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Posted - Sep. 25, 2003 at 10:20 a.m.



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Sep 25, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- EXERCISE CAN FIGHT DIABETES AT ANY WEIGHT

Walking briskly for a half-hour every day seems to reduce the risk of developing diabetes regardless of weight. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh surveyed 1,728 non-diabetic men and women, ages 15-59 years, who were at least half Pima, Tohono-O'odham or a combination of these two closely related Native American tribes, both of which suffer high rates of diabetes. Their amount of physical activity was determined by questionnaire, which calculated each activity according to hours per week and relative intensity. Researchers determined presence of diabetes by an oral glucose tolerance test. Over an average follow-up period of six years, 346 participants developed type 2 diabetes. But regardless of initial age or body weight, fewer individuals who were active a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day over the survey period developed type 2 diabetes and the finding held true for men and women alike, although it was more consistent in women. "We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary," the investigators said. "This finding holds no matter what their initial weight."

TEACHERS SPOT ADHD FIRST

Teachers may be partly responsible for the recent rise in children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. A new study finds among children receiving drug treatment for ADHD, many were recommended for treatment initially by their teachers or other school personnel. Study authors, Dr. Leonard Sax and registered nurse Kathleen Kautz, said this might explain why in some areas many more children are medicated for the disorder. Further, if doctors know the source of the referral, over-diagnosis might be more easily prevented, they added. Left untreated, ADHD is considered by many physicians to be a serious condition that could lead to severe learning problems -- although there is controversy about the preferred avenues of treatment.

STRESS MAY PLAY ROLE IN BREAST CANCER

Stress may increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. In a 24-year study of 1,462 Swedish women, ages 38 to 60, researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden found women under more stress were more likely to develop the disease. The women had a physical examination and were asked whether they had experienced a feeling of stress for a month or longer, including tension, fear, anxiety, or sleep disturbances connected with conflicts at work or at home. Those who said they had stress during the five years before the first examination had double the risk of developing breast cancer during the following 24-year period, said lead author Dr. Osten Helgesson. However, he cautioned although the study demonstrated a significant association between stress and breast cancer, more research is necessary before stress can be linked definitely to increased breast cancer risk.

CHILDHOOD TUMORS LINKED TO MOTHER'S BREAST CANCER

Mothers of children who develop solid tumor cancers are more likely to develop breast cancer. In a study that will help doctors screen for breast cancer in women, researchers at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in the United Kingdom found 95 cases of breast cancer among the mothers of 2,604 children who were diagnosed with a solid tumor -- a third higher than the percentage in the population at large. In addition, mothers who's children were diagnosed at a very young age were at greater risk for breast cancer. The findings suggest some form of mother-fetal interaction -- possibly hormonal -- during pregnancy. The researchers suspect known tumor suppressor genes and cancer-causing genes such as p53 and hCHK2 (a gene associated with breast cancer) might be responsible for cancer predisposition. Also, other inherited genes such as estrogen metabolizing and estrogen-regulating genes -- expressed by the fetus in the womb -- might be involved as well.

(Editors: For more information on DIABETES, contact Kathryn Duda at 412-647-3555 or DudaK@upmc.edu. For ADHD, Angela Lower at 800-274-2237 ext. 5224 or 913-906-6253. For BREAST CANCER and TUMORS, Emma Mason at 453-252-4163 or wordmason@aol.com. For DRUG TRIAL, Arleen Goldenberg at 212-798-9749 or Arleen_Goldenberg@nyc.cohnwolfe.com)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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