ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Added Sugars in Diet Threaten Heart Health
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Air Pollution Raises Risk of Heart Disease, Death
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
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Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals

(HealthDay News) -- Air pollution is already linked to respiratory and cardiovascular ills, and now researchers say the dirty air you breathe may also cause appendicitis.

Authors of a new study published in the Oct. 5 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that cases of appendicitis go up when the air is dirtier.

"This makes us think about the underlying cause of appendicitis that could potentially be linked to air pollution," said Dr. Gilaad G. Kaplan, senior author of the study and assistant professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology at the University of Calgary in Alberta. "Air pollution is a modifiable risk factor. If these findings are confirmed and we are able to legislate better air pollution control, cleaner air, then potentially we could prevent more cases of appendicitis."

But at this early point in the research, the implications are not so clear-cut, warned another expert.

"It's provocative, but there's a huge difference between correlating any number of factors with a disease and proving that any of these factors might actually cause a disease, and this study fails to show causation," said Dr. F. Paul Buckley III, assistant professor of surgery at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and a surgeon at Scott & White Healthcare Round Rock, Texas.

"Do we all want to decrease pollution? Yes. Is that going to decrease the incidence of appendicitis? I doubt it," said Buckley.

Parts of the findings were presented at a conference a year ago.

No one really knows why appendicitis, or swelling and infection of the appendix, occurs.

Appendicitis cases rose significantly in the late 19th century and early 20th century, as industrialization took hold. Cases declined in the middle and later parts of the last century, at about the time clean air legislation gained headway. Meanwhile, countries that are just now industrializing have increasing rates of the condition, the study authors stated.

A prevailing theory is that appendicitis occurs when the opening to the appendix, a pouch-like organ attached to the large intestine, gets blocked. Specifically, some experts believe that lower fiber intake among citizens of industrialized countries leads to obstruction of the appendix by the stool.

But that doesn't explain the decreased incidence of appendicitis in the second half of the 20th century, Kaplan said.

Air pollution is already linked with a wide range of health conditions, most notably respiratory diseases and cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

Kaplan and his colleagues looked at more than 5,000 adults who were hospitalized in Calgary with appendicitis between April 1, 1999, and the end of 2006. This data was cross-referenced with an analysis of air pollutants the week prior to the admissions.

"We found that individuals were more likely to come in with appendicitis in weeks with higher concentrations of air pollutants, specifically ozone and nitrogen dioxide," Kaplan said.

More appendicitis admissions took place during Canada's warmest months (April through September, when people are more likely to be outdoors), and men seemed more likely to be affected by air pollutants than women. It's unclear why this gender difference exists, the researchers said.

Kaplan theorizes that inflammation may explain the link -- if it proves to exist -- between air quality and appendicitis.

"It's speculative, but air pollution might be driving inflammation which triggers appendicitis," he said. "We're a few steps away before we can make that statement. We need to confirm and replicate these findings."

Kaplan and his co-authors plan more studies in multiple cities in Canada.

Last year, Forbes magazine rated Calgary as the world's cleanest city and Baku, Azerbaijan, as the dirtiest.

SOURCES: Gilaad G. Kaplan, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, division of gastroenterology, University of Calgary, Alberta; F. Paul Buckley III, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and surgeon, Scott & White Healthcare Round Rock, Texas; Oct. 5, 2009, Canadian Medical Association Journal