FRIDAY, July 20, 2018 (American Heart Association) — Emergency room visits for atrial fibrillation are soaring. Added to the number of people admitted to the hospital for the condition, it’s contributing to “an alarming growth” in its economic burden to the country, according to a new study.
Annual visits to the emergency department for this heart rhythm disorder, often called AFib, increased by 30.7 percent from 2007 to 2014, or from 411,406 visits to 537,801, according to a study published Friday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
During the same period, hospitalizations for the condition increased 15.7 percent, from 288,225 to 333,570.
The figures were drawn from a weighted analysis of 3.8 million visits to emergency departments nationwide specifically for atrial fibrillation. About two out of five patients visiting the hospital during the period analyzed in the study were age 75 or older. Women were slightly more likely to have the condition than men.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, which can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. At least 2.7 million — and possibly as many as 6.1 million — American adults are living with AFib.
The study, which described AFib as “a major public health challenge and socioeconomic burden,” found that hospital-related charges for patients admitted with AFib increased by 37 percent, from $7.39 billion in 2007 to $10.1 billion in 2014.
“The question we asked is, why are so many people being admitted for AFib, and are there strategies that could help patients avoid hospitalizations without compromising the quality of care or outcome in any way, and maybe even improve them,” said Dr. Jeremy Ruskin, the study’s senior author and founder and director emeritus of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“There are strategies we and others have implemented to manage a subset of stable, uncomplicated patients (with AFib) in the emergency department and avoid hospitalizations for many of them,” Ruskin said. “Patients who are unstable and have complications such as congestive heart failure will continue to require hospital admission.”
Many of the patients who sought treatment for atrial fibrillation also had other chronic health problems, including high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, diabetes and kidney disease. Ruskin said those conditions are commonly associated with AFib and tend to be predictors of admission.
“It’s understandable that the sicker patients with more of these concomitant medical problems are likely to be admitted,” said Ruskin, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
But he also pointed out that the study found hospitalization rates for AFib in the United States were nearly twice as high as those seen in Canada and Europe.
“We also know from experience in other countries and some of our own initiatives that a sizable percentage of patients who come to the emergency room can be managed with medications and can then be discharged from the emergency room and managed safely on an outpatient basis,” he said.
Dr. Lin Yee Chen, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School and an atrial fibrillation researcher who was not involved in the study, said the findings confirm what many in the field have suspected about AFib’s growing economic burden. The study is important in putting firm figures behind it, he said.
“We know that there’s increasing incidence and prevalence of atrial fibrillation. Part of this can be explained by the growing aging population. It’s a contributor to chronic diseases in general and definitely to AFib,” said Chen, who chaired the writing committee for an American Heart Association scientific statement on atrial fibrillation.
More work needs to be done to intervene before the patient ends up in the hospital, with strategies to manage AFib, Chen said, much the way doctors are now trying to do with congestive heart failure.
“There’s a big push toward improving management of heart failure in the outpatient setting so that it will reduce ER visits and hospitalizations, which are not only expensive but also bad for the patient,” he said. “Likewise, for AFib. We need to try to improve or optimize management in the outpatient setting so that we can reduce flare-ups or exacerbations that will result in visiting the ER and hospitalizations.”
FRIDAY, July 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — HDL cholesterol may be known as the “good” kind, but a new study suggests high levels of it are not always a good thing for women after menopause.
The study, of nearly 1,400 postmenopausal women, found that those with higher HDL levels were more likely to show “plaques” in their carotid arteries. Those arteries supply blood to the brain, and plaque buildup there signals an increased risk of both stroke and heart disease.
The study did not look at women’s rates of heart attack or stroke. But experts said the findings add to evidence that when it comes to HDL, there can be too much of a good thing.
“We used to think, the higher the better,” said Dr. Karol Watson, director of the Women’s Heart Health Program at the University of California, Los Angeles. “But we’ve been re-thinking HDL in recent years.”
Watson, who was not connected to the study, is also a member of the American College of Cardiology’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases Section Leadership Council.
She said “everyone agrees” that low HDL — below 40 mg/dL — is bad.
But studies have also found that very high HDL is linked to trouble, too. For example, a 2016 study of over 630,000 people found that women and men with very high HDL — above 90 mg/dL — were more likely to die (of non-cardiovascular causes) during the study period than those whose HDL was in the middle of the pack.
HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol because it does positive things, including clearing fat from the arteries and ushering it to the liver to be removed.
But, Watson said, research suggests that HDL function can go awry when its environment is not ideal — such as when a person is obese or has diabetes or other health conditions causing chronic inflammation in the blood vessels.
“HDL seems to be like a chameleon, changing based on its surroundings,” Watson explained.
That general idea may explain what was seen in this study, according to lead researcher Samar El Khoudary, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health.
During the menopause transition, she said, women see a sharp drop in estrogen, a heart-protecting hormone. They also go through changes in body fat distribution, blood fats and other metabolic processes; that might lead to chronic inflammation that could alter the quality of HDL particles.
So a higher HDL level is “not necessarily cardio-protective,” El Khoudary said. But, she added, it’s not necessarily bad, either.
It’s important to look at the whole picture, she said. If, for example, a woman is normal weight, exercises, and does not have heart risk factors like high LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) or diabetes, a high HDL is “probably not something to worry about,” El Khoudary said.
Watson agreed. On the other hand, she said, a high HDL level should not make women or their doctors complacent.
“Never ignore a high LDL level just because the HDL is high,” Watson said.
The bottom line, according to El Khoudary, is that women should pay even more attention to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as they go through menopause.
On the research end, she said, doctors need more precise measures of HDL function — not just HDL cholesterol level.
El Khoudary’s team also measured the study participants’ levels of HDL “particles” — which carry HDL cholesterol through the blood.
Overall, women with a greater number of “small” HDL particles had a lower risk of plaque buildup. Meanwhile, “large” particles showed a more complicated relationship: When women were just past menopause, those particles were tied to a heightened risk of artery narrowing. But among relatively older women, high numbers of large particles were linked to healthier-looking arteries.
If that all sounds complicated, that’s because it is.
For now, Watson said, no one knows whether measuring HDL particles is useful. “Until we understand more, we can’t do anything with that information,” she said.
How high is “too high” when it comes to HDL? There is no known cutoff, Watson said. In general, she added, there seems to be an HDL “sweet spot” of around 60 to less than 80 mg/dL.
But again, Watson said, you have to look at the whole person: If someone has risk factors for heart disease, a higher HDL number may be misleading.
El Khoudary recently received funding from the U.S. National Institute on Aging to expand on this research.
The findings were published online July 19 in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.
The American Heart Association has a primer on blood cholesterol.
FRIDAY, July 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A new study suggests that colon cancer patients who regularly drink diet sodas have a much lower risk of their tumor coming back, or of dying from the cancer.
In a study funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, researchers tracked outcomes for more than 1,000 colon cancer patients. The investigators found that those who drank one or more 12-ounce servings of artificially sweetened soft drinks a day had a 46 percent lower risk of cancer recurrence or death over the study period than those who didn’t drink such beverages.
A second analysis found that about half of the benefit appeared to be due to people switching from regular to diet sodas.
“Artificially sweetened drinks have a checkered reputation in the public because of purported health risks that have never really been documented,” study senior author Dr. Charles Fuchs, director of Yale Cancer Center, said in a university news release.
“Our study clearly shows they help avoid cancer recurrence and death in patients who have been treated for advanced colon cancer, and that is an exciting finding,” he added.
But one expert in colon cancer who reviewed the findings said the study is far from conclusive.
“I would not pay much attention to this observational study with many design flaws,” said Dr. Elena Ivanina, a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Ivanina said colon cancer patients — and consumers generally — should “also weigh all the evidence we have that chronic consumption of artificial sweeteners may increase the risk of obesity and metabolic diseases, which are risk factors for many types of cancers.”
The study was published online July 19 in the journal PLoS One.
Dr. Brendan Guercio is a hospitalist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and first author of the new study. He said in the news release that “a growing body of literature suggests that poor dietary habits, such as high consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, may increase risk of colon cancer recurrence and patient mortality.”
So, he reasoned, “for colon cancer patients who have trouble abstaining from sweet beverages, choosing artificially sweetened options over sugar-sweetened beverages may allow them to avoid those health ramifications.”
The study was only looking at associations, however, and couldn’t prove that a switch to diet sodas caused the improvement in colon cancer outcomes.
Still, according to Fuchs, the finding “fits in with all that we know about colon cancer risk in general. Factors such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, a diet linked to diabetes — all of which lead to an excess energy balance — are known risk factors. We now find that, in terms of colon cancer recurrence and survival, use of artificially sweetened drinks is not a health risk, but is, in this study, a healthier choice.”
But Ivanina pointed to what she described as design flaws in the study. First, she said, the researchers relied on patient “self-reports” — people trying to remember soda intake over the past three months, a process that’s notoriously unreliable.
“Most people cannot remember what they ate yesterday, let alone three months ago,” she said.
Ivanina said the study also did not include information on the patient’s pre-diagnosis eating habits, and it did not include people who died or had a cancer recurrence within three months of the first food questionnaire, potentially biasing the results.
Finally, the research team also failed to adjust for other colon cancer risk factors, such as smoking or consumption of red meat, Ivanina said.
Dr. David Bernstein is a gastroenterologist at Northwell Health in Manhasset, N.Y. He agreed with Ivanina that more and better research should be done.
“This is the first of its kind to report such results and therefore the excitement behind it must be also be accompanied by skepticism until the results can be replicated,” he said.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on colon cancer.
FRIDAY, July 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The increased risk of cancer in people with diabetes is higher for women than men, a new study finds.
Previous research identified the link between diabetes and cancer risk, but this study looked at whether that risk differs between men and women.
The takeaway: Among people with diabetes, women have a 6 percent higher risk of cancer than men, the researchers said.
And based on the researchers’ analysis of data from 47 studies, diabetics of both sexes are at greater risk of cancer than people without diabetes.
For women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the cancer risk is 27 percent higher compared to other women. And men with diabetes have a 19 percent higher cancer risk than men who don’t have the blood sugar disease, the findings showed.
The researchers also examined specific types of cancer in people with diabetes and found that, compared to men, women have a 15 percent higher risk of leukemia, a 14 percent higher risk of stomach cancer, a 13 percent higher risk of oral cancer, and an 11 percent higher risk of kidney cancer.
But women have a 12 percent lower risk than men for liver cancer, according to the report.
“Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying the sex differences in the diabetes-cancer association,” the study authors concluded.
The report, from Toshiaki Ohkuma of the University of New South Wales in Australia and colleagues at the University of Oxford in England, was published July 19 in the journal Diabetologia.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.7 million deaths in 2015. About one in four women and one in three men will develop cancer during their lifetime, the study authors noted in a journal news release.
In addition, in 2015, there were 415 million adults worldwide with diabetes and 5 million diabetes-related deaths.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on diabetes.
FRIDAY, July 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A broken bone in older age may increase your risk of death for the next 10 years, researchers say.
“A fracture is the starting point for much wider health issues that persist long after the fracture has healed, and can ultimately result in earlier death,” said study author Jacqueline Center, who’s with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia.
The study included all people in Denmark over age 50 with a fragility fracture in 2001. They were followed for up to a decade.
A fall from a standing height or less that causes a broken bone is called a fragility fracture, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
In the year after breaking a hip, men had a 33 percent higher risk of death, and women, a 20 percent higher risk.
In the year after femur or pelvic fractures, the risk of death rose between 20 percent and 25 percent.
There was a higher risk of death 10 years after a hip fracture, and about five years after non-hip fractures.
The study was published July 19 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
“Our findings emphasize just how crucial early intervention is,” Center said in a journal news release.
“While intervention after the first fracture is critical, we also need to diagnose those at risk of breaking bones before these major health impacts have occurred,” Center concluded.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health offers fracture prevention tips.
FRIDAY, July 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — One low-dose aspirin a day could help women avoid ovarian cancer or boost their survival should it develop, two new studies suggest.
In fact, daily low-dose aspirin — the type many older women already take to help their hearts — was tied to a 10 percent reduction in developing ovarian cancer. It was also tied to as much as a 30 percent improvement in survival for ovarian cancer patients, the researchers said.
“Clearly, both these studies offer evidence of the benefit of the use of these anti-inflammatory drugs, and an insight into how to better prevent and treat this deadly disease,” said Dr. Mitchell Kramer. He directs obstetrics and gynecology at Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y.
Kramer wasn’t involved in the new studies, and said that “more study is certainly warranted.” Still, “recommending a daily low-dose 81 mg (milligram) aspirin might be more than an ounce of prevention, as well as help for those women who have already developed the disease,” he said.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cancer killer of women, largely because it is too often detected too late.
According to the researchers, there’s increasing evidence that inflammation plays a role in the development of cancer and can worsen outcomes. Medications, such as aspirin and non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) — have already been shown to lower the risk of certain types of cancers, most notably colon cancer.
But do these drugs have a role to play against ovarian tumors?
To find out, researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., pooled data from 13 studies from around the world. The studies included more than 750,000 women and asked them about their use of aspirin and NSAIDs. The researchers then tracked these women to see who developed ovarian cancer — more than 3,500 women did.
According to the report published July 18 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, taking daily aspirin reduced the risk of ovarian cancer by 10 percent.
“This study gives us a new perspective on whether aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDs can impact cancer risk. Not only does it look at ovarian cancer, which hasn’t been studied before, our sample size is three-quarter of a million women who were followed for several decades,” Shelley Tworoger, senior study author and associate center director for population science at the Moffitt Cancer Center, said in a center news release.
“The results of the study support that aspirin can reduce ovarian cancer risk, but further studies will need to be performed before a recommendation of daily aspirin can be made,” Tworoger added.
In a second study, researchers from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and the Moffitt Cancer Center used the Nurses’ Health Studies to collect data on nearly 1,000 women already diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
The investigators found that women who used aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDs after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer experienced as much as a 30 percent improvement in survival.
The results of the study were published in the journal The Lancet Oncology.
“To our knowledge, this study contributes the first comprehensive assessment of use of several types of common analgesic medications, such as aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDs, after diagnosis in relation to ovarian cancer survival,” said Melissa Merritt, an assistant research professor at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center.
“Our work demonstrates the importance of common medication in increasing survival rates of ovarian cancer, and this will encourage more studies to be conducted to confirm the results and broaden the discovery,” she explained in the news release.
Both studies relied on retrospective, observational data, so they were unable to confirm a cause-and-effect relationship, only an association.
Still, the evidence for an effect does seem to be there, said Dr. Adi Davidov, who directs gynecology at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.
He called the results “intriguing,” and believes that “we can now add an NSAID to further reduce the risk of cancer.”
Kramer added that “since aspirin has anti-inflammatory properties and is a relatively well-tolerated medication with few side effects, seeking its benefits for this deadly disease makes a great deal of sense.”
For more on ovarian cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.
THURSDAY, July 19, 2018 (American Heart Association) — Scars are a natural sign of healing, but not every physical trauma leaves a visible reminder. The only outward sign that 27-year-old Skylar Doerwaldt is a stroke survivor is of her choosing: a tattoo on her left forearm.
The dark, jagged lines represent the arteries in her neck. It’s a copy of the magnetic resonance angiography scan taken when she had an ischemic stroke three years ago.
“I’ve always wanted a tattoo, but I wanted it to mean something,” Doerwaldt said. “This is unique, and it opens up the door for conversation.”
In most ways, it was a Tuesday like any other. After a normal workday in Charlottesville, Virginia, she met a friend for dinner at a popular burger joint. They wound up back at Doerwaldt’s apartment.
That’s when she felt something in her head go pop.
“And the room started spinning,” she said.
To combat the intense vertigo, Doerwaldt laid on the couch. Once she started feeling better, she sat up. Her friend said the left side of Doerwaldt’s face was drooping. Frightened, she fumbled to call her mother. She could barely see the screen.
Trying to leave a voice mail, she couldn’t understand the garbled words coming out of her own mouth.
“There was a weird disconnect in my brain,” Doerwaldt said.
Fortunately, Doerwaldt’s friend recognized that she likely was having a stroke. Instead of calling for an ambulance, however, he raced her to an emergency room.
When they reached the hospital, Doerwaldt couldn’t see out of her left eye. She couldn’t feel anything on her left side. Her left leg dragged behind her as she walked.
“It felt like I had been shot in the head,” Doerwaldt said.
A CT angiography confirmed what doctors suspected: a blood clot in her brain. So they administered alteplase, an FDA-approved treatment for ischemic strokes, which means they occur because of an obstruction within a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain. Administered by IV, alteplase works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain deprived of blood flow. The drug improves outcomes in patients who receive it, but timing is crucial.
“For every one minute that goes by that the brain isn’t getting oxygen, the brain loses about 2 million cells,” said Dr. Andrew Southerland, a neurologist at the University of Virginia Health System who treated Doerwaldt.
Medical advances like alteplase have helped to reduce the percentage of stroke deaths, according to the American Heart Association. Doerwaldt’s treatment is a good example.
Within 48 hours of receiving the treatment, she went home.
The source of Doerwaldt’s stroke was a spontaneous cervical artery dissection. In layman’s terms, a large artery in her neck tore open. That’s what caused the clot that temporarily blocked blood from reaching her brain.
“Amazingly, with appropriate time and medical management, most people with cervical artery dissection heal on their own,” Southerland said. “When we feel comfortable that it’s healing, we tell them to resume their normal activity and enjoy life.”
In the three years since her frightful experience, Doerwaldt has experienced weakness in her left side, side effects from medication and a small blind spot in her vision. But she continues to improve.
At first, she couldn’t balance on a Pilates ball during her workouts; now she does so effortlessly, using it for squats, arm curls and more.
In addition to working as a manager for a large residential home builder, Doerwaldt enjoys spending time with friends and volunteering for charities. She works closely with Southerland on Spokes for Strokes, an annual “spin-a-thon” to raise money for CADISP, an international collaboration between researchers studying strokes in young people.
Last year, Southerland and Doerwaldt also served together on the auction committee for the AHA’s Heart Ball in Charlottesville. The work is important to Doerwaldt for the same reason that she decided to get the tattoo.
“Nobody looks at a woman in her 20s and thinks she could be a stroke survivor, and it’s important to raise awareness that it can happen to anybody,” Doerwaldt said.
The graphic image on her left forearm also serves another important purpose.
“I look at it as a reminder to not take things for granted,” she said, “and to live every day to its fullest.”
THURSDAY, July 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The Great Recession continues to take a grim toll: Since 2009, a growing number of Americans have died from liver disease and liver cancer.
The increase among 25- to 34-year-olds is especially troubling because the deaths are due to cirrhosis, a disease caused by excessive drinking, the authors of a new study said. The researchers suspect the economic downturn in 2008 prompted people to comfort themselves with alcohol.
“These are deaths of despair,” said lead researcher Dr. Elliot Tapper, an assistant professor of gastroenterology at the University of Michigan.
It’s similar to overdose deaths from the opioid epidemic. In both cases, people are trying to relieve the emotional pain they feel, Tapper said.
He cautioned, however, that because this is an observational study, it cannot prove cause and effect.
Cirrhosis scars the liver and causes damage that can lead to deadly conditions such as liver cancer and liver failure.
The most common causes of cirrhosis are drinking too much over many years, hepatitis C or a build-up of excess fat in the liver, known as fatty liver disease, the study authors noted.
While young people are dying from alcohol-related cirrhosis, older people are dying from liver cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Tapper explained.
The conditions affecting older people are most likely due to the obesity epidemic, he suggested. In many cases, liver disease can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle.
If cirrhosis is caught early, the liver will repair itself, Tapper said, and losing weight can reverse fatty liver disease.
Dr. Raymond Chung is director of the Hepatology and Liver Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.
He said the increased deaths may stem from several factors, including complications of the hepatitis C epidemic, as well as the high frequency of fatty liver disease in the U.S. population.
The deaths of very young adults are striking, added Chung, who is also on the governing board of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
“We do not yet understand why this is happening in this age group, and further study is required to determine whether this is due to sheer quantity or type of alcohol consumed, genetic factors or the presence of other forms of liver injury,” Chung said.
For the study, Tapper’s team reviewed death certificate data for nearly 600,000 U.S. adults.
Between 1999 and 2016, deaths from cirrhosis increased by 65 percent (from about 20,600 in 1999 to nearly 34,200 in 2016). Deaths from liver cancer doubled (from more than 5,100 to nearly 11,100) during the same time period.
Compared to women, men had nearly twice as many deaths from cirrhosis and almost four times as many from liver cancer, the study authors said.
From 2009 to 2016, people aged 25 to 34 had the highest annual increase in cirrhosis deaths — nearly 11 percent. Deaths from liver cancer among those under 55, meanwhile, decreased, but rose among people over 55, Tapper said.
The greatest increase in deaths from cirrhosis was seen among whites, Native Americans and Hispanics, the researchers said.
Deaths from cirrhosis and liver cancer rose fastest in western and southern states. For example, deaths in Kentucky rose nearly 7 percent, in New Mexico 6 percent and in Arkansas nearly 6 percent.
Only one state, Maryland, saw a significant decrease in cirrhosis deaths, of about 1 percent, the findings showed.
According to Dr. David Bernstein, chief of hepatology at Northwell Health in Manhasset, N.Y., “This study highlights the silent epidemic of advanced liver disease in the United States, which largely remains unrecognized and unacknowledged by the collective medical leadership.”
Bernstein added that “the paper should be a wake-up call to the medical community — and especially to health care policymakers and administrators — that we need to focus on disease prevention and risk-factor modification, while at the same time shifting resources to address the already growing burden of cirrhosis and liver cancer.”
The report was published online July 18 in the BMJ.
A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released earlier this week echoed these findings.
Between 2000 and 2016, liver cancer deaths were up 43 percent for men and 40 percent for women aged 25 and older, the CDC reported.
To learn more about liver disease, visit the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
WEDNESDAY, July 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Having a late dinner and heading straight to bed may boost your risk of breast or prostate cancer, a new study suggests.
Spanish researchers analyzed data from 621 prostate cancer patients and 1,205 breast cancer patients, as well as 872 men and 1,321 women without these cancers.
People who ate their evening meal before 9 p.m. or waited at least two hours after supper before going to sleep had a 20 percent lower cancer risk than those who ate supper after 10 p.m. or those who ate and went to bed soon after, according to the study.
The research only found an association and does not prove late-night eating causes these cancers.
“Our study concludes that adherence to eating patterns [during the day] is associated with a lower risk of cancer,” said lead author Manolis Kogevinas, a researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).
The findings “highlight the importance of assessing circadian rhythms in studies on diet and cancer,” Kogevinas said in an institute news release.
If the findings are confirmed, “they will have implications for cancer prevention recommendations, which currently do not take meal timing into account,” Kogevinas said.
He added that the impact could be especially important in places like southern Europe, where people have supper late.
More research is needed to understand the findings, but co-author Dora Romaguera said that “everything seems to indicate that the timing of sleep affects our capacity to metabolize food.” Romaguera is a researcher at ISGlobal.
Though extensive research has probed links between types of food and cancer risk, little attention has been paid to how cancer risk might be affected by mealtimes and what people do before and after eating, the study authors said.
The study was published July 17 in the International Journal of Cancer.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on diet.
WEDNESDAY, July 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Illnesses that lack exact testing methods can be difficult to diagnose, treat and live with, both physically and emotionally. Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is one such disease. Until recently, it was very poorly understood or even acknowledged.
But after 9,000 studies, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health have concluded that it’s a serious, chronic and complex disease. To stress this, in 2015, the IOM proposed renaming it systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).
But no matter the name, it affects as many as 2.5 million Americans, more women than men. Its chief symptom is extreme, disabling fatigue that doesn’t get better with rest. It still has no known specific cause, though it starts in most people with a flu-like illness from which they simply don’t recover.
There are also still no established diagnostic tests available. Getting a diagnosis relies on matching each person’s description of their symptoms to guidelines developed in 1994.
While there’s no cure, there are many types of treatments to try to ease symptoms, including a wide range of medications. Despite the overwhelming and continuous feeling of exhaustion, a supervised exercise plan that starts slowly and increases gradually helps improve fatigue and function for some people. And counseling with cognitive behavioral therapy can change the way you think about your health condition and make it easier to live with.
While you might want to try complementary therapies like acupuncture and massage, keep in mind that there’s little proof that they work for CFS. There is, however, some evidence that nutritional supplements may help. Research is ongoing — at your next office visit be sure to ask your health care provider if there are any new developments to consider.
A comprehensive overview of CFS, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, offers many insights and an overview of possible treatments.