This Week in Health: Smokers three times more likely to develop chronic pain - Metro US

This Week in Health: Smokers three times more likely to develop chronic pain

Anxious Woman
A new study suggests that smokers appear less resilient to pain.

Smokers three times more likely to develop chronic pain

Location of study:U.S.

Results: It appears that smokers with new back pain are less likely to recover. They’re also significantly more likely to eventually develop chronic pain. Researchers say that two areas of the brain associated with addictive behavior and motivated learning play a crucial role. (Circuitry between these two regions is crucial to the development of chronic pain.) In the study, this circuitry was particularly active among smokers.

Significance: Smokers seem much less resilient to an episode of pain when compared to nonsmokers. The finding is noteworthy as it suggests a relationship between addictive behavior and the development of chronic pain.

Risk of some cancers lower among lactose intolerant people


Study subjects: Over 22,000 lactose intolerant people

Results: People who are lactose intolerant might be less likely to develop lung, breast and ovarian cancers. Researchers say that, for unknown reasons, low dairy consumption appears to reduce the risk in lactose intolerant people. However, there weren’t any protective effects observed in their family members. This leads researchers to believe that individual diet may be the most significant factor.

Significance: Researchers warn that the findings aren’t enough to label milk as a risk factor for these cancers. “We must interpret these results with caution because the association we found is insufficient to conclude a causative effect,” researcher Jianguang Ji, an associate professor at Lund University, said in a statement. Either way, the study isn’t the first to question a potential link between dairy consumption and cancer.

Anxiety linked to brain damage, Alzheimer’s disease

Location of study:Toronto

Study subjects: 376 adults aged 55 to 91

Results:People who suffer from mild cognitive impairment (also known as MCI) are already thought to be at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Now new research suggests that people with MCI who also battle anxiety are at an even higher risk. In a recent study, these individuals showed anywhere from a 33 to 135 percent increase in Alzheimer’s risk, depending on the severity of their anxiety.

Significance: Researchers say that while late-life depression is commonly recognized as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, the risk associated with anxiety wasn’t so clear. “Our findings suggest that clinicians should routinely screen for anxiety in people who have memory problems because anxiety signals that these people are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s,” principal investigator Dr. Linda Mah said in a statement.

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