ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
CANCER
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
CAREGIVING
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Successful Weight Loss Shows Unique Brain Patterns
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
FITNESS
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Simple Holistic Approach to Fight the Common Cold
Sun, Smoke, Extra Weight Add Years to Skin
Treat symptoms (result of disease) or diagnose systems (cause of disease)?
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Any Old Cane Won't Do
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
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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