ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
CANCER
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
CAREGIVING
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Low Vitamin A, C Intake Tied to Asthma Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Pollution Exposure May Slow Fetal Growth
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
EYE CARE, VISION
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Add your Article

Arsenic in Drinking Water Raises Diabetes Risk

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of arsenic in urine may be linked with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers report.

The findings, published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, are the first to link low-level exposure to arsenic with type 2 diabetes prevalence in the United States.

"This suggests that arsenic would play a role in the development of diabetes," said lead researcher Dr. Ana Navas-Acien, assistant professor of environmental health science at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. "But there clearly needs to be additional research conducted because our study has certain limitations. We are conducting those studies now, but that's going to take a few years."

"This is a good base for future research but it's a small sample size and doesn't look at dose-response," added Rajat Sethi, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences with the Texas A&M Health Science Center's Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, in Kingsville. "A lot of research still needs to be done."

Inorganic arsenic from natural mineral deposits contaminates much drinking water. Individuals exposed to enough arsenic can develop cancer, among other conditions, experts note.

According to background information in the study, about 13 million people in the United States live in areas with a concentration of inorganic arsenic in the public water supply that exceeds recommended levels.

In animal studies, high concentrations of arsenic affected glucose and insulin mechanism -- key factors in type 2 diabetes.

And, epidemiologic studies in Taiwan, Bangladesh and Mexico, which have relatively high levels of inorganic arsenic in drinking water, have associated arsenic with the development of diabetes.

It's unclear, however, if lower levels of arsenic might have a similar effect. In areas such as Taiwan and Bangladesh, arsenic levels in drinking water are above 100 micrograms per liter, while in the United States the safety standard is only 10 micrograms per liter.

"In terms of magnitude, people in Taiwan and Bangladesh are exposed to at least 10 times higher levels compared to people in the U.S.," Navas-Acien said. "We were interested in investigating if arsenic exposure at low and moderate levels could be related to diabetes."

After analyzing 788 U.S. adults aged 20 or older, the study authors found that people with type 2 diabetes had a 26 percent higher level of total arsenic in their urine than participants without type 2 diabetes.

People with the highest levels of arsenic were almost 3.6 times more likely to have diabetes than people with the lowest levels, the researchers found.

Those with the highest levels of dimethylarsinate (a compound into which inorganic arsenic is metabolized) had 1.5 times the risk of diabetes as those with the lowest levels. This was after adjusting for organic arsenic compounds such as arsenobetaine and arsenosugars, which come primarily from seafood.

"When we adjusted for diabetes risk factors and for markers of seafood intake, we found this moderate-to-strong relationship between arsenic and the prevalence of diabetes," Navas-Acien said.

In the United States, the main sources of inorganic arsenic are contaminated drinking water and food. An estimated 8 percent of public water supply systems in the United States may have arsenic levels higher than 10 micrograms per liter while 14 percent may have levels exceeding 2 micrograms per liter, the researchers said.

"There are still many Americans with arsenic in drinking water at levels above safety standards," said Navas-Acien. "This reinforces how important it is that all drinking water is below this standard. The good news is that we can actually do something to eliminate arsenic from water."

Small, rural and semi-rural communities may be at especially high risk for high arsenic levels in drinking water, Navas-Acien.

More information

For more on arsenic in the water supply, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.



SOURCES: Ana Navas-Acien, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, environmental health science, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Rajat Sethi, Ph.D., assistant professor, pharmaceutical sciences, Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, Kingsville; Aug. 20, 2008, Journal of the American Medical Association

Last Updated: Aug. 19, 2008

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