Link between tanning beds, melanoma grows stronger

USA Today

Strong evidence now links tanning beds to melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer that afflicts nearly 69,000 Americans a year.

People who have ever used tanning machines were 74% more likely to develop melanoma than others, according to a study of 2,268 patients reported today in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Those who tanned the most — for 10 years or more — had more than twice the risk of melanoma compared with people who never used tanning beds, says co-author Martin Weinstock of Brown University School of Medicine. Those risks didn’t change when researchers accounted for age, sex, income, family history, education, skin and eye color, freckles, moles, sunscreen use or time in the sun.

About 2.5% of men and 1.7% of women develop melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society.

The study provides some of the strongest evidence yet to link tanning beds to melanoma, which kills nearly 7,000 Americans a year, says Electra Paskett of Ohio State University.

The study includes information on the newest tanning technologies, finding that machines emitting both types of ultraviolet light — UVA and UVB — increased melanoma risk, says Allan Halpern of New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Halpern and many other doctors say they’re especially concerned about the risks of tanning salons for teenagers, which are popular this time of year as kids prepare for proms, graduations and beach trips. About 35% of 17-year-old girls use tanning machines, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The new report comes at a time of increased scrutiny of indoor tanning:

•The FDA is considering recommendations from an advisory panel that suggested that teens be barred from tanning salons, or at least get parental consent before tanning.

•Congress included a 10% tax on indoor tanning in the health reform bill to help pay for expanding medical coverage and to make it harder for teens to afford indoor tanning.

•The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, in July listed ultraviolet radiation-emitting beds as “carcinogenic to humans,” its highest category of cancer risk.

In a statement, the Indoor Tanning Association’s John Overstreet says scientists disagree about the link between melanoma and tanning beds. “When reputable researchers are coming to vastly different conclusions, it’s clear that a lot more research is needed,” he says. “The science on both sides of the question needs to be weighed before consideration is given to any sweeping policy changes.”

Watch out for Diabetes Drugs. Your Heart will thank you!

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Natural News

Widely used diabetes drugs appear to increase patients’ risk of potentially fatal heart problems, according to a study conducted bdiabetesy researchers from Imperial College London and published in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers examined patient and prescription records to examine rates of heart failure, heart attack and death from any cause among 900,000 patients taking all different kinds of diabetes drugs. Patients were followed for an average of seven years each.

Diabetes drugs fall into three classes: sulphonyureas, glitazones and biguanides. The sulphonyureas include chlorpropamide, glibenclamide (marketed as Daonil and Euglucon), gliclazide (marketed as Diamicron), glimepiride (marketed as Amaryl), glipizide (marketed as Glibenese and Minodiab) and tolbutamide. The glitazones, also called thiazolidinediones, include rosiglitazone (marketed as Avandia) and pioglitazone (marketed as Actos). Metformin is the only anti-diabetes biguanide on the market.

The researchers compared all other drugs to metformin, which is an older, well-proven diabetes drug that is often used as a first line of treatment. They found that patients taking sulphonyureas were between 24 and 60 percent more likely to die of any cause than patients taking metformin, and also significantly more likely to suffer heart failure or heart attack. Patients on rosiglitazone had an increased risk of heart failure over metformin.

Pioglitazone appeared to offer the same risk of heart failure as metformin, and both glitazones had the same risk of heart attack or death as the older drug.

Because the elevated blood sugar levels characteristic of diabetes tend to damage blood vessels, all diabetics are at an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Combined with the fact that chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease can take a long time to develop even when caused or exacerbated by drugs, this means that heart-related side effects to diabetes drugs can be very hard to detect. Often, they only emerge after products have been on the market for years.