Women's Health Watch
Certain Habits CauseWeight Gain
Girls and young women who spend too much time on theInternet, do not get enough sleep, or regularly drink alcohol aremore likely to put on extra weight.
For the study, >5000 girls between 14 and 21 years of agewere followed for 1 year and were surveyed on the number ofrecreationalhours per week they spend on the Internet, how longthey sleep each night, and how much alcohol they consumed.
The researchers found that the more spare time girls spent onthe Internet, the more their body mass index increased. As forsleep, the participants who got .5 hours tended to gain moreweight, and those who had >2 alcoholic drinks per week alsoput on extra pounds. The findings were reported in the July 2008issue of The Journal of Pediatrics.
F A S T F A C T: AIDS is currently the leading causeof death for black women aged 25 to 44.
Gene Linked withMigraine Ups Stroke Risk
The risk of stroke is greater in women with a certain typeof migraine, a version of the gene called MTHFR, reportedresearchers in the August 12, 2008, issue of Neurology. Theeffect was only seen in women who had migraine with aura.In this condition, they also experience visual, auditory, or otherphysical sensations.
The results are based on a study of 25,000 Caucasianwomen enrolled in the Women?s Health Study and had dataon the MTHFR gene. At study onset, 3226 women experiencedmigraine, including 39.5% with auras. A total of 625 strokes,heart attacks, and related events were documented duringnearly 12 years of follow-up.
The researchers concluded that it would be premature torecommend genetic testing for migraine patients. Instead, physiciansshould continue to counsel patients with migraine aboutrisk factors they can change.
Uncontrolled BP High in Women
Women face unique challenges in controllingtheir blood pressure (BP), comparedwith men.
Researchers have found that womenwith high BP are more likely to be obeseand have elevated cholesterol levels.They also are less likely to meet targetgoals for their BP. Furthermore, womenalso are less prone to receive medicationssuch as BP-lowering drugs, comparedwith men.
Researcher Nieca Goldberg, MD, attributesone of the reasons to somewomen stopping their BP medicationwithout talking with their physician,after experiencing side effects that caninclude insomnia, lethargy, and depression.
Diet also can have an impact on highBP. Researchers suggested switching tolow-fat dairy foods and reducing fat andsalt intake.
The findings help stress the AmericanHeart Association's ongoing Go Redfor Women campaign, which seeks tochange the perception that high BP andheart disease are male health threats.
Skin Cancer RatesClimbing Fast
Incidences of melanoma are greatly increasing among youngerwomen in the United States, according to a study published inthe July 10, 2008, online edition of the Journal of InvestigativeDermatology. The researchers determined that the numberof cases increased from 9.4 per 100,000 in 1980 to 13.9 per100,000 in 2004. The findings are based on data on the rate ofmelanoma among Caucasian men and women, 15 to 39 yearsof age. The data were culled from the National Cancer Institute'sSurveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, which isa network of regional cancer registries.
"These findings are important, because they suggest that publiceducation campaigns to educate Americans about the risksof skin cancer from sun tanning do not appear to have resultedin a reduction in melanoma rates among young women," saidMark Purdue, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute's Division ofCancer Epidemiology & Genetics.
Thyroid Hormone,Alzheimer?s Risk, Linked
Researchers found that high or low levels of the thyroid hormonethyrotropin may be linked with a higher risk of Alzheimer'sdisease in women. Between 1977 and 1979, the researchersmeasured thyrotropin levels in 1864 individuals, average age 71,without cognitive problems. The group was then assessed fordementia every 2 years.
Reporting in the Archives of Internal Medicine (July 29,2008), the researchers found that 209 participants developedAlzheimer's disease after 12.7 years of follow-up. The resultsindicated that women with the lowest (<1 mIU/L) and highest(>2.1 mIU/L) levels of thyrotropin had >2-fold increased risk ofAlzheimer's disease.
F A S T F A C T: Only about 60% of women with highblood pressure are having it controlled.