Monthly Archives: March 2017

Will talcum powder Could cause ovarian cancer?

Some people may sprinkle on powder after showering and never think much of it. But recent court cases have shined a spotlight on the possible link between women’s regular use of talcum powder on their genitals and an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Yesterday (Aug. 21), a jury in Los Angeles ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a woman who claims that the company’s baby powder led to her ovarian cancer. The woman, Eva Echeverria, said in the lawsuit that she developed ovarian cancer as a “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder,” according to the Associated Press. (Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is made from talcum powder or talc, which is a mineral made up of magnesium, silicon and oxygen.)

In a case that was settled in February, a jury determined that the family of a 62-year-old Alabama woman, who died from ovarian cancer in 2015 after decades of using talcum powder for feminine hygiene, was entitled to $72 million in damages from Johnson & Johnson. The company did not inform customers of the potential dangers of its powders despite being aware of the possible health risks, the jury ruled, according to The Washington Post.

In an earlier case against the same manufacturer, a jury in 2013 found Johnson & Johnson guilty of negligence for not warning women of the risk of ovarian cancer linked to the daily use of the company’s talc-based powders. However, the jury in this case did not award the woman who developed the cancer any monetary damages.

Although these lawsuits have resulted in more publicity about a potential connection between women’s use of talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product, the suggestion of a possible association has been raised in scientific circles for more than 30 years. (Such use means applying powders directly on women’s’ genitals, or on sanitary napkins, tampons, underwear or diaphragms.)

It’s a controversial topic because manufacturers claim there is no causal connection between talc use and ovarian cancer, and researchhas demonstrated conflicting results. [5 Things Women Should Know About Ovarian Cancer]

The American Cancer Society has weighed in on the available science, and said that the “findings have been mixed.” Some studies report a slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer among women who have regularly used talcum powder in their genital areas, while other studies have found no increased risk, the society said.

Based on limited evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, has designated women’s use of talc on their genitals as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

Some, but not all powders, such as baby powders and body powders, contain talc, a mineral that may help prevent odor, moisture and chafing when applied to the skin. Before the 1970s, talc products may have contained asbestos, now a known carcinogen, but since then, talcum powders are required by law to be asbestos-free.

Cornstarch-based powders, which have no talc in them, are considered safe for women to use on the genital area and have no known link withany female cancers. And there’s no evidence that sprinkling talc-based powders on other parts of a woman’s body, such as on her feet or her back, influences ovarian cancer risk.

Arguing for strong evidence

Dr. Daniel Cramer, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and director of the OB/GYN Epidemiology Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, conducted one of the earliest studies to suggest a link between genital talc use in women and cancer of the ovaries. That research was published in 1982.

Since then, Cramer’s studies have been among those finding a link between women’s regular use of talc and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

In his opinion, there is strong evidence from about two-dozen epidemiological studies for a significant association between genital talc use and ovarian cancer, Cramer told Live Science. These studies have found that regular talc use may increase a woman’s overall risk of ovarian cancer by about 30 percent, Cramer said.

It has been only in more recent studies that a dose-response effect has been observed in premenopausal women, especially nonsmokers and women who are heavier, and in postmenopausal women who used hormone therapy, Cramer said. A dose-response means that a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer appeared to increase the longer she used talc on her genitals or the more applications she had used over time, he explained.

One factor that has been hard for researchers to quantify is how much talc each woman uses in each application, and how much of it gets into the vagina, Cramer told Live Science. [5 Myths About Women’s Bodies]

Talc is a potent inflammatory agent, and chronic inflammation may predispose a person to cancer, said Cramer, who served as an expert witness in one of the recent court cases and provided written testimony in another. He said that pathologists who have examined tissue from the ovaries of cancer patients under a microscope have found that there is talc in the tissue. The mineral has also been found in women who don’t have ovarian cancer; talc can be found in tissue from lymph nodes in women who have used talcum powder on their genitals.

The exact mechanism by which talc may promote the development of ovarian cancer in women is not known. But Cramer said he suspects that when talc is applied to the genitals, the mineral’s particles can get into the vagina and eventually make their way into the upper genital tract, where the ovaries are located. Once there, talc can induce a potent inflammatory response and probably disrupt the immune system, he said.

Hormones, such as estrogen, may also play a role in the development of ovarian cancer in some women who use talc, but more studies are needed to tease out this effect, Cramer said.

Focus on other risks.

The scientific evidence for a link between women’s use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer is not that strong, said Dr. Sarah Temkin, an associate professor of gynecological oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. Two newer prospective studies have failed to show any difference in ovarian cancer risk between women who used talc on their genitals and those who never did so, she said.

The older studies that suggested an increased risk tended to be case-control studies, which are open to more bias because they involve asking women to recall their use of powder after they have been diagnosed with cancer, Temkin said.

She said she does not think the evidence is strong enough to warrant forcing manufacturers to place a warning label on talcum powder to alert women to a possible health risk from using the product.

Ovarian cancer is a rare disease, and two well-established risk factors for it are a family history of ovarian cancer and a family history of breast cancer, Temkin told Live Science. Scientists have known about these two links for decades, and even so, health providers may miss the opportunity to inform women who have these risk factors about opportunities for genetic counseling, she said.

It’s also known that women who have used birth control pills for at least five years may reduce their risk for developing ovarian cancer by about 50 percent compared with women who have never used such oral contraceptives, Temkin added. [7 Surprising Facts About the Pill]

She typically does not ask her ovarian cancer patients about their talc use when taking a medical history, Temkin said, and women don’t usually ask her many questions about it. However, with news stories about recent court verdicts making headlines, two or three women have inquired about the use of talc, she said.

How Stress in Your Brain Can Influence Your Body

The patterns in your brain may predict how your body physically reacts to stressful situations, a new study finds.

That’s important, because some people have stronger physical reactions to stress than others: Their hearts beat faster, and their blood pressure rises more, than you’d see in less “reactive” individuals, according to the study. And this “exaggerated” stress response can have negative consequences in the long run. [10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Brain]

People whose blood pressure shoots up in stressful situations are more likely to develop high blood pressure in the future, and they may also have an increased risk of death from heart disease, according to the study, published today (Aug. 23) in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“It’s the people who show the largest stress-related cardiovascular response who are at the greatest risk for poor cardiovascular health, and understanding the brain mechanisms for this may help to reduce their risk,” senior study author Peter Gianaros, a professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, said in a statement.

To study this “brain-body” relationship, the researchers performed brain scans on more than 300 adults while also monitoring their physical responses, such as blood pressure and heart rate. During the scans, the participants were asked complete mental tests that were designed to create a stressful experience. For example, the people in the study had to answer questions under strict time constraints.

Next, the researchers used artificial intelligence analyze the results. They found that the people who reacted more strongly to stress physically — in other words, the people whose blood pressure and heart rates rose higher — showed specific patterns of activity in their brains. Indeed, the A.I. reliably predicted how a person’s blood pressure and heart rate would change based on the person’s brain activity during the stress test, the researchers said.

In addition, activity in certain areas of the brain was linked to greaterstress responses in the body, the researchers found. For example, heightened activity in areas of the brain that determine whether information from the world around you is threatening was linked to a greater physical response.

The study had several limitations, the researchers said. For example, the people included in the study were healthy, middle-age adults who were at low risk for heart disease, so the findings may not apply to less-healthy individuals.

In addition, the study didn’t prove that increased activity in certain parts of the brain in response to stress causes physical changes in the body; rather, the research found an association between the two.

Gianaros noted that more research is needed to explore the connections between brain activity and stress responses in the body.

“This kind of work is proof-of-concept, but it does suggest that, in the future, brain imaging might be a useful tool to identify people who are at risk for heart disease or who might be more or less suited for different kinds of interventions, specifically those that might be aimed at reducing levels of stress,” Gianaros said.

People Who Lack of Sleep may Risk Higher Dementia

Consider it another strike against not getting enough sleep: A new study finds that getting too little REM sleep may be linked to a higher risk of dementia later in life.

REM, or “rapid eye movement,” sleep is one of four sleep stages, which also include two stages of light sleep and a stage of deeper sleep called slow-wave sleep. REM sleep is characterized by vivid dreams and high levels of brain activity, similar to the brain’s state when its awake. Humans typically cycle through several periods of REM sleep between the other stages of sleep each night.

In the new study, published today (Aug. 23) in the journal Neurology, researchers found that the people who developed dementia had gotten significantly less REM sleep when examined overnight years earlier compared with the people who didn’t develop cognitive problems. [Get Better Sleep in 2017]

The study does not prove that low levels of REM sleep cause dementia; rather, it shows an association between the two, said lead study author Matthew Pase, a senior research fellow at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.

Pase offered several ideas for how REM sleep and dementia might be linked.

“On one hand, REM may help protect connections within the brain that are vulnerable to damage with aging and Alzheimer’s disease,” Pase told Live Science. “On the other hand, perhaps lower REM is caused by other potential dementia risk factors, such as heightened anxiety and stress. This requires further study.”

Doctors have long known that poor sleep can result in mental and emotional health problems. But details about which types of sleep are associated with dementia and long-term cognitive decline have been lacking. More than 10 percent of Americans over age 65 have some form of dementia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the new study, the researchers looked at more than 320 people in the U.S. whose average age was 67. These people were already part of an ongoing, larger study on heart health. The researchers collected sleep data approximately half way through the as they followed the participants for an average of 12 years. During that time, 32 people (about 10 percent) were diagnosed with some form of dementia; among those 32 people, 24 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The people who developed dementia spent an average of 17 percent of their sleep time in REM sleep, compared with 20 percent for those who did not develop dementia. The researchers found that for every 1-percent reduction in REM sleep, there was a 9-percent increase in the risk of dementia. The results held up even after the researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect dementia risk or poor sleep, such as heart disease, depression and medication use.

Also, the time that the people spent in stages of non-REM sleep was not associated with dementia risk, the study found. [5 Surprising Sleep Discoveries]

“The study is valuable, since it has identified inadequate REM sleep as correlating with dementia risk,” said Dr. Pinky Agarwal, a neurologist at EvergreenHealth in Washington and a professor of neurology at the University of Washington. Agarwal was not part of the study.

“The current [scientific] literature is mixed and mostly identifies inadequate ‘slow wave sleep’ [a type of deep, non-REM sleep] as a risk, but these have been much shorter-duration studies,” Agarwal told Live Science. Because REM sleep is thought to be related to how the brain processes and retains memories, the new findings make sense, she said; dementia is, in part, marked by memory problems. The research points to the need for closer follow-up to recognize signs of dementia in patients with decreased REM sleep, she added.

Indeed, Pase noted that his research group would like to understand why a lower amount of REM sleep is tied to an increased risk of dementia. He hopes to tap into a larger sample of data to examine the relationship between sleep and signs of accelerated brain aging, such as poor thinking, memory problems and loss of brain volume.

This further research might provide more information about how getting less REM sleep, or even poor sleep in general, could lead to the development of dementia, Pase said.

Mata Saya Merasa Lucu cari di Google untuk Gejala Spike Setelah Eclipse

A total solar eclipse wowed viewers across the United States on Monday (Aug. 21), but for many, this amazement was followed by worry about whether the eclipse had damaged their eyes or caused other symptoms.

Shortly after the celestial event, Google searches for terms such as “solar eclipse headache,” “eyes hurt” and “seeing spots” all increased, according to Mashable.

Fortunately, experts say that if your eyes felt a little strange after the eclipse, it’s not necessarily a reason to worry. It could be that you havedry eyes from keeping your eyes open too long, according to Dr. Vincent Jerome Giovinazzo, director of ophthalmology at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. Giovinazzo told Live Science that he has already seen several patients who said their eyes felt funny after watching Monday’s eclipse, and they all had dry eyes.

If you did damage your eyes from looking at the eclipse, it would not be something you would feel. Rather, it would be something you would see. Symptoms of “solar retinopathy” — or damage to the eye’s retina that can occur from looking at the sun — are visual. (The retinas have no nerve fibers, so you cannot feel damage in this area.) These symptoms include blurriness or blind spots in your vision, or a dark or dim spot in your central vision.