Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cellphones cleared again

Some pesky findings for the freaked-out brigade. Since 1987, brain tumors have actually DECREASED among young men, for instance -- despite the big rise in mobile phone use over that period. Maybe cellphones are actually GOOD for your health! Students of hormesis would find that plausible
Mobile Phone Use and Incidence of Glioma in the Nordic Countries 1979–2008: Consistency Check

By Deltour, Isabelle et al.


Background: Some case-control studies have reported increased risks of glioma associated with mobile phone use. If true, this would ultimately affect the time trends for incidence rates (IRs). Correspondingly, lack of change in IRs would exclude certain magnitudes of risk. We investigated glioma IR trends in the Nordic countries, and compared the observed with expected incidence rates under various risk scenarios.

Methods: We analyzed annual age-standardized incidence rates in men and women aged 20 to 79 years during 1979–2008 using joinpoint regression (35,250 glioma cases). Probabilities of detecting various levels of relative risk were computed using simulations.

Results: For the period 1979 through 2008, the annual percent change in incidence rates was 0.4% (95% confidence interval = 0.1% to 0.6%) among men and 0.3% (0.1% to 0.5%) among women. Incidence rates have decreased in young men (20–39 years) since 1987, remained stable in middle-aged men (40–59 years) throughout the 30-year study period, and increased slightly in older men (60–79 years).

In simulations, assumed relative risks for all users of 2.0 for an induction time of up to 15 years, 1.5 for up to 10 years, and 1.2 for up to 5 years were incompatible with observed incidence time trends. For heavy users of mobile phones, risks of 2.0 for up to 5 years' induction were also incompatible.

Conclusion: No clear trend change in glioma incidence rates was observed. Several of the risk increases seen in case-control studies appear to be incompatible with the observed lack of incidence rate increase in middle-aged men. This suggests longer induction periods than currently investigated, lower risks than reported from some case-control studies, or the absence of any association.

Epidemiology. 23(2):301-307, March 2012.

How walking the dog can be harmful to your health: 'Man's best friend' may cause high number of injuries

I don't this will make many dog-owners give up their dog, however. I must say, though, that tripping over cats and dogs is a regular hazard if you have them around the house

The regular walks and companionship that come with owning a dog are known to aid fitness and wellbeing. But it turns out that man’s best friend may be more likely to harm health than help it.

They may be responsible for a worryingly high number of injuries needing emergency hospital treatment, researchers say.

Over only two months, doctors at one hospital noted 37 cases of patients needing treatment for broken bones, soft tissue injuries and head wounds caused by dogs.

Sixteen of them needed surgery. Most were pulled over by their pet while it was on a lead, while others tripped while out walking, fell over leads or were knocked over as their dog ran towards them.

Doctors were so surprised by the results – which suggest the hospital deals with more than 200 dog-related injuries a year – that they concluded the risks to dog owners’ health may ‘offset any benefits’.

‘We have shown that dog-related injuries are common, particularly in the elderly,’ said Dr Henry Willmott of the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, East Sussex.

‘The presence of a dog in the house should be taken into consideration when the risk of falls is being assessed and dog obedience training should be considered. I am sure that this is a common phenomenon across the UK.’

He added: ‘Elderly women walking their dog on uneven ground were most at risk of injury. Some of the injuries were serious and resulted in considerable morbidity.’

Dr Willmott suggested more elderly women than men were hurt because they are more likely to have weaker bones due to osteoporosis.

The study, published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, is the first to look at how many injuries – other than biting – dogs cause. Previous research has shown owning a dog can ward off depression, lower blood pressure and even combat obesity.

Dogs have been shown to reduce the risk of developing eczema and may be able to sniff out cancer before symptoms develop.


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