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Colombia Independence Day is July 20

Happy birthday COLOMBIA!!


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An Orange a day may prevent age-related vision loss

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If you want to prevent losing your vision as you age and keep your eyes healthy, eat oranges daily, says a study led by an Indian origin researcher.

Macular degeneration is a condition associated with old age that causes vision loss at the centre of the field of vision. 

The results showed that people who ate at least one serving of oranges every day had more than 60 per cent reduced the risk of developing late macular degeneration 15 years later, probably due to flavonoids present in oranges that help prevent vision loss. 

Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in almost all fruits and vegetables, and they have important anti-inflammatory benefits for the immune system.

“Essentially we found that people who eat at least one serve of orange every day have a reduced risk of developing macular degeneration compared with people who never eat oranges,” said lead researcher Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney.

“Even eating an orange once a week seems to offer significant benefits,” she added.

For the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the team interviewed more than 2,000 people aged over 50 and followed them over a period of 15 years.

Gopinath explained that previously most of the researches had focused on the effects of common nutrients such as Vitamins C, E and A on the eyes.

The team also looked at other flavonoid-containing foods like tea, apple, red wine. However, they did not find any relation between other sources and protection of eyes against the disease.

Age is the strongest known risk factor and the disease is more likely to occur after the age of 50. There is currently no cure for the disease.

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More Than 90 Percent Of Smokers Using E-cigarettes Still Smoking A Year Later

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More Than 90 Percent Of Smokers Using E-cigarettes Still Smoking A Year Later

Users of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) in the United States are no more likely to quit smoking cigarettes than people who don’t use such devices, according to a study by a group of tobacco researchers at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.
The researchers found “no evidence” that ENDS as they have been marketed and used in the U.S. are effective at helping smokers quit at a population level, despite anecdotal reports that some smokers have found them useful.
“Absent any meaningful changes, ENDS use among adult smokers is unlikely to be a sufficient solution to obtaining a meaningful increase in population quit rates,” the authors wrote in a newly released article in the journal PLOS ONE. “We observed no instance where ENDS users were more likely to quit (smoking cigarettes) than non-ENDS users.”
At the end of the one-year study, the researchers found 90 percent of “dual users” (people who used ENDS and traditional cigarettes at the start of the study) were still smoking. Among the dual users, nearly 54 percent were smoking cigarettes as well as using ENDS after a year, and more than 37 percent were still smoking cigarettes but had stopped using ENDS.
The researchers also found that users of e-cigarettes and related products were more likely to try to quit smoking, but those attempts did not translate into greater success. Even study participants who said they were using ENDS to help them stop smoking (a majority of ENDS users) were less likely to manage to quit than those who did not use the devices.
Results of the study are published in an article titled “Are Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Helping Cigarette Smokers Quit? Evidence from a Prospective Cohort Study of U.S. Adult Smokers, 2015-2016.” Dr. Scott Weaver, assistant professor of epidemiology & biostatistics, is the lead author.”
“Many smokers are using ENDS in their smoking quit attempts, but these devices may not be providing a sufficiently satisfying nicotine delivery and overall user experience to completely supplant their smoking,” Weaver said. “Coordinated regulation aimed at improving the appeal and satisfaction of ENDS available to smokers, while reducing the nicotine levels in combustible tobacco products to non-addictive levels may be necessary for ENDS to have a meaningful role in reducing the staggering public health burden of smoking.”
The study analyzed the responses of 858 smokers who participated in an initial survey in late 2015 and a follow-up a year later as part of a national, online panel conducted by marketing research institute GfK.

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Smoke exposure during pregnancy and infancy tied to hearing loss

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Smoke exposure during pregnancy and infancy tied to hearing loss
Lisa Rapaport

(Reuters Health) – Kids exposed to tobacco smoke in the womb and early in infancy could have double the odds of developing hearing loss compared with children who were not exposed to tobacco at all, a Japanese study suggests.

While previous research suggests that adult smokers are at greater risk of hearing loss than nonsmokers, less is known about how much smoke exposure during infancy or pregnancy might impact hearing.

For the current study, researchers examined data on 50,734 children born between 2004 and 2010 in Kobe City, Japan. Overall, about 4 percent of these kids were exposed to smoking during pregnancy or infancy, and roughly 1 percent had tobacco exposure during both periods.

Hearing tests done when kids were 3 years old found that 4.6 percent of the children had hearing loss.

They were 68 percent more likely to have hearing loss if they were exposed to tobacco during pregnancy, and 30 percent more likely if they inhaled second-hand smoke during infancy, the study found.

When kids had smoke exposure during both periods, they were 2.4 times more likely than unexposed kids to have hearing loss.

Patients with the greatest risk of hearing impairment are those who are directly exposed to maternal smoking in the womb,” said Dr. Matteo Pezzoli, a hearing specialist at San Lazzaro Hospital in Alba, Italy.

Interestingly, the exposure to tobacco in early life seems to further strengthen the prenatal toxic effect,” Pezzoli, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

When pregnant women smoke, it may harm fetal brain development and lead to auditory cognitive dysfunction, Pezzoli added. Tobacco smoke may also damage sensory receptors in the ear that relay messages to the brain based on sound vibration.

Globally, about 68 million people have a hearing impairment that is thought to have originated in childhood, Koji Kawakami of Kyoto University in Japan and colleagues note in Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. Kawakami didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Researchers assessed children’s hearing using what’s known as a whisper test. For these tests, mothers stood behind their kids to prevent lip reading, then whispered a word while kids’ had one ear covered.

While this test is simple and considered an accurate way to assess hearing in adults and older children, there’s some concern about how reliable the results may be in young kids.

It’s considered more reliable when it’s done by trained clinicians and specialists and less reliable when it’s done by primary care providers, researchers note. It’s unclear how accurate study results based on tests administered by the children’s parents would be, researchers acknowledge.

The study also wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how tobacco exposure during pregnancy or infancy might directly cause hearing loss in kids.

“There was no standardized medical evaluation of hearing or examination of the ears by ear specialists,” said Dr. Michael Weitzman, a pediatrician and hearing researcher at New York University who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Moreover, the severity of hearing loss could not be ascertained in this study, and it did not follow up the children throughout their childhood so we do not know if what they found attenuated or got worse over time,” Weitzman said by email.

Still, the results add to the evidence linking tobacco exposure to hearing problems in kids, Weitzman said.

To protect children against hearing problems caused by cigarette smoke, it’s important for women to quit before they become pregnant or as soon as they discover they’re pregnant, said Huanhuan Hu, a researcher at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Japan who wasn’t involved in the study.

“To minimize the chance that their baby will be exposed to tobacco smoke in the womb, other family members should also quit, or at least not smoke at home or nearby the pregnant women,” Hu said by email.

SOURCE: bit.ly/2IAPU2W Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, online June 5, 2018.

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Chemical Triggers Breast Cancer

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S

A study reveals that chemicals found in cleaning materials, textiles, plastics, paper and some personal-care products can trigger breast cancer.
According to the senior author of the study, William Baldwin, an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso, the chemical called 4-nonylphenol binds to estrogen receptors in breast tissue which increases the risk for breast cancer.
Part of the problem is that the chemical, which mimics estrogen, may last longer in the body than natural estrogen.
How the Study was Conducted
Baldwin and his team compared the effects of giving differing doses of the chemical, 4-nonylphenol and estrogen to mice. When they followed mice genetically engineered to readily develop breast cancer over 32 weeks, many of those given 4-NP developed breast cancer while those given equivalent doses of estrogen did not.
Baldwin and other experts estimate that established risk factors such as aging, early onset of periods, late menopause, delayed childbearing and genetics explain only about 25 percent to 50 percent of breast cancers, and that environmental exposure plays a big role
Acevedo R, Parnell PG, Villanueva H, Chapman LM, Gimenez T, Gray SL, Baldwin WS. The contribution of hepatic steroid metabolism to serum estradiol and estriol concentrations in nonylphenol treated MMTVneu mice and its potential effects on breast cancer incidence and latency. J Appl Toxicol. 2005 Jul 12

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Vegetarian Diet Improves HbA1c, Reduces CV Risk in Diabetes

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Vegetarian Diet Improves HbA1c, Reduces CV Risk in Diabetes

Vegan and vegetarian diets help lower HbA1c and cholesterol levels and improve other cardiometabolic risk factors in middle-aged, overweight people controlling their type 2 diabetes with medications, say authors of a literature review published online in Clinical Nutrition.
Effie Viguiliouka, MSc, with the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, and colleagues, analyzed findings from nine randomized controlled trials involving 664 participants who were taking oral glucose-lowering drugs, insulin, lipid-lowering agents, and/or anti-hypertensive agents.
They found that vegetarian diets compared with nonvegetarian diets improved the primary outcome of HbA1c by 0.29%.
While the HbA1c reduction may seem moderate, Cara Schrager, MPH, RD, CDE, of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Massachusetts, pointed out that the improvement is the same as the therapeutic threshold the US Food and Drug Administration uses when considering new medications for diabetes.
Schrager told Medscape Medical News that this level of reduction suggests that patients could consider moving toward a plant-based diet with primarily vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, perhaps even before they move to diabetes medications.

Vegetarian Diet Also Helped Reduce BMI

Other results included reductions in fasting glucose of 0.56 mmol/L; LDL-cholesterol (0.12 mmol/L); non-HDL-cholesterol (0.13 mmol/L); body weight (2.15 kg or 4 lbs, 12 oz); body mass index (BMI) (0.74 kg/m2), and waist circumference (2.86 cm) with the vegetarian compared with nonvegetarian diets.
No significant differences were seen in blood pressure, fasting insulin, HDL-cholesterol, or triglycerides.
Only diets that excluded meat and fish (from vegan [no animal products] to vegetarian diets that included eggs and dairy products) were considered vegetarian in the meta-analysis.
The authors stress that the link between diabetes and heart disease is strong and well-established.
“Sixty to seventy percent of people who have type 2 diabetes die of heart disease,” study coauthor Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said in a press release.
“This study shows that the same simple prescription — eating a plant-based diet — can reduce our risk for heart problems and improve type 2 diabetes at the same time.”
The researchers acknowledge, however, that the findings had a low-to-moderate confidence level and they encourage further study.

Findings Build on Body of Evidence: No Downside to a Plant-Based Diet

Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told Medscape Medical News that this new review adds to a body of evidence that indicates eating less red meat and more vegetables can benefit people with type 2 diabetes.
Many of the noted reductions in this study fit with what others have shown, she said.
“We know that weight in and of itself is a strong risk factor for diabetes — so it makes sense that a plant-based diet will have a large impact on health overall,” she said, while countering that she wished the evidence “was stronger.”
But as with all nutrition research, she said, “It’s very difficult to say with absolute certainty that if you do this, this will happen.”
However for most patients, she added, there isn’t a downside to trying a plant-based diet.

It Doesnt Have to Be All or Nothing: How to Move Away From Meat

Still, fewer than 10% of people in North America and Europe have adopted vegetarian diets, according to national survey data cited by the authors.  
Zeratsky emphasized that moving away from meats and toward vegetables, fruits, and whole grains doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing effort.
A good start is cutting meat consumption at a meal from 8 oz to 6 oz and filling the plate with more fruits and vegetables to curb hunger, she said.
Schrager suggested adding “meatless Mondays” or trying the diet one day a week at first.
“It is a shock to the system if you suddenly stop eating a certain group of foods,” she said.
Some foods, such as lasagna or chili, have comparable meatless versions, she noted, and beans can add bulk. Adding protein sources such as tofu and tempeh can also give dishes a meaty texture.

More Studies Will Help Answer Questions

Viguiliouka and co-authors say more randomized controlled trials will help answer questions this one couldn’t, including what kind of plant-based diets have the most beneficial effects and how a vegetarian diet might affect people with type 1 diabetes.
Schrager says she also suspects, though this study didn’t address it, that the microbiome has an important role in the mechanism that links vegetarian diets and improved diabetes outcomes.
The mechanism may be related to more than the low-calorie and low-fat aspects and may be rooted in the better balance of gut bacteria produced by the amount of fiber in the vegetarian diet, she hypothesized, adding that she would like to see if further research sheds light on this.
The review was funded by the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. A complete list of disclosures is available on the journal website.
Clinical Nutrition. Published online June 13, 2018. Abstract

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Multivitamins, Minerals Do Not Improve Your Heart Function

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Patients who took multivitamins and minerals did not have improved CV outcomes, according to a review and meta-analysis published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
“Although multivitamin and mineral supplements taken in moderation rarely cause direct harm, we urge people to protect their heart health by understanding their individual risk for heart disease and stroke and working with a health care provider to create a plan that uses proven measures to reduce risk,” Joonseok Kim, MD, assistant professor of cardiology in the department of medicine at University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a press release. “These include a heart-healthy diet, exercise, tobacco cessation, controlling blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels, and when needed, medical treatment.”

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Chocolate milk may be better than sports drinks for exercise recovery

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Chocolate milk may be better than sports drinks for exercise recovery

Athletes who drink chocolate milk during exercise or after a hard workout may recover just as quickly as they would with sports drinks, a research review suggests.

What people eat and drink during intense exercise and afterward can impact how well their muscles recover and how rapidly their body replaces fluids and electrolytes lost during the workout, previous research has found.

Most studies assessing whether drinks with carbohydrates and electrolytes, or with protein, might aid recovery have been too small to draw firm conclusions about which beverages are the best option, the authors of the new review write in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

For their analysis, the researchers examined data from 12 small studies that compared how chocolate milk influenced several markers of exercise recovery, compared to a placebo beverage or a sports drink.

Athletes did exercise tests – mostly running or cycling – and then researchers looked at recovery markers like how long it takes to become exhausted during workouts, athletes’ perceived exertion levels, heart rate and levels of lactic acid and an enzyme known as creatine kinase in the blood – which both rise with intense activity.

Overall, the study found that chocolate milk lengthened time to exhaustion, and improved perceived exertion, heart rate or levels of lactic acid in the blood at least as much other beverages.

“Chocolate milk contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, flavonoids, electrolytes, and some vitamins which make this drink a good choice for recovery in athletes,” said senior study author Dr. Amin Salehi-Abargouei of Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran.

In some instances, chocolate milk appeared better than alternative drinks, the researchers report.

Time to exhaustion with chocolate milk drinkers was almost 1 minute longer than with nutrition-free placebo beverages and about 6 minutes longer than with sports drinks.

Lactic acid levels, an indication of exertion, were lower for chocolate milk drinkers than for people who consumed placebo drinks, the study also found.

“The take-home message is that chocolate milk is a low-cost, delicious, and palatable option for recovery and provides either similar or superior effects compared with commercial drinks,” Salehi-Abargouei said by email.

Even though this analysis pooled data from several smaller studies to get more robust results, it still included less than 150 people. Results from running or cycling exercise tests also might not reflect how chocolate milk would impact recovery from other sports.

Athletes can also probably boost recovery without chocolate milk, noted Kim Spaccarotella, a biology researcher at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Any food that provides carbohydrate, protein, fluid and electrolytes and is well-tolerated will help promote recovery,” Spaccarotella said by email. “In addition to chocolate milk, other popular choices are cereal with milk, smoothies, sandwiches or soup. A small meal will even work, if the athlete is feeling hungry.”

How well chocolate milk works compared to other beverages also depends on the alternatives being considered, said Mike Saunders, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

“For example, plain water would not be as effective at promoting fuel replenishment (due to lack of carbohydrates), muscle repair (due to lack of protein), or fluid retention/rehydration (due to low electrolyte content) in comparison to chocolate milk (which has all three),” Saunders, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Traditional sports drinks have the carbohydrates and electrolytes, but usually no protein.”

The best choice for a workout recovery drink depends a lot on the individual athlete and the type of workout they do, Saunders said.

“Someone at the gym who completes a 20-minute jog might be advised to have a glass of water after exercise so they don’t undermine their weight-management goals with unnecessary calories,” Saunders said. “But a distance runner who has completed a hard 15-mile run and has a session of high-intensity intervals to do the next morning could obtain meaningful benefits from a recovery beverage like chocolate milk.”

SOURCE: go.nature.com/2NKs3S9 European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online June 19, 2018.

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A Frightening New Reason to Worry About Air Pollution

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A Frightening New Reason to Worry About Air Pollution

A massive study solidifies the link between particulates from cars and diabetes

It’s fairly well known that a bad diet, a lack of exercise, and genetics can all contribute to type 2 diabetes. But a new global study points to an additional, surprising culprit: the air pollution emitted by cars and trucks.
Though other research has shown a link between diabetes and air pollution in the past, this study is one of the largest of its kind, and it’s unique because it both is longitudinal and includes several types of controls. What’s more, it also quantifies exactly how many diabetes cases in the world are attributable to air pollution: 14 percent in 2016 alone. In the United States, it found, air pollution is responsible for 150,000 cases of diabetes.
The study, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, linked data from 1.7 million American veterans who had been followed for a median of 8.5 years with air data from the EPA and NASA. It also aggregated past international research on diabetes and air pollution to devise a model to estimate diabetes risk based on the level of pollution, and it used the Global Burden of Disease study to estimate how many years of healthy life were lost due to this air-pollution-induced diabetes. Globally, 8.2 million years of healthy life were lost in 2016 to pollution-linked diabetes, it showed.

The consequences of PM2.5 are more severe for developing countries that do not have strict limits on air pollution. For example, the study says countries like Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea face a higher risk of lots of air-pollution-related cases of diabetes, while the United States has a moderate risk.

The study authors controlled for things like obesity and BMI, so it wasn’t the case that heavier people simply lived in more polluted neighborhoods and were also more likely to get diabetes.
The particles examined in this study are known as PM2.5, or particulate matter that’s 2.5 micrometers big—30 times smaller than a human hair. They are emitted by various types of industry and fuel burning, but in the United States, the biggest source of PM2.5 is cars, says Ziyad Al-Aly, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University at St. Louis. When there’s lots of PM2.5 in the air, the air might look smoggy or hazy. In lighter concentrations, the particles are invisible.
Scientists are just beginning to understand what exactly makes PM2.5 so harmful, but a major reason is that it’s so small and contains toxic metals. Its size allows it to penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream. There, it can circulate to different organs and cause inflammation. The inflammation increases insulin resistance. Eventually, this insulin resistance can become so severe the pancreas becomes unable to pump out enough insulin to compensate, and diabetes can set in.
Previous research has found that Latino children living in areas with more air pollution had a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But other studies on the association between the two have generated mixed results.
This new study makes an even stronger case, suggesting that the current limits on air pollution in the United States might be too high. The EPA’s pollution threshold on particulate matter is 12 μg/m3, or micrograms per cubic meter of air, but this study says the risk of diabetes starts at about 2.4 μg/m3. Among people exposed to between five and 10 μg/m3 of particulate matter, about 21 percent developed diabetes. At the threshold of current “safe” levels, 24 percent do. For each 10 μg/m3 increase in particulate matter, the risk of developing diabetes goes up by 15 percent. This risk is present regardless of whether the individual becomes obese or not.
But this study and others might not lead to a tightening of the PM2.5 standards because, under a rule proposed by the Trump administration in April, all studies used by the EPA to make air and water regulations must make their underlying data publicly available. As my colleague Robinson Meyer reported, studies like this and others, which show the detrimental health impacts of pollution, are based on health data that is confidential and cannot be de-anonymized.
That will greatly undermine regulations that have made for cleaner air, says Sanjay Rajagopalan, a cardiologist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, about the proposed rule. “Documents that have gone into EPA regulations go through rigorous peer review,” he says. “We have some of the cleanest air in the world, and there’s scientific data that this has protected millions of lives and contributed to the longevity of American citizens.”
Still, experts told me the connection between PM2.5 and various health risks is now so clear that people should try to avoid large amounts of particulates, if they can. “Live away from the major sources of emission. Don’t live right near the 405,” Al-Aly told me, referring to a notoriously congested freeway in Los Angeles. “Short of that, anywhere that’s high in pollution, like some cities in China or India, many people wear masks.”
Tanya Alderete, who studies the connection between air pollution and disease at the University of Colorado at Boulder, says people might rethink biking in heavy traffic, for example. “We shouldn’t be engaging in strenuous physical activity during rush hour or near major roadways,” she says.

After all, globally, pollution of all kinds kills three times more people than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.

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Cancer diagnosis tied to increased risk of diabetes

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Cancer diagnosis tied to increased risk of diabetes
Lisa Rapaport

(Reuters Health) – People who get diagnosed with cancer may be more likely to develop diabetes, a Korean study suggests.

The study included 524,089 men and women, ages 20 to 70, who didn’t have cancer or diabetes at the start. By the time half the participants had been in the study for at least seven years, 15,130 people had developed cancer and 26,610 had developed diabetes.

Cancer patients were 35 percent more likely to develop diabetes than people without malignancies, the study found. The excess diabetes associated with tumors persisted even after accounting for other diabetes risk factors like obesity, smoking and drinking.

“The reasons why patients with cancer may be at increased risk of diabetes are unclear,” said senior study author Juhee Cho of Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea.

In some cases, the cancer itself or treatments used to eradicate tumors might cause diabetes, Cho said by email.

Also, Cho said, “cancer is a highly stressful experience, associated with multiple high-stress episodes such as infections, bleeding episodes, and surgery, that may also increase the risk of diabetes.”

Worldwide, about one in 10 adults have diabetes.

Most have type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity and aging and happens when the pancreas can’t properly use or make enough of the hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to nerve damage, amputations, blindness, heart disease and strokes.

In the current study, the risk of diabetes varied by cancer type.

With pancreatic cancer, the increased risk of diabetes was more than five-fold, while it was roughly doubled for liver and kidney malignancies.

Gallbladder and lung tumors were associated with at least a 70 percent greater risk of diabetes. Breast, thyroid and stomach malignancies were also tied to an increased risk of diabetes.

Time also played a role, with a 47 percent greater risk of diabetes in the first year or two after a cancer diagnosis. Six to ten years after the cancer diagnosis, the increased diabetes risk was 19 percent.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how cancer itself or tumor treatments might directly cause diabetes. It’s also possible that some people in the study had undiagnosed diabetes before they developed cancer, researchers note in JAMA Oncology.

“A significant number of people are living with diabetes, but do not know about it as they have no symptoms,” said Tahseen Chowdhury, a researcher at Royal London Hospital in the U.K. who wasn’t involved in the study.

Even so, the findings add to a growing body of evidence linking cancer to diabetes, Chowdhury said by email.

“Cancer therapies such as steroids, and many chemotherapy and radiotherapy regimes can increase glucose (or blood sugar) levels,” Chowdhury said. “This may in part explain the link.”

“A further important factor might be that many of these patients are being seen (by doctors) frequently and having lots of blood tests, which might mean their diabetes is picked up quicker than people who do not have lots of blood tests,” Chowdhury added.

SOURCE: bit.ly/2uagWsI JAMA Oncology, online June 7, 2018.

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