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Health Updates 18 October 2011

  • Getting your hair done at a salon may help save your life: Researchers surveyed more than 200 stylists and barbers from 17 Houston-area salons and found that while few of them had formal training in detecting cancer, more than half of them already had found a cancerous mole or lesion on customers.  They also expressed interest in learning more about how to better detect cancers on their customers’ scalps, faces and necks.” (Vitals/MSNBC.com)
  • Cost of health insurance premiums on the rise in 2012, but pace is less than the rising costs of total benefits: “However, an aging workplace, more chronic illness and an increase in catastrophic claims will, for the first time, drive the average cost of benefits per employee over the $10,000 mark, the report said.  Large companies can expect the average total health-care premium for each employee to be $10,475 in 2012, up from $9,792 in 2011, and $9,111 in 2010.  Employees will pay about 22 percent of the total premium, while employers shoulder the rest.” (Orlando Sentinel)
  • The Claim: Yoga can help manage pain.  Really?  “For many people, yoga is more than just exercise: Studies show it is one of the most commonly used forms of alternative therapy in the country.  Many rely on yoga to relieve chronic and acute pain.  The reasons for this are varied.  Some researchers believe that yoga may alleviate pain through relaxation and the release of endorphins.  Others say it may reduce inflammation and promote positive emotions…..Nine out of 10 clinical trials found yoga could help provide relief from pain, which the authors called ‘encouraging’.  But they also noted that no definitive conclusion could be reached, for a number of reasons….While the evidence suggests that yoga has the potential to alleviate pan, they wrote, the science is not firm enough to say for certain.  The bottom line: A review of the research on yoga suggests that it may have some usefulness in relieving pain, but more research is needed.” (Anahad O’Connor, NY Times)
  • Bacterium that causes gum disease and appendicitis may be linked to colon cancer: “If the finding can be validated by larger studies, fusobacterium might one day be used to prevent and screen for colorectal cancer, currently detectable through colonoscopy or tests for the presence of blood in the stool.  Fusobacterium also might play a role in determining the prognosis of colorectal cancers and shaping their treatment, according to two research teams independently reporting a relationship between the rod-shaped microbe and cancers of the lower digestive system.” (ABC News)
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