Kids who watch lots of TV have lower bone mass as adults

admin   •   July 18, 2016   •   2962

A young child watches television in an NYCHA apartment after receiving electricity just minutes before for the first time following Hurricane Sandy in the Brooklyn borough neighborhood of Coney Island in New York November 13, 2012. REUTERS/LUCAS JACKSON

A young child watches television in an NYCHA apartment after receiving electricity just minutes before for the first time following Hurricane Sandy in the Brooklyn borough neighborhood of Coney Island in New York November 13, 2012.

(Reuters Health) – Kids who watch a lot of television may build less bone during critical years, and be more vulnerable to osteoporosis and bone breaks later in life as a result, a new study suggests.

Children and teens followed until age 20 – when bone mass is peaking – had lower bone mass at that age the more hours they had spent watching TV in childhood, researchers reported online July 4th in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

“What we need to make clear is that it’s not necessarily the act of watching TV that is driving the link between TV and health outcomes, but the act of sitting for long periods,” said Natalie Pearson of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University in the U.K., who was not part of the new study.

“The first set of data collected on TV viewing in the current study was collected 15 years ago,” and since then more and more young people have started watching TV on demand, using iPads, smart phones and apps, she told Reuters Health by email.

For the study, led by Joanne A. McVeigh at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, the parents of more than 1,000 Australian kids reported how much TV each child watched per week at ages 5, 8, 10, 14, 17 and 20 years – though at older ages the kids started to self-report their own TV watching habits.

Researchers sorted the kids into three groups based on their TV watching patterns over time: about 20 percent watched less than 14 hours of TV per week as children and teens and were considered consistent low-level watchers, more than 40 percent watched 14 or more hours per week as children and teens and were consistent high-level watchers, and 35 percent increased from low to high levels of TV watching per week over the years.

At age 20 the participants had X-ray scans to assess bone mineral content.

The researchers accounted for height, body mass, physical activity, calcium intake, vitamin D levels, alcohol, and smoking at age 20, and still found that kids who were consistently high-level TV watchers at younger ages had lower bone mineral content than others as adults.

Immobilization for prolonged period of time is detrimental to bone health, said Dr. Sebastien Chastin of Glasgow Caledonian University in the U.K., who was not part of the new study.

“Sitting watching television does two things, it takes away from being active, therefore we do not get the benefit of physical activity and second it immobilizes us for prolonged period of time which we know from bed rest studies triggers physiological response that change the balance in our body chemistry that keeps our bone strong,” Chastin told Reuters Health by email.

“Several studies have shown over the years that there is a relationship between the time we spend sitting and bone health,” he added.

“Poor bone health ultimately can lead to osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) which affects over 200 million women worldwide,” he said. “You can imagine that a fall on a brittle hip is more likely to result in fracture.”

Our bodies reach peak bone density around age 22, after which time bone density decreases over time, though we can slow the decrease by maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, Chastin said.

“Impact sports (not contact) are the most beneficial for bone health,” he said, citing parkour or “free running” in particular for muscle strength, balance and coordination.

“It is often very difficult to make parents and doctors aware of the very long term health implications of sitting (at a screen or other sitting occasions such as school time, work time, travel etc.) for long periods, as in today’s society we are very interested in the immediate responses to our actions and not what will happen 20 years down the line,” Pearson said.

There are practical ways to break up periods of seated screen time, like getting up during ads or while working on a computer getting up to answer the phone instead of emailing a colleague or friend, she said.


J Bone Miner Res 2016.

Typhoon Nina poses possible Lahar flow in Bicol region

admin   •   December 22, 2016

File photo.

File photo.


QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council has advised Local Government Units and NDRRMC member agencies to prepare for the possible landfall of typhoon Nina in the country tonight or early dawn tomorrow.

Likewise, passengers are also reminded to check their trip schedules before proceeding to ports and terminals to avoid being stranded.

Based on NDRRMC’s report, the typhoon is expected to hit the Bicol region, which would then spill over Samar. It would result in a series of lahar flow from several volcanoes in the Bicol region.

NDRRMC Spokesperson Nina Marasigan said, “Maaaring magkaroon ng debris flow or lahar flow dahil sa patuloy na pag-ulan na mararanasan kaya binigay na natin ng babal ang ating mga kababayan sa nasa paligid ng area ng bulkan.”

(There is a possibility of a debris flow or lahar flow because of the continuous rains. This is the reason why we have already warned residents living near volcanoes.)

The NDRRMC has also started coordinating with the Department of Transportation and Philippine Coast Guard for the possible cancellation of trips at terminals and ports especially in the northern seaboard of north Luzon and central Luzon, which are expected to experience the effect of northeast monsoon.

NDRRMC added that seas are rougher this December, and that waves will become bigger when typhoon Nina makes a landfall.

Marasigan added, “Kung sila ay may mga tickets at inaasahan na sila ay uuwi… sa kanilang mga pamilya ngayon pa lamang po ay maaaring magkaroon ng kanselasyon ang kanilang mga pagbibiyahe lalo na sa Sabado at Linggo.”

(If they already have tickets and they are expected to visit their families in their home provinces, they should expect cancellation of flights and trips especially on Saturday and Sunday.)

Residents in low-lying areas are also advised to go to the nearest rehabilitation or evacuation centers in their place.

The public is reminded anew to take caution and cooperate with authorities when being evacuated to avoid huge damages due to typhoon Nina.— AIKO MIGUEL, UNTV News & Rescue


Even with one cigarette a day, odds of early death are higher

admin   •   December 6, 2016

A man smokes a cigarette along a road in Mumbai, India, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

A man smokes a cigarette along a road in Mumbai, India, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo


Smokers who go through much less than a pack of cigarettes a day still have a higher risk of an early death than non-smokers, a new study suggests.

“There is no safe level of cigarette smoking,” said lead study author Maki Inoue-Choi, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland.

“Even smokers who consistently smoked less than one cigarette per day were more likely to die in our study than never smokers,” Inoue-Choi said by email.

Tobacco smoking poses a major public health challenge and claims about five million lives each year worldwide, researchers note in JAMA Internal Medicine.

A growing number of smokers tend to be “light” smokers, going through less than half a pack of cigarettes a day, the authors write. This used to be how people cut back gradually on the path to quitting, but it’s increasingly a pattern that smokers follow for years at a time.

To get a better picture of the health effects of light smoking, researchers tracked more than 290,000 adults aged 59 to 82, including more than 22,000 current smokers and more than 156,000 former smokers, who completed surveys in 2004 and 2005.

By 2011, compared to people who never smoked, adults who consistently smoked at least part of one cigarette a day were 64 percent more likely to have died of any cause, researchers report in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Smoking one to 10 cigarettes a day was associated with 87 percent higher odds of dying from all causes during the study than not smoking at all.

Lung cancer deaths in particular were much more likely among light smokers than non-smokers. The odds of death from lung cancer were more than nine times higher with a habit of even one cigarette a day, while smoking up to 10 cigarettes a day was associated with almost 12 times the risk of death from lung cancer.

Former smokers fared better when they quit at younger ages. For example, ex-smokers of one to 10 cigarettes a day who kicked the habit after age 50 had a 42 percent higher risk of death from all causes during the study period, compared to those who kicked the habit at younger ages. One limitation of the study is that researchers relied on participants to accurately recall and report on how often they smoked even may years in the past, the authors note.

“The take home message is that all smokers should stop smoking, even if they smoke only occasionally, or if they smoke very few cigarettes a day,” Jean-Francois Etter, a researcher at the University of Geneva in Switzerland who wasn’t involved in the study, said in an email.

The study also showed very little benefit from cutting back from two packs a day to half a pack a day, said Judith Prochaska, a researcher at Stanford University in California who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Low intensity smokers often downplay their use of tobacco – may even identify as nonsmokers – and may rationalize their behavior as low risk,” Prochaska said by email.

“The findings ought to compel physicians to intervene with patients who report any level of current tobacco use,” Prochaska added. “As a motivating message, the sooner individuals quit smoking, the greater the health benefits in extending years of life.” — Reuters

Smoking a pack a day causes 150 mutations in every lung cell, research shows

admin   •   November 4, 2016

A man smokes a cigarette along a road in Mumbai, India, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

A man smokes a cigarette along a road in Mumbai, India, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo


Scientists have found that smoking a pack a day of cigarettes can cause 150 damaging changes to a smoker’s lung cells each year.

The findings come from a study of the devastating genetic damage, or mutations, caused by smoking in various organs in the body.

Publishing in the journal Science on Thursday, the researchers said the findings show a direct link between the number of cigarettes smoked in a lifetime and the number of mutations in the DNA of cancerous tumors.

The highest mutation rates were seen in lung cancers, but tumors in other parts of the body – including the bladder, liver and throat – also had smoking-associated mutations, they said. This explains why smoking also causes many other types of cancer beside lung cancer.

Smoking kills six million people a year worldwide and, if current trends continue, the World Health Organization predicts more than 1 billion tobacco-related deaths this century.

Cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA of a cell. Smoking has been linked with at least 17 types of cancer, but until now scientists were not clear on the mechanisms behind many of them.

Ludmil Alexandrov of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States, one of those who carried out the research, explained that in particular, it had until now been difficult to explain how smoking increases the risk of cancer in parts of the body that don’t come into direct contact with smoke.

“Before now, we had a large body of epidemiological evidence linking smoking with cancer, but now we can actually observe and quantify the molecular changes in the DNA,” he said.

This study analyzed over 5,000 tumors, comparing cancers from smokers with those from people who had never smoked.

It found certain molecular fingerprints of DNA damage – called mutational signatures – in the smokers’ DNA, and the scientists counted how many of these were in different tumors.

In lung cells, they found that on average, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day led to 150 mutations in each cell every year. Each mutation is a potential start point for a “cascade of genetic damage” that can eventually lead to cancer, they said.

The results also showed that a smoking a pack of cigarettes a day led to an average 97 mutations in each cell in the larynx, 39 mutations for the pharynx, 23 for the mouth, 18 for the bladder, and six mutations in every cell of the liver each year.

Mike Stratton, who co-led the work at Britain’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said it was a bit like digging in to the archaeology of each tumor

“The genome of every cancer provides a kind of archaeological record, written in the DNA code itself, of the exposures that caused the mutations,” he said. “Looking in the DNA of cancers can provide provocative new clues to how (they) develop and thus, potentially, how they can be prevented.” — Reuters


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