Leave school early, and de­men­tia more likely

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -


Com­piled by Dr Chris­tine White HIGH school dropouts could be putting more than their ed­u­ca­tion at risk: new re­search in Neu­rol­ogy has shown that peo­ple who don’t fin­ish high school are more likely to de­velop de­men­tia and Alzheimer’s dis­ease in later life than those with more ed­u­ca­tion. The Fin­nish study fol­lowed 1388 par­tic­i­pants for an av­er­age of 21 years. They were di­vided into three lev­els: five or less years of ed­u­ca­tion (low), six to eight years (medium) and nine or more years of ed­u­ca­tion (high). Com­pared to those with a high ed­u­ca­tion level, those with a low ed­u­ca­tion level were 84 per cent more likely to de­velop de­men­tia and 85 per cent more likely to get Alzheimer’s. Less ed­u­cated peo­ple tend to have less healthy life­styles, which could also af­fect the brain. But lower ed­u­ca­tion was still linked to de­men­tia and Alzheimer’s risk, re­gard­less of body weight, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, smok­ing, oc­cu­pa­tion or in­come. Th­ese find­ings sup­port the idea that ex­er­cis­ing the brain can pro­tect it from dam­age. Neu­rol­ogy 2007;69;1442-1450 (Ngandu T, et al) WOM­EN­who have been preg­nant have a re­duced risk of de­vel­op­ing breast can­cer, and now sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered a pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion. Dur­ing preg­nancy, cells from the fe­tus can en­ter the mother’s body and sur­vive for many years af­ter the baby is born. To test whether this process — known as fe­tal mi­crochimerism — could pro­tect women from can­cer, re­searchers re­cruited 82 women, 35 of whom had been di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer. They tested blood sam­ples from each wo­man for the pres­ence of male DNA, which was as­sumed to be from a pre­vi­ous preg­nancy with a male baby. While 43 per cent of healthy women had male DNA in their blood, only 14 per cent of women with breast can­cer had male DNA. Among the women who were known to have given birth to a son, those with male DNA in their blood were nearly six times less likely to de­velop breast can­cer. Un­der­stand­ing how fe­tal cells can in­crease re­sis­tance to can­cer may lead to im­proved treat­ments, say the au­thors of the study, pub­lished in CancerRe­search this week. Can­cer­Res 2007;67:9035-9038 (Gadi VK, et al) HAV­ING an af­ter-school job teaches many life lessons, but new re­search in the Amer­i­can Jour­nalofPublicHealth has found that it can also in­crease the chances of tak­ing up smok­ing. The study found that 14- to 18-yearold ado­les­cents were at an in­creased risk of start­ing to smoke when they started work­ing, and those who worked more than 10 hours per week had started to smoke at an av­er­age age of 13 — one year ear­lier than non­work­ers. Over a pe­riod of 10 years from ages eight to 18, in­for­ma­tion was col­lected on the work­ing and smok­ing habits of 799 Amer­i­can stu­dents. Dur­ing the fi­nal year of fol­low-up, nearly 40 per cent of the ado­les­cents were em­ployed as babysit­ters, fast food restau­rant staff, or in re­tail po­si­tions, and 17 per cent were smok­ers. Those who worked were more than three times more likely to be smok­ers than those who didn’t. Ac­cord­ing to the au­thors, work­places — es­pe­cially those that em­ploy young peo­ple — should be a tar­get for smok­ing pre­ven­tion pro­grams. AmJPubHealth 2007;doi:10.2105/AJPH.2006.094045 (Ram­c­hand R, et al) STRONG bones are less likely to be in­vaded by can­cer cells, so in­creas­ing cal­cium in­take could pre­vent the spread of breast can­cer, con­cludes a new Aus­tralian study in Can­cer Re­search this week. Us­ing mice, Yu Zheng and col­leagues at the ANZAC Re­search In­sti­tute in Syd­ney found that hav­ing low cal­cium lev­els in­creases the abil­ity of breast can­cer cells to in­vade bones. They ar­gue that in­creas­ing cal­cium in the diet could im­prove the ef­fec­tive­ness of breast can­cer treat­ments and per­haps even pre­vent sec­ondary bone tu­mours. Mice were put on a diet con­tain­ing ei­ther low or nor­mal lev­els of cal­cium, and in­jected with breast can­cer cells. Two weeks later, mice on a low cal­cium diet had 43 per cent more dam­age to their bones and 23 per cent larger bone tu­mours than those on a nor­mal diet. Can­cer­Res 2007;67:9542-9548 (Zheng Y, et al) OBESE women should gain less weight dur­ing preg­nancy than is cur­rently rec­om­mended, and se­verely obese women should ac­tu­ally lose weight dur­ing preg­nancy, finds a new study in Ob­stet­ric­sand Gy­ne­col­ogy . The find­ings sug­gest that chang­ing the ad­vice given to obese women could im­prove their health and that of their ba­bies. The Amer­i­can study in­volved 120,251 obese preg­nant women, whose body mass in­dex (BMI) be­fore preg­nancy was cal­cu­lated as weight in kilo­grams di­vided by squared height in me­tres. A BMI over 30 is con­sid­ered obese. Those with a BMI of 35 who gained fewer than the cur­rently rec­om­mended min­i­mum of seven kilo­grams dur­ing preg­nancy were less likely to de­velop a dan­ger­ous con­di­tion called pre-eclamp­sia, less likely to need a cae­sarean de­liv­ery and more likely to have a baby of nor­mal weight. Ob­stetGynecol 2007;110:752-758 (Kiel DW, et al) PRE­MA­TURE ba­bies are prone to lung prob­lems that can lead to long-term breath­ing trou­bles, but new re­search in GenomeBi­ol­ogy has found a way to bet­ter pre­dict and treat this con­di­tion. Around 20 to 40 per cent of ex­tremely pre­ma­ture in­fants will have ab­nor­mal lung de­vel­op­ment called bron­chopul­monary dys­pla­sia (BPD). Re­searchers ob­tained sam­ples of um­bil­i­cal cord from 54 in­fants born at less than 28 weeks ges­ta­tion (more than three months early). Twenty of the in­fants de­vel­oped BPD and the other 34 did not. Us­ing gene chip tech­nol­ogy, where 30,000 genes can be an­a­lysed at once, they found a sim­i­lar pat­tern of gene ac­tiv­ity in BPD in­fants as can be found in adult pa­tients with chronic bron­chi­tis and em­phy­sema— con­di­tions which also block air­flow and make breath­ing dif­fi­cult. Drugs that can treat th­ese adult dis­eases could now be used to pre­vent lung dis­ease in pre­ma­ture ba­bies. GenomeBiol 2007;8 (Co­hen J, et al) Want to know more? Items are ref­er­enced where pos­si­ble. A ref­er­ence such as ‘‘ 2007;35:18-25’’ means the source ar­ti­cle was pub­lished on pages 18-25 in vol­ume num­ber 35 of the pub­li­ca­tion, in 2007. A doi num­ber or web­site ad­dress is used for re­search pub­lished on a jour­nal’s web­site.

Strong bones: De­ter can­cer

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.