Women who smoke triple their risk of dying early, according to new research – but kicking the habit can eliminate that increased risk of early death almost entirely. TIME says a study of 1 million women found that even those who were light smokers had double the early death risk that non-smokers had. But the big finding was on happens when you quit: Those who quit before age 40 avoid 90 percent of their increased risk, while those who quit before turning 30 skirt 97 percent. That means going cold turkey can extend your life by up to 10 years.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is confusing, says a new survey. So confusing, said one surveyor to the Los Angeles Times, that of the 2,605 people who took the survey – which quizzed respondents on aspects of health care reform – not a single person got every question right. Of the 12 provisions included on the quiz, there was only one that a majority of respondents identified as real with a high degree of certainty. There was confusion across the board – folks were equally confused about what was and was not in the law, with 83 percent saying the ACA provided for death panels. (It doesn't.) The good news for President Obama, who championed the legislation? The more people learned about the ACA, the more they liked it.
Data presented at a conference for the American Association for Cancer Research suggests that black patients tend to get less information on cancer clinical trials than white patients do, which could at least partly explain why black people and minorities in general tend to enroll in these trials at a lower rate. Clinical trial interactions between oncologists and black patients were shorter and included less discussion, especially about risks of participation, compared to white patients. Conversely, black patients didn't ask as many questions as white patients did and seemed to have less trust in their doctors.
A group of pediatricians has released a new report emphasizing the importance of controlling children's pain and anxiety in the emergency room, according to HealthDay. Doctors wrote that barriers to children's receiving pain relief include fear of side effects and a stigma associated with narcotic medicine – but those can be overcome, suggested the report's authors.
HealthDay also reports on a new study which found that being obese, underweight or having a high waist-to-hip ratio can up the death risk among breast cancer patients – but this association varies by race and ethnicity. Patients with breast cancer who were obese, underweight or had a lot of body fat had the "worst survival," said one expert.
Finally, if it's in your Halloween plans to modify your eyes by way of novelty contact lenses to get that vampire or werewolf look that's so popular right now – you may want to reconsider. U.S. News & World Report says those nonprescription, decorative, over-the-counter contact lenses could damage your eyes. Also: They're illegal.
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