Health Highlights: March 27, 201303/27/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Breastfeeding for 6 Months Cuts Women's Risk of Cancer Death:
Mothers who breastfeed for at least six months have a 10 percent
lower risk of dying from cancer and a 17 percent lower risk of
dying from circulatory disease, according to a new study.
Researchers examined the habits of nearly 380,000 people in nine
European countries and found that those who followed World Cancer
Research Fund advice on cancer-prevention lifestyles had about a
one-third lower risk of death from several major diseases,
The Telegraphin the U.K. reported.
Along with advising women to breastfeed exclusively for at least
six months, the recommendations direct people to: be as lean as
possible without being underweight; get at least 30 minutes of
exercise a day; limit consumption of sugary drinks, salty foods,
processed foods and red meat; eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and
legumes; not smoke; and limit alcoholic drinks to two a day for men
and one a day for women.
People who most closely followed these recommendations were 50
percent less likely to die from respiratory disease, 44 percent
less likely to die from circulatory disease, and 20 percent less
likely to die of cancer, compared with those who followed few or
none of the suggestions,
The specific tips associated with the greatest reduction in the
risk of death from those diseases were being as lean as possible
without being underweight (22 percent lower risk) and eating lots
of vegetables, fruits and legumes (21 percent lower risk),
according to the study in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Limiting alcohol consumption had the most impact on the risk of
cancer death, reducing it by 21 percent.
This is the first study to show a strong link between the WCRF
recommendations and a reduced risk of death, said study leader Dr.
Teresa Norat, of Imperial College London in the U.K.,
"This study demonstrates in real terms the value of the ... recommendations in preventing deaths from a range of common diseases, not just cancer," said Dr. Panagiota Mitrou, the deputy head of science at WCRF.
Euro Budget Cuts Linked to More Health Problems, Suicide:
Health care cuts made by European nations as they fight huge
debts are being partly blamed for an increase in suicides and
outbreaks of diseases not normally seen in Europe, a new study
Since 2008, government-run health and welfare services in Europe
have had their budgets slashed and medical treatments rationed, and
adopted unpopular measures such as user fees, the
Medical care has suffered the most in countries -- namely
Greece, Spain and Portugal -- that have made the largest cuts in
public spending, according to the study published online in
"Austerity measures haven't solved the economic problems and they have also created big health problems," said study leader Martin McKee, a professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the APreported.
Greece has been particularly hard hit. Suicides in the country
rose 40 percent from 2010 to 2011. There was also an upsurge in the
number of HIV cases among drug users, partly due to increased
needle sharing after needle exchange programs were cancelled, the
In addition, outbreaks of malaria, West Nile virus and dengue
fever have occurred in Greece in recent years.
"These are not diseases we would normally expect to see in Europe," said Willem de Jonge, general director of Medecins Sans Frontieres in Greece, the APreported.
North Dakota Governor Signs Tough Abortion Law
The governor of North Dakota approved a set of bills on Tuesday
that enacts a law that essentially bans most abortions.
The most restrictive portion of the package, which is expected
to be challenged in court, makes abortion illegal once a fetal
heartbeat is "detectable," the
New York Timesreported.
Fetal heartbeats can be heard via ultrasound as early as the
sixth week of pregnancy, the newspaper added.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, signed a total of three bills
passed by the Republican-controlled North Dakota legislature, but
legal experts have asserted that the package violates the basic
tenets of Roe v. Wade, the historical ruling by the U.S. Supreme
Court that found abortions could be performed until the fetus would
theoretically be able to survive outside the womb, roughly 24 weeks
into a pregnancy.
"Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade," Dalrymple said in a statement.
The three bills are scheduled to take effect Aug. 1, unless a
legal challenge is filed, the
The Center for Reproductive Rights, in New York City, promptly
condemned the new laws and said it would file a challenge,
according to the
The signings follow passage last week of a proposed amendment to
the North Dakota Constitution that would claim life begins at
conception. The so-called "personhood measure" will go on the
ballot next year. Such measures have previously been voted down in
Mississippi and Colorado, the
Measures to ban abortions when fetal heartbeats are detected are
under consideration in several other states, including Kansas and
Groups including National Right to Life, Americans United for
Life and the Roman Catholic Church have not supported fetal
heartbeat proposals, saying they could be counterproductive unless
the makeup of the Supreme Court changed dramatically.
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