Health News: Obesity and Cancers, FDA Update on Ambien, Preterm Birth Prevention, Vitamin B12 Need and Deficiency

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September 3, 2016

Obesity Increases Risks of 13 Types of Cancer. 

A review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed strong evidence that obesity is linked to 13 types of cancer.  These 13 cancers are responsible for 42% of all newly diagnosed cancers.   

Five cancers were strongly linked to obesity: postmenopausal breast cancer, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, kidney, uterine and colorectal cancers. 

Eight other cancers were found to link to obesity include gastric (stomach), liver, gallbladder, pancreatic, thyroid, ovarian, meningioma and multiple myeloma. 

Uterine cancer was found to have the strongest association with obesity.  A woman with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more has a seven times higher risk for uterine cancer than one with normal weight.

FDA Updates the Labeling of Sleep Medication Ambien and Ambien ER

The FDA recently updated the labeling of Ambien and Ambien ER to emphasize potential risk of psychomotor impairment. There is now required warning of adverse reactions to Ambien and Ambien ER the day after they are taken,such as dizziness, prolonged reaction time, sleepiness and blurred vision.

Patients are advised not to take Ambien if they have less than 7-8 hours remaining to sleep.  Single dose use was also advised and re-administration of Ambien on the same night should be avoided.

Prevention of up to 25% Preterm Births by Paying Attention to Three Factors 

A study conducted by the Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, published online in the Maternal and Child Health Journal, found how up to 25% of preterm births can be prevented by paying attention to three controllable risk factors: Spacing pregnancies well, beginning pregnancies with healthy weight, and proper weight gain during pregnancy. 

These researchers found how having shorter gaps between children (less than one year), being underweight at the beginning of pregnancy, and inadequate weight gain during pregnancy contributed to the highest risks of preterm labor.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Its effects

Have you had your vitamin B12 level checked lately?  If you have not, see your primary care physician to have your level done soon.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to many health problems including memory loss, severe depression, loss of taste and smell, paranoia and delusions.  B12 is used by the human body to make red blood cells and nerves.  Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common problem.

Adults should get 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B12 daily and this vitamins can be found in  certain type of food, with animal sources having the most amount of B12.  Liver, for example, has 71 mcg of B12 per 3 oz serving, while Mackerel has 16 mcg per 3 oz serving.  A cup of fortified cereal has 5mcg of B12, which is 208% of the daily requirement.  

Many of us, however, do not eat red meat daily, or avoid many cereals because of the high sugar content.  It is important to have our B12 level checked to see if we need to take supplement.