Drinking coffee may help prevent liver cancer, study suggests

People who drink more coffee are less likely to develop liver cancer, an analysis of data from 26 studies has found | Story via The Guardian | BMJ

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Researchers have found that people who drink more coffee are less likely to develop hepatocellular cancer (HCC), the most common form of primary liver cancer – and the effect was also found in decaffeinated coffee.

Experts from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh examined data from 26 studies involving more than 2.25 million participants.  Compared with people who drank no coffee, those who drank one cup a day had a 20% lower risk of developing HCC, according to the study, published in the journal BMJ Open.

Those who consumed two cups a day had a 35% reduced risk and for those who drank five cups, the risk was halved. They found the protective effect for decaf was “smaller and less certain than for caffeinated coffee”

Full story via The Guardian

Full reference: Kennedy OJ, Roderick P, Buchanan R, et al. Coffee, including caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis

Workplace health promotion

Report suggests that effective investment in health and wellbeing can save a company more than it spends on the interventions | RAND

The importance of the workplace as a setting for health promotion is increasingly recognised by employers and policymakers. As a result, workplace health promotion programmes are growing in numbers and scope around the world.  Such programmes have the potential to generate returns on investments and can reduce overall health costs.

Image source: www.rand.org

The RAND Corporation has published The return of investment for preventive healthcare programmes.  This report outlines the divers of successful workplace health promotion programmes, provides an overview of health and wellbeing interventions offered by pharmaceutical companies, and develops a framework to analyse the return on investment of such projects, applying it to GSK’s P4P programme

The future burden of disability in the UK

2.8 million people over 65 will need nursing and social care by 2025 – largely because of a significant rise in dementia-related disability, research finds.

Research published by the Lancet Public Health medical journal says cases of disability related to dementia will rise by 40% among people aged 65 to 84, with other forms of disability increasing by about 31%.

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The investigators used a detailed model to produce estimates of the prevalence of disability due to cardiovascular disease, dementia, and other causes in people aged 65 years or older in England and Wales to the year 2025.

They found a 25% increase from 2015 in the number of older people who will be living with disability, representing 560 000 additional elderly people in England and Wales who will need care for their disabling condition, and showed that the largest relative increases will be in dementia cases.  They also predicted that although life expectancy among people older than 65 years will increase by 1·7 years, 0·7 of these years will be lived with disability.

Having identified these challenges, the authors have recommended increased capacity in formal social care and improved support for informal social care arrangements, along with enhanced interventions against predictable risk factors for non-communicable diseases disability, such as smoking, diet, and physical activity.

Full reference: Guzman-Castillo, Maria et al. | Forecasted trends in disability and life expectancy in England and Wales up to 2025: a modelling studyThe Lancet Public Health Published online 23rd May 2017

Diet, nutrition, physical activity and breast cancer

The report analysed 119 studies and including data on 12 million women and 260,000 cases of breast cancer | World Cancer Research Fund

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Image source: WCRF

Many epidemiologic studies have classified breast cancer cases by menopausal status at time of diagnosis, and therefore in this report we chose to highlight associations between diet, weight, and physical activity separately in premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer, where possible.

Key findings: premenopausal breast cancer

There is strong evidence that:

  • consuming alcoholic drinks increases risk
  • undertaking vigorous physical activity decreases risk
  • being overweight or obese between the ages of about 18 and 30 years decreases risk
  • being overweight or obese in adulthood before the menopause decreases risk
  • developmental factors leading to greater linear growth (marked by adult attained height) increase risk
  • factors that lead to greater birthweight, or its consequences, increase risk
  • breastfeeding decreases risk (breast cancer type unspecified) in the mother
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Image Source: WCRF

Key findings: postmenopausal breast cancer

There is strong evidence that:

  • consuming alcoholic drinks increases risk
  • being physically active (including vigorous physical activity) decreases risk
  • being overweight or obese between the ages of about 18 and 30 years decreases risk
  • being overweight or obese throughout adulthood increases risk
  • greater weight gain in adulthood increases risk
  • developmental factors leading to greater linear growth (marked by adult attained height) increase risk
  • breastfeeding decreases risk (breast cancer type unspecified) in the mother
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Image source: WCRF

Benefits and harms of breast cancer screening in women aged 40-49 years

Early detection of breast cancer through screening can lower breast cancer mortality rates and reduce the burden of this disease in the population | International Journal of Cancer

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In most western countries, mammography screening starting from age 50 is recommended. However, there is debate about whether breast cancer screening should be extended to younger women. This systematic review provides an overview of the evidence from RCT’s on the benefits and harms of breast cancer screening with mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years. The quality of the evidence for each outcome was appraised using the GRADE approach.

Four articles reporting on two different trials, the Age trial and the Canadian National Breast Screening Study-I (CNBSS-I), were included. The results showed no significant effect on breast cancer mortality (Age trial: RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.80-1.09; CNBSS-I: HR 1.10 (95% CI 0.86-1.40) nor on all-cause mortality (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.93-1.03) in women aged 40 to 49 years offered screening. Among regularly attending women the cumulative risk of experiencing a false-positive recall was 20.5%. Overdiagnosis of invasive breast cancer at five years post cessation of screening for women aged 40to 49 years was estimated to be 32%; 20 years post cessation of screening 48%. Including ductal carcinoma in situ, these numbers were 41% and 55%.

Based on the current evidence from randomised trials, extending mammography screening to younger age groups cannot be recommended. However there were limitations including relatively low sensitivity of screening and screening attendance, insufficient power, and contamination, which may explain the non-significant results.

Full reference: van den Ende, C. et al. (2017) Benefits and harms of breast cancer screening with mammography in women aged 40-49 years: A systematic review. International Journal of Cancer. DOI: 10.1002/ijc.30794

Motivational Interviewing to Promote Oral Health in Adolescents

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a counseling strategy to help people change their behaviors. This single-blinded randomized controlled trial evaluated the effectiveness of MI in improving adolescents’ oral health | Journal of Adolescent Health

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Fifteen secondary schools were randomly assigned to three groups: (I) prevailing health education, (II) MI, and (III) MI coupled with interactive dental caries risk assessment (MI + RA). Adolescents (n = 512) with unfavorable oral health behaviors (infrequent toothbrushing and/or frequent snacking) were recruited; 161, 163, and 188 in groups I–III, respectively. Participants in the three groups received their respective interventions. At baseline and after 6 and 12 months, participants completed a questionnaire on their oral health self-efficacy and behaviors. Their oral hygiene (dental plaque score) and dental caries (number of decayed surfaces/teeth status) were recorded.

MI was more effective than prevailing health education strategy in eliciting positive changes in adolescents’ oral health behaviors and preventing dental caries.

Full reference: Wu, L. et al. Motivational Interviewing to Promote Oral Health in Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published online:May 19, 2017

Social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement have published a new report, #StatusOfMind, examining the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health.

The report includes a league table of social media platforms according to their impact on young people’s mental health. YouTube tops the table as the most positive with Instagram and Snapchat coming out as the most detrimental to young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

RSPH and the Young Health Movement are calling for action from government, social media companies and policy makers to help promote the positive aspects of social media for young people, whilst mitigating the potential negatives. These recommendations include:

  • Introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media – include the support from young people for each of these recommendations
  • Social media platforms to identify users who could be suffering from mental health problems by their posts, and discretely signpost to support
  • Social media platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated

Download the full report #StatusOfMind

Additional link: BBC news report