Health Updates 12 January 2012

  • January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month: “Glaucoma damages the eye’s optic nerve.  It is a leading cause of blindness in the United States.  It usually happens when the fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises, damaging the optic nerve. Often there are no symptoms at first, but a comprehensive eye exam can detect it.  People at risk should get eye exams at least every two years.  They include African-Americans over age 40; People over age 60, especially Mexican Americans; People with a family history of glaucoma.  Early treatment can help protect your eyes against vision loss.  Treatments usually include prescription eye drops and/or surgery.” (National Eye Institute)
  • Teenage girls who drink have higher risk of benign breast disease: “Teenage girls with a family history of breast cancer – or of breast lesions that sometimes lead to breast cancer – have a higher risk of developing those lesions when they get older.  And a study indicates the risk of what’s called benign breast disease rises even more if the teenagers drink.  At Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Dr. Graham Colditz saw this in data on more than 6,000 girls followed from ages 9 to 15 yo ages 18 to 27.  So Colditz recommends they don’t drink: ‘Avoiding alcohol intake clearly will prevent the accumulation of breast cancer risk, period’.” (US Dept. of Health and Human Services)
  • Researchers identify liver cancer risk factors: “Two new studies from the Mayo Clinic find that hepatitis C infection and obesity could be to blame for a surge in liver cancer cases, which have tripled over the last 30 years.  Late-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or liver cancer, has only a 10 percent to 12 percent five-year survival rate, according to figures in a Mayo news release.  The researchers say their findings could help doctors diagnose the disease earlier and save lives.” (NIH MedlinePlus)
  • Marathons pose little risk to heart: “Despite well-publicized stories of people dropping dead during or after running a marathon, the race isn’t all that risky, researchers found.  Among nearly 11 million marathoners and half-marathoners, only 59 went into cardiac arrest during a race…’Event rates among marathon and half-marathon runners are relatively low, as compared with other athletic populations, including collegiate athletes, triathlon participants, and previously healthy middle-aged joggers’…Men, however were more likely to have an event than women…”. (Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today)

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