ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
CANCER
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
CAREGIVING
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Spread of Swine Flu in Japan Could Raise WHO Alert to Highest Level
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
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
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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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