Study Confirms that Smoking Causes Emphysema

…due to incomplete combustion of insoluble nanoparticulates of carbon.  The longer you smoke, the worse it gets.

Many people who pass away from severe emphysema are found, at the time of autopsy, to have black lungs. The discoloured lungs are most strongly associated with people who have smoked heavily or worked in certain industries.

Source: New Study Confirms The Lethal Effect Of Smoking

Why is this study is important?  We knew that the black stuff was carbon and nanoparticles are bad, but we weren’t quite sure how much of emphysema was from poisons in the smoke, and how much was from immune cells that ingested the carbon particles (and the underlying mechanisms).  But it would make diagnosing smoking as the cause, and assessing overall health risk from smoking easier… But because of the way the tobacco industry operates, and the limited restrictions placed on it, it probably won’t help many people until it’s too late, but this data can be used to possibly find ways to combat some of it’s harmful effects in the future.

Inhaling smoke from any burning organic matter is likely to be just as hazardous.  Puff, puff, pass on that 😉

What About Diagnosing with X-Rays?

X-ray scans only differentiate between atoms, not molecules. This is because the energy is so high (in order to penetrate through the body) that “molecules” aren’t even visible to the x-ray (it has a small interaction cross section), only individual atoms can block them.

Study: Breast Implants Linked with Suicide

Loren Lipworth of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee and colleagues followed up on 3,527 Swedish women who had cosmetic breast implant surgery between 1965 and 1993. They looked at death certificates to analyze causes of death among women with breast implants.

Only 24 of the women had committed suicide after an average of 19 years, but this worked out to triple the risk compared to the average population, they reported. Doctors who perform cosmetic breast surgery may want to monitor patients closely or screen them for suicide risk, Lipworth said.

Women with breast implants also had a tripled risk of death from alcohol and drug use.

Source: Breast implants linked with suicide in study

Considering how sensational the headline is, I really wanted to point out the details of the study.  The end of the article mentions that cosmetic breast implant surgery was the second most common cosmetic procedure (behind liposuction) in 2006.  But it doesn’t mention how common the procedure was within the timespan that was looked at, which would provide some insight into acceptance within our culture.  I don’t remember people discussing fake vs natural until the late 80s or early 90s, and it was the silicone ban that really brought the surgery into the public view.  Then there’s the fact that the statistic is based on 24 out of 3,547 women committing suicide…

These days, some girls are getting face and/or breast augmentation surgery for graduation presents.  And it’s not a North American thing either – South Korea in particular, it’s widely accepted that cosmetic surgery is in a girls future.  The rest of us get by on tricks and better bras.

I had to explain once to a co-worker why cosmetic surgery was better than a TV.  He did not comprehend that cosmetic surgery was an investment in yourself, and while cosmetic surgery isn’t common for guys now – it likely will be in the future.  I wonder when we’re going to stop telling our kids that we should not “judge a book by its cover” when we have so much evidence to support that attractive people are treated better.

Guys: Smoking Erases Y Chromosomes

If cancer, heart disease, and emphysema weren’t bad enough, male smokers may have another thing to worry about: losing their Y chromosomes. Researchers have found that smokers are up to four times more likely to have blood cells with no Y chromosome than nonsmokers. That’s worrisome, they say, because a recent study found an association between Y chromosome loss and a shorter life span, as well as a higher risk of multiple cancers.

There is, however, no direct proof that loss of Y sex chromosomes actually causes disease, cautions Stephen Chanock, a cancer geneticist at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, who was not involved with the work.

…the number of cells with abnormal chromosomes increases with age anyway, he notes, so the loss of Y may not be directly contributing to cancer. “It would be important to know the mechanism.”

…there is some reassuring news for smokers, Forsberg says. Y chromosome damage caused by smoking appears to be reversible and dose-dependent. Previous smokers were no more likely to have Y chromosome loss than those who have never smoked, he notes, so it’s never too late to quit.

Source: Smoking erases Y chromosomes

The last news I read on the Y chromosome was that it was getting smaller, that there was less information/distinguishment…  This is the first I’ve read to attribute a cause beyond what happens with age.  The age factor also is what some theorize leads to cancer/etc in children because of older men fathering children.