Stomach cancer rises in young white adults
Scientists are puzzling over a surprising increase in stomach cancer in young white adults, while rates in all other American adults have declined. Chances for developing stomach cancer are still very low in young adults but the incidence among 25- to 39-year-old whites nonetheless climbed by almost 70 percent in the past three decades, a study found. National Cancer Institute researchers and colleagues examined new cases from 1977 to 2006 of cancer in the lower stomach, which can be caused by chronic infection with a common bacteria called H. pylori. It also causes stomach ulcers. Stomach cancer rates have been declining in many countries because of improved food preservation and better hygiene, which decreases risks for H. pylori infection, so the overall U.S. decline was expected, said Dr. Charles Rabkin of the National Cancer Institute, the study's lead author. However, the researchers noted that salt intake has increased among Americans of all ages, and said they will be investigating whether changes in eating habits explain the rise in young adults.
Early mammogram has drawbacks
One recent mammogram debate has been over whether routine screening should start at 40 or 50. But about 29 percent of women get them in their 30s, and new research casts doubt on their usefulness. Researchers tracking thousands of records found that if 10,000 35- to 39-year-olds had a routine screening mammogram, 1,266 would be called back for further testing to find 16 with cancer, reported Dr. Bonnie Yankaskas of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. That's less accurate than in older women, and she said younger women considering an exam should know the drawbacks: earlier radiation exposure and anxiety and cost. Overall accuracy was much better for so-called diagnostic mammograms, done when a woman feels a lump or experiences another symptom that needs to be checked out.
Cut calories, boost immune system
Restricted-calorie diets have been shown in some studies to improve longevity and provide other health benefits, but many studies have focused on animals. A new study finds that calorie restriction may bolster the immune system in adults. Researchers from Tufts University randomly placed 46 overweight, but not obese, men and women ages 20 to 40 on a diet in which calories were reduced either 10 or 30 percent. At the end of the six months, immune system response went up in both groups, compared with the beginning of the study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences.