Medical News Notes – October 28, 2011

Posted Friday, Oct 28, 2011 by Allen B. Ury

Medical News NotesAmerica’s most germ-ridden surfaces. Liquids that can cause — or prevent — skin, lung and bladder cancer. These and other stories from the world of health and medicine in this week’s Medical News Notes.

Don’t Touch This!

As flu season approaches, Kimberly-Clark Professional has released a list of the most germ-ridden surfaces found in public places. Among the 350 surfaces in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia tested by company hygienists using a Hygiena System SURE II ATP Meter, here are the worst offenders in descending order of griminess:

  • Gas pump handles
  • Mailbox handles
  • Escalator rails
  • ATM buttons
  • Parking meters and kiosks
  • Crosswalk buttons
  • Vending machine buttons

Washing and drying your hands frequently throughout the day can help you lower your risk of getting sick or spreading germs to others, health experts advise.

Coffee Drinking Linked to Lower Skin Cancer Risk

Coffee drinking appears to lower the risk of getting the most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Research conducted in the department of dermatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School suggest that women who drink more than three cups of coffee per day can lower their risk of getting BCC by 20 percent. Men who drink more than three cups per day have a 9 percent lower risk. Caused principally by prolonged exposure to sunlight, BCC is rarely fatal but can be disfiguring if the tumors are not removed early.

Heavy Drinking Linked to Lung Cancer

Speaking of fluids, heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to an increase risk for lung cancer even in non-smokers, according to a study recently completed at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif. However, moderate drinking not only appears to pose no cancer risk, but actually provides coronary artery protection in middle-aged and older men and women. In the study, “heavy drinking” was defined as more than three drinks per day.

High Fluid Intake Lowers Bladder Cancer Risk in Men

Okay, one more fluid/cancer story. In this case, a heavy fluid (non-alcoholic) intake appears to lower the risk of bladder cancer for men. The study was done at Brown University. Researchers believe that the fluids may flush out potential carcinogens before they have a chance to cause tissue damage that can lead to bladder cancer.

Take Blood Pressure Meds at Bedtime, Study Suggests

People who take blood pressure medication are much better off doing so at bedtime than in the morning, according to Spanish researchers published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Taking BP meds at night not only helps better manage the condition, but also significantly lowers the risks of cardiovascular conditions such as strokes and heart attacks, according to the study. One in three people in the world currently suffers from high blood pressure, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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