HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

October 2013

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UPDATE CENTRAL

Do Older Men Need PSA Tests?

In “The Prostate: An Owner’s Manual” (April), we learned that experts disagree about the wisdom of screening men for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), levels of which rise in response to any prostate irritation, including cancer. Some believe PSA screening leads to unnecessary biopsies. A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine appears to support that view. It tracked nearly 300,000 men in the Veterans Affairs system who underwent PSA testing in 2003.Only a third of those who had abnormal results were biopsied, and less than two-thirds of those men were diagnosed with cancer.

 

Blood Pressure Up Among Kids

In “Blood Pressure Rising in Children” (February Wellness Watch), we learned that rates of hypertension are rising among children in tandem with rising levels of obesity. One of the physicians we quoted said, “Pediatric hypertension is under the radar.”

A Harvard study published in the journal Hypertension has put a spotlight on this trend. Researchers compared data from more than 3,200 children who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1988 and 1994 with that taken from more than 8,500 kids who took the same survey between 1999 and 2008.

The risk for high blood pressure development was found to have increased by 27% over 13 years. Rates of obesity were also found to rise over that time period. In addition, expert commentators noted that many children consume excess sodium, which also promotes hypertension.

 

Chemicals Exposure Linked to Arthritis

In “Domestic Detox” (March), we learned that exposure to common household toxins can leads to health woes that include asthma, fatigue and headaches.

Now we may have to add achy joints to the list. A study in Environmental Health Perspectives found a link between PFOA and PFOS, chemicals in the PFC class used in a number of consumer products, with a higher prevalence of osteoarthritis among women; those with the greatest exposure were twice as likely to have OA as those with the least exposure. No such linkage was found among men.

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Vitamins May Boost Mental Well-Being

If you’re looking to boost your mood and enhance your mental performance you may want to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals.

That was the conclusion reached during a panel discussion at the 2013 annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists.

Bonnie Kaplan, PhD, professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of Calgary associated with the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, was one of the panelists. She discussed her studies involving 97 adults with diagnosed mood disorders who kept three-day food diaries; those participants who recorded higher intakes of vitamins and minerals had significantly better overall
mental function.

Kaplan told the group vitamin and mineral supplements could help provide symptom relief from anxiety and depression, particularly by promoting generation of the mental energy needed to fight the effects of stress.

Studies have shown that people who eat diets composed primarily of processed foods have higher
rates of mood disorders. In contrast, those who eat Mediterranean-style diets—those in which fresh produce, fish, whole grains and olive oil predominate—have lower rates of depression and anxiety.

Specific nutrients that support healthy mood include the B vitamins, specifically vitamins B6 and B12 along with folic acid; magnesium, a calming mineral that helps protect the brain against neurotoxins; vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant in fatty parts of the cell, including brain cells; omega-3 fatty acids; and vitamin D.

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Q U O T E

You can’t help getting older,

but you don’t have to get old.


—George Burns


(To learn about the upside of advancing age, see “The Benefits of Aging”)

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N U M B E R S

Hygiene 101 Fail

 

33%

People who omitted the soap when washing
their hands after using a public restroom,
in a recent study

 

10%

Those who didn’t wash their hands at all

 

5%

Those who washed their hands long enough to
effectively kill germs

 

Source: Michigan State University

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