Male Health News May 2016
New test may show men’s risk of developing dementia
Swedish researchers have identified that the loss of the Y chromosome in men in later life may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. This loss of the Y chromosome could be identified using a simple blood test.
As reported by the Telegraph, and published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden have identified that men who show loss of the Y chromosome over time were far more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, one of most common forms of dementia.
The loss of the Y chromosome occurs in up to 17% of men. This genetic material is thought to be vital for the immune system, which may help prevent the amyloid plaques in the brain which can cause Alzheimer’s. The researchers found that it would be possible to test for the loss of the Y chromosome, which would offer the possibility of screening in advance of early health interventions, including eating healthily, exercising and brain training.
If you are worried about your risk of Alzheimer’s or related dementias, then there is information and advice available from a range of sources, including the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
(27th May 2016)
Half of cancers are preventable with healthier lifestyles
As reported by the Independent and the Daily Mail, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health tracked the lifestyles of tens of thousands of health professionals in the US to evaluate the association between cancer and lifestyles. Published in the Journal Jama Oncology, the study found that more than 50% of cancers and cancer deaths could be prevented by long-term healthy living – i.e. eating healthily, not smoking, drinking in moderation and being physically active. To be clear, these behaviours were not presented as ‘cures’ for people who already had cancer (though some evidence suggests physical activity can be beneficial for some cancer patients). Instead, people who had looked after their health in these ways were far less likely to either develop, or die from, cancer.
It is never too late to start improving your lifestyle – but always better to start now! If you’re in need of inspiration, why not check out the NHS’ OneYou campaign, which offers a range of resources to help you get started on a healthier path.
(20th May 2016)
Men’s Health Week coming up!
Men’s Health Week is organised by the Men’s Health Forum, and provides a focal point for all things related to men’s health and wellbeing. With this year’s theme, the Forum are releasing a range of useful resources, as well as encouraging and supporting men to talk about stress and share ways to beat mental health problems.
The risks of stress are clear, as the Forum makes clear in their Beat Stress, Feel Better booklet. These can include:
- damage to your immune system and heart
- increased chances of other health problems
- reduced life expectancy
- damage to your sex life
So why not take the opportunity to address stress and mental ill health? Talk to your friends and family about what you may need, or what you can offer to help other guys. The Men’s Health Forum is also offering a confidential support service for men via text or email called Beat Stress. We’ll share more information about Men’s Health Week when available.
Walking and cycling outweigh harms of air pollution
A University of Cambridge study has suggested that even in cities with high air pollution levels, the health benefits of walking and cycling regularly will outweigh the risks of breathing in more air pollution.
As reported by BBC News, the study published in the journal Prevention examined the risks and benefits balance between increased physical activity and exposure to air pollution. The researchers used computer modelling to compare data on a range of air pollution levels and types of physical activity around urban centres across the world. The study found that the health benefits of regular walking or cycling outweigh the risks of breathing in air pollution, in all but the most extreme air pollution concentrations. For areas with average levels of air pollution, the point at which the risks begin to outweigh the benefits comes after around seven hours of cycling or 16 hours of walking – way beyond what most of us do!
As such, unless you live in an area of extreme air pollution, you are better off getting some exercise in rather than staying at home with the windows shut! Check out our latest blog for ideas on how to get started if you haven’t exercised for a while!
(May 6th 2016)