deaths could be linked to pollution. The authors said air pollution affected the poor disproportionately, including those in poor countries as well as poor people in wealthy countries. Study author Karti Sandilya, from Pure Earth, a non-governmental organisation, said: "Pollution, poverty, poor health, and social injustice are deeply intertwined. "Pollution threatens fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, health, wellbeing, safe work, as well as protections of children and the most vulnerable." The results were the product of a two-year project. The authors have published an interactive map illustrating their data. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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