Health Updates 12 April 2011

  • Renewed Questions About Heart Deaths in Student Athletes: Recent sudden cardiac deaths among high school athletes have renewed questions about whether young athletes are properly screened and how common the risk really is. A new study, which examined sudden death from 2004 to 2008 among NCAA student-athletes ages 17 -23, “found that certain athletes were at higher risk, including black athletes and Division I basketball players.  The incidence of sudden cardiac death among black athletes was one in 18,000, possibly because of a higher prevalence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a leading cause of sudden cardiac death”.  Sports physician Dr. Kimberly G. Harmon, University of Washington, believes athletes should be screened with electrocardiograms – a pretty inexpensive test, noting “everyone else in the world does ECG screening as part of their sports screening”. (Roni Caryn Rabin, NY Times)
  • Allergies Can Increase the Risk of Depression: “Several large studies have found that the risk of depression in people with severe allergies is about twice that of those without allergies….A Finnish population study in 2003 found a link between allergies and depression; however, women were much more likely to be affected.  In 2000, a study of twins in Finland also showed a shared risk for depression and allergies, a result of genetic influences, the authors wrote”. (NY Times)
  • Study Shows That Coffee Cravings Are Genetic: “Those in the study who had the most caffeine-seeking version of CYP1A2 consumed an average of 30 milligrams more of the stuff each day than those with the most caffeine-indifferent version.  People with the most caffeine-dependent version of the AHR gene consumed an average of 44 mg more per day than their counterparts with the least caffeine-seeking version”. (LA Times,

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