Osteoporosis Drugs May Hike Risk of Esophageal Cancer
Drugs taken by millions of Americans to help strengthen weak bones may raise the risk of esophageal cancer, new research suggests. People who take oral bisphosphonates—a widely prescribed class of osteoporosis drugs—for more than five years appear to have twice the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus than those who have never taken the medications, according to a study published Friday in the British Medical Journal. The findings also suggest that taking the drugs for less than five years is linked to a 30 percent greater chance of developing the cancer, say the researchers, who followed 80,000 people for nearly eight years. "We have to be concerned, but this is the first large study with long-term follow up that has found this effect," study author Jane Green told Reuters. "Because esophageal cancer is uncommon, even a doubled risk is still a low risk." Typically, 1 in 1,000 people ages 60 to 79 develops esophageal cancer, the study reports.
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C-Section Births on the Rise: How to Avoid Surgery
It's no secret that the C-section rate is rising. Between 1996 and 2007, the rate jumped from 21 percent to 32 percent of all births, U.S. News's Megan Johnson writes. What is surprising, however, is that the C-section rate is that high for first-time mothers, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. One in every three new moms has a cesarean, researchers reported Monday. Concerned about the surgery's costs and its health risks, such as excessive bleeding and infection, public health experts are now trying to bring those rates down.
The C-section rate should be more like 20 percent, as it was in the '90s, says Robert Barbieri, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Much higher than that, he says, suggests that the surgeries are being performed without medical need.
"Most obstetricians would like babies to be born vaginally," says Sebastian Faro, vice-chair of the obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences department at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, but parents don't necessarily agree. "Have I ever done an elective C-section at the patient's request? The answer is yes," says Faro, who has also refused such requests. He talks to patients about the risks of the surgery and tries to persuade them to attempt a natural birth. [Read more: C-Section Births on the Rise: How to Avoid Surgery.]
4 Cardio Workouts That Are Creative and Fun
Thinking of heading back to indoor workouts as the weather cools? Instead of returning to your old step aerobics or spin class, shake it up a bit and try some of the newer workout offerings, fitness blogger Chelsea Bush writes for U.S. News. The following are fun routines that burn calories and provide an aerobic workout to strengthen your heart. But they also have an added bonus: They increase your flexibility, balance, and core abdominal muscles—three elements that work together to maximize your physical fitness, according to Mayo Clinic researchers. Here are some classes or DVD's to consider:
Zumba. Try this dance workout and you'll know why dancers are in such great shape. This is a high-energy cardio routine based on Latin dances like Salsa, Merengue, and Reggaeton (Latin hip-hop) mixed with other international moves from Asia and Africa. Zumba typically incorporates plenty of stretching and strengthening: Squats and lunges tone the legs, while kicks and forward bends engage the core. The music is more nightclub than gym class, and the bright-colored ribbons, bracelets, and belly dancing scarves that some gyms provide add to the fun. Classes are usually built around standard moves with a lot of repetition, making it easy for beginners to jump in. Hand weights may be used for resistance training, and some fitness centers offer classes for those ages 55 and up. [Read more: 4 Cardio Workouts That Are Creative and Fun.]
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