ASFfall2016

Trouble breathing A research team from Loyola

Cancer nightmare

Cardiovascular concerns Heart disease is the number one killer of people worldwide, and medical experts everywhere have been trying to gure out how to reduce the risks associated with cardiovascular conditions. New research suggests they should take a closer look at alcohol. While some studies have suggested that low levels of alcohol consumption can improve heart health, a team of researchers from the University of California - San Francisco found that to be a bit of a mixed bag. In studying health di”erences between people living in “dry” (alcohol sales prohibited) and “wet” (alcohol sold more freely) counties in Texas, they found varying results. “Greater access to alcohol was associated with more atrial brillation and less myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure,” the authors wrote. “Although an increased risk of congestive heart failure was seen shortly after alcohol sales were liberalized.” So while they did see a dip in some cardiovascular conditions, the results also show a clear link between alcohol access and various health problems. Researchers said policy makers should use this information when establishing laws to protect public health. “We believe that our results have broadly applicable health implications relevant to people with and at risk for various types of cardiovascular disease,” the authors wrote.

When people think about substances that can cause cancer, they often think of cigarettes or other tobacco products. But a new study shows alcohol may also be a major contributing factor to no fewer than seven types of cancer. A researcher from the University of Otago in New Zealand, Dr. Jennie Connor, looked at a number of studies dealing with cancer and alcohol and found strong evidence that excessive drinking can cause cancer in seven parts of the body. Connor identi ed those areas as the “oropharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast.” She wrote that while there are always limitations to determining exactly what caused a speci c disease, the evidence is overwhelming. “Current estimates suggest that alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites make up 5.8 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide,” Connor wrote. “Con rmation of speci c biological mechanisms by which alcohol increases the incidence of each type of cancer is not required to infer that alcohol is a cause.”

University in Chicago recently found that excessive drinking could also cause problems in the respiratory system.ˆe team looked at levels of nitric oxide in the exhaled breath of over 12,000 people. Nitric oxide protects against a number of respiratory diseases and can even be used in medical settings as a treatment for sick infants. ˆe researchers found that excessive drinkers had less nitric oxide in their breath, meaning they were more susceptible to respiratory infection and disease. Although more research is still needed to determine the full extent of the relationship between alcohol and nitric oxide, the authors of the study said the results are troubling. “Alcohol use impacts several lung diseases, and heavy consumption has been associated with poor clinical outcomes,” the authors wrote. “ˆe fractional excretion of exhaled nitric oxide (Feno) has clinical implications in multiple airways diseases.”

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