Well, Well, Well

A Log of Notes and Observations

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

For Men, More Incentive to Move

Regular aerobic activity is not only tied to better mood, improved sleep and a lower risk of death. It's also associated with a lower risk of colon polyps and colon cancer in men, according to a study in September's Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle randomly assigned 100 healthy women and 102 healthy men, aged 40 to 75, to two groups: One was prescribed an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise six days per week; the other received no exercise prescription. After a year, an inspection of the lower colon lining showed less cell growth among men who did intense exercise than among those who exercised less. No such relationship was found among women, however.

It's Not the Burp That Bites

Good news from the Netherlands: Burping does not raise your risk of cancer. Swallowing air, and the excessive burping that results, do not appear to cause acid reflux in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), according to a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology last month. To provoke belching, Dutch researchers infused air into the stomachs of 12 healthy individuals and 12 who had GERD. While people with GERD burped far more than the healthy subjects -- 52 burps over 24 hours for the GERD group, seven burps for the controls -- the researchers found no increase in acid reflux linked to the air and all that belching. That's good, since untreated GERD can raise the risk of Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition.

Chill, Man

Aging guys, sit down and shut up: Anger and hostility could be hurting your lungs. Researchers at Harvard's School of Public Health reviewed data from the Normative Aging Study, an ongoing Veterans Administration study of 2,280 men, most of them white. Hostility was measured in 1986 using the Cook-Medley Hostility Scale; participants had an average of three pulmonary function exams over a period of about eight years. The results showed a significant relationship between higher levels of hostility/anger and reduced lung function, even after accounting for education level and smoking. The study was published in the online edition of the journal Thorax last month.

-- Meaghan Wolff

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