OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

heath and nutrition

OSU study suggests reducing air-polluting PAHs may lower levels of lung cancer deaths

CORVALLIS, Ore. – High emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can be linked to lung cancer deaths in the United States and countries with a similarly high socioeconomic rank, including Canada, Australia, France, and Germany, according to a study by Oregon State University.

Researchers reviewed a range of information from 136 countries, including average body mass index, gross domestic product per capita, the price of cigarettes, smoking rates, and the amount of PAHs emitted into the air. PAHs are a group of more than 100 chemicals, some of which are carcinogenic when inhaled or ingested. They most commonly come from vehicle exhaust and burning coal and wood.

OSU researchers calculated how measures of health, wealth and pollution related to lung cancer deaths in each country.

"Analyzing data on a global scale revealed relationships between PAH emissions and smoking rates on the lung cancer death rates in each country," said Staci Simonich, a co-author of the study and toxicologist at OSU. "Ultimately, the strength of the relationships was determined by the country’s socioeconomic status."

While the link between smoking and lung cancer is well-established, OSU researchers did not find a correlation between cigarette smoking rates and lung cancer death rates in countries with high levels of income. Researchers attribute this conclusion to previous studies showing high-income smokers tend to light up less often.

OSU's study also suggests that reducing smoking rates could significantly lessen lung cancer deaths in countries with a lower socioeconomic status, including North Korea, Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia, Bangladesh and many others. Researchers found that lung cancer mortality rates in these countries negatively correlated with price – meaning cheaper cigarettes are often associated with higher levels of deaths from lung cancer.

Detectable lung cancer can take 20 years to develop, and the poorest countries in the study had an average age of death of 54. OSU researchers suggest heavy smokers in these countries can sometimes die before tumors attributable to lung cancer become apparent.

"If the life expectancies were the same in all of the countries we reviewed, it's possible we would see a consistent relationship between PAH emissions and lung cancer," said Simonich, an OSU professor of environmental and molecular toxicology.

The study, "Association of Carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Emissions and Smoking with Lung Cancer Mortality Rates on a Global Scale," was recently published in the journal Environmental Science and Toxicology.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in Richland, Wash. assisted with calculating the statistical associations between data used in the study. The National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences funded the research through OSU’s Superfund Research Program.

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide. Lung cancer accounts for 12 percent of all cancer diagnoses and is the leading cancer killer of men and second among women, according to the American Cancer Society.

Note to Editors: To request a copy of the study, please email Daniel Robison at daniel.robison@oregonstate.edu.

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Staci Simonich, 541-737-9194

Cost of child care continues to rise in Oregon; majority not in centers or organized care

The report this article is based on can be found at: http://health.oregonstate.edu/sbhs/family-policy-program/occrp-childcare-dynamics-publications

 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The cost of child care in Oregon continues to rise even as wages decline, especially for the state’s most fragile families.

According to a new Oregon State University report looking at child care in the state and in every Oregon county, child care prices increased 13 percent from 2004 to 2012 while household incomes declined 9 percent.

The average annual cost of toddler care in a child care center in Oregon is now $11,064, up from $10,392 in 2010. Nationally, the cost of child care continues to rise, with child care expenditures taking a higher percentage of household income in 2011 than in 2005. Child Care Aware of America lists Oregon as the third most expensive state for infant child care (price as a percentage of income) in the nation.

“Families struggle to provide children the experiences they want for them,” said Bobbie Weber, a faculty research associate at the Family Policy Program in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and author of the report. Weber issues a new report every two years on child care in Oregon.

Survey findings show the majority of Oregonians rely on a parent, relative or close friend to care for their children. This is even the case for preschoolers (ages 3 to 4), which is the group with the highest rate of “organized care,” or care in a center or family child care home. More than 55 percent of those children are either at home with a parent or in an “informal” setting, such as with a relative or friend of the family.

“There is a perception that the majority of our kids are in a child care center or preschool, and it simply isn’t true,” Weber said. “For policy reasons, we need strategies to support children who are in home settings with parents, relatives, or others. Parents and caregivers need to have easy access to information and strategies for making children successful if we are to reach the goal of all children being ready for kindergarten.”

Weber said interventions have shown that home visiting programs, where an educator visits a home and provides information and resources to the adult and child alike, as well as Play and Learn groups, or community-based settings for child providers and kids to come together and work with a trained educator, have proven successful.

While there are subsidies available for those earning up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level, parents have to pay part of their child care fees and that amount rises as incomes rise. Over the last few years, budget cuts have constrained how many families can be served. In 2012, approximately 13,000 children were served each month by the Employment Related Day Care Program, slightly more than half the number served in 2009.

“A lot more people are getting engaged and becoming aware of the struggles facing parents,” Weber said. “We are seeing increases in some of the programs that support children and families. It is likely that funds will be restored to the child care subsidy program and there will be an increase in Oregon Head Start Prekindergarten. Both programs enable low income families to access learning opportunities for their children.”

This year, an interactive map is available that allows people to find out about child care and education in their elementary school area, school district, or county. The map is available at: http://health.oregonstate.edu/occrp-map. Maps were produced by Jes Mendez of the Oregon Employment Department.

Weber is a member of Gov. John Kitzhaber’s Early Learning Council, which has been tasked to design the most effective early-childhood system, one that will ensure children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn.

A full report and map for each county in Oregon can be found at: http://bit.ly/13DzxbL

Some of the county findings include:

  • Child care prices have continued to rise while incomes have dropped. It is 24 times harder (measured by increase of prices combined with decrease in income) for a family to purchase care in 2012 than in 2004. It is 33 percent harder for single parents in 2012 than in 2004.
  • The most expensive county in Oregon for child care was Washington County, where the average annual cost was $12,348 for toddler care. Multnomah, Benton and Clackamas counties followed closely as the most expensive.
  • Rural counties in general suffer from a lack of resources. Many rural areas do not have enough family day care providers or child care centers to meet the needs of the communities.
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Bobbie Weber, 541-737-9243

German researcher receives Linus Pauling Institute Prize

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Dr. Helmut Sies, a pioneer in the study of carotenoids and flavonoids, today was awarded the Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research, one of the leading honors of its type in the world.

This is the seventh time the award has been made, which recognizes excellence in research relating to the roles of vitamins, essential minerals and phytochemicals in promoting health, and preventing or treating disease. It was presented at the Diet and Optimum Health conference in Oregon, and includes a medal and $25,000 honorarium.

Sies, a physician and biochemist at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf in Germany, has more than 600 original research articles and book chapters on many topics in nutrition and cancer prevention. In a landmark 1985 publication he first coined the term “oxidative stress.”

Sies is a leader in the study of carotenoids in plants that can give them the ability to help protect the skin and other organs from cancer-causing free radicals, and flavonoids in cocoa that improve blood vessel function and reduce cardiovascular risk.

“Dr. Sies helped explain how some of the carotenoids and flavonoids found in vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots can help prevent the oxidation or cell damage from free radicals, which is an important causal factor of cancer and many other human diseases,” said Balz Frei, professor and head of the Linus Pauling Institute, located at Oregon State University.

“Research on nutrition, phytochemicals and optimal diet is truly global, and it’s an honor for us to present Dr. Sies this award as the first international recipient of the Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research,” Frei said.

Sies has also done important work with essential fatty acids that can prevent inflammation, cellular signaling pathways in cancer development, and the role of nitric oxide in cancer- and heart disease-related events. His colleagues also cited him for bringing his findings out of the laboratory and into public awareness to “enhance public health and reduce suffering from disease,” which is one of the criteria on which this award is based.

“Helmut has built a bridge between nutrition science and health sciences,” said Enrique Cadenas, professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Southern California. “Helmut’s work transcended the scientific community to the general public, addressing health issues driven by diet and lifestyle.”

The conclusion of the Diet and Optimum Health Conference this weekend will include a free public session on Saturday, May 18, at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center on the OSU campus, from 9 a.m. to noon. Topics of discussion will include dietary and health approaches to help prevent cancer, metabolic syndrome, childhood obesity and other health concerns. More information is available online at http://bit.ly/15tPuXg

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Balz Frei, 541-737-5078

OSU creates new health promotion program, seeks participants

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new health promotion program aimed at people with physical mobility issues seeks participants from the Corvallis area.

Simon Driver, an associate professor in exercise and sport science at Oregon State University, is creating the program based on a successful model he created at a medical facility in Texas. The eight-week program is aimed at people ages 18 to 75 who have limited mobility – defined as having difficulty walking one block, or using an assistive device such as a walker, cane or wheelchair.

In addition, participants must be able to communicate in English.

The eight-week program is part of a research project by Driver to determine the effectiveness of the program on increasing physical activity for people with a mobility disability. The program will take place in the Health Promotion for People with Disabilities Lab in the Women’s Building on the OSU campus. Participants must be able to attend the program once a week for 90 minutes during an eight-week period.

The program helps people learn social and behavioral skills to become healthier. Participants will learn about setting goals, rewarding themselves for making their goals, and overcoming barriers to being healthy and active.

To learn more information on qualifications for the program and to sign up to participate, email health.disability@oregonstate.edu or call 541-737-5927.

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Simon Driver, 541-737-3263

Generic OSU

About Oregon State University: OSU is one of only two U.S. universities designated a land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant institution. OSU is also Oregon’s only university to hold both the Carnegie Foundation’s top designation for research institutions and its prestigious Community Engagement classification. Its more than 26,000 students come from all 50 states and more than 90 nations. OSU programs touch every county within Oregon, and its faculty teach and conduct research on issues of national and global importance.