Even without the buns, Trump’s favorite fast-food meal is a diet-buster

(CNN)On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump’s typical McDonald’s meal contained nearly a day’s worth of calories and sodium, almost double the recommended daily dose of saturated fat and 2 times the sugar he should eat in a day, according to US Dietary Guidelines.

Trump became well-known for his love of fast food during the 2016 election. He even tweeted a photo from his plane, ready to diveinto a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, but there are new details about his go-to meal at his other fast food favorite, McDonald’s.
Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski wrote about it in his book about the campaign, saying Trump would order two Big Macs, two Filet-o-Fish sandwiches and a chocolate milkshake.
    “Well, he never ate the bread, which is the important part,” Lewandowski told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. “He was busy campaigning. We didn’t have time to sit down for a meal.”
    But even without the bread — or the fries one would typically get with McDonald’s meals — nutritionists say he should rethink his diet.
    “This is not a healthy way of eating, even if it is without the carbs of the bun,” said Lisa Drayer, a nutritionist who frequently writes for CNN. “I’d prefer he’d eat half the protein and much less saturated fat.”
    Without the bun, this meal still contains at least 1,880 calories based on nutrition information available on the McDonald’s website. Although your daily calorie count can vary, based on the typical 2,000-calorie count diet used by the US Dietary Guideline, that doesn’t leave a lot of room to eat anything else during the day — bun or no bun.
    Drayer said that based on the protein and saturated fat in all those sandwiches, Trump would be better off eating one of the Big Macs or one of the Filet-o-Fishes rather than two of either, even without the bun. And if he had a medium chocolate shake, that alone is 2½ times the recommended daily amount of sugar.

    Celebrating 1237! #Trump2016

    A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

    Trump measures in at 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, according to his last available medical records, resulting in a body mass index of 29.5. That makes him overweight, according to the National Institutes of Health’s online BMI calculator, though his doctor said his “test results were within normal range,” with a cholesterol level of 169 and blood pressure of 116/70. However, he takes a cholesterol-lowering statin, which is prescribed to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and low-dose aspirin, which also can benefit the heart.But at 71 years of age, a steady fast-food diet could compromise his health.
    “As you get older, your metabolism slows down, your blood pressure increases with age just naturally, and if you are doing this every day, then you are increasing your risk for heart disease in addition to upping your risk for cancer,” Drayer said.
    Eating red meat regularly has been linked with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. A 2009 study showed that people who regularly ate red meat were more likely to die sooner than those who ate it in smaller amounts.
    “A hamburger every once in a while is fine, but eating this on a regular basis is not healthy,” Drayer said. “Red meat does offer iron and protein, but at the amount he is consuming, it is putting his health at risk.”
    It is unclear how often the President would eat such a meal.
    If he continues to make McDonald’s a go-to, she suggests some menu alternatives: Apple slices and mandarin oranges are good. Some of the salads are better choices. But if he insists on a sandwich, she recommends skipping the Big Macs and instead having the fish without tartar sauce and cheese.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    Swap the chocolate shake for a low-fat yogurt parfait she suggests, which has healthy fruit and fiber. The blueberries and strawberries at least offer antioxidants. If Trump is not a yogurt man, even a vanilla cone would be healthier, at less than half the calories and less than a third the sugar than a small shake.
    “At least,” she said, “he is not eating the McFlurry with M&M’s. He didn’t pick the (least-healthy) dessert choice on the menu.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/08/health/trump-diet-unhealthy/index.html

    Here’s How Having A Dog Could Actually Add Years To Your Life

    You’ll never see me anywhere arguing against the value of having and loving pets.

    The minute I moved out of my parents’ house and into my own place, I started plotting to get my very own fur baby. Not only are pets always there to listen when you’ve had a bad day, they can also keep you active on walks and show off their hilarious quirks that will keep you laughing all day long.

    You may have heard that people with pets live longer lives, too. Scientists have been studying the reasons why for ages, and a recent study suggests that if you’re a dog person you have a lot to celebrate. Here’s how having a dog can add years to your life.

    At Uppsala University in Sweden, scientists studied more than 3.4 million Swedes with no history of heart disease. Because all hospital visits in Sweden are linked to a personal identification number and all dogs are registered with the government, it created an ideal scenario for studying health and pups’ effect on it.

    The findings were really interesting. First, you were less at risk of dying of cardiovascular disease if you owned a purebred dog. Owners with mixed breeds had more mixed results.

    They also studied the difference between multi-person houses and single people’s houses, and the results suggest that dogs really are part of the family. In the homes with several people, cardiovascular risk declined by 11 percent. That number went up to 15 percent in single households.

    “Perhaps a dog may stand in as an important family member in the single households,” Mwenya Mubanga, lead junior author of the study and PhD student at the Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory at Uppsala University, explained in a statement

    “We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results,” Tove Fall, senior author of the study and associate professor in Epidemiology at the Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory at Uppsala University, said in a statement

    “Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner,” Tove added

    Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/living-longer-dog/

    Three coffees a day linked to a range of health benefits

    Research based on 200 previous studies worldwide says frequent drinkers less likely to get diabetes, heart disease, dementia and some cancers

    People who drink three to four cups of coffee a day are more likely to see health benefits than problems, experiencing lower risks of premature death and heart disease than those who abstain, scientists have said.

    The research, which collated evidence from more than 200 previous studies, also found coffee consumption was linked to lower risks of diabetes, liver disease, dementia and some cancers.

    Three or four cups a day confer the greatest benefit, the scientists said, except for women who are pregnant or who have a higher risk of suffering fractures.

    Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed drinks worldwide. To better understand its effects on health, Robin Poole, a public health specialist at Britains University of Southampton, led a research team in an umbrella review of 201 studies based on observational research and 17 studies based on clinical trials across all countries and all settings.

    Umbrella reviews synthesise previous pooled analyses to give a clearer summary of diverse research on a particular topic.

    Coffee drinking appears safe within usual patterns of consumption, Pools team concluded in their research, published in the BMJ British medical journal on Wednesday.

    Drinking coffee was consistently linked with a lower risk of death from all causes and from heart disease. The largest reduction in relative risk of premature death is seen in people consuming three cups a day, compared with non-coffee drinkers.

    Drinking more than three cups a day was not linked to harm, but the beneficial effects were less pronounced.

    Coffee was also associated with a lower risk of several cancers, including prostate, endometrial, skin and liver cancer, as well as type-2 diabetes, gallstones and gout, the researchers said. The greatest benefit was seen for liver conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver.

    In a linked editorial, Professor Eliseo Guallar from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg school of public health in Maryland wrote that coffee is safe, but hold the cake.

    He argued that the latest study showed that coffee consumption seems generally safe, but added: Coffee is often consumed with products rich in refined sugars and unhealthy fats, and these may independently contribute to adverse health outcomes …

    Does coffee prevent chronic disease and reduce mortality? We simply do not know. Should doctors recommend drinking coffee to prevent disease? Should people start drinking coffee for health reasons? The answer to both questions is no.

    Pooles team noted that because their review included mainly observational data, no firm conclusions could be drawn about cause and effect. But they said their findings support other recent reviews and studies of coffee intake.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/nov/23/three-coffees-a-day-linked-to-a-range-of-health-benefits

    Researchers Publish Bombshell Report That Suggests Sugar Industry Conspiracy

    In 1964, a group of researchers published Dietary Fats and Intestinal Thiamine Synthesis in Rats in the journal Nutrition Reviews. It tackled the classic sugar versus fat conundrum that has puzzled dieters for decades: Whats worse for health, sugar or fat?

    The researchers divided rats into two groups. One group had diets that were 75 percent fat but no sugar, a sort of rodent Whole Foods regimen. It contrasted with the other group of rats, who had a lower fat countjust 15 percentbut 60 percent sucrose as well. The conclusion the team came to? Rats fed sucrose metabolized it as a carbohydrate and developed thiamine deficiency, often leading to heart failure; more complex carbohydrates helped create a gut bacteria that synthesized thiamine.

    That paper got the Sugar Research Foundation interested in understanding the role of the white stuff in our microbiome. The foundationa precursor to todays Sugar Associationasked a group, referred to as Project 259 and led by Dr. W. F. R. Pover at the University of Birmingham, to study the effect of sugar in the gut between 1967 and 1971. It found that rats and guinea pigs given diets higher in sugar led to higher levels of triglycerides than those fed a standard pellet diet of cereal, soybean, and whitefish meals. That led to higher levels of beta-glucoronidase in urine, a now-proven result of bladder cancer. An internal document later described the Project 259 research as one of the first demonstrations of a biological difference between sucrose and starch fed rats. In short: A sugar-heavy diet was connected to heart disease.

    But those results never saw the light of day by the now-defunct Sugar Research Foundation, according to a damning new paper published in PLOS Biology from Cristin E. Kearns, Dorie Apollonio, and Stanton A. Glantz. Its the latest in a series of papers Kearns and Glantz have teamed up on investigating the sugar industrys clamping down on research in postwar America, suggesting sugar was guilt-free and a healthier substitute to fat.

    Judging by the media and public interest, it basically shows that the sugar industry pretty much behaved the same way the tobacco companies did, Glantz, a professor of medicine and tobacco control expert at the University of California, San Francisco, told The Daily Beast. Glantzs previous work explored the tobacco lobbying industry, with a 2013 paper in Tobacco Control tracing the rise of the Tea Party to tobaccos efforts to align themselves with libertarians through third party groups staunchly opposing taxation and regulation.

    While a similar connection between sugar and the government hasnt been found yet, Glantz and Kearns have uncovered evidence over the past few years that shows the sugar industry was heavily involved in muffling research that indicated its product was dangerous to health. Scientific journals followed suit, with even the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine publishing a report that suggested that any linkage between sucrose and coronary heart disease was false, and that sucrose was in fact better than starch. (Pover died a few years ago, according to Kearns.)

    Pover and Project 259s original research disappeared for decades, until Glantz and Kearns unearthed it. They suspect that the study was not quite ready for publication and that Pover asked for more funds to ensure accuracy. Theyd been funding it for two years and about $200,000 in todays money, Kearns said. He needed 18 more weeks, but they probably said no.

    Even the incomplete results are interesting, Glantz pointed out. The sugar industry proved there were no differences to how sugar calories were metabolized compared to starch calories.

    Which is, of course, totally untrueand the latest in a slow but steady unraveling of the industry that pushes soda, high fructose corn syrup, and more in the American diet.

    And this isnt even the first time the sugar industry has misrepresented scientific results that would indicate sugar is not as sweet as it might appear. Glantz and Kearns published another industry-rocking report last year in JAMA Internal Medicine that showed the Sugar Research Foundation systematically discounted studies that tied sugar to ill health effects such as cancer, obesity, and heart disease by secretly funding groups in the 1960s and 1970s casting fat as the culprit behind these chronic diseases. The soda industrys denial of sodas connection with obesity and other nutritional studies backed by food giants that suggest candy does not affect a childs weight all fall in the same category.

    These guys are not nice, Glantz said. They were distorting the whole process. People would look at you and say you need psychological treatment for daring to suggest that sugar was not as healthy as it was made out to be.

    That made Glantzs and Kearns work especially difficult as they waded through old documents that often showcased conflicting results and confusion about the exact effects of sugar on a diet. Kearns is a professor of dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco, and started researching the sugar industry after attending a dental conference about a decade ago. In a session about diabetes and periodontal diseasetwo conditions that are affected by sugar intakeshe noticed that no one was talking about reducing sugar to control them.

    The diet advice was to reduce fat and reduce calories, and all the brochures said that, too, Kearns told The Daily Beast. But its not what the research and guidelines say. Im a dentist, and I know: The role of sugar in tooth decay is significant, and its the number one chronic disease in children.

    So Kearns teamed up with Glantz, who had made a name for himself uncovering the tobacco industrys stealthy PR campaign during the 1960s and 1970s to distance itself from lung cancer, funding research that downplayed its health effects, and allowed for advertising that glamorized smoking. The two found internal documents that suggested natural alternatives to sugar, such as the sugar beet industry in Colorado in the 1970s, went out of business. Kearns found that odd, along with the demonization of high fructose corn syrup (a corn product) by the sugar industry, and started delving more into the industry.

    Glantz, for his part, said there are immediate parallels between the sugar and tobacco industry. The two even shared lobbyists, with several going from tobacco to sugar, explaining the similar PR campaign and philosophy of both. They wanted to stay on top of the science and be ahead of the science, Glantz said. They worked to manipulate the process and prevent a scientific consensus from emerging.

    The fact that the sugar industry funded an alternate study to quash scientific results it had itself found to continue an image of being a sensible item to have in a diet is something that heavily contributed to the very modern American obesity, heart disease, and cancer epidemics, but have also repeatedly been shown to be used in marketing campaigns for impoverishedand often, heavily Hispanic and African-Americancommunities. It was what convinced Coca-Cola to use sucrose [instead of high fructose corn syrup], Kearns pointed out. Glantz added that sugar is seen as pure and unadulterated, something that is innocent and not considered a serious vice or health detraction on the levels of smoking: You add sucrose to your coffee. You bake with it. You have snack and beverages in it. Its even in your hamburgers and pizza.

    The sugar industry, for their part, released a statement, saying: The article we are discussing is not actually a study, but a perspective: a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that happened nearly five decades ago, conducted by a group of researchers and funded by individuals and organizations that are known critics of the sugar industry. (The report was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Samuel Lawrence Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute of Health Policy Studies, the UCSF School of Dentistry, and the Nutrition Science Initiative.)

    The ubiquity of sugar in our diet, whether we realize it or not, has huge implications not only for our health but also for medical expenses in this country. Glantz and Kearns hope that this most recent paper will pressure the Food and Drug Administration to recommend diets contain less than 10 percent of sugars daily (as of 2011, average sugar consumption hovered in the 15 percent range) and for stricter oversight on nutrition research.

    A lot of people, they ask, Why are you looking at this ancient history? Who cares? Glantz said of his work investigating the tobacco and sugar industries and how they funded research. I always say, Trust me, people will care.

    Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/researchers-publish-bombshell-report-that-suggests-sugar-industry-conspiracy

    Those ads that say Scared and pregnant? Dont believe them.

    Pregnant? Scared? Seeking an abortion? A lot of women are. Finding out you’re pregnant is a life-altering event even when it’s planned and welcomed. An overwhelming number of pregnancies, however, are not planned, and there are nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies in America every year. Luckily, in the United States, the right to access abortion services is protected by Roe V. Wade and the 14th Amendment.

    However, that doesn’t mean actually getting an abortion is always easy. Far from it. There are a lot of sneaky ways anti-abortion advocates try to prevent women from exercising that constitutionally protected right.

    You’ve probably seen billboards or ads online that say things like “Pregnant? Scared? We can help.” They’re specifically designed to attract women who are pregnant, scared, and seeking abortions. And unfortunately, they often work.

    Unfortunately because, chances are, the ad belongs to what’s called a “crisis pregnancy center.”

    Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are not at all what they seem, as this recent video from Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency explains.

    “Don’t visit a crisis pregnancy center. It’s a trap,” Sarkeesian warns.

    These centers, she explains, are run by anti-abortion organizations and have a single goal: to convince and trick women into carrying their pregnancies to term by any means necessary and even sometimes against their will. Vulnerable women seeking to terminate their pregnancies come in with promises of free guidance, medical care, and support but instead face guilting and delaying tactics designed to steer them away from abortions.

    CPCs also peddle false information about birth control and sex itself, often without a qualified medical professional anywhere to be found. A woman coming to a CPC looking for medical care or advice with the intention of keeping her pregnancy would likely find little help from the staff there. According to NARAL, some CPCs do offer some limited medical services, such as ultrasounds, though they are “generally not used as a diagnostic tool, but as another means of shame and coercion.”

    Another shocking fact: There are over 1,500 such centers across the country, meaning they far outnumber actual abortion clinics.

    That’s exactly the way anti-abortion organizations want it.

    “The agenda? Prevent people from exercising their legal and moral right to determine whether a pregnancy is right for them,” Sarkeesian says.

    Even if you do oppose abortion on moral or religious grounds, lying, manipulating, and tricking people with fake medical advice is reckless, amoral, and downright dangerous.

    As Sarkeesian points out, we’d never let this kind of unregulated practice fly in any other circumstance. Yet CPCs remain totally legal and poorly supervised.

    “There’s a very good reason we don’t allow just any yahoo off the street to throw up crisis medical centers for heart disease, diabetes, or cancer,” she says. “Because it would be ethically and medically disastrous. And totally bonkers.”

    The ads for CPCs do get one thing right: There are a lot of very frightened women out there facing surprising and unwanted pregnancies. What they need is sound medical advice and unbiased information to help them make the decision that is right for them — whether that means keeping the pregnancy or terminating it.

    If you want to do more than just steer clear of shady CPCs, you can throw your support behind organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL, both of which work tirelessly to protect women’s reproductive rights.

    Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/those-ads-that-say-scared-and-pregnant-dont-believe-them

    New technology puts the AI in aid for US veterans

    As part of their latest endeavor to improve care for our country’s combat vets, the Department of Veterans Affairs has invested in a rapidly advancing form of intelligence: the artificial kind. AI has been hailed by most forecasters as a revolutionary force in all manner of fields, from transportation to predicting the weather, and this exciting wave of possibility promises to transform the healthcare sphere, as well. The opportunity to use this growing tech to improve veteran healthcare has rightfully attracted positive attention to some intriguing new initiatives.

    What works for one may be inadequate for another, so planning regimens of care is a frequently complicated endeavor, encompassing a number of variables like sensitivity to medication or cultural values. This complexity has been an obstacle for many years, so the potential for AI to simplify the process has naturally attracted a great deal of attention. This excitement has arisen in the healthcare world as a whole, but is getting serious attention in the halls of the Department of Veterans Affairs as the VA seeks to improve healthcare for those returning home from overseas deployments.

    The military population is no stranger to AI. Artificial intelligence has already begun to roll out in combat applications, but it looks to take the leap into health treatment, creating exciting new possibilities for treating and preventing debilitating and fatal diseases in our veteran population. Especially when considering the challenges unique to veterans’ healthcare, this new approach carries hope for more effective and intelligently designed treatment for every veteran who needs it.

    Although the VA has shown some hesitation in the past, canceling a heralded deal with AI firm Flow Health, AI-based assessment plans look to be a major aspect of treatment for all Americans moving forward. Thirty-five percent of hospitals plan to implement AI into their regimen of care within the next two years, with that percentage rising to 50 percent within the next five years. What this means for all people, not just veterans, is that AI in mental health treatment is likely to be a major aspect of healthcare in the coming years and beyond.

    This growth is bolstered by some extremely positive developments in AI-supported treatment for vets. The problem of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a well-documented one among our returning fighting force. VA research has found that 80 percent of those who undergo PTSD treatment programs are able to fully recover from this often-debilitating condition. An experiment to incorporate AI into these treatment programs resulted in a 73 percent completion rate, compared to the fewer than 10 percent who normally complete such a course of treatment. For the estimated 300,000+ Iraq and Afghanistan vets afflicted by this case, AI might appear to represent a brighter future.

    In improving healthcare through tech, the VA has attracted substantial support from their counterparts at the Department of Energy. The DOE plans to lend support for veteran care in the form of their ultra-powerful supercomputers, bringing Big Data and AI into the VA’s information ecosystem. Using these tools, the VA hopes cutting-edge information technology will assure that no more veterans are left with inadequate treatment. Given everything our service members have done for our country, providing them with the best possible care is something all Americans can get behind.

    As they stood at the front lines to defend our freedom, our vets will be at the front line of receiving these innovative new courses of care.

    The joint DOE-VA plan has pinpointed several areas to which these 21st century computing solutions will be applied, representing a few of the most crucial areas of veteran care. New breakthroughs can be made in suicide prevention, prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease, eventually creating regimens of treatment informed by the most state-of-the-art assessments available.

    The tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., suicide is a sad fact of the veteran population. It’s believed that 20 veterans per day are lost in this tragic fashion. Despite the bravery they’ve shown during their service, many unfortunately suppress their emotional trauma until it’s too late. To tackle this issue, researchers will attempt to create an AI-bolstered assessment program, one that can build patient-specific algorithms to identify behaviors indicating suicidal inclinations. For those at risk, the VA’s Office of Suicide Prevention will execute a clinical plan to reach out and give comprehensive mental health support to prevent downtrodden veterans from making a fatal mistake.

    Although women make up a growing cohort of the veteran population, the vast majority remains male — some of whom suffer from prostate cancer, in some cases caused by chemical agents. Unfortunately, treatment of prostate cancer remains an inexact science under present methods. Lethality of the cancer being treated is indeterminable, so sufferers frequently undergo invasive surgeries that end up being unnecessary. Aided by AI and advanced computing, projects under this initiative will determine new hallmarks of prostate cancer, which can be analyzed to identify which are lethal and which are benign. Reducing unnecessary treatments represents a large improvement in quality of life for sufferers, veteran and otherwise.

    The fight against cardiovascular disease is another major health area that stands to gain from AI and advanced computing. CVD kills one out of every four Americans, and research shows that PTSD exacerbates its debilitating effects, making heart disease especially worrisome for the veteran population. New tools developed by the DOE/VA initiative will one day be able to more effectively identify previously unknown risk factors, as well as aid in the development of new treatments for heart ailments. When diagnosis and management of the disease are improved, more Americans, veterans and civilians, will enjoy the benefits.

    As they stood at the front lines to defend our freedom, our vets will be at the front line of receiving these innovative new courses of care. It’s only right that they will be at the receiving end of these cutting-edge treatments. It may be impossible to fully repay them, but giving them the most forward-thinking treatment is a good start, and one day it’s likely that we’ll all get the benefit. With the VA leading the charge in the AI healthcare revolution, every American can look forward to a brighter, smarter and healthier future.

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/02/new-technology-puts-the-ai-in-aid-for-us-veterans/

    Breast cancer genetics revealed: 72 new mutations discovered in global study

    (CNN)The genetic causes of breast cancer just got clearer.

    Researchers from 300 institutions around the world combined forces to discover 72 previously unknown gene mutations that lead to the development of breast cancer. Two studies describing their work published Monday in the journals Nature and Nature Genetics.
    The teams found that 65 of the newly identified genetic variants are common among women with breast cancer.
      The remaining seven mutations predispose women to developing a type of breast cancer known as estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer, which doesn’t respond to hormonal therapies, such as the drug tamoxifen.
      The new discoveries add to previous research bringing the total number of known variants associated with breast cancer to nearly 180.

      Beyond BRCA1 and BRCA2

      The international team of 550 researchers across six continents, known as the OncoArray Consortium, included professor Doug Easton of the University of Cambridge, who led the investigation.
      “Essentially, we used blood samples from a very large number of women (nearly 300,000), about half of whom had had breast cancer,” Easton explained in an email. Next, the researchers used the DNA from the samples to look for genetic mutations.
      “Think of a gene as a very long strand of DNA,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, who was not involved in the research. DNA is made up of nucleic acids, and when a nucleic acid is incorrectly placed along the strand, this is referred to as a genetic mutation, noted Brawley.
      Take BRCA1 and BRCA2, two well-known genes that confer a high risk of breast cancer when they contain mutations.
      There are 125,950 base pairs in the BRCA 1 mutation, noted Brawley.
      “Think of it as a 125,950 letter word,” said Brawley. “A mutation is a misspelling such that the gene cannot code the proper protein.” A gene that cannot code the proper protein leads to disease.
      According to the National Cancer Institute, 55% to 65% of women who inherit a BRCA1 mutation and around 45% of women who inherit a BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70.
      However, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 risk mutations, which are present in less than 1% of women, explain only a fraction of all inherited breast cancers.
      The consortium came together, then, to discover the other causes of breast cancer susceptibility — the additional genetic mutationsthat can lead to this form of cancer.

      Finding the other mutations

      The researchers measured DNA at over 10 million sites across the genome, said professor Peter Kraft of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a study author.
      “At each of these sites, we asked whether the DNA sequence in women with breast cancer was different than that in women without,” said Kraft. “Because our study was so large, we could detect subtle differences between these two groups of women and be sure these differences were not due to chance.”
      According to Jacques Simard, a study author and professor and researcher at Université Laval, Quebec City, the newly discovered mutations only slightly — by anywhere from 5% to 10% — increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
      But even though, individually, these mutations don’t have as big as an effect as BRCA1 and BRCA2 defects, there are many of them, so their “overall contribution is larger,” said Easton. An individual woman, then, may have two or more of these common smaller risk gene mutations, and so her risk for developing breast cancer increases due to their combined effects.
      Kraft noted that “taken together, these risk variants may identify a small proportion of women who are at 3-times increased risk of breast cancer.” Women found to have a number of these smaller risk genetic mutations, then, would likely benefit from earlier mammography screening.
      Simard agreed, noting that it may be time to “adapt” breast cancer screening guidelines based on this information instead of basing mammography guidelines on age alone. By doing so, Simard said, “we will detect a higher number of breast cancers.”

      Quantifying cancer risk

      Brawley described the new research as “not earth-shattering.” It is “most important for us nerds,” he said, but less so for the general public.
      These types of studies help experts identify mutations that “help us quantify the risk,” said Brawley. “It helps us figure out that a non-patient, often a relative of a cancer patient, is at risk and helps us quantify that risk.” Normal lifetime risk of breast cancer is 12.5% for women in the US, said Brawley.
      Lisa Schlager, vice president of community affairs & public policy for the nonprofit FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), said past studies and evidence indicate that about 10% of breast cancers are hereditary.
      “This new information may mean that that estimate is low,” said Schlager.
      It is important for patients to know whether their cancer is due to an inherited genetic mutation because they may be at increased risk of other cancers or their treatment recommendations may differ based on that fact, said Schlager.
      “And their family members may be affected with the same mutation,” said Schlager.

      Enabling personalized medicine

      For the promise of personalized medicine to be realized, our government and health system need to “embrace the ability to use genetic information to tailor health care by providing affordable access to the needed screening and preventive interventions,” said Schlager. As it stands now, men with BRCA mutations as well as some women may not be covered for screening by their insurancein the US.
      Brawley said “this type of genome wide screening has and is being used to identify genes that are associated with increased risk of a number of diseases, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and heart disease.”
      “The same methodology can be used for other cancers,” said Easton. Thescreening method used by the consortium, the OncoArray, was designed to be used in many other cancer types, including prostate, ovary, colorectal and lung cancer, he said.
      Simard added that the cost of the genetic screen is “quite cheap,” at less than $50 per individual. “We can use just a blood sample or saliva sample. It’s not difficult to obtain the material for a genetic analysis,” he added.
      Kraft said it was important to keep in mind that the study was conducted primarily among women of European ancestry.

      See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

      “For sure we have missed some variants associated with cancers that are common in some non-European populations but rare in Europeans,” said Kraft. To find these, cancer genetic studies in Africans, African Americans, Latinas, Chinese and other populations are ongoing, he added.
      Easton commented that most of the newly identified variants “are in regions of the genome that regulate nearby genes.” These may someday serve as targets for new therapies or drugs to cure the disease.
      In the end, the most important lesson here is the fact that this research has been a collaborative effort, said Simard.
      “Scientists are not in competition against each other,” he said. “We are really working together to expedite and to accelerate the discovery.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/23/health/72-new-breast-cancer-mutations-study/index.html

      Extra 10p on sugary drinks ‘cut sales’

      Image copyright Getty Images
      Image caption 10p or 3% was added to the price of sugar-sweetened drinks and healthier soft drinks were added to the menu

      An increase in the price of sugary drinks in restaurants and the offer of healthier alternatives could encourage customers to cut back on sugar, a study suggests.

      In Jamie’s Italian restaurants, sales of sugar-sweetened soft drinks declined by 9% following a 10p price rise.

      The chain also redesigned the menu and explained that money from the levy would go to charity.

      Experts said more research was needed to pin down what measures worked.

      Consuming too many sugary soft drinks has been linked to a higher risk of serious health problems such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and tooth decay.

      Sugar tax

      To help tackle obesity, the UK government is introducing a tax on high-sugar soft drinks such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Irn-Bru in April 2018 – and Jamie Oliver had been vocal in his support of the plan.

      This study, in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, analysed sales of sugary non-alcoholic beverages at 37 of Jamie Oliver’s national chain of restaurants after a 10p levy was introduced in September 2015.

      Low-sugar fruit spritzers (fruit juice mixed with water) were also added to the menu, which clearly explained why the levy was being introduced.

      Image caption Jamie Oliver urged the government to be bold on a sugar tax

      After 12 weeks, sales of sugary drinks per customer had declined by 11%, and after six months they had gone down by 9.3%.

      But the study did not look at any other restaurant chains to compare sales figures.

      The study also showed there was a general decrease in the number of soft drinks sold per customer, including diet drinks and bottled waters.

      The researchers, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Cambridge, said more people could have chosen tap water, but these figures had not been recorded.

      Sales of fruit juices had increased by 22% six months after the changes were introduced.

      Changing behaviour

      Prof Steven Cummins, lead study author and professor of population health at LSHTM, said: “A small levy on sugar-sweetened drinks sold in restaurant, coupled with complementary activities [such as redesigning the menu], may have the potential to change consumer behaviour.”

      But he said it was not possible to say that the price increase alone had caused the decline in sales of sugar-sweetened drinks.

      There was also no separate data on what adults and children ordered.

      Image copyright Getty Images
      Image caption Customers may have ordered tap water instead of sugary drinks

      Prof Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, said it was plausible that the levy “played an important role” but he also called for “more investigation, in other restaurants, and with a longer follow-up period, to try to pin down more clearly what really works”.

      Prof Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford, said the findings were “encouraging news for public health”.

      But she said there was a disappointing lack of data on alcohol sales, which could have increased over the same period.

      Related Topics

      Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41637931

      Oxford city center could be electric vehicle-only by 2030

      The dreaming spires could soon be the first to benefit from being in a 'Zero Emission Zone'
      Image: Shutterstock / elesi

      A lot can happen in three years, but banning combustion engines from a major city centre? That seems a bit of a stretch.

      Oxford City and Oxfordshire County Council have proposed plans to rid the city centre of all diesel- and petrol-fuelled vehicles — buses and taxis included — by 2020. This could potentially make Oxford centre the very first Zero Emission Zone, and the council also wants to expand this Zero Emission Zone twice more, in 2025 and 2030. 

      The council cites the health risks caused by pollution as the reason behind this bold proposal. In a statement, Oxford council says, “Oxford city centre currently has illegally-high levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide, which contributes to diseases including cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease – and contributes to around 40,000 deaths in the UK every year.”

      The council projects that this new plan will lead to a 74% reduction in nitrogen dioxide on the centre’s most polluted street by 2035.

      The City Council had already made some headway, as they state in their press release that they have won £500,000 in government funding to install charging points for electric taxis, and a further £800,000 for charging points for use by Oxford residents.

      However, as optimistic as this plan may seem, The Memo picked up on a slight catch.

      The area that would be covered by the 2020 no-emission zone is incredibly small, and already contains “very little traffic,” according to the Oxford Zero Emission Zone Feasibility and Implementation Study. It notes that implementing the diesel and petrol ban in this area “would potentially have little overall effect on air quality”.

      The 2020 area only covers 3 roads, and they’re not particularly busy thoroughfares.

      On the other hand, three years is not a long time to adapt a city centre to electric vehicles, so changes would have to be incremental. 

      TheOxford Zero Emission Zone Feasibility and Implementation Study also suggests that the council could incentivise people to switch to electric vehicles by offering free EV (electric vehicle) parking in 2020 and then introducing EV-only parking areas in 2025.

      James McKemey at Pod Point, a company which installs EV charging points, believes that the real incentive to switch to EV won’t come so much from the public sector, than from consumer experience. He told us that government grants and tax breaks encouraging the purchase of electric cars are “small incentives which are helpful in the early days […] but ultimately the real incentive to drive an electric vehicle will be that they are fundamentally better.” 

      He also thinks that Oxford City Council’s 2020 goal isn’t an unreasonable target, given that EV battery pack prices have recently become far more affordable at a rate that is “far beyond what we expected”.

      So from this point of view Oxford centre wouldn’t be forcing a change to electric vehicles so much as keeping up with a trend.

      However, this doesn’t mean that enforcement won’t be an issue. Oxford council’s study recommends the implementation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition to help identify anyone infringing on the Zero Emission Zone, regardless of the “illuminated signs” they would put up.

      The plans are still only a proposal, and from Monday Oxford residents will have six weeks of public consultation to voice their opinions about their town going electric. Lovely though the plans to reduce pollution sound, they’re bound to make disrupt life for local businesses, as well as the few Oxford professors who don’t ride to work on penny farthings. 

      There goes the history department.

      Image: Laura De Meo/REX/Shutterstock

      Of course if Oxford does go electric, it will make for much more environmentally friendly car chases on Lewis. And what about Endeavour? Hard to say.

      Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/13/oxford-city-centre-zero-emission-zone-2020/

      US police killings undercounted by half, study using Guardian data finds

      Harvard study finds over half of deaths wrongly classified, in latest example of databases greatly undercounting police killings

      Over half of all police killings in 2015 were wrongly classified as not having been the result of interactions with officers, a new Harvard study based on Guardian data has found.

      The finding is just the latest to show government databases seriously undercounting the number of people killed by police.

      Right now the data quality is bad and unacceptable, said lead researcher Justin Feldman. To effectively address the problem of law enforcement-related deaths, the public needs better data about who is being killed, where, and under what circumstances.

      Feldman used data from the Guardians 2015 investigation into police killings, The Counted, and compared it with data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). That dataset, which is kept by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was found to have misclassified 55.2% of all police killings, with the errors occurring disproportionately in low-income jurisdictions.

      As with any public health outcome or exposure, the only way to understand the magnitude of the problem, and whether it is getting better or worse, requires that data be uniformly, validly, and reliably obtained throughout the US, said Nancy Krieger, professor of social epidemiology at Harvards Chan School of Public Health and senior author of the study. Our results show our country is falling short of accurately monitoring deaths due to law enforcement and work is needed to remedy this problem.

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/11/police-killings-counted-harvard-study