ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
CANCER
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
CAREGIVING
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee Beans May Be Newest Stress-Buster
The Raw Food Diet
Successful Weight Loss Shows Unique Brain Patterns
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
FITNESS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
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
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Any Old Cane Won't Do
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
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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