ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
CANCER
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
CAREGIVING
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
More Educated Choose Healthier Foods, But Pay More
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Air Pollution Raises Risk of Heart Disease, Death
EYE CARE, VISION
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
FITNESS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Internet Program Helps Problem Drinkers
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
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Sun, Smoke, Extra Weight Add Years to Skin

Smoking, being overweight and not using sunscreen all take an additional toll on sun-damaged skin, a new study of twins shows.

The findings, from researchers at Case Western Reserve Medical School in Cleveland, suggest that "people with the same genetic composition are more likely to have the same sort of sun damage," said Dr. Jonette Keri, an assistant professor of dermatology at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

In other words, "if your mom aged poorly, you are going to age poorly," she said.

But while you can't run away from your genes, you can control certain environmental or lifestyle factors to keep your skin looking younger for longer.

The report is published in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

According to the study authors, long-term sun exposure causes physical and structural changes to the skin that damages the skin. But while usual skin aging is characterized by the development of fine wrinkles and skin growths, sun-damaged skin includes more coarsely wrinkled skin, spots of extra pigment or lost pigment and dilated blood vessels on the face.

However, as much as 40 percent of aging-related changes are due to environmental or lifestyle factors, not a person's genetics, the researchers said.

The new study in twins -- who share so much of the same genetic material -- seems to make that clear, one expert said.

"I would think that twins would each have the same response to sun exposure as their sibling," said Dr. Jeffrey Salomon, an assistant clinical professor of plastic surgery at Yale University School of Medicine. He was not involved in the new research.

For the study, Kathryn J. Martires, from Case Western, and her colleagues collected data on 65 pairs of twins (both identical and fraternal) who attended the 2002 annual Twin Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio.

Martires's team asked each participant about skin type, history of skin cancer, smoking, drinking habits and weight.

Skin damage was similar among the twins whether they were identical of fraternal, the researchers found. But factors outside of genes appeared highly linked with increased skin damage. These included a history of skin cancer, heavier weight and smoking. Drinking was associated with having less skin damage, Martires's group noted.

The overweight-wrinkle connection isn't so obvious, Keri said. Often, weight makes people look older but it can also hide skin damage as the weight fills out their face. "They won't look as wrinkly because the fat on their face is plumping out their skin," she said.

Salomon was surprised by one finding: that the skin cancer rate among the twins was found to be higher than it is in the general population.

"This study, with an 8 percent skin cancer rate in twins, seems high when the general population has an incidence of less than 0.5 percent. This in of itself would merit further examination to look at other [potential risk] factors, such as prenatal x-rays, prenatal sonograms and low birth weights," he noted.

Martires's team hopes people will use the findings from this study to change their own behaviors and prevent excessive skin damage from controllable environmental factors.

"The Twins Days Festival provides a rare opportunity to study a large number of twin pairs to control for genetic susceptibility," the authors wrote. "The relationships found between smoking, weight, sunscreen use, skin cancer and photodamage in these twin pairs may help to motivate the reduction of risky behaviors."

SOURCES: Jeffrey Salomon, M.D., assistant clinical professor, plastic surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Jonette Keri, M.D., assistant professor, dermatology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; December 2009 Archives of Dermatology Published on: December 22, 2009