ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
CANCER
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Just Say No to Nuts During Pregnancy
Successful Weight Loss Shows Unique Brain Patterns
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
FITNESS
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
A Honey of a Sinusitis Treatment
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
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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