Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
Low Levels of Income, Education Increase Women's Diabetes Risk:
Poverty and low levels of education appear to be associated with
increased risk for type 2 diabetes in women, a new study released
Wednesday by Statistics Canada reports.
The two factors are independent of other diabetes risk factors,
including the well-documented connection between being
overweight/obese and diabetes,
CBC News reported.
Lower-income women were much more likely to develop diabetes
than those in high-income households. But household income didn't
appear to influence diabetes risk in men. Their main risk factors
were being overweight/obese and behaviors such as smoking, heavy
drinking and physical inactivity.
The 15-year study included 12,333 participants, aged 18 and
older, in the National Population Health Survey. Among those who
were diabetes-free in 1994-95, 7.2 percent of men and 6.3 percent
of women had either developed diabetes or died of the disease by
CBC News reported.
Possible Link Between Athletes' Head Injuries and Lou Gehrig's
There appears to be a connection between head injuries in
athletes and Lou Gehrig's disease, according to a new study.
Boston University neurology professor Dr. Ann McKee found toxic
proteins in the spinal cords of three athletes who suffered head
injuries during their careers and later died of Lou Gehrig's
disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the
Associated Press reported.
The same toxic proteins have been found in the brains of
athletes with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This
condition is associated with head injuries and patients experience
abnormal behavior, cognitive decline and dementia.
McKee launched her study after noticing that ALS appears to
affect an unusually high number of football players. People with
ALS lose the ability to move and speak as the disease attacks nerve
cells in the brain and spinal cord.
She analyzed the brains and spinal cords of former Minnesota
Vikings linebacker Wally Hilgenberg, former Southern California
linebacker Eric Scoggins, and an unnamed boxer, the
AP reported. All of them died of ALS.
The spines of all three athletes contained the toxic proteins.
But these proteins were not present in the spines of athletes who
had CTE but not ALS, nor in non-athletes who died of ALS.
The study appears in the
Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology.
Lily Halts Development of Alzheimer's Drug
The development of an experimental Alzheimer's drug called
semagacestat has been halted because it actually worsened the
condition of patients in two late-stage studies, Eli Lilly and
Company said Tuesday.
The company said the drug did not slow the progression of
Alzheimer's and was associated with a decline in patients'
cognition and ability to carry out day-to-day tasks,
The New York Times reported.
In addition, patients taking the drug were at increased risk for
skin cancer, the newspaper said.
Semagacestat was designed to reduce the production of brain
plaques believed to be involved in Alzheimer's disease.
This failure and previous ones involving other experimental
Alzheimer's drugs could raise doubts about the leading theory that
Alzheimer's is caused by the accumulation of amyloid beta plaques
in the brain, the
Development of another experimental Alzheimer's drug called
solanezumab will continue, Lilly said. That drug, which is in
late-stage testing, also targets amyloid beta but does so through a
different mechanism than semagacestat.
Cancer a Major Economic Issue: Report
Cancer not only is the leading cause of death worldwide but it
has a huge economic impact, according to an American Cancer Society
The amount of life and productivity lost due to cancer is
greater than AIDS, malaria, the flu and other infectious diseases,
Associated Press reported.
In 2008, cancer's economic toll was $895 billion - which is
equal to 1.5 percent of the global gross domestic product. That
figure represents the cost of disability and years of life cost,
but doesn't include treatment costs, the American Cancer Society
The document was to be presented this week at a global cancer
conference in China, the
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