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HEALTH BEAT.

Gene mutations are not the only types of defects involved in the transformation of healthy cells into malignant ones. According to researcher Christoph Plass, Ohio State University, Columbus, am other defect--one that turns off genes without changing their DNA--is also at work, and probably at a much greater degree than ever suspected. He suggests that an unknown number of genes--over and above those affected by mutations--are involved in the cancer process.

People suffering persistent hopelessness may be at greater risk for hypertension, say researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. While 20% of middle-aged men in a study had high blood pressure (defined as 165 over 95), the figure rose to 37% in those considered "high in hopelessness" and to 23% of subjects who felt moderately hopeless.

Women's symptoms of heart attacks differ from men's, indicates Nina Radford, a cardiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "Women can have some signs of a heart attack that would not be recognized traditionally as pertaining to a serious cardiac problem. In addition to pains in the chest and numbness in the arm, women may also experience shoulder, neck, and back pain?

Women who snore regularly may increase their risk of heart attack or stroke by 33%, notes Fran Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, Mass. A temporary shortage of oxygen during snoring can activate the sympathetic nervous system, which controls involuntary actions like heart rate and breathing, possibly leading to high blood pressure.

Fibroid tumors are the primary reason why 200,000 women a year in the U.S. have hysterectomies. Doctors at Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital are using a new technique, fibroid embolization, as a less-invasive option. The procedure involves a small incision in the groin and placement of a catheter into the femoral artery to inject synthetic particles to block blood supply to the fibroid. Deprived of its "food" the tumor shrinks to the point it no longer causes bleeding and other symptoms.

Heartburn sufferers frequently have little insight into the cause of their discomfort, says Susan A. Oliveria of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. A survey of 2,000 patients found that most of them were unable to identify particular foods and beverages, stress, smoking, alcohol, obesity, medications, and certain exercises as risk factors for their heartburn.

Some reading problems are tied to a defect in neuron function, according to a study at Stanford (Calif.) University. Psychology professor John Gabrieli, who headed the research team, reports that "We found that adults with reading deficits have an abnormality in white matter of the brain, which is vital for transmitting information between the brain areas involved in language comprehension."

Seventeen percent of people die at home, but a study at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., revealed that the number would be higher if individuals were given a choice. While two-thirds of Americans die in hospitals and about 15% in nursing homes, a survey of 246 recently hospitalized patients showed that 43% would prefer home terminal care, wanting to be with their families when the end came.
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Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2000
Words:518
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