Careful Where You are Putting That Spider!

by DavalosMcCormack on September 25, 2009

Here’s some cheery news. Not surprising, but not much fun either. Being overweight puts you at greatly increased risk of cancer. And of course death.

This latest piece of good cheer about weight comes from a study released at ECCO 15 – ESMO 34 (sounds like a football score doesn’t it!), the largest cancer congress meeting in Europe. The researchers found that at least 124,000 new cases of cancer in 2008 were caused by excess body weight.

Now, the study was only done in Europe but I’m guessing that the same findings would apply to Americans because,  despite some language differences we really are pretty much the same as Europeans. Except for the French of course, but let’s not go there.

Anyway, the researchers did a lot of number crunching and found that 3.2 percent of new cancers in European men could be attributed to being overweight or obese, in women the number was much higher, 8.6 percent. Why were the numbers so much higher for women? Well, the researchers aren’t really sure but have some theories, most of them related to the number of women who used to take Hormone Replacement Therapy.

The bottom line, however, is that Dr. Andrew Renehan, the lead author of the study, says unless we make sizable changes “it is possible that obesity may become the biggest attributable cause of cancer in women within the next decade.” Yikes!!!

Exercise – It’s All In The Genes

Do you ever see those folks who workout regularly turning up their nose at people who struggle to get to the gym more than once or twice a week? Well, next time they do that throw this in their face. Exercise has nothing to do with will power or self-discipline, and everything to do with genetics.

Ha, take that! Well, almost. There’s a growing body of research that suggests that people who are fitness fanatics may be genetically primed to be that way, while those who are couch potatoes have no such advantage.

One of those studies was done in Sweden in 2006. They compared 5,334 identical twins and their workout habits to those of 8,028 fraternal twins. Why is that important, well, identical twins have as you might imagine almost identical genetic makeup; while fraternal twins share only about half their genetic makeup. The researchers found that, on average, identical twins were twice as likely to share the same workout habits and tendencies as fraternal twins – suggesting a strong genetic component to one’s willingness or enthusiasm for exercise.

But of course that doesn’t mean that if you don’t have the genetic predisposition for physical activity that you can not develop those same habits. You can. It just takes a bit more effort. And the first part of that effort is shifting your butt off that couch.

Keep That Spider Away From My…….

Amid the headlines today on a vaccine showing promise against HIV, and new treatments for pancreatic cancer, this one caught my eye. Spider Venom for Erectile Dysfunction. See, it got your attention too didn’t it!

It’s based on a study presented at the American Heart Association’s conference on High Blood Pressure Research in Chicago. Apparently the researchers found that the wonderfully named Brazilian Wandering spider’s bite can cause a lot of pain and a very prolonged erection.  So now they are looking at it as a possible treatment for erectile problems.

Now, call me cowardly, but anytime anyone comes near my privates with a deadly spider, I’m heading in the other direction as fast as I can. I don’t care what the possible benefits are.

The only upside is that at least the TV ads would be much better than those showing men and women in bath tubs gazing out to sea. It’s Arachnophobia meets Viagra.

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