Health Monitor

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A stuffy nose can be a sign or symptom of severe asthma, which is growing increasingly more common than previously believed, according to a study published in Respiratory Research.

Researchers used a population study method to ask questions about the health of 30,000 randomly selected participants in Sweden. An analysis of the responses revealed a much higher percentage of the population — two per cent in total — suffered from severe asthma. Further research also found that common chronic nasal symptoms such as congestion and a runny nose, indicative of chronic rhinosinusitis, lasting for long periods of time can be linked to more severe asthma.

The study author recommended that anyone reporting nasal complaints combined with other symptoms such as wheezing or shortness of breath should tested for severe asthma.

“Effective treatment for troublesome nasal and sinus complaints could, in theory, reduce the risk of severe asthma, though this is something that needs further research,” according to the study.

Analysis of a study published earlier this month in The Lancet reveals that taking low-dose aspirin daily might have a positive outcome on numerous health conditions, including cancer.

The study, originally published Dec. 7, included data from eight trials evaluating the use aspirin in preventing cardiovascular events. In total, the eight trials encompassed some 25,000 patients treated with aspirin for a minimum of four years.

Besides its known effect on cardiovascular health, both in terms of prevention and treatment, further study revealed the use of aspirin was also associated with reductions in death overall and death from specific cancers. Individuals who took daily aspirin were 21 per cent less likely to die during the trials. After five years of use, those rates improved to 34 per cent from all cancers and 54 per cent specifically from gastrointestinal cancers.

Follow-up after 20 years showed a 20 per cent reduction in death from all cancers and 35 per cent reduction in gastrointestinal cancers. Risks of death were about 10 per cent for prostate cancer, 30 per cent for lung cancer, 40 per cent for colorectal cancer and 60 per cent for esophageal cancer. Benefits in lung and esophageal cancer were most commonly observed in non-smokers.

In total, aspirin reduced mortality from any cause by roughly 10 per cent. All of these figures were observed regardless of the size of the daily dose, gender or smoking status.

It might seem like a no-brainer in this era of obesity and appeals from government for individuals to take better care of themselves, but a study coming next month in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association confirms that eating healthier is associated with living longer.

Researchers studied the eating habits of more than 2,500 adults aged 70 to 79 over a 10-year period. After noting the frequency with which 108 different food items were consumed, the participants were grouped into six clusters according to favoured food choices — health foods, high-fat dairy products, meat, fried foods and alcohol, breakfast cereal, refined grains and sweets and desserts.

After controlling for other factors such as age, race, education, physical activity, smoking and caloric intake, the study found individuals in the high-fat dairy products cluster had a 40 per cent higher risk of mortality than those in the healthy foods cluster. A 37 per cent higher risk was also observed in the sweets and desserts cluster.

The healthy foods cluster was most likely to get the bulk of their calories from fruit, vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish while limiting intake of meat, fried foods, sweets and high-calorie drinks.

Infants breastfed for a minimum of six months go on to score higher in academic tests at the age of 10, according to research out of Australia. This statistic was most pronounced in boys.

Published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers reviewed the records of a pregnancy cohort study that had been following growth and development of more than 2,800 children between 1989 and 1991. They then analyzed the standardized test scores in math, reading, writing and spelling of 1,038 boys and girls at the age of 10.

The results showed that boys were had higher scores on almost every test if they had been mainly breastfed for the first six months of life. Girls showed benefits only in the area of reading.

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St. Albert Gazette

The St. Albert Gazette has been the source for news and community information in St. Albert and area since 1961. Today the twice-weekly full-colour tabloid delivers award-winning journalism in print, online and on mobile.