Connect with us

Health

Tobacco use still major cause of death, says WHO

Published

on

WHO

Geneva, May 31: Tobacco use still remains a major cause of death despite a significant decline of its use globally since the beginning of the 21st century, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

Marking the World No Tobacco Day, the WHO in a new report revealed that tobacco kills over 7 million people each year, although the worldwide prevalence of tobacco smoking has dropped between 2000 and 2016 from 27 per cent of the world’s total population to 20 per cent, reports Xinhua news agency.

That reduction, steady as it is, still lags behind global and national commitments to drag down tobacco use by 30 per cent by 2025 among people aged 15 and older, the WHO said, adding the current downward trend, if it continues at the current pace, will only see a 22 per cent slide by the target year.

In addition, the awareness of the causal relationship between smoking and cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has not yet been raised among ordinary people, despite the fact that most people know that smoking can lead to cancer, the WHO warned.

“Most people know that using tobacco causes cancer and lung disease, but many people aren’t aware that tobacco also causes heart diseases and stroke — the world’s leading killers,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO.

According to the WHO, cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and stroke, are responsible for 44 per cent of NCD deaths, or 17.9 million deaths annually.

Three million people die prematurely every year due to cardiovascular diseases related to tobacco use, including 890,000 deaths through exposure to second-hand smoke, the world body added.

A 2005 treaty signed by members of the WHO has been ratified by 180 nations now.

It urges banning tobacco advertisements and sponsorship, as well as imposing taxes to discourage tobacco consumption.

IANS

Health

What is to be blamed for childhood cancer?

Published

on

Childhood cancer
Representative Image , Image Credit : J Pat Carter/AP

A team of researchers has thrown light on the community beliefs about what causes cancer in children, an area which remains understudied, finds a latest research.

“Few childhood cancers are attributed to genetics or environmental factors, so when children are diagnosed with cancer, families often wonder ‘why me/why us’?” said lead author Janine Vetsch, postdoctoral research candidate from UNSW Sydney in Australia.

For the study, the team examined the beliefs of more than 600 participants — parents and childhood cancer survivors — about the causes of childhood cancer, and compared them with beliefs of 510 members of the general population.

Findings, published in Acta Oncologica, revealed that more than seven out of 10 childhood cancer survivors and survivors’ parents believed that chance or bad luck caused the cancer.

This led to most parents and survivors seem to understand that there is nothing they could have done to prevent the cancer, according to Vetsch.

However, around one in five families did believe that environmental factors and genetics played a role, despite only limited available scientific evidence, results further showed.

“It looks like healthcare professionals are successfully helping most families arrive at that view,” said Vetsch.

Such views could lead to stigma. Hence, it is important to increase community knowledge of childhood cancer causes in general.

There is a need to encourage doctors to talk about the causes with affected families to address unhelpful misconceptions,” Vetsch suggested.

IANS

Continue Reading

Health

Does your dental floss contain toxic chemicals?

Published

on

Dental Health, Image: Bigstock

New York, Jan 9: Using Oral-B Glide dental floss could contribute to elevated levels of toxic chemicals that can lead to health problems, especially in women, including kidney and testicular cancer, high cholesterol, low birth weight, among others, says a study led by US-based Silent Spring Institute.

In the study, the team measured the presence of 11 different PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) — water- and grease-proof substances — in blood samples of 178 middle-aged women.

The findings, appearing in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (JESEE), showed that women who flossed with Oral-B Glide tended to have higher levels of a type of PFAS called PFHxS (perfluorohexanesulfonic acid) in their body compared with those who did not.

“This is the first study to show that using dental floss containing PFAS is associated with a higher body burden of these toxic chemicals,” said lead author Katie Boronow, a scientist at the institute.

“The good news is, based on our findings, consumers can choose flosses that don’t contain PFAS,” she added.

Further, the team also tested 18 dental flosses (including three Glide products) for the presence of fluorine — a marker of PFAS, all of which tested positive for fluorine. The new findings are consistent with previous reports that Glide is manufactured using Teflon-like compounds.

In addition, the study also showed that women who frequently ate prepared food in coated cardboard containers, such as French fries or takeout, had elevated blood levels of PFAS chemicals.

“Overall, this study strengthens the evidence that consumer products are an important source of PFAS exposure,” Boronow said. “Restricting these chemicals from products should be a priority to reduce levels in people’s bodies.”

Other behaviours that were associated with higher PFAS levels included having stain-resistant carpet or furniture and living in a city served by a PFAS-contaminated drinking water supply.

IANS

Continue Reading

Health

How breastfeeding is linked to being a righty or lefty

Published

on

Breastfeeding

New York, Jan 9: Are you a leftie or a righty? The duration for which a child is breastfed may determine handedness or the dominant hand, says a research.

The study, from the University of Washington, suggests that the prevalence of left-handedness is lower among breastfed infants.

Children breastfed for longer than nine months were associated with the prevalence for righthandedness.

On the other hand, bottle fed infants were associated with left-handedness.

The reason could be because the region of the brain that controls handedness localises to one side of the brain.

Possibly, breastfeeding optimises this process towards becoming right or left-handed, the researchers explained.

“We think breastfeeding optimises the process the brain undergoes when solidifying handedness,” said Philippe Hujoel, a professor from the varsity.

“That’s important because it provides an independent line of evidence that breastfeeding may need to last six to nine months,” Hujoel added.

For the study, the researchers included 62,129 mother-child pairs.

The findings, published in the journal Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, showed that breastfeeding for less than one month, one to six months, and more than six months, when compared to bottle feeding, was associated with a nine per cent, 15 per cent and 22 per cent decreased prevalence of non right-handedness, respectively.

However, the study does not imply that breastfeeding leads to right-handedness, Hujoel emphasised.

Handedness, whether it be right- or left-handed, is set early in fetal life and is at least partially determined by genetics, he noted.

IANS

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular