Low Vitamin D Levels May Increase Risk of Problems in Women with Breast Cancer
Breast cancer patients with low levels of vitamin D may have an increased risk of recurrence or death from the disease, a new study reports. The findings—which are expected to be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting, to be held May 31 to June 3 —suggest that vitamin D deficiency is very common in women with breast cancer. For these patients, the risk of breast cancer spreading was nearly double compared with those who had healthy vitamin D levels. And the risk of dying from breast cancer was 75 percent higher in those with low levels of vitamin D, compared with those with healthy levels. Still, the findings are not concrete enough to warrant recommending that breast cancer patients take vitamin D supplements to ward off this risk, the authors report.
Mom Indicted on Charges Related to Internet Hoax that Led to Teen’s Suicide
A Missouri mother was indicted yesterday on charges related to the death of a teenager who killed herself after an Internet hoax, according to CNN.com. Lori Drew, 49, is accused of using the social networking website MySpace.com to pose as a 16-year-old boy—given the fake name, "Josh Evans"—who pretended to be romantically interested in 13-year-old Megan Meier. "Josh" and Meier exchanged messages for about four weeks, until the fictitious boy broke things off, and Meier committed suicide in October 2006. Drew, who is charged with conspiracy and accessing protected computers to obtain information to inflict emotional distress, faces up to 20 years in prison. The indictment was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
Biomarkers May Help Evaluate Risk for Heart Disease
A study published this week attempts to sort out who is at greatest risk of heart disease, Katherine Hobson reports. Researchers in Sweden reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that among a uniform population—that is, Swedish men who were an average of 71 years old—looking for the presence of four biomarkers in the blood may help evaluate risk. "Hopefully it's an important step," says Johan Arnlöv, study author and a researcher at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden. He emphasized that his team's finding needs confirmation and further study to confirm biomarkers are useful tools.
Biomarkers that might signal hidden or impending disease are a hot topic now, as researchers hope to use them to predict cancer and other illnesses in addition to heart disease. U.S. News's Michelle Andrews recently wrote about a controversial blood test that can screen for a host of biomarkers.
Did You Ride Your Bike to Work Today?
Tired of rising gas prices? Perhaps it's time to consider commuting to work by bike, U.S. News's Adam Voiland suggests. Today is National Bike to Work Day, but statistics show that not many people get to work on two wheels. According to numbers from the most recent census, only four tenths of 1 percent of Americans ride to work on a bicycle. Seventy-seven percent, in contrast, drive—and by themselves. But perhaps gas prices are making a difference: Media reports suggest that the bike industry is on the verge of a boom, and there's at least anecdotal evidence to suggest that Americans are itching to get back in the saddle.
In its blog, the Environmental Protection Agency wonders why people are or aren't biking to work, and safety concerns, distance, and smelliness emerge from the comments as key barriers. Voiland explores myths about commuting by bicycle in his On Men blog. And learn more about the importance of exercise in U.S. News's On Fitness blog.
—January W. Payne