Health Beat–6/6/03, Page 2

Pesticides Linked with Prostate Cancer
Another reason for learning what is inside a structure to which you respond is the following information obtained by U.S. government researchers in a study of farmers in the states of Iowa and North Carolina. Michael Alavanja of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) helped lead the study. The results were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The researchers found that farmers who use pesticides have an unusually high risk of prostate cancer. The NIC researchers and researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency studied 55,332 farmers or nursery workers who worked with pesticides. Between 1993 and 1999, 566 new prostate cancers developed among the men, compared to the 495 that would normally be expected. The risk of their developing prostate cancer was 14 percent greater than that for the general population. The pesticides involved were methyl bromide, which increased the risk of prostate cancer in all men, and chlorpyrifos, coumaphos, fonofos, phorate, permethrin, and butylate, which raised the risk in men with a family history of prostate cancer. (Source: “Pesticides Linked with Prostate Cancer,” Reuters, Yahoo! News, May 1, 2003.)

Alberta, Canada, Passes Cancer Presumption Legislation
In April, Alberta, Canada, passed career firefighter presumption legislation that covers seven forms of cancer. The firefighters will be covered by the Workers Compensation Board for brain, colon, bladder, urethra, and kidney cancer; leukemia; and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. All will be considered work-related. The Alberta Fire Fighters Association had presented evidence to government officials that demonstrated that the cancers are caused by multiple exposures over the course of a firefighting career.

Another Reason For Eating Your Vegetables: Cardiovascular Benefit
In these times when cardiovascular-related events are claiming the lives of the majority of our firefighters dying in the line of duty, it is imperative that we leave no stone unturned as we search for the answers to why we are losing more and younger members of the fire service to this disease. Research has pointed to factors such as stress, lack of exercise, poor diet, work shift hours, dehydration, too much hydration, exposure to carbon monoxide and other toxins, genetics, preexisting conditions-this list is endless. All of these things and others must be considered and evaluated to assess this complex problem of sudden deaths on and off the fireground.

Many researchers and health experts, however, have found so far that lifestyle aspects such as diet, exercise, and stress load play a significant role in cardiovascular health. Sometimes, the answers can be as simple as having a diet deficient in a crucial nutrient or a lopsided diet, and making small efforts to improve our diet can help us to improve our health.

With this idea in mind, such information will be passed on to you for your consideration and investigation-and perhaps even a discussion with your health care provider. Keep in mind that the key words when it comes to diet are well-balanced, moderate, common sense, and diversified.

Research conducted at the University of Maryland has shown that eating a high-fat meal causes your arteries to lose their ability to expand for at least four hours when there’s a sudden increase in blood flow. However, when participants in the research took antioxidant supplements or ate a green salad just before eating a high-fat meal, the research team found that the arteries did not lose their ability to expand.

For four weeks, some of the subjects took capsules full of a fruit and vegetable concentrate, others took fake capsules, and others took capsules rich in antioxidant vitamins and herbal extracts.

After four weeks of taking the capsules twice a day, the volunteers ate a high fat meal consisting of an Egg McMuffin, a Sausage McMuffin, two McDonald’s hash brown patties, and a noncaffeinated beverage. The meal caused the expected temporary deterioration of artery function in those who took the fake pills; their arteries weren’t as flexible. The other two groups were largely protected.

The researchers concluded that people who eat a well-balanced, healthful diet have a better prognosis and that important health benefits result from consuming nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. The full study appeared in the May 21 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. (“Veggies Ward Off Big Mac Attack,” Daniel DeNoon WebMD Medical News, MSN Health online, May 21, 2003.)

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