Health and Fitness

Exposure To Tobacco And Lead Linked To ADHD In Children

Researchers in the US found that exposure to tobacco in the womb and to lead during childhood was linked to a particularly high risk for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD ) in children, suggesting that while we tend to focus on treatment for ADHD, eliminating such exposures might prevent the condition in many hundreds of thousands of children. The study was the work of senior author Dr Robert Kahn, a physician and researcher at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Ohio, and colleagues, and was published online on 23 November in the journal Pediatrics. Kahn and colleagues estimated that up to 35 per cent of cases of ADHD in youngsters aged between 8 and 15 could be reduced by getting rid of both prenatal exposure to tobacco and childhood exposure to lead: in numbers this figure represents some 800, 000 children in the US population. Kahn told the press that while the tendency was to focus on treatment: "Our study suggests that reducing exposures to environmental toxicants might be an important way to lower rates of ADHD.

In Wales Children Unaffected By Smoking Ban Consequences

The smoking ban in Wales has not displaced secondhand smoke from public places into the home. A study of 3500 children from 75 primary schools in Wales, published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, found that they were exposed to similar amounts of secondhand smoke before and after legislation, which should reassure those worried that exposure to smoking at home could increase following the ban. Dr Jo Holliday and colleagues at Cardiff University's School of Social Sciences carried out the study, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. They measured the levels of cotinine, a marker of exposure to cigarette smoke, in the saliva of approximately 1750 year 6 children before and after the ban, as well as asking the children about their experiences of passive smoking. Holliday said, "Concerns have been expressed regarding the potential displacement of smoking from public places into the home, affecting non-smokers and, in particular, children. We found that the smoke-free legislation in Wales did not increase second-hand smoke exposure in homes of children aged 10-11.

First Of Its Kind Study Of Neurobehavioral Impact Of Khat Use

Mustafa al'Absi, Ph.D., professor of behavioral sciences at the University of Minnesota Medical School - Duluth Campus, and director of the Duluth Medical Research Institute, has received funding and launched a new first-of-its-kind international research initiative: "Khat Research Program: Neurobehavioral Impact of Long-Term Use". In conjunction with several international universities, al'Absi has scheduled an inaugural symposium for the Khat Research Program (KRP), scheduled within the 9th Society of Neuroscientists of Africa (SONA) Conference, at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, December 11, 2009. In addition to al'Absi, speakers will include: Stephan Bongard (Frankfurt University, Germany); Richard Hoffman (University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth), Nilesh Patel (University of Nairobi, Kenya), Abdul Mohammed (VГ xjГ University, Sweden), Michael Odenwald (University of Konstanz, Germany). Khat, a psychostimulant plant widely used in Africa and the Middle East, is associated with serious health effects among young people and women in many countries in Africa and the Middle East where use of Khat also threatens sustainable development.

Head And Neck Cancer Survivors Who Use Alcohol And Cigarettes Have Increased Death Risk

Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption before head and neck cancer diagnosis strongly predicts the patient's future risk of death, according to published studies. Now, results of a new study show a similar effect among those who continued these habits after cancer diagnosis. "Most cancer survivors are counseled to quit smoking; despite this, many still smoke. In our study, 21 percent continued to smoke even after their cancer diagnosis, increasing their risk of death, " said researcher Susan T. Mayne, Ph.D. "Similarly, we found that continued drinking increases the risk of death." Based on these findings, Mayne advises survivors of head and neck cancer - which includes cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and larynx - to quit smoking cigarettes and drinking alcoholic beverages in order to increase their odds of longer survival. Mayne is a professor of epidemiology at the Yale Schools of Public Health and Medicine, and the associate director of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Lung Function And Risk Of COPD May Be Controlled By Genetic Variant

Researchers have discovered evidence that suggests a genetic variant may be associated with better preserved lung function among children with asthma and adults who smoke, according to a new study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which is part of the National Institutes of Health. The study also found an association between the genetic variant and a lowered risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adults who smoke. COPD is a lung disease most common among smokers, which makes it difficult to breathe. The study is published online by The New England Journal of Medicine. The team of researchers found that a DNA single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP, was associated with better preserved lung function among children with asthma and in former or current smokers. The study also found a lower risk for developing COPD in adults who smoke. A SNP is a single base pair in a person's DNA which often varies among individuals. Adult patients with this SNP had a 35 percent reduction in the risk of onset of COPD.

Craving A Cigarette? Pitt Study Suggests Craving Hinders Comprehension Without Your Realizing It

A new University of Pittsburgh study reveals that craving a cigarette while performing a cognitive task not only increases the chances of a person's mind wandering, but also makes that person less likely to notice when his or her mind has wandered. The paper, titled "Out for a Smoke: The Impact of Cigarette Craving on Zoning Out During Reading, " provides the first evidence that craving disrupts an individual's meta-awareness, the ability to periodically appraise one's own thoughts. The research is published in the January issue of "Psychological Science." Pitt professor of psychology Michael Sayette and colleagues Erik Reichle, associate professor and chair of Pitt's cognitive program in psychology, and Jonathan Schooler, professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, recruited 44 male and female heavy smokers to take part in the study. All smoked nearly a pack a day and refrained from smoking for at least six hours before arriving at the lab. Participants were assigned at random to either a crave-condition or low-crave group.

15 Cigarettes Equal One DNA Mutation

"15 cigarettes equal one DNA mutation" captures graphically the enormity of what was discovered when a UK-led team of scientists reported this week how they cracked the code of two killer cancers: small cell lung cancer and malingnant melanoma. Another compelling revelation was they said they could see "sunlight's signature" in the DNA mutations of the melanoma cells. As part of a worldwide push by the International Cancer Genome Consortium to unravel the genomes of cancers of major social and clinical importance around the world, scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, revealed on Wednesday how they found nearly 23, 000 mutations in lung cancer cells and over 30, 000 in melanoma cells, compared to cells of normal tissue from the same individuals. Peter Campbell, a haemotologist and cancer-genomics expert at the Sanger Institute, and one of the scientists who worked on both studies and co-authored the papers that appeared this week in Nature, described the vast number of mutations as remarkable, and reflecting on the team's estimate that a typical smoker acquires one lung cancer mutation for every 15 cigarettes he or she smokes, said: "Every pack of cigarettes is like a game of Russian roulette.

Smokers Who Started Recently More Likely Than Longer-Term Smokers To Use Menthol Cigarettes

Menthol cigarette use is higher among persons who started smoking in the past year (44.6 percent) than among longer-term smokers (31.8 percent) according to a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In addition, among persons who smoked in the past month, the percentage using menthol cigarettes increased from 31.0 percent in 2004 to 33.9 percent in 2008. This increase was most pronounced among adolescent smokers aged 12 to 17 (up from 43.5 percent to 47.7 percent), and young adult smokers aged 18 to 25 (up from 34.1 percent to 40.8 percent). Menthol is an additive used in cigarettes that masks the harshness of cigarette smoke by giving the smoker the sensation of coolness in the mouth, pharynx, and lungs. By masking the harshness, menthol can make it easier for young people to start smoking. Some recent research indicates that menthol cigarettes may be more difficult to quit than other types of cigarettes. Menthol is the only cigarette flavoring still permitted under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, but the law calls for research on the public health effects of its continued use in cigarettes.

The MEP Heart Group Evaluated The Achievements At EU Level In Combating Cardiovascular Disease CVD And Revealed Further Action

"The EU cannot turn its back on CVD", expressed Dirk Sterckx and Linda McAvan, both MEPs and co-chairs of the MEP Heart Group. There is overwhelming evidence that prevention and lifestyle modification brings about big health gains. It is therefore the task of decision makers at European and national level to ensure that effective policies supporting prevention are put in place. Indeed 80% of premature deaths can be prevented by tackling major risk factors particularly unhealthy diet and smoking. The recent decision of the Belgian Parliament to postpone the total ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants until 2014 is therefore all the more regrettable. Professor Simon Capewell, speaking on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology, described the decision as "catastrophic". Based on their research and extrapolation from observed efforts of an effective ban in other countries, this regrettable decision will result in 5, 000 additional deaths and over 10, 000 non-fatal heart attacks and strokes in Belgium until 2014.

First Comprehensive Genetic Analysis Of Lung Cancer And Melanoma

Research teams led by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute announce the first comprehensive analyses of cancer genomes. All cancers are caused by mutations in the DNA of cancer cells which are acquired during a person's lifetime. The studies, of a malignant melanoma and a lung cancer, reveal for the first time essentially all the mutations in the genomes of two cancers. Lung cancer causes around one million deaths worldwide each year: almost all are associated with smoking. The number of mutations found suggest that a typical smoker would acquire one mutation for every 15 cigarettes smoked. Although malignant melanoma comprises only 3% of skin cancer cases, it is the cause of three out of four skin cancer deaths. The melanoma genome contained more than 30, 000 mutations that carried a record of how and when they occurred during the patient's life. "These are the two main cancers in the developed world for which we know the primary exposure, " explains Professor Mike Stratton, from the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

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