Today in medicine
Height and female cancer risks
Study subjects: 1.3 million middle-aged women
Location of study: U.K.
Results: CNN reports that, according to a new study published in the journal Lancet, “The taller a woman is, the greater her risk of developing one of 10 different cancers.” Quoting the Oxford University study, the article says “the tallest group (women 5 feet 9 or taller) were 37 percent more likely to develop cancer than the shortest group (women 5 feet and shorter) regardless of factors such as age, socioeconomic status, body-mass index and amount of physical activity.”
Significance: CNN quoted the report as concluding, “taller people have more cells, and thus a greater opportunity for mutations leading to malignant transformation.”
Simple steps to avoid Alzheimer’s
Study subjects: Various adults
Location of study: Global
Results: MSNBC reports that “Up to half of Alzheimer’s disease cases worldwide are potentially attributable to seven preventable risk factors … Alzheimer’s cases could be reduced if people quit smoking, increased their physical activity, enhanced their mental activity, controlled their blood pressure and diabetes, and managed their obesity and depression.”
Significance: “While these seven factors may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s, none of the factors have been shown to cause the disease,” the article concluded.
Circumcision and HIV infection
Study subjects: Adult males
Location of study: Africa
Results: “A circumcision campaign in a South African township cut new HIV infections among the treated men by 76 percent,” reports The Los Angeles Times. “The simple operation provides a way to make major inroads in the HIV transmission rate in countries where the infection rate is very high.”
Significance: Circumcision could be a cheap, effective way to control HIV/AIDS in third-world countries.