Electronic Cigarettes May Harm Lungs Too

Puffing on electronic cigarettes may be better than smoking the real thing and an effective short-term tool to help people kick the habit. But new research suggests that e-cigarettes may also have a negative effect on lung tissue.

A team of scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) reported that the preliminary study found that exposure to the nicotine vapor produced by battery-powered e-cigarettes could cause lung cancer in high-risk individuals. The catch is, of course, if you’re a smoker, you automatically have an increased risk for lung disease.

E-cigarettes include several ingredients, but the study results did not make it clear which ingredient was responsible for the cancer-related changes that e-cigarettes produced in study subjects.

“Clearly our results are very preliminary, and much more research is needed to better establish the role of e-cigarettes in lung cancer,” said Stacy J. Park, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA in a university press release. “But I think they show that people should approach e-cigarette use with caution and not assume it is safe.The bottom line: Don’t let e-cigarettes become a habit. They are best for limited use as little is known about the long-term effects.

459964919Get Happy, Reach Out

Compliment a stranger, call an old friend or join a group to make yourself smile. Timothy Church, Ph.D., a psychologist at Washington State University studied people from the United States, China, Japan, the Philippines and Venezuela and discovered that in every culture, people who felt or acted more like extroverts were happier in their daily lives. So even if you’re feeling a little shy, share a pleasant exchange with a passerby to add a little joy to your day.

Obesity Damages Knees and Reduces Strength
as We Age

Losing weight may save you from knee arthritis. It seems that carrying the extra pounds associated with obesity not only stresses your heart but may also damage bone and muscle tissue.

Researchers at Florida State University (FSU) have identified a new syndrome in aging adults called “osteosarcopenic obesity” that connects increased deterioration of bone density and muscle mass with obesity. All adults lose muscle tissue and have an increased chance of developing osteoarthritis of the knee joints as they grow older, but this work shows the risk is higher for people who are extremely overweight.

The syndrome may prove particularly dangerous for black women because we are more likely to be obese and develop arthritis in our knees.

“It used to be the thinking that the heavier you were the better your bones would be because the bones were supporting more weight, but, that’s only true to a certain extent,” explained Jasminka Ilich-Ernst, the Hazel Stiebeling Professor of Nutrition at FSU, in a university interview.

When reviewing data on 200 obese women, Ilich-Ernst found that one-third of them had more than 30 percent fat tissue (the normal fat percentage for women is between 20 and 25 percent) and declining bone density and muscle mass.

Ilich-Ernst points out that the syndrome can add to a range of problems for older women, including frailty, issues with balance, strength and the ability to walk.