ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
CANCER
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
Air Pollution Exposure May Slow Fetal Growth
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
FITNESS
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
After Job Loss, People Report More Health Issues
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
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
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
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Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases

(HealthDay News) -- New research suggests a link between women's exposure to household insecticides -- including roach and mosquito killers -- and the autoimmune disorders rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

The scientist did not find a direct cause-and-effect relationship between insecticide exposure and the illnesses, and it's possible that the women have something else in common that accounts for their higher risk. But epidemiologist Christine Parks, lead investigator of the study, said the findings do raise a red flag.

"It's hard to envision what other factors might explain this association," said Parks, an epidemiologist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences who was to present the study over the weekend at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Previous research has linked agricultural pesticides to higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, two diseases in which the immune system goes haywire and begins to attack the body. Farmers, among others, appear to be vulnerable.

Parks and her colleagues wanted to find out whether smaller doses of insecticides, such as those people might encounter at home from either personal or commercial residential use, might have a similar effect.

The researchers examined data from a previous study of almost 77,000 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79. Their findings were to be released Monday at the American College of Rheumatology's annual scientific meeting in Philadelphia.

Women who reported applying insecticides or mixing them -- about half -- had a higher risk of developing the two autoimmune disorders than women who reported no insecticide use. This was the case whether or not they had lived on a farm. Those who used or mixed the insecticides the most -- judged by frequency or duration -- had double the risk.

Even so, the risk of developing the diseases remained very low. Overall, Parks said, about 2 percent of older adults develop the conditions.

Parks said the insecticides that the women used included insect killers, such as those designed to eradicate ants, wasps, termites, mosquitoes and roaches. They didn't include insect repellents.

There are some caveats to the research. For one, it's not clear exactly what products the women used or when. "Over time, there have been major changes in what products were available for home use," Parks said.

And while researchers tried to take into account the influence of factors like age that may boost a woman's risk of getting autoimmune diseases, it's possible they missed something that boosted the risk of illness.

Could gardening, which often entails insecticide use, be a contributing factor? That's possible. But Parks said a lot of insecticide use takes place inside the home, not outside in the garden.

For now, she said, the findings indicate the need for "more research on environmental risk factors and better understanding of what factors might explain these findings, what chemicals might be associated with these risks."

She declined to speculate on how insecticides might cause problems in the body.

"I would recommend that people read the labels and take precautions to minimize their personal exposure" to insecticides, she said. "This is the case regardless of whether these results are implicating a chemical that's on the market now or was before."

SOURCES: Christine Parks, Ph.D., epidemiologist, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, N.C.; Oct. 17, 2009, presentation, American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, Philadelphia Published on: October 19, 2009