Research Alert: Twin Study Links Smoking To
Smoking appears to be the most important lifestyle
variable affecting bone mineral density (BMD) in
postmenopausal women, say researchers.
"Characterization of determinants of bone
mineral density in midlife and thereafter may lead to
interventions that could minimize postmenopausal bone
loss and reduce osteoporotic fracture risk,"
suggest Prof. John Wark and colleagues from the
University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia.
To investigate, they used dual energy X-ray
absorptiometry to measure BMD at the lumbar spine, total
hip, and forearm in 146 female twin pair aged 30-65
years. Height, weight, total bone mineral content, and
lean and fat mass were also assessed, and menopausal
status, dietary calcium intake, physical activity,
tobacco use, and alcohol consumption were determined
using a questionnaire.
Comparison of the twin pairs showed that cigarette
smoking was associated with a 2-3 percent reduction in
BMD at all sites per 10 pack-years, with the most
pronounced effect in postmenopausal women.
In addition, calcium intake and sporting exercise
were once again proven to be the decisive factors for
better BMD scores.
Based on these findings, "the damaging effects
of cigarette smoking [on BMD] may well have been
underestimated in the past," comments Wark.
paper appeared in: Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
2003; 18: 1065-6
Findings: Conflicting Feelings Worse For Blood Pressure
Than Outright Hostility
Having mixed feelings towards a person could be worse
for blood pressure than clearly negative feelings,
researchers have found.
They asked over 100 people to wear portable blood
pressure monitors concealed about their person, and told
them to press a button about 5 minutes into every social
interaction to record their blood pressure readings.
When these results were compared with daily diaries
detailing whom the participants had met with each day
and their relationships with these people, the
researchers found ambivalent feeling caused the greatest
increases in blood pressure.
Lead researcher Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, from
Brigham Young University in Utah, explains: "When
you're interacting with those you feel aversive or
negative towards, these people are predictable and you
will either avoid them or you can discount them because
you know what to expect from them."
She continues: "But for a person you feel both
positive and negative towards, there could be hope and
an expectation for something positive, and then, when
you don't get the support you wanted, this can be very
2003 Source: EZorb Newsletter Editor
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