Today’s Headlines: Omega-3s, Mosquitos, and Stomach Trouble

Omega-3s May Raise Prostate Cancer Risk: “Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have many health benefits. But they may have risks as well, including an increased risk for prostate cancer. In a nine-year prospective study, scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle took annual blood samples from 834 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1,393 men who were cancer free. The study, published online in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, controlled for more than a dozen cancer risk factors. Compared with men in the lowest one-quarter for omega-3 levels, those in the highest one-quarter had a 44 percent increased risk for low-grade prostate cancer and a 71 percent increased risk for high-grade cancer. They found the association with three different omega-3’s – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), which are all found in fish and fish oil supplements – but not with alpha-linolenic acid, which comes from flax seed.” (New York Times)

How to Avoid Being a Mosquito’s Next Meal: “Welcome to bug season, when mosquitoes, ticks and other creepy crawlers make even the bravest mom or dad hesitant to let the kids go outside. Not only are insects annoying, they can carry diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease. But what’s the best way to ward off these pests? A new report, released Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group, finds that no one bug repellent works against every insect, but your best bets are those products made with active ingredients registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scientific tests have shown that four registered chemicals provide a high level of protection from a number of bug bites, according to the EWG report: Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (and its synthetic derivative known as p-Menthane-3,8-diol, or PMD) and DEET.” (CNN)

Vacation Stomach Trouble: “Staying regular on the road can be a problem for many summertime travelers. Changes in diet and time zone, not to mention unfamiliar foods, can wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal system. The hush-hush problem is surprisingly common, says Anthony Lembo, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Lembo shared some tips on how to go when you’re on the go. Is a large coffee in the morning a good choice? Yes and no. On the one hand, says Dr. Lembo, coffee acts as a stimulant. For many people, regularity depends on a morning cup or two. But overdo it, and you can risk dehydration.” (Wall Street Journal)