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Archive for July, 2012

Moderate Drinking May Benefit Bones, The Link Between Diabetes and Cosmetics, Can this PolyPill Save Lives?

July 27, 2012

Friday Roundup:

A Glass of Wine a Day Keeps Osteoporosis Away?

For women who like a glass of wine every now and then, we have some good news. New research shows that moderate alcohol consumption, when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, may reduce a woman’s risk of osteoporosis.

The study published in the journal Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society focused on a small group of about 40 women averaging 56 years old. The women consumed on average 1.4 alcoholic beverages per day. More than 90 percent of the women drank wine.

The process of the study involved taking blood samples from all participants at different stages—some before alcohol consumption and some after. Results showed that soon after drinking alcohol, the women’s rate of bone turnover lowered.

“What alcohol seems to do is lower the overall rate of turnover, which may reduce your bone loss,” said Urszula Iwaniec, PhD, researcher and associate professor at Oregon State University in a WebMD article. “[But] excessive drinking is bad for your bones.”

There are other ways to keep your bones healthy, like weight-bearing exercise and getting enough calcium and vitamin D. But this study goes to show it’s okay to put your feet up and enjoy a small glass of wine now and then. So don’t feel guilty—it’s good for your bones.

Life Line Screening conducts osteoporosis screenings for people at risk or simply looking to gain peace of mind. Take control of the health of your bones and schedule a health screening today.

Read the full WebMD article about this study on alcohol and bone health here:


Study: Can this PolyPill Save Lives?

Wouldn’t it be nice if a simple, once-a-day pill could prevent illness? Okay, so this pill might not prevent all illnesses, but it might save some lives.

A study conducted at Queen Mary, University of London shows a new pill might be able to prevent thousands of people from suffering heart attacks and strokes. The UK study focused on a “polypill” that combines a statin and blood pressure medication taken by a group of 84 people over the age of 50. Results showed:

  • 12% decrease in blood pressure levels
  • 39% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels

Researchers believe that if more than half of all people over the age of 50 in the UK took the pill once a day, there would be 94,000 less heart attacks and strokes every year.

“If people took the polypill from age 50, an estimated 28 percent would benefit by avoiding or delaying a heart attack or stroke during their lifetime,” said Dr. David Wald, consultant cardiologist, in a BBC News article.

The study did not research the safety of the pill and it was only tested on a small number of people, so further testing of a larger scale would be needed before the pill could be mass-produced.

“Whilst these results are promising, further research is needed before a wide scale rollout of such a strategy,” Wald said.

Life Line Screening urges everyone to make smart and healthy lifestyle choices to decrease risk of stroke or heart attack. If you or someone you know is at risk for one of these conditions, consider scheduling a health screening today.

To read the full BBC News article on the study conducted on this new polypill, view this link:


The Link Between Diabetes and Cosmetics

Could certain cosmetics up your odds of developing diabetes? This study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives says yes.

Common products such as perfumes, scented lotions, synthetic leathers, food packaging and more contain a chemical called phthalates. A study was conducted to find out whether there is a clear connection between phthalates and diabetes in women.

Researchers of the study discovered that in women with the highest levels of specific phthalates, the risk of developing diabetes was twice as high as women with lower levels of phthalates. According to CNN Health, when comparing women with the highest levels of phthalates to women with lowest levels, there could be 40 extra diabetes cases for every 1,000 women.

Cosmetics and Type 2 DiabetesPhthalates cling to cells in the body that control fat-cell development and blood-glucose metabolism. People with higher levels of phthalates tend to have higher blood glucose levels, which is a precursor for diabetes. Keep in mind the study did not rule out women that have higher phthalate levels due to the use of certain medications that contain the chemical.

As a consumer, you can become more aware of the chemicals in the products you use. Almost anything that has a fragrance contains some type of phthalate. Some companies are releasing products with labels that say “phthalate-free”, but keep in mind that the packaging surrounding the product could still contain phthalate.

If you or a loved one is at risk for diabetes, consider a preventive screening. Life Line Screening conducts health screenings for type 2 diabetes that could identify oncoming development of the disease. Schedule a screening today.

Visit the following link to read the full CNN Health article on this new study linking cosmetics with diabetes:

Stroke Risk Rises with Lack of Sleep, Study Detects Start of Alzheimer’s 25 Years in Advance, Low-Dosage Aspirin Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer

July 20, 2012

Friday Roundup:

Get Enough Shut-Eye to Lower Your Stroke Risk

One way to keep your risk of stroke low is to ensure you’re getting enough sleep every night.

Researchers in the Netherlands conducted a study on how stress and sleep loss affect a person’s risk of stroke. They found that even for young people, increased levels of stress and high sleep deprivation raise stroke risk.

The scientists conducted the study on healthy young men in a sleep lab by restricting sleep for some and not restricting sleep for others. They found that of the men whose sleep was restricted, the white blood cell count spiked as if their immune systems had been exposed to some type of threat. They found that a lack of sleep puts huge stress on the immune system. This led researchers to the conclusion that people who get six or less hours of sleep per day have a 4.5 percent greater risk of stroke than those who get 7 or more hours of sleep per day.

Although scientists aren’t exactly sure why, they do know that sleep deprivation can cause inflammation, which can have such negative consequences on the body as elevated blood pressure, glucose levels and heart rate. All three factors can lead to higher stroke risk.

Other types of stress can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease, as well. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon believe the reason is cortisol—the stress hormone released whenever we feel scared, anxious or worried. This hormone is almost like adrenaline—it gives a jolt of energy that enables the body to react in ways not normally done, like the ability to sprint away from danger or without thinking, put your safety at risk to help a loved one in trouble.

The longer the immune system is filled with cortisol, the worse our body is able to regulate inflammation. This is because tissues in the body stop releasing as much anti-inflammatory substances and this can lead to illnesses such as heart disease and stroke.

Life Line Screening conducts preventive health screenings for those who may be at risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. Learn more about the screenings offered by Life Line Screening and schedule a screening today to gain peace of mind about your health status.

To read the full article of how sleep deprivation may increase stroke risk, view the following link:

Can Alzheimer’s Be Predicted 25 Years in Advance?

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that brain changes in people with Alzheimer’s happen earlier than we thought. The changes in the brain were found to develop a full 25 years before memory loss symptoms showed.

The findings offer a timeline of changes in spinal fluid, brain size, appearance of brain plaques and other factors that appear before the onset of Alzheimer’s in people at risk. The results of the study are significant because the memory-loss disease is the only cause of death (within the top ten causes of death in the U.S.) that, so far, can’t be prevented, slowed or cured.

Dr. Randall Bateman of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis led the study. He researched 129 individuals who had family histories of Alzheimer’s to estimate when the participants would start to develop symptoms of the disease. From there, the team created a timeline of changes in the body leading up to the major symptoms of Alzheimer’s, like diminishing thinking skills and memory loss.

Results show that the first of the changes are a drop in the level of a protein called amyloid and can be detected in a person’s spinal fluid as early as 25 years before the disease fully develops.

Other changes include the formulation of the Alzheimer’s protein beta amyloid at 15 years before the onset of the disease, which can be visible in brain scans. At ten years before development of the disease, the brain begins to use glucose less and small instances of memory loss begin.

“What we don’t know is if the time, the order of magnitude and the size of these changes is similar or not,” Bateman said in a Huffington Post article. “It may be many years before we have this information.”

To read the full article on the study of Alzheimer’s brain changes from Huffington Post, visit the following link:

Low-Dosage Aspirin Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer

We already know that aspirin benefits the body in many ways. Not only does it temporarily relieve aches and pains, it’s also been found to help prevent skin cancer. The latest update on aspirin from BBC News reports the drug may also help prevent the development and spread of other types of cancer, like colon cancer.

The study showed that in individuals between the ages of 50 to 70 years old, taking low-doses of aspirin on a regular basis can help kill the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, a known cause of stomach bleeds which can lead to cancer. Swallowing some aspirin can kill the bacteria and therefore decrease the risk of developing cancer.

By taking low-doses of aspirin for five years, an individual cuts their risk of colon cancer in half, according to a study conducted by Prof Cuzick of the University of London. The most recent data showed that daily low-dose aspirin cut the risk of dying from esophageal cancer by 66 percent and cut the risk by 25 percent for lung cancer. The risk of death dropped by 25 percent for all cancers combined.

Another impressive find is aspirin’s effect on the spread of cancer. When taking consistent, low-doses of aspirin, researchers found that the secondary spread of cancer to the lungs, liver and brain was reduced by about 50 percent.

We also know that aspirin can benefit individuals at risk of heart attack or stroke. A low dose of aspirin is already recommended by doctors to be taken to lower risk of these two serious and often fatal conditions.

Life Line Screening conducts preventive health screenings for those who may be at risk of heart attack or stroke. As always, simple lifestyle changes like taking low-doses of aspirin can help prevent such conditions from developing, but you can become fully aware of the state of your health by scheduling a health screening today.

To read the full article on aspirin’s effect on decreasing cancer risk, view this link:

The Link Between Prostate Cancer and Exercise

July 18, 2012

It’s nothing new that exercise can do a body good. Now researchers have found that a workout may be beneficial in yet another way.

Although being diagnosed with prostate cancer may feel like a terrifying, hopeless situation, it’s nice to know there are things you can do to stop the spread of the cancer and prolong your life. This video highlights the findings of a study conducted and published by the journal Cancer Research that links vigorous exercise to more than just weight loss or strong muscles.  The study shows the amazing connection between exercise and prostate cancer and how men may be able to stop their prostate cancer from spreading.

Do you or does someone you know have prostate cancer? Watch this video to learn what you can do to stop it from spreading. The video can also be found on Life Line Screening’s YouTube channel. For those without video capability, the text is provided below.

Prostate Walk

Here is the audio text to the video:

“Going for a walk may be a healthy response to learning that you have prostate cancer.

In a recent study from the journal Cancer Research, experts found that walking, when done quickly enough, may help bring good news for men with prostate cancer.

The researchers included 1,455 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer that hadn’t spread. The men answered a survey about their physical activity about two years after their diagnosis but before they had any signs that the cancer had returned.

Men who walked briskly for at least three hours a week were 57 percent less likely to see their prostate cancer progress than men who walked at a slow pace for less than three hours weekly.

These findings come on the heels of another study from the same researchers that found that men who exercise vigorously after being diagnosed with prostate cancer had a lower risk of dying of the disease.

Although three hours of weekly walking may sound like a lot of effort, it breaks down to just 26 minutes a day. Of course men with prostate cancer should discuss any exercise plans with their healthcare provider.

I’m doctor Cindy Haines with HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading, news that matters to you.”

Fruits and Veggies Help Smokers Quit, 4 Ways to Lower Alzheimer’s Risk, and Diabetes Drug Actos’ Link to Cancer

July 17, 2012

Tuesday Roundup:

Fruits and Veggies to the Rescue: Helping Smokers Quit

Itching for a cigarette? Instead, eat some fruits and veggies.

The benefits of fruits and vegetables are numerous. They’re good for your waistline, help lower heart disease and stroke risk, provide energy and stamina and are just flat out good for your body. Now, researchers have found yet another benefit: they help smokers kick their nicotine addiction easier and faster. 

Public health researchers at the University of Buffalo found that by consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, smokers are three times more likely to succeed in their quest to quit. It also found that eating produce helps former smokers stay smoke-free longer.

The study, which was published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, surveyed 1,000 smokers ages 25 and older over the telephone about their diet and smoking habits. It then conducted a follow-up call 14 months later asking participants how much they’d smoked in the past month.

Results showed that not only did smokers who consumed more fruits and vegetables smoke fewer cigarettes daily, they also waited longer before smoking their first cigarette of the day and were therefore less dependent on nicotine.

The reason? Researchers say fruits and vegetables worsen the taste of cigarettes, making them less desirable to smokers who consume daily produce.

Negative consequences of nicotine are abundant and yet, many Americans continue to smoke. The study pointed out that 19 percent of Americans smoke cigarettes and of them, many want to quit. Using a diet of fruits and vegetables as a weapon in the fight to beat nicotine can help thousands of people quit.

Smoking cigarettes puts you at risk for an abundance of ailments including heart disease, stroke, cancer, emphysema and more. Life Line Screening provides heart disease and stroke early detection screenings for those who may be at risk. Take control of your health status and get screened today.

Read the full article on the study linking fruit and vegetable consumption to helping smokers quit by visiting this web page:

4 Ways to Lower Your Alzheimer’s Risk

Dementia and memory loss are serious concerns for many elderly Americans. According to the 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report produced by the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and one in eight older Americans has the disease. What’s more frightening is that Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and is the only cause of death in the top ten that can’t be prevented, slowed or cured.

Even though Alzheimer’s can’t be prevented, there are actions you can take to lower your risk. Simply making a few lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

One way is by drinking more coffee. In a previous Life Line Screening blog post, we discussed the positive effects drinking three cups of coffee a day can have on the development of Alzheimer’s. Among people older than 65, those who had higher levels of caffeine in their blood developed Alzheimer’s two to four years later than those who had lower levels of caffeine.

Another way to reduce your Alzheimer’s risk is by exercising more. In a report in the journal Neurology, participants who had the lowest amount of daily physical activity were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as those who were the most active. This activity can be modest tasks like walking, washing dishes or even pushing yourself in a wheelchair. The key is to keep moving.

Eating more fish, nuts and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been found to cut Alzheimer’s risk as well. Eating these foods decreases the amount of beta-amyloid protein within your blood. Beta-amyloid proteins are associated with memory loss because they’re commonly found during autopsies in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The last way to lower your Alzheimer’s risk is to avoid overeating. Studies have shown that eating more than 2,100 calories a day doubles an elderly person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. By watching what you eat and not overindulging, you are avoiding one major risk factor associated with memory loss

Life Line Screening encourages people of all ages to take control of their health status and make healthy, informed lifestyle choices. To read more about the latest Alzheimer’s facts and figures, visit this web page:

The Increased Cancer Risk from Diabetes Drug Actos

Type 2 diabetes has already been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. Now studies show that a drug taken by people with type 2 diabetes may increase that risk even more.

A new analysis was compiled from previously conducted studies. The analysis is made up of 10 studies that included 2.6 million people. Of those people, 3,643 had been newly diagnosed with bladder cancer. Results showed that the drug pioglitazone (commonly known as Actos), raises the risk of bladder cancer by one-fifth. That’s a 22 percent increased risk of bladder cancer.

Although the studies discovered the link between Actos and bladder cancer, it didn’t discover how exactly Actos raises the risk. Plus, people with type 2 diabetes are already at a greater risk of bladder cancer—they have a 40 percent increased risk than those who don’t have type 2 diabetes. This is said to be caused by the increased amount of insulin in people with this type of diabetes. Because insulin is a growth hormone, cancer cells can use insulin to grow.

Researchers of the study found that although risk of developing bladder cancer increases for those taking Actos, the likelihood of developing the cancer is still small. Bladder cancer is rare for individuals who don’t have other bladder cancer risk factors like smoking or being an elderly male. In that case, Actos can be very beneficial in dealing with type 2 diabetes.

Life Line Screening offers a glucose screening for type 2 diabetes for those who may be at risk. It is used to identify diabetes. Learn more about Life Line Screening’s preventive health screenings today and gain peace of mind by knowing your health status.

To read the full article about the link between type 2 diabetes drug Actos and bladder cancer, visit the following link:

Andy Griffith’s Cause of Death

July 16, 2012

It’s been all over the news that Andy Griffith, the actor best known for his role as Sheriff Andy Taylor in “The Andy Griffith Show,” has passed away. When the death certificate was released, the public learned what caused the death of the beloved actor: a heart attack.

In more detail, the certificate states that the 86-year-old actor suffered the heart attack a full 24 hours before the official time of his death, 7 a.m. on Tuesday, July 3. Griffith spent years suffering from other illnesses that eventually contributed to his death including coronary artery disease, hypertension and high cholesterol.

What You Can Learn from Andy Griffith’s Fatal Heart Attack

Andy Griffith is just one of many who succumbed to the deadly illness called cardiovascular disease. Heart attacks are prominent throughout the United States and along with strokes, they affect approximately 1.5 million Americans a year.

It’s old news that this disease is a serious, often fatal condition that accounts for numerous deaths every year. Cardiovascular disease alone is the number one killer of adults in the United States. The illness causes one in every three deaths among American adults.

Part of the reason heart disease is so prominent is because risk factors are abundant and are gradually increasing. Because of unhealthy diets and lack of exercise, two-thirds of all U.S. adults are overweight or obese. One-third of adult Americans have hypertension, 17 to 21 percent are smokers, 15 percent have high cholesterol and 8 percent have diabetes. All of these conditions put individuals at greater risk for developing heart disease and one day experiencing a fatal heart attack.

The positive side of the story is that there are ways to lower your risk of heart disease along with preventive measures you can take to avoid becoming a part of these statistics. Being proactive and taking the time to become knowledgeable about your health status can benefit yourself and your loved ones.

Simple lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables, good proteins and nutrients along with frequent exercise, weight control, avoiding cigarettes and lowering your alcohol consumption can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease dramatically.

Preventive health screenings like those offered by Life Line Screening can help identify cardiovascular disease or stroke risk before the unthinkable happens. Take care of the problem before it leads to deadly consequences by scheduling a health screening today.

To read the full article describing some of the latest heart disease and stroke statistics, visit this link:


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