Short Course: Herbalists at higher risk of kidney, bladder cancer: Study

Herbalists at higher risk of kidney, bladder cancer: Study

A small new study from Taiwan links a widely banned substance traditionally used in Chinese medicine to an elevated risk for kidney and bladder cancers among professional herbalists. Herbs, such as fang chi, that contain the plant-derived aristolochic acid, are known to cause cancer as well as kidney failure, and the current study suggests that working with these herbs raised urinary cancer rates among Taiwanese herbalists who handled fang chi before its ban in 2003. Herbalists who packed or sold fang chi had 2.6 times the risk of urinary cancer compared with herbalists who avoided fang chi in their practice. Those who ground the herb had 2.2 times higher risk.

Drug, alcohol abuse tied to early-life strokes

Younger adults who suffered a stroke were often smokers or had abused drugs or alcohol, according to a US study that looked at over 1,000 patients. Strokes are often thought of as a condition of the elderly, but researchers said long-term changes in the heart, arteries or blood as a result of drug abuse or heavy drinking may put users at higher-than-average risk earlier in life. It's also possible that some drugs, particularly cocaine and methamphetamines, may trigger a stroke more immediately. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to 800,000 people in the US have a stroke every year. As per a 2007 study almost five percent strokes were suffered by people between 18 and 44 years of age.

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