Prolonged heavy vaping may give you cancer, scientists say

Vapour from smokeless cigarettes can damage human cell DNA in ways that could lead to cancer, study shows. In other health news, a warning against talking to your daughter about weight

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 January, 2016, 10:03am

Adding to growing evidence on the possible health risks of electronic cigarettes, a lab team from the United States Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System tested two products and found they damaged cells in ways that could lead to cancer. “Our study strongly suggests that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing makes them appear to the public,” wrote the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Oral Oncology. The researchers created an extract from the vapour of two popular brands of e-cigarettes and used it to treat human cells in Petri dishes. Compared with untreated cells, the treated cells were more likely to show DNA damage and die. The e-cigarette with nicotine caused worse damage, but even the nicotine-free vapour was enough to alter cells. The dosage of vapour in the study was similar to someone smoking continuously for hours on end.

SEE ALSO: Flavouring chemical in e-cigarettes linked to severe respiratory disease

Promising results in treating decline in muscle mass and power in elderly

An international research team has found promising results in a proof-of-concept trial for a myostatin antibody in treating the decline in muscle mass and power associated with ageing. Myostatin is a protein produced within the body that inhibits muscle growth. In the study, injections of a myostatin antibody over a 24-week period resulted in an increase in lean (muscle) mass and improved performance in tasks requiring muscle power in patients older than 75 with low muscle strength, low muscle performance and a history of falling. Tasks included climbing stairs, walking briskly and rising repetitively from a chair. “This is the first study to show that myostatin antibody treatment improves performance in activities requiring muscle power,” says researcher Stuart Warden, an associate professor in the school of health and rehabilitation sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the United States.

Careful how you discuss weight with your daughters

How should a concerned mother discuss issues of diet and weight with her daughter? Very carefully, according to Erin Hillard, a doctoral student in developmental psychology at the University of Notre Dame in the United States. In an article recently published in the journal Body Image, Hillard and her colleagues reported on results from their study of a representative group of 11- to 14-year-old girls and their mothers. “Generally, we found that for the daughters who were being encouraged to lose weight by their mothers, outcomes were worse if their mothers were not also discussing their own weight concerns,” says Hillard. “The daughters who were being encouraged to lose weight but whose mothers were not also discussing their own weight concerns were more at risk for development of disordered eating, based on the higher scores on measures of dieting behaviour and drive for thinness they reported in eighth grade.” The best outcomes were found for daughters whose mothers were not engaging in either type of conversation, Hillard says.