You know air pollution is dangerous, but what about the air INSIDE your home?


Image: You know air pollution is dangerous, but what about the air INSIDE your home?

You might want to get your homes checked to see if you’re harboring an invisible killer in the air. According to Dr. Aaron Goodarzi of the University of Calgary, houses may have well over the safe exposure limit of radon gas.

In an article in the Daily Mail, Dr. Goodarzi writes that at least one in 15 homes in the U.S. contain the invisible gas.

Radon, a radioactive, invisible, and colorless gas, is a major cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke. In Canada, at least 4,000 new cases of lung cancer are attributed to radon exposure, while experts estimate 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. are linked to the gas.

He and his research team have been testing well over 2,300 homes in Canada for radon for years. According to the results of the testing, at least one in eight homes that were tested contained radon levels that are higher than acceptable levels. Interestingly enough, newer houses have the largest problem with radon levels.

However, the problem lies, according to Dr. Goodarzi, with people’s lack of awareness on the effects of radon gas.

Radon is a radioactive gas that’s invisible and contains no odor. While it naturally occurs from the breakdown of radium in the soil, the gas can seep into a building through cracks in the foundation as well as other openings.

It can be mostly found in the basement or cellars of homes, schools, and offices. There is no distinction with radon exposure: It can seep in any building, both old and new, in about all places where there is housing structure.

The correlation between radon gas and lung cancer was made in the 1970s after abnormally high cancer rates were detected in uranium miners in Elliot Lake in Ontario, Canada.

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Currently, studies have already established that long-term exposure to radon gas can cause irreparable harm to the DNA and lead to gene mutations that ultimately will lead to cancer. Next to smoking, radon exposure is the leading cause of cancer in non-smokers. (Related: Radon in Homes is the Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer.)

Dr. Goodarzi writes that radon exposure is now a major public health concern in Canada. In his location in Alberta alone, he estimates that many patients in Alberta who have never smoked a day in their life, are faced with a high risk for lung cancer.

Still, radon-induced lung cancer can be avoided completely with testing and proper management. Health care costs will be saved by avoiding radon cancer, not to mention a decrease in human suffering.

However, a person who smokes and also lives in a home with radon gas puts him at a much greater hazard, with a one in four chance of developing lung cancer later on. Meanwhile, the percentage of smokers who may have avoided cancer if they were not also exposed to radon gas remains uncertain.

With the advancement of scientific studies regarding the dangers of radon gas, Dr. Goodarzi opines that this will translate to additional legislation to regulate the gas, especially since children have the greatest risk of radon exposure throughout their lives.

As the harmful effects of radon are now gaining ground, the team hopes that this will make radon testing for homes a normal requirement, especially in cases wherein the home was just purchased after a major home repair.

Sources include:

DailyMail.co.uk

Canada.ca

Malay ethnicity, smoking, hyperlipidaemia predict risk of coronary calcification


Malay ethnicity, male gender, smoking and having hyperlipidaemia are associated with an increased risk of coronary calcification, according to a study presented at the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology (APSC) Congress 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan.

“Coronary artery calcium (CAC) is highly associated with the presence of coronary atherosclerotic plaque that has prognostic value towards cardiovascular events,” lead author Shu Yun Heng said. “It has shown that CAC varies among different ethnic groups in the same age and gender.”

Multivariate analysis of 16,546 individuals revealed that CAC increased with increasing age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.13; 95 percent CI, 1.13–1.14). Compared with women, men had higher CAC score across all ages (AOR, 3.70; 3.41–4.02).

Individuals of Malay ethnicity generally had higher CAC compared with those of Chinese ethnicity (AOR, 1.37; 1.16–1.63), after adjusting for confounding variables. In addition, CAC was also higher in smokers than nonsmokers (AOR, 13.29; 1.43–123.87) and among individuals with hyperlipidaemia (AOR, 1.62; 1.02–2.58).

These results are consistent with those of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), which found that men had greater calcium levels than women, and calcium amount and prevalence were steadily higher with increasing age. Researchers also found significant differences in calcium by race, and these associations differed across age and gender. [Circulation 2006;113:30-73]

A prospective cohort study, MESA is designed to assess subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a multiethnic cohort free of clinical CVD. A total of 6,110 patients (mean age 62 years; 53 percent women) participated in the study. [Circulation 2006;113:30-73]

The MESA public website (http://www.mesa-nhlbi.org) provides an interactive form that allows one to enter an age, gender, race/ethnicity, and CAC score to obtain a corresponding estimated percentile.

Bild and colleagues, in one publication of the MESA results, also found ethnic differences in the presence and quantity of coronary calcification that were not explained by coronary risk factors. [Circulation 2005;111:1313-1320]

“Identification of the mechanism underlying these differences would further our understanding of the pathophysiology of coronary calcification and its clinical significance,” said Bild, adding that “[d]ata on the predictive value of coronary calcium in different ethnic groups are needed.”

Furthermore, data from another study focusing on the prognostic value of CAC in a large, ethnically diverse cohort for the prediction of all-cause mortality support a growing body of evidence noting substantial differences in cardiovascular risk by ethnicity. [J Am Coll Cardiol 2018;doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2007.03.066]

In this present retrospective study, Heng and colleagues assessed the distribution of CAC in a multiethnic cohort between ages 35–84 years from a single tertiary institution, National Heart Centre Singapore, between 2007 and 2017. Participants were 64 percent men and had a mean age of 55 years. CAC was determined by 320 Multi-Detector Row CT.

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Smoking causes one in ten deaths globally, major new study reveals.


Efforts to control tobacco have paid off, says study, but warns tobacco epidemic is far from over, with 6.4m deaths attributed to smoking in 2015 alone

 Students wearing masks with no smoking signs attend an anti-smoking lecture in Fuyang, China. More than a million deaths a year in China are from smoking related diseases.
Students wearing masks with no smoking signs attend an anti-smoking lecture in Fuyang, China. More than a million deaths a year in China are from smoking related diseases. 

One in 10 deaths around the world is caused by smoking, according to a major new study that shows the tobacco epidemic is far from over and that the threat to lives is spreading across the globe.

There were nearly one billion smokers in 2015, in spite of tobacco control policies having been adopted by many countries. That number is expected to rise as the world’s population expands. One in every four men is a smoker and one in 20 women. Their lives are likely to be cut short – smoking is the second biggest risk factor for early death and disability after high blood pressure.

The researchers found there were 6.4m deaths attributed to smoking in 2015, of which half were in just four populous countries – China, India, USA, and Russia.

Major efforts to control tobacco have paid off, according to the study published by the Lancet medical journal. A World Health Organisation treaty in 2005 ratified by 180 countries recommends measures including smoking bans in public places, high taxes in cigarettes and curbs on advertising and marketing.

Between 1990 and 2015, smoking prevalence dropped from 35% to 25% among men and 8% to 5% among women. High income countries and Latin America – especially Brazil which brought in tough curbs on tobacco – achieved the biggest drops in numbers of smokers.

But many countries have made marginal progress since the treaty was agreed, say the authors of the study from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in the US. And although far more men smoke than women, there have been bigger reductions in the proportions of men smoking also, with minimal changes among women.

Senior author Dr Emmanuela Gakidou said there were 933m daily smokers in 2015, which she called “a very shocking number”. The paper focused only on those who smoke every day. “The toll of tobacco is likely to be much larger if we include occasional smokers and former smokers and people who use other tobacco products like smokeless tobacco. This is on the low end of how important tobacco is,” she told the Guardian.

There is much more that needs to be done, she said. “There is a widespread notion that the war on tobacco has been won but I think our evidence shows that we need renewed and sustained efforts because the toll of smoking in 2015 is much larger than most people would think, so we absolutely have a lot more to do. We need new and improved strategies to do it and a lot of effort and political will.”

Traditionally there have been far fewer women smoking around the world than men, but it was a huge problem for both, she said.

“There are some really worrisome findings – for example in Russia female smoking has increased in the last 25 years significantly. There are also some western European countries where about one in three women are smoking. So it is true globally that a lot fewer women smoke than men but there are some countries where it is a big problem for women,” she said.

Dr Kelly Henning of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which is committed to tobacco control and co-funded the study with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “I think the study highlights the fact that the work is not finished on tobacco. The good news is the decline in daily smoking among men and women … however there are still many smokers in the world and there is still a lot of work to do. I think we have to keep our eye on the issue and really do more.”

Countries with some of the highest death tolls such as China and Indonesia “really don’t need those health problems – they have so many other issues they are trying to address. But tobacco control is critically important in those places,” she said.

“China has more than a million deaths a year from smoking related diseases and China is only beginning to see the effects of their high male smoking rate. That is only one instance of what is expected to become an extremely major epidemic,” she said.

Writing in a linked comment, Professor John Britton from the University of Nottingham said: “Responsibility for this global health disaster lies mainly with the transnational tobacco companies, which clearly hold the value of human life in very different regard to most of the rest of humanity.” British American Tobacco, for instance, sold 665bn cigarettes in 2015 and made a £5.2bn profit.

“Today, the smoking epidemic is being exported from the rich world to low-income and middle-income countries, slipping under the radar while apparently more immediate priorities occupy and absorb scarce available human and financial resources,” he writes. “The epidemic of tobacco deaths will progress inexorably throughout the world until and unless tobacco control is recognised as an immediate priority for development, investment, and research.”

Source:/www.theguardian.com

Why sitting is the new smoking.


With WHO having recognised physical inactivity as the 4th biggest killer on the planet, we need to get up and move about .

Read the detils: http://www.newsflicks.com/story/why-sitting-is-the-new-smoking#sthash.1O0Rc6tO.dpuf

Nearly Half of Pregnant Women Who Give Up Smoking Pick it Up Again, Study Shows


Study shows 43% of women who quit smoking during pregnancy pick the habit back up six months after birth

Data suggests the majority of women who smoke try to quit if they find out they’re pregnant, but it’s unclear whether they keep it up after they’ve given birth. A new study adds to the evidence, showing that nearly half of women who kick the habit while pregnant will become smokers once again.

The new report, published Tuesday in the journal Addiction, looked at 27 different trials that attempted to help pregnant women quit smoking. The researchers took a closer look at whether these women stayed non-smokers six months after giving birth. They found that among the women who were offered some sort of smoking cessation intervention, 13% were able to quit sometime during the pregnancy and remain abstinent when they delivered. The other 87% of women either tried to quit and were not able to do so, or they did not attempt to kick the habit. Of the 13% that did quit, the researchers found that 43% started smoking again by six months.

“Most pregnant smokers do not achieve abstinence from smoking while they are pregnant, and among those that do, most will re-start smoking within 6 months of childbirth,” the study authors write. “This would suggest that despite large amounts of health-care expenditure on smoking cessation, few women and their offspring gain the maximum benefits of cessation.”

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that around 10% of women reported smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy. And even among women who attempt to quit, keeping it up over the long term remains difficult, the new findings suggest. The study authors argue more needs to be done to find better ways to help mothers stop smoking for good.

Smoking high potency cannabis can damage vital brain nerve fibres brain


Smoking skunk can damage a crucial part of your brain

Smoking high-potency skunk-like cannabis can have a negative impact on a crucial part of the brain.

Skunk can damage the corpus callosum section of the brain – a band of nerve fibre which links the brain’s two hemispheres.

Motor, sensory and cognitive information is transferred via the corpus callosum and it’s rich in cannabinoid receptors, sensitive to the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of marijuana.

New research has found skunk users had greater signs of damage to white matter fibres, which connects the right and left sides of the brain.

BFR1PK cropped view of two young adults smoking a joint. smoking, cannabis, hands, youth, hands, youth
High potency cannabis has been linked to an increased risk of psychosis .

According to a study conducted at Kings College London, cannabis users who regularly smoke high-potency skunk are risking significantly affecting the structure of fibres in the brain.

Dr Tiago Reis Marques, a senior research fellow from the IoPPN at King’s College London, said: ‘This white matter damage was significantly greater among heavy users of high potency cannabis than in occasional or low potency users, and was also independent of the presence of a psychotic disorder.’

Dr Paola Dazzan, Reader in Neurobiology of Psychosis from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London , said: ‘We found that frequent use of high potency cannabis significantly affects the structure of white matter fibres in the brain, whether you have psychosis or not.

‘This reflects a sliding scale where the more cannabis you smoke and the higher the potency, the worse the damage will be.’

Dazzan warned the new research should be heeded as a warning: ‘There is an urgent need to educate health professionals, the public and policymakers about the risks involved with cannabis use.

‘When assessing cannabis use it is extremely important to gather information on how often and what type of cannabis is being used.

A Man smoking a cannabis joint. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday January 26, 2009. Cannabis users will not face fines from today, despite it being upgraded to a Class B drug. Police will be unable to hand out the £80 fines intended as part of a new "three strikes" regime. See PA story POLITICS Cannabis. Photo credit should read: PA Wire.File photo dated 27/01/04.
A study found skunk to negatively impact white matter .

‘These details can help quantify the risk of mental health problems and increase awareness on the type of damage these substances can do to the brain.’

The study used Diffusion Tensor Imaging and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique was used to examine white matter in the brains of 56 patients who had reported a first episode of psychosis. In addition 43 healthy participants from the local community were involved for contrast.

Dazzan, and others at the Institute of Psychiatry, have previously linked the availability of skunk in south London could be linked to a rise in a rise in psychosis attributed to cannabis.

Effect of Smoking on the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes


Cigarette smoking remains the leading avoidable cause of disease burden worldwide, and observational studies have linked various smoking behaviours (active smoking, passive smoking, and smoking cessation) with risk of type 2 diabetes. We did a meta-analysis of prospective studies to investigate the associations between various smoking behaviours and diabetes risk.

METHODS

We systematically searched MEDLINE (up to May 3, 2015) and Embase (up to April 16, 2014) for reports of prospective studies, using search terms related to smoking, diabetes mellitus, and studies with a prospective design. We supplemented this strategy with manual searches of the reference lists of retrieved publications and relevant reviews. We included prospective studies that reported risk of type 2 diabetes by baseline smoking status. We calculated pooled relative risks (RRs) with 95% CIs using random-effects models, and did subgroup analyses by participant and study characteristics.

FINDINGS

We identified 88 eligible prospective studies with 5 898 795 participants and 295 446 incident cases of type 2 diabetes. The pooled RR of type 2 diabetes was 1·37 (95% CI 1·33-1·42) for comparing current smoking with non-smoking (84 studies with 5 853 952 participants), 1·14 (1·10-1·18) for comparing former smoking with never smoking (47 studies with 2 930 391 participants), and 1·22 (1·10-1·35) for comparing never smokers with and without exposure to passive smoke (seven studies with 156 439 participants). The associations persisted in all subgroups, and we identified a dose-response relation for current smoking and diabetes risk: compared with never smokers, the RRs were 1·21 (1·10-1·33) for light smokers, 1·34 (1·27-1·41) for moderate smokers, and 1·57 (1·47-1·66) for heavy smokers. Based on the assumption that the association between smoking and diabetes risk is causal, we estimated that 11·7% of cases of type 2 diabetes in men and 2·4% in women (ie, about 27·8 million cases in total worldwide) were attributable to active smoking. Compared with never smokers, the pooled RR from ten studies with 1 086 608 participants was 1·54 (95% CI 1·36-1·74) for new quitters (<5 years), 1·18 (1·07-1·29) for middle-term quitters (5-9 years), and 1·11 (1·02-1·20) for long-term quitters (≥10 years).

INTERPRETATION

Active and passive smoking are associated with significantly increased risks of type 2 diabetes. The risk of diabetes is increased in new quitters, but decreases substantially as the time since quitting increases. If the association between smoking and risk of type 2 diabetes is causal, public health efforts to reduce smoking could have a substantial effect on the worldwide burden of type 2 diabetes.

Over 70,000 pregnancies are affected by mums-to-be smoking every year in Britain.


It is estimated that smoking during pregnancy is causing over 2,000 premature births, 5,000 miscarriages and 3

Pregnant Woman Smoking
Hazardous: The dangers of smoking are well known, but 11% of pregnant women refuse to quit

Tens of thousands of pregnant women are still putting their babies at risk by smoking, new figures show.

Every year more than 70,000 pregnancies are affected by mums-to-be smoking, research reveals.

Tragically, it is estimated that smoking during pregnancy is causing around 2,200 premature births, 5,000 miscarriages and 300 stillbirths every year in the UK.

And a coalition of health groups and charities will today demand the Government takes urgent action to halve rates of smoking in pregnancy.

The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group is also calling for the gap to be narrowed in smoking rates between the rich and the poor.

Pregnancy and smoking

Pregnancies affectedPremature birthsMiscarriagesStillbirths010,00020,00030,00040,00050,00060,00070,00080,000

The smoking in pregnancy rate has now fallen below 11% across England but “shocking” variations remain.

The most recent figures suggest that 2.1% of women in Westminster were still smoking by the time their baby was born compared with 27.2% in Blackpool.

Some regions do not ask whether women smoke in pregnancy or collect full data.

The smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group is made up of 20 organisations including Action on Smoking and Health, Bliss, the Faculty of Public Health, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Nursing.

The Lullaby Trust, Tommy’s and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (Rcog) are also involved.

The group wants the Government to set a new national ambition to reduce smoking in pregnancy to less than 6% by 2020.

It also calling for a more robust data collection system, mandatory training for health professionals and automatic referral for pregnant smokers to specialist services unless they opt out.

Dr David Richmond, president of the Rcog, said: “We support the national ambition to halve smoking in pregnancy rates by 2020.

“As obstetricians we see first-hand the devastating effects of miscarriage, premature births and stillbirths caused by smoking in pregnancy. Stopping smoking is the most important thing a pregnant woman can do to improve her baby’s health, growth and development and reduce unnecessary pregnancy complications.

“The huge variation in smoking in pregnancy rates across the UK is shocking. The reasons why pregnant woman continue to smoke is complex and those living in the poorest parts of the country need the greatest support to help them access stop smoking services and be supported in their efforts to quit smoking for good.”

Francine Bates, chief executive of the Lullaby Trust, said: “Recent progress is great news but there is still much work to be done. Smoking in pregnancy remains the largest modifiable risk factor in sudden infant deaths, which devastates families.

“It is the most vulnerable who will be hit hardest if we do not do more to dramatically reduce the rates of smoking in pregnancy.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said: “We know that local services to help support pregnant women quit smoking are under threat and the in-year cuts to the public health budget will only make this worse.”

One in three young Chinese men will die from smoking, study says


  • A participant smokes a cigarette before competing in the 2015 Beijing Marathon on 20 September
A participant warms up for this year’s Beijing Marathon, with a cigarette

A new study has warned that a third of all men currently under the age of 20 in China will eventually die prematurely if they do not give up smoking.

The research, published in The Lancet medical journal, says two-thirds of men in China now start to smoke before 20.

Around half of those men will die from the habit, it concludes.

The scientists conducted two nationwide studies, 15 years apart, covering hundreds of thousands of people.

In 2010, around one million people in China died from tobacco usage. But researchers say that if current trends continue, that will double to two million people – mostly men – dying every year by 2030, making it a “growing epidemic of premature death”.

While more than half of Chinese men smoke, only 2.4% of Chinese women do.

Smoking about men and women

The study was conducted by scientists from Oxford University, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

But co-author Richard Peto said there was hope – if people can be persuaded to quit.

“The key to avoid this huge wave of deaths is cessation, and if you are a young man, don’t start,” he said.

line

Analysis: Celia Hatton, BBC News, Beijing

A railway engineer smokes as he waits next to a coal powered steam engine at a station in the town of Shixi , Sichuan Province railway engineer smokes as he waits next to a coal-powered steam engine in Sichuan Province

In many parts of China, meals often fit a comfortable pattern. After putting down their chopsticks, men commonly push their chairs back from the table and light cigarettes. No wonder China has struggled to impose a smoking ban in public places. Here, relationships are often built amid clouds of smoke.

Expensive brands of cigarettes, often decorated with gold detailing on the cartons, are given as gifts. And ordinary brands are affordable to all but the very poor, costing just 2.5 yuan ($0.4; £0.25) a pack.

In a country where smoking is so ingrained in daily life, few understand the harmful effects of tobacco use. According to the World Health Organization, only 25% of Chinese adults can list the specific health hazards of smoking, from lung cancer to heart disease.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that only 10% of Chinese smokers quit by choice. Instead, most are forced to give up their cigarettes because they’re too sick to continue.

The country that will not quit smoking

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While smoking rates have fallen in developed countries – to less than one in five in the US – they have risen in China, as cigarettes have become more available and consumers richer.

China is the world’s biggest consumer of cigarettes – one in three cigarettes smoked globally is in China – as well as the world’s biggest tobacco producer.

Cigarette consumption

More than 300 million people – about a quarter of the population – smoke, with the average smoker consuming 22 cigarettes a day.

Authorities have shown concern over the rise, with Beijing even introducing apublic smoking ban. But efforts have been hampered by the habit’s popularity, and its usefulness as a source of tax revenue – the government collects about 428bn yuan (£44bn, $67bn) in tobacco taxes each year.

Globally, tobacco kills up to half of its users, according to the World Health Organization.

A model smokes an e-cigarette during the Beijing International Vapor Distribution Alliance ExpoElectronic cigarettes, touted as a way to help smokers quit, have yet to see widespread adoption in China

Smoking and COPD


Smoking causes damage to the airways of the lungs. This video provides an overview of how the lungs work and the effects smoking can have on their bronchioles and alveoli, leading over time to chronic bronchitis and emphysema, collectively known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)..

http://www.healthjourneysupport.com/respiratory/smoking-copd

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