Compared with their counterparts north of the border, middle-class and upper-middle-class U.S. residents have similar odds of surviving cancer. However, America's less well-off residents do not fare as well as those in Canada, according to a University of Windsor study.
Among people on the bottom one-third of the socioeconomic ladder, Canadians were about 35 percent more likely to survive cancer than similar U.S. residents, researchers report.
Mutant corn attacks diners
The discovery of an unapproved variety of gene-altered corn in America's food supply is bringing to light questions about human allergies that are likely to challenge the biotechnology industry for some time to come, according researchers at the National Institute for Health.
The genetically engineered corn, known as StarLink, is not approved for human consumption because of a special protein it contains that takes longer than normal to break down in the digestive system.
Scientists think, but don't know for sure, that the ability of a protein to withstand heat and gastric juices is an indicator that it will cause an allergic reaction. Peanuts, which can cause fatal allergic reactions, have that characteristic, as do other foods known to be allergy inducing.
Women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer do not appear to worry about their heightened risk of developing the diseases, study results show. According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, this suggests that genetic testing for cancer risk may not produce the high anxiety some fear it will.
In a study of 464 women who were at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, investigators found the women's levels of psychological distress were no higher than average. The women were considered at high risk because of family histories or their own history of the diseases.
All were considering whether to undergo testing to see if they had a gene mutation linked to increased cancer risk. Despite this looming decision, though, the women were surprisingly calm.
Put gramps on the treadmill
For all those who have remained in their rocking chairs despite evidence that exercise fights disease, researchers now say activity makes older people just plain happy.
In a review of 32 studies of activity and mood among the elderly, investigators found that regular exercise -- particularly strength training -- boosted study participants' moods. The results were "remarkably consistent" across the studies, according to a report in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.
In addition, researchers, led by Shawn M. Arent of Arizona State University in Tempe, found that two types of exercise was better than one. The combination of aerobic exercise and strength training elevated mood to a greater extent than did aerobic exercise alone. Strengthening exercises counter the muscle loss that interferes with daily life as people age, the authors note.
Dust off a theory
Being exposed in childhood to environmental allergy triggers -- such as pollen, dust mites or cat dander -- does not appear to increase the risk of developing asthma, researchers report.
With asthma rates increasing worldwide, many have suggested that an increased exposure to allergens could be to blame, according to Dr. Susanne Lau and associates from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.
I'm taking the bus
Men who mountain bike run a high risk of injuries to the scrotum that could affect their fertility, results of a study suggest.
In a study of 45 male mountain bikers, Austrian researchers found that 96 percent had scrotal abnormalities. In contrast, such problems were seen in only 16 percent of 31 men who had never biked. The abnormalities included calcium deposits, cysts and twisted veins, and half of the men had scrotal tenderness or discomfort.
Twisted veins in the scrotum are known to impair fertility, says study author Dr. Ferdinand Frausche. Taken together, he said, the abnormalities seen in this study suggest that many of the mountain bikers may have fertility problems. To investigate this possibility, Frauscher and his colleagues at University Hospital Innsbruck are now getting sperm counts from the men.
The current findings were published in The Lancet.
Oldie but goodie
Although the body inevitably withers with age, new research suggests people's emotional health only gets better over time.
When psychologists followed the daily emotional ups and downs of 184 adults for one week, they found that older people had as many positive feelings as younger people did. In contrast, negative emotions grew less common with age.
When they did feel down, older adults bounced back more quickly than younger people did. According to researchers, this emotional maturity may arise from changes people make in their priorities as they age.
Researchers at Stanford University say that as people age, they recognize the fragility of life and, therefore, its preciousness. People's goals change as they age, putting more emphasis on relationships and experiences that are important to them.
Those new clubs saved my life
A round of golf may be just what the doctor ordered for heart disease patients, a German study suggests.
Heart disease patients need to strike a balance during exercise -- they need to push the heart enough to strengthen it without putting too much stress on the muscle. Since golf is a low-impact and increasingly popular activity, researchers investigated whether a trip across the green might be an ideal exercise for people with heart disease.
In a study of 20 men with the condition, a research team from the University of Giessen, Germany, found that golfing got the patients' hearts pumping at a rate similar to the hears of eight healthy study participants. Yet the exercise did not seem to raise blood pressure or overly stress the heart.
The findings were reported in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
It may look pretty, but ballet is more like a contact sport when it comes to injury risk, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle report. And the risk seems to come from both physical and psychological stress.
In an eight-month study of Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet Company, researchers found that 61 percent of dancers sustained at least one injury that kept them from performing. This injury rate is similar to that found in sports such as football and wrestling, the authors report.
You have something in your teeth
Busy adults claim they have no time to floss their teeth, and dentists say it shows -- especially among men.
When people brush off flossing, they raise their risk for gum disease and tooth loss. Yet, according to a survey of 201 periodontists, flossing gets the least attention in their patients' tooth-care regimens. Men, they report, are the biggest offenders. Nearly 97 percent of the dentists said their female patients practiced better oral hygiene than male patients did.
The American Academy of Periodontology conducted the survey. Periodontists are dentists who specialize in treating the gums.
The most popular excuses for not flossing are lack of time and "dexterity problems," according to the survey. Some dentists, though, reported more unusual patient claims, such as "I gag when I see what comes out when I floss," and "My kids use it to tie up their siblings, so we can't keep it in the house."
Don't tease me
The old saying about "sticks and stones" may not apply when it comes to eating disorders. Researchers have found childhood teasing may play a role in binge eating disorder, a problem believed to affect as many as 2 million Americans.
In a study of 115 women with binge eating disorder, or BED, Yale University researchers found that the women's disorders may be related to teasing they suffered as kids. Women who said others made fun of their appearance during childhood were most dissatisfied with their bodies as adults. And among obese women, those who had been teased the most had the most episodes of binge eating. The findings were published in a recent issue of Obesity Research.
Tamara D. Jackson and her colleagues speculate that childhood teasing may make people vulnerable to BED by affecting their attitudes about themselves and their bodies.
I left my heart on swing shift
People who work a rotating shift schedule that includes staying up all night may be causing harm to their hearts, Italian researchers report. It appears the heart would rather be taking a rest at night, which may explain why shift workers are at greater risk of heart disease and other problems.
"Shift work is associated with an increased rate of (heart) disease and accidents," according to lead author Dr. Raffaello Furlan at the University of Milan in Italy.
I prefer Twinkies, myself
Boosting levels of several key nutrients in the blood may be as easy as sipping a smoothie, researchers report.
According to their study, presented at the American Dietetic Association's annual meeting, a fortified smoothie and energy bar increased blood levels of the B vitamin folate, and vitamins B6, B12 and E. The snacks also lowered levels of homocysteine, a compound that has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.
I got enough Cs in school
Despite a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables and vitamin C-fortified foods throughout the United States, many Americans are deficient in the vitamin that has been shown to fight off colds and lower the risk of disease, researchers report.
Their review of national health data, presented at the American Dietetic Association's annual meeting, shows that smokers and middle-aged men are at greatest risk of vitamin C deficiency, making them vulnerable to infections and fatigue.
People who have suboptimal levels of this important vitamin may also have gums that bleed easily and swelling in their arms and legs, say Dr. Jeffrey S. Hampl and colleagues from the department of nutrition at Arizona State University in Mesa.
According to results of the review, 16 percent of nearly 16,000 people ages 45 to 64 were deficient in vitamin C, and men were at greater risk than women. Smokers were also more likely than nonsmokers to have inadequate levels of vitamin C.