WOMEN'S HEALTH WATCH
Just Say No to Alcohol
New research on the drinking habits of young Americansborn between 1934 and 1983 found that women began drinkingat increasingly younger ages. Simultaneously, the rate ofalcohol dependence rose.
The findings are based on data from nearly 40,000 men andwomen who responded to 2 large national surveys—between1991 and 1992 and 2001 and 2002. The researchers found thatwomen born between 1934 and 1943 began drinking at age22, on average. The age gradually declined among women bornafter 1943.
Reporting in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research(August 2008), the researchers found that the increase in earlydrinking over time appeared to explain much of the increasein women's dependence on alcohol. For example, youngerwomen who started drinking at age 18 were no more proneto have an alcohol problem, compared with older women whostarted drinking at age 18.
Pregnancy, Tooth Loss Linked
Women who have many children are more prone to havingmissing teeth, according to data on 2635 women aged 18 to 64.The participants had reported at least 1 pregnancy in the ThirdNational Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The studyresults were recently published online in the American Journalof Public Health.
Stefani Russell, MD, attributed certain biological and behaviorchanges related to pregnancy and childbirth that may be theroot of the cause:
- Pregnancy can make women more prone to gum inflammation,and repeated pregnancies can cause more frequentoutbreaks of gum inflammation that may cause tooth lossin women with periodontitis
- Women may delay treatment because of financial concernsrelated to having children
- Caring for children may lead a mother to reduce the timeshe spends on her own oral health
Lung Cancer Rates Same for Men, Women Smokers
The results of a report from theNational Cancer Institute found thatwomen who smoke are just as likelyto get lung cancer, compared withmen who smoke. Women who neversmoked, however, faced a greater riskof lung cancer than men who neversmoked.
In the largest study of its kind, therate of lung cancer in men and womenwho smoked comparable amounts ofcigarettes was quite similar. The datafrom 8 states included 279,214 menand 184,623 women aged 50 to 71. Thedata included questions about alcoholconsumption, and whether they werecurrent smokers, ex-smokers, or hadnever smoked.
Reporting in the June 14, 2008, issueof The Lancet Oncology, the researchersfound that 1.47% of the men and 1.21%of the women were diagnosed withlung cancer. Of the women who neversmoked, they were 1.3 times moreapt to develop lung cancer, comparedwith men who never smoked, however.Both men and women, who smoked >2packs a day, were almost 50 times morelikely to develop lung cancer, comparedwith individuals who never smoked.
Elderly Women Face Greater Dementia Risk
Women aged 90 and older are more prone to dementia,compared with men, said a study in the July 2, 2008, issue ofNeurology. For the study, the researchers examined a surveyof 911 men and women aged 90 and older between 2003 and2006. In the 1980s, all the participants had resided in a retirementcommunity in Orange County, California, and took partin another study at that time. Of the participants, two thirdswere women and most were Caucasian, upper-middle class,and well-educated.
Although no clear indication exists for the discrepancy,which found signs of senility in 45% of the women, theresearchers said it is possible that women simply live longerwith the condition.
Gender a Factor in Kidney Transplants
A new study found that women who receive kidneys frommen have a greater rate of graft failure, compared with donorrecipientcombinations.
The study, in the July 5, 2008, issue of The Lancet, lookedat data on 195,516 individuals in Europe, who received kidneysfrom deceased donors between 1985 and 2004, andidentified complex gender interactions. The findings indicatedthat graft loss was more prevalent with kidneys from womendonors, compared with men donors after both 1 year and 10years. Transplantation of donor kidneys from men into womenpatients was linked with an 8% increased risk of graft failure andan 11% increased risk of graft failure?related death in the firstyear, compared with all other gender combinations.
F A S T F A C T : Mental disorders are most common among women aged 18 to 25 years.