Study: Smoking-Related Deaths Among Women Continue to Rise
Among women, the risk of dying from smoking cigarettes is increasing, to the point where it's nearly identical to men's risk, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Current female smokers are more likely to die of lung cancer than their counterparts from years ago, partly because they're picking up the habit earlier and smoking more, according to CBS News. Researchers compared men and women's relative risks of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ischemic heart disease, and any type of stroke. For these causes of death combined, the risk for current male smokers was 2.8, and 2.76 for current female smokers. This unsettling uptick among women is "a massive failure in prevention," Michael Thun, study leader and vice president of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society, told CBS.
In October, a study in The Lancet journal suggested that women who quit smoking before age 40 may avoid more than 90 percent of the added risk of dying early. Women who quit before 30 could avoid 97 percent of that risk.
Former New England Patriot Matt Light Battles Crohn's Disease
In June 2004, New England Patriots players gathered at owner Robert Kraft's home to receive their Super Bowl rings. But the team wasn't complete. Matt Light, who helped earn the victory, wasn't there. He was in the midst of a 30-day hospital stay, fighting through complications that had developed from having a 13-inch section of his intestine removed. He couldn't eat for a month and lost 55 pounds, dropping to his lowest weight since high school.
During Light's 11 seasons with the Patriots, from 2001 to 2012, football fans knew he was the most successful left tackle in the team's storied history. What they didn't know was that Light was battling Crohn's disease—an often debilitating inflammatory bowel disease—throughout his entire career. That meant severe abdominal pain, fatigue, and persistent diarrhea, among other symptoms. Light, 34, didn't speak publicly about his struggles until May, when he announced his retirement. Now, he wants to educate and encourage others who are experiencing what he went through. Light shared his story with U.S. News:
What led to your diagnosis? How did you know something was wrong?
I was officially diagnosed in 2001, but I had started experiencing a lot of the symptoms during my freshman year in college. At the time, I didn't connect it with being anything more than the flu or a stomach virus. I just wasn't up to speed with issues like Crohn's disease, or any other type of bowel disease. By the time I got to the NFL as a rookie, I just knew something wasn't right. I was experiencing internal bleeding—it's very difficult to talk about, kind of embarrassing, but this is what happens. I started asking a lot of questions, got a full exam, and the doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital told me I was suffering from Crohn's disease. [Read more: Former New England Patriot Matt Light Battles Crohn's Disease]
When Science Met The Biggest Loser
It's NBC's Monday night television juggernaut and the guilty pleasure of over 7 million viewers, writes U.S. News blogger Yoni Freedhoff. Now in its 14th season, The Biggest Loser is a an industry unto itself, with a 2009 estimate by The New York Times pegging its worth at $100 million in annual revenue.
Viewers tuning in week after week can watch as Americans with severe obesity are routinely yelled at, exercised until they vomit, injured, weighed nearly naked on a giant scale, and seemingly taught that the numbers on that scale measure not only their weight, but also their self-worth and represent the only true value of their health and success.
Consequent perhaps to the show's immense popularity and polarizing approach, The Biggest Loser has led to the publication of a number of peer-reviewed medical studies that look at its impact on both the participants and the viewers. Their results are anything but pretty.
Two studies have been conducted that examine how watching The Biggest Loser affects viewers' attitudes towards those with obesity. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the apparent tenor of the show—that obesity is a consequence of personal laziness and gluttony—the first study, published in the journal Obesity, showed that watching even a single episode of The Biggest Loser led viewers to dramatically increase their own hateful and negative biases towards those with obesity. [Read more: When Science Met The Biggest Loser]