Health Buzz: Study Suggests Link Between WTC Attack and Cancer

Bah, humbug? How to cope with holiday stress; Plus, a family 'poo-rtrait' for the holidays

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WTC First-Responders May Be at Higher Risk for Certain Cancers, But It's Likely Too Early to Confirm

Did exposure to the World Trade Center attack raise the risk of developing cancer? The question may not be conclusively answered anytime soon, but a new study by researchers at the New York City Department of Health may shed some light. The study analyzes the health of more than 55,000 people through 2008 who were enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry, including about 20,000 who were involved in the rescue and recovery efforts, Reuters reports. Overall, the rates of new cancers among those in the registry were comparable to those across the state, but three cancers were more common in first-responders during the last two years of the study. In 2007 or 2008, aid workers were between 1.4 and 2.9 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, or multiple myeloma, which involves bone marrow cells, Reuters reports. Thomas Farley, the New York City health commissioner told the Associated Press that the study results "won't settle the question because it's still too early." But he added: "People are very, very interested in this topic and we thought it was important to get the data out that we have even though it is early."

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  • Bah, Humbug? How to Cope With Holiday Stress

    Remember National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? Chevy Chase's character, Clark Griswold, and his family face one disaster after another: An elaborate Christmas light display doesn't work; eccentric family members show up unexpectedly; the tree goes up in flames; and Clark doesn't receive the end-of-year bonus he's been counting on.

    With any luck, your holiday won't be filled with quite as many cringe-worthy catastrophes. Still, the movie does teach us one thing about the "most wonderful time of the year:" It's often a farce.

    U.S. News consulted with a few experts who weighed in on how to keep six common holiday stressors from turning jolly elves into frazzled, wine-guzzling Scrooges:

    1. Cancelled flights and unbearable traffic. Traveling during the holidays, especially with children, can be a nightmare. Instead of framing a trip as leaving at one specific time and arriving at Grandma's at another specific time, think of it as an adventure. Say to your kids: "We don't know what's going to happen but we're in it together, and we'll remember this trip for a long time—so let's have fun," Hall suggests. Instead of shuddering because you're not going to arrive at Aunt Peggy's until two hours after dinner, tell the family, "Well, we can stop at this interesting little town and grab a snack with locals to hold us over." [Read more: Bah, Humbug? How to Cope With Holiday Stress]

    • How to Cope with Holiday Stress
    • Holiday Vices: How to Have Fun Without Overdoing It
    • A Family 'Poo-rtrait' for the Holidays

      With Christmas just a week away, I imagine lots of you are scrambling to get that annual family portrait taken in time to send out a "Season's Greetings" card, writes U.S. News blogger Tamara Duker Freuman. But not so for the Freumans this year! That's because I've already lined up plans for our first-ever family "poo-rtrait."

      I know what you're thinking. What on earth is a poo-rtrait? Is it as gross as it sounds? Why on earth would someone do this? And: I hope I'm not on her mailing list!

      For starters, what I refer to as a family poo-rtrait is actually a group rate for "DNA extraction and 16S rRNA sequencing" of stool samples from four members of my family by a project called American Gut. It's an ambitious research collaboration among 30 scientists whose goal is to analyze the American microbiome—or, the ecosystem of bacteria and other microscopic organisms that colonize our skin, mouths, and guts. The researchers are aiming to collect 10,000 biological samples from Americans of all ages and backgrounds along with detailed information about their diets, health, and lifestyles to understand the relationship between what we eat, how we live, and which microscopic species we host.