Health Buzz: BPA Tied to Sexual Problems in Men and Other Health News

Alzheimer's disease associated with weaker muscles; breast cancer treatment pain can linger for years.

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BPA Tied to Sexual Problems in Men

A new study suggests that high levels of bisphenol A, a chemical that has been linked to health problems that include diabetes, heart disease, and birth defects, may cause sexual dysfunction in men, the Washington Post reports. Researchers studied 164 factory workers in China who were exposed to BPA at a level 50 times that of the average American man. When compared to 386 male factory workers with no work exposure to the chemical, the exposed men were four times more likely to have erectile dysfunction. They were also seven times more likely to have difficulty ejaculating. The study is the first to look at BPA's effect on the human male reproductive system, according to the Post . Results are published in the journal Human Reproduction.

[Read Concerns Over Bisphenol A Continue to Grow and 5 Ways to Keep BPA Out of Your Food.]

Alzheimer's Disease Linked to Weaker Muscles

Alzheimer's disease is known for the knockout blow it delivers to memory and other cognitive functions. But this disease of the brain may also be linked to muscle weakness, according to a study published this week in the Archives of Neurology, reports U.S. News's Katherine Hobson.

Among the 900 older adults in the study, those who were initially stronger were less likely to get Alzheimer's. Muscle strength was also tied to a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, the precursor to Alzheimer's disease, the study found.

As tempting as it is to yell from the hilltops that hitting the gym prevents Alzheimer's, this study wasn't designed to tell if there's a causative effect, says Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist with the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago and an author of the study. It's looking like one degenerative process drives both conditions, and it shows up first as muscle weakness before manifesting itself as cognitive problems, Hobson writes. Read more.

[Read Inflammation, Genes, and Hypertension All Contribute to Alzheimer's Risk and Alzheimer's Disease Is Sharply Rising, but You Can Lower Your Odds.] [Slide show: 6 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Alzheimer's and Dementia.]

Pain Lingers More Than 2 Years After Breast Cancer Treatment Ends

Women who've been successfully treated for breast cancer often call themselves "survivors" as if they've been through a trial by fire and made it through unscathed. Unfortunately, that's often not the case. A new study of nearly 3,800 patients published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that nearly half of all breast cancer patients still experience related pain two to three years after their treatments end, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz reports.

The researchers found the risk of pain was highest in younger women, ages 18 to 39, who had breast-conserving surgery accompanied by radiation treatments. Women of all ages who had mastectomies, however, were more likely to have severe pain than light pain. The pain most often occurred in the breast that was operated upon, in the chest area where tissue was removed, in the upper arm where lymph nodes were removed, or down one side of the body. Some women also experienced sensory disturbances like a loss of feeling or tingling sensations near the surgical site and, sometimes, elsewhere in the body. On average, those reporting pain had light to moderate pain that they experienced one to three times a week. Read more.

[Read Surgery for Breast Cancer: Complex Options, Difficult Decisions and Managing Your Pain: How to Use Prescription Drugs Without Becoming Addicted.]

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