Today’s Headlines: Tall Women, Coffee and Migraines

Tall women have higher cancer risk; are smoking, drinking to blame?: Turns out being able to reach the highest shelves may have a downside. A new study published this week in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention concluded that taller postmenopausal women have an increased risk of developing cancer. The study found that cancer risk increased 13% with every additional 4 inches of height. The finding held true for many cancers, including cancer of the thyroid, rectum, kidney, endometrium, colorectum, colon, ovary and breast, and with multiple myeloma and melanoma. Because there are likely multiple factors contributing to cancer risk in taller women, authors wrote that “Height should thus be thought of as a marker for one or more exposures that influence cancer risk rather than a risk factor itself.” (Los Angeles Times)

Two cups of coffee may lower suicide risk by almost half: Happy news for coffee drinkers. A new study in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry showed that people who drank 2-4 cups of coffee daily were 45-53% less likely to commit suicide over a 20-year period than people who drank less than a cup a day. Researchers think that the caffeine can be credited with this cheerful benefit to coffee drinking. Caffeine may increase neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, which in turn “can boost a person’s mood and act as a mild antidepressant, given the drugs target these neurotransmitters.” (CBS News)

Migraines associated with variations in structure of brain arteries: A new study could change our understanding what causes migraines. The study, conducted at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that the system of arteries supplying blood to the brain is more likely to be structurally incomplete in migraine sufferers, especially for people who get migraines with aura. This abnormal arterial network may limit blood flow to particular areas of the brain, causing brain cell dysfunction and resulting in pain and other symptoms such as visual disturbances. Migraines, which affect nearly 28 million Americans, have previously been theorized to be caused by dilation of cranial blood vessels or misfiring brain cells. (Science Daily)