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Showing posts from January, 2013

Dirty Pool: Great Lakes Under Siege by Global Warming

Don Scavia, director of the University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute, stated in a regional leaders’ conference that climate change is aggravating the effects of devastating algae blooms in the Great Lakes by increasing the intensity of spring rains that wash phosphorus into the water.

Rampant algae levels degrade water quality because as algae decompose, oxygen levels can drop low enough to kill fish. After the United States and Canada signed the initial Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972, many local governments banned detergents containing phosphorus and the algae
problem faded, but it has returned in the past decade.

Analysts note that while the practice of planting crops without plowing the ground may help prevent erosion, it leaves high concentrations of fertilizer phosphorus in the upper layers of soil, where it easily runs off into waterways. A task force of academic and government experts has recommended more than 50 helpful practices, including providin…

Keep Tabs on Radiation Exposure

The cumulative exposure to ionizing radiation used in medical diagnostic tests from dental and chest X-rays, mammograms, heart health exams and other procedures adds up, often reaching or surpassing the recommended lifetime limit of 100 milliSieverts (mSv) set by the American College of Radiology, according to a recent Harvard Medical School advisory.

Among the tests that emit ionizing radiation are computerized tomography (CT scans), cardiac catheterizations, coronary CT angiograms, cardiac calcium scoring and some types of stress tests. Heart tests that pose no radiation risk include electrocardiography (ECG), echocardiography, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Dr. Warren Manning, chief of noninvasive cardiac imaging and testing at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, and a Harvard Medical School professor, advises, “One or two CT scans over a lifetime is appropriate. But if you have a condition that requires repeated monitoring, a test that does not expo…

Supplementation Cuts Colon Cancer Risk

A diet enhanced with multivitamin and mineral supplements may dramatically lower the risk of developing precancerous colon cancer lesions, according to research published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.

Nearly 150,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with this second-most common form of cancer each year. In the study, rats were fed a high-fat (20 percent) diet for 32 weeks. Those fed a high-fat, low-fiber diet and also exposed to a carcinogen, developed precancerous lesions of the colon. The animals that underwent a similar diet and treatment, but also received daily vitamin and mineral supplements, showed an 84 percent reduction in the formation of precancerous lesions and did not develop tumors.

Red Meat Raises a Red Flag

Steak is still one of America’s favorite meals, but regular consumption of red meat products comes at a high cost for health.

In a recent large study, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found red meat to be causally associated with mortality, including from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH, and his team observed 37,698 men from the HSPH Health Professionals Follow- Up Study for up to 22 years and 83,644 women from the National Institutes of Health Nurses’ Health Study for up to 28 years, all of whom were free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer at the beginning of the study.

The researchers assessed diets via questionnaires every four years and documented a combined 23,926 deaths in the two studies, of which 5,910 were from CVD and 9,464 from cancer. Their evaluation revealed that one daily serving of unprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) was associated with a 13 percen…