TIME Crime

Officer Charged With Trying to Make Meth in Government Lab

National Institute Standards Technology
National Institute of Standards and Technology

The officer resigned and is charged

A police officer working at a federal laboratory has been charged with trying to make meth at the lab.

Authorities learned of the police officer’s activities after an explosion at a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) lab in Maryland in July, the Washington Post reports.

The Post reports that the police supervisor, Christopher Bartley, has been charged with “knowingly and intentionally attempt[ing] to manufacture a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.” He resigned after the explosion.

His lawyer has said Bartley wanted to learn more about the drug by making it. He was acting alone and had no intention of selling it, the lawyer said.

[Washington Post]

 

TIME Research

This Machine Vomits On Command For Science

vomiting machine
Courtesy of Grace Tung-Thompson

A novel way to study how norovirus spreads from person to person through the air

In the experiment straight out of the dreams of an 8-year-old boy, but published in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists have invented a machine that vomits on command.

They’re using it learn more about norovirus, a highly contagious virus that often leads to vomiting. There are about 21 million cases of norovirus a year in the U.S.—a quarter of them linked to food—and it’s primarily spread through person-to-person transmission.

How, exactly, was what researchers wanted to figure out. “We know the virus is shed in massive amounts in the fecal material of infected individuals—I mean like millions to billions of particles per gram,” says study author Lee-Ann Jaykus, professor of food science at North Carolina State University and scientific director of the USDA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative (NoroCORE). Much less is known about how it can spread through virus particles in the air after a person vomits. “We have suspected aerosolization of virus in vomiting for probably 20 years, but we never provided any kind of laboratory based proof of it,” says Jaykus.

MORE: It Only Takes A Few Hours For Viruses To Spread Everywhere

Recruiting students to vomit virus particles in a laboratory would likely have been a challenge. So Jaykus asked her environmental engineering colleague, Francis L. de los Reyes III, to design a machine that simulates human vomiting. What resulted was a scaled-down stomach system—plus a cute little face for fun—that spewed out vomit at a velocity, volume and viscosity that matched the real thing. (The chunky kind was represented by vanilla JELL-O pudding; the watery kind by artificial saliva. Both were doused with green food coloring.)

Norovirus, too, had a stand-in. Researchers used another virus called the MS2 bacteriophage, which doesn’t hurt humans.

After the machine threw up in an enclosed box, a biosampler attached to the box collected the particles so that the scientists could measure how much virus was present. “That’s what we counted as the fraction that was aerosolized,” says Jaykus.

MORE: Outbreak Of Norovirus Linked To A Popular Oregon Lake

About 0.02% of the virus in the vomit, at most, was aerosolized. That sounds like a safe number, until you consider that it equals roughly 13,000 particles—and people can get sick by being exposed to as few as 20 virus particles.

“This paper allows us to be relatively certain that norovirus is aerosolized at least to some extent in vomiting,” Jaykus says. “Proving that is very important in understanding the transmission of the virus.”

If you’re near the splash zone of a public vomiting incident, what do you do? Based on the results of this experiment, “the safest thing for you to do would be to walk away,” Jaykus says. “The further you get from the aerosol, probably the better off you are.”

TIME vaccines

Here’s How the Anti-Vaxxers’ Strongest Argument Falls Apart

In session: The vaccine court—like vaccines themselves—stands by to help
Education Images; UIG via Getty Images In session: The vaccine court—like vaccines themselves—stands by to help

Jeffrey Kluger is Editor at Large for TIME.

The anti-vaxxers have been misrepresenting an important, if little-used, law

Scientists have long since learned to roll their eyes at politicians—especially when the topic is vaccines. Chris Christie and Rand Paul have both blundered into trouble with their support of vaccine opt-outs, a position that puts them at odds with virtually every medical authority on the planet. On Aug. 13, Carly Fiorina echoed a similar theme when she questioned “esoteric immunizations” like the HPV vaccine—which is a strange way to describe a shot that can save a woman’s life. All that, however, is just campaign-season noise.

Less noticed but perhaps more damaging was the moment in late July when Florida Republican Bill Posey rose on the floor of the House of Representatives and raised what has long been the anti-vaccine crowd’s biggest argument: the existence of a “Vaccine Injury Court.”

It’s at that point that the conversation often stops. The court—a federal panel that adjudicates payments to what the anti-vaxxers call “vaccine-injured children”—has long been the kryptonite, the dropped mic, the rapped gavel of any rational discussion of vaccine safety.

And no wonder: Since 1988, when the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) began, more than 16,000 claims have been considered and a whopping $3.18 billion have been awarded to families alleging some kind of harm from vaccines. That sounds awfully damning, and in this case, unlike in so many other cases, the anti-vaccine crowd isn’t just making stuff up. The numbers are real and the federal government is the first to admit it.

But the anti-vaxxers are utterly wrong in their interpretation of what the numbers mean. And in fact, the numbers prove that vaccines are as safe as the medical community says they are. Understanding why that’s so means going beyond the tired alarmism and looking at the facts.

The Court, Then and Now

The “vaccine injury court” is more properly known as the Office of Special Masters, which itself is a division of the United States Court of Special Claims. The special masters were created as part of the VICP, an act passed by Congress in 1986 and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. It is a fundamental part of the anti-vax canon that the court is a closely held secret, established by Washington but kept as quiet as possible, lest the public catch wise to the fact that hush money is being paid to injured families.

“It is obvious that the government does not want to publicize the existence of the [court],” reads one website that is typical of the conspiracy wing, “because the more Americans learn that there are vaccine injuries and deaths … the more they may start to question the safety of vaccines.”

That, no surprise, is nonsense. The law was well-publicized at the time of its passage and is even better publicized today, thanks to a website set up by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which not only explains the court in depth, but also provides the names and contact information of lawyers in all 50 states and offers detailed assistance in filing a claim.

The purpose of the court is to reckon with the reality that while vaccines are every bit as safe and life-saving as health authorities say they are, no drug or medical procedure is entirely without risks. Since many millions of children get vaccinated every year, even a few bad outcomes could subject the drug-makers to a storm of liability suits. Some claims might be legitimate, but far more could be frivolous or even fraudulent. Either way, the endless litigation could drive up the costs of vaccines.

In order to ensure that vaccines would be as affordable and available as possible, Congress thus created the VICP, establishing a trust fund for awards financed by an excise tax of 75 cents on every vaccine administered. Under the program, cases are adjudicated on a no-fault basis, with attorneys for the government and attorneys for the families arguing before one of eight special masters. The goal is to settle the matter as quickly and fairly as possible, though petitioners (the no-fault system avoids the word “plaintiffs”) who are unhappy with the special master’s ruling are free to take their case to the traditional civil court system.

The standard the petitioners must meet to recover any award is a comparatively low one—the “preponderance of the evidence” rule of civil law, rather than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” requirement of the criminal court system. In practice, that standard has been even more liberally construed in the vaccine court than it is in ordinary civil court, a fact that generally benefits the petitioners. More frequently still, things don’t go that far. In 80% of all cases brought since 2006, the parties settle, meaning that the petitioner recovers an award with no determination being made about whether the vaccine even caused the claimed harm.

“Settlements are not an admission by the United States or the Secretary of Health and Human Services…that the vaccine caused the petitioner’s alleged injuries,” says the HHS website. Claims may be settled for a lot of reasons, including “a desire by both parties to minimize the time and expense associated with litigating a case to conclusion; and a desire by both parties to resolve a case quickly and efficiently.”

Even without blame being established, the billions the government has handed over in payouts since the VICP was created does seem to suggest that a whole lot of people are being harmed. But that is not the case. From 2006 to 2014, approximately 2.5 billion doses of vaccines were administered in the U.S. In that time, a total of just 2,976 claims were adjudicated by the special masters and only 1,876 of those received compensation. Divide that number by the vaccine dose total and you get less than a one in a million risk of harm. Going all the way back to 1988—before the flu vaccine became part of the recommended schedule of vaccines—a total of 16,038 claims have been adjudicated and 4,150 have been compensated, bringing the total payouts up to the $3.18 billion figure.

To the anti-vaxxers, the low number of claimants spells its own kind of trouble. Divide overall payout by the relatively few injured parties and you get $766,265 per petitioner. The government wouldn’t hand over that kind of cash unless the injuries people do sustain are severe, right? Wrong.

Flooded With Injury Claims

The website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is very clear about any possible injury or side-effect that could possibly be caused by a vaccine (giving the lie to yet another anti-vaxxer claim that those risks are being covered up). The large majority of the possible problems are minor and transient—a fever, a short-term allergic reaction, soreness at the site of the injection. There is the possibility of autoimmune reaction too, in which the body effectively attacks itself, though the science is still vague on what role, if any, vaccines can play in that. Other possible problems include simple injury to shoulder, when the vaccine needle penetrates the bursa—the sac of cushioning fluid that protects the joint. For many of these problems, the claimants are adults, not kids.

In rare cases, severe neurological reactions have been observed too, but that very rarity makes it impossible to determine if they were caused by the vaccine or were a mere coincidence in timing. Still, the no-fault rule of the VICP doesn’t seek proof of causation, which means that claims like this are covered—and those are the ones that drive up the overall average.

“In cases in which there is a lifetime injury, the award will be the equivalent of many millions of dollars,” says New York-based attorney Robert Krakow, who has represented petitioners in hundreds of vaccine injury claims. “It could be $20 million over a lifetime.” Just three such claims a year—out of the many millions of vaccines administered annually—0ver the course of the 27 years the VICP has been in effect can account for half of the total dollars spent on awards.

No surprise, since the rise of the anti-vax fringe, the VICP has been inundated. In 1998, the year U.K. physician Andrew Wakefield published his fraudulent paper linking the MMR vaccine to autism, just 325 injury claims were filed, 181 were dismissed and 144 were compensated. In 2010, Wakefield’s fraud was exposed, his paper was withdrawn and he was stripped of his license to practice medicine in the U.K. But the anti-vax hysteria had been unleashed, driven in part by anti-vaccine drum-bangers like Jenny McCarthy. The following year, 1,637 claims were filed. In 2012, that figure rose further, to 2,702. The number of awards granted increased as well, but still remained in the low triple digits—266 in 2011 and 263 in 2012.

Certainly, vaccine science is not fixed, and different circumstances lead to different law. The case of Hannah Poling, the 9-year-old Georgia girl who, in 2008, received a $1.5 million award when the court agreed that vaccinations contributed to her later-onset autism, rocked the medical community and only worsened the anti-vax panic. But Poling was a special case; she was suffering from an underlying disorder of the mitochondria, or the energy-processing organelle in the cells. This made her vulnerable to any oxidative stress that could, in theory, be caused by vaccines. Mitochondrial disorders are increasingly being cited in vaccine court claims, but the conditions are not common and are poorly understood. “The belief is that the vaccine triggers a decompensation,” says Krakow, “but this is controversial.”

What’s not controversial is the far bigger picture, which is that medicine has never been about eliminating all risks, but about minimizing and balancing and coolly considering them. Childhood diseases are a manifest danger, capable of sickening hundreds of thousands or even millions of kids each year. Vaccines, which offer powerful—if imperfect—protection, all-but eliminate that peril. Yes, they introduce a tiny bit of their own risk, but they still leave children far safer than they otherwise would be. For the literal one in a million who are harmed, the VICP stands by to help. For the rest, it’s the vaccines themselves that do the helping.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME medicine

Why ‘Female Viagra’ Isn’t Really Like Viagra

There are key differences between the two drugs

The drug flibanserin, which is being sold by Sprout Pharmaceuticals under the brand name Addyi , is the first drug approved to treat a lack of female sexual desire. Some are calling it ‘female Viagra’—but while both pills are meant to improve sex lives, the similarities end there.

Viagra is an erectile dysfunction treatment and increases blood flow to man’s genital area to help him achieve and maintain an erection. But flibanserin doesn’t treat a physical ailment, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it hasn’t been shown to enhance sexual performance. Instead, it aims to improve lagging libido in premenopausal women who are distressed by their low desire for sex, a condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

MORE: Female Viagra’ Drug Approved By FDA

Scientists understand how flibanserin works, but not necessarily why the mechanics of the drug lead to improved sexual desire and less stress. The drug targets neurotransmitters thought to be involved in sexual desire; it increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels while decreasing serotonin levels. In an email to TIME, a spokesperson for Sprout Pharmaceuticals said dopamine and norepinephrine are responsible for sexual excitement, and serotonin is responsible for sexual satiety and inhibition.

Also unlike Viagra, flibanserin is a medication taken every day (close to bedtime.) Viagra is only taken as needed. Data from the makers of Viagra suggest that the drug helped approximately four out of five men get and maintain erections. About 85% of men taking 100 mg of Viagra had hard erections compared to 50% on placebo. Data from flibanserin—which included three 24-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in about 2,400 premenopausal women with HSDD—is less impressive. The women who took a 100 mg nighttime dose of the drug showed that on average, being treated with flibanserin increased the number of sexually satisfying events by 0.5 to one additional event per month over placebo and increased desire by 0.3 to 0.4 points over placebo.

MORE: See How ‘Female Viagra’ Works

One of the reasons critics opposed the approval of flibanserin is that they believe the benefits of the drug are not great enough to override possible side effects. When the FDA approved the drug Tuesday, it cited serious risks that could come from taking flibanserin and drinking alcohol, which include severely low blood pressure and loss of consciousness. For that reason, among others, the FDA said the drug will only be available through specially certified health care professionals and certified pharmacies and will include a boxed warning of its side effects.

“There is no black box warning [for Viagra]. They tell you not to take it on a full stomach, but that’s not a medical restriction,” says Leonore Tiefer, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. “This drug, [flibanserin], has all of these limitations, and it affects the brain.”

The decision to take flibanserin lies with women and their physicians, but it may be in a consumer’s best interest to understand the distinctions between the little blue pill and the little pink one.

TIME diseases

Second Tourist Diagnosed With Plague After Visiting Yosemite

sign yosemite National Park California
Max Whittaker—Reuters A sign on the edge of Yosemite National Park, Calif., is surrounded by a burn from the Rim Fire on August 23, 2013.

"The risk to human health remains low," California's public health department says

A second tourist has been diagnosed with plague after visiting Yosemite National Park in California, state officials announced Tuesday.

A patient from Georgia went to the doctor and tested positive for the disease after learning that some areas of the park were closed off as park authorities sprayed pesticides to kill plague-carrying fleas, MSNBC reported. Earlier this month, a Los Angeles girl also came down with the disease, which is usually very rare in humans, after visiting the park.

“Warnings issued in California regarding plague were useful all the way across the country in Georgia,” California Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith said in a statement. “Those warnings helped the patient get the prompt medical attention necessary to recover from this illness.”

Presence of the plague has also been confirmed in two dead squirrels that were found in the park. When an infected rodent dies, its fleas can spread the infection to other warm-blooded mammals, California’s public health department says, though “the risk to human health remains low.”

The plague has claimed lives in Colorado this year: An adult died earlier this month, and a 16-year-old boy died in June. Two other Colorado residents who caught the disease recovered after treatment.

[MSNBC]

TIME Research

Ice Bucket Challenge Money Has Boosted ALS Research, Scientists Say

The Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $100 million for ALS research

The Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $100 million for research and treatment of ALS. Now, scientists say that the money has already begun paying dividends for research into the devastating disease.

A study published last week in the journal Science explains the problems in a dysfunctional protein in ALS patients, a mystery that researchers have been studying for decades. Johns Hopkins researchers received funding for the study from the ALS Association, a key recipient of Ice Bucket Challenge money. The research, which was conducted in mice, needs to be expanded upon before it can be applied.

“With any luck this could lead to possibly a cure or really just slowing down this terrible disease,” said study author Jonathan Ling, a Johns Hopkins researcher, in a YouTube video explaining the research.

The Johns Hopkins research is one of many ALS projects funded with the help of the Ice Bucket Challenge money. The ALS Association has announced new breakthroughs, as well as $11 million in new grants, at a rapid clip in recent months.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disorder that diminishes a person’s normal operation of muscles, speaking and other functions. Most people die within a few years of being diagnosed with the disease. It affects around 30,000 people in the U.S.

TIME Exercise/Fitness

You Asked: Does Compression Gear Really Work?

Compression Clothing
Illustration by Peter Oumanski for TIME

It’s the latest craze in active wear. But so far the known benefits are iffy.

From shorts and socks to sleeves and tops, athletes everywhere—amateur and professional alike—are squeezing into super-tight “compression” garments in an effort to boost performance and recovery.

While pinpointing the start of a trend is tricky, the compression craze seemed to spark back in 2001, when NBA star Allen Iverson scored 51 points the first night he wore a long compression sleeve on his right arm. Iverson’s doctor had improvised the sleeve to treat Iverson’s swollen, bursitis-stricken elbow. But after seeing “AI” light it up, other players quickly adopted the accessory.

Many of today’s popular basketball players, including LeBron James, still wear compression sleeves or leggings. And the trend has spread to other sports. Along with Nike and Under Armour, upstarts like 2XU and Tommie Copper have blossomed as compression gear manufacturers.

By squeezing and compacting the flesh of your arms, legs, or torso, these garments supposedly increase blood circulation, which helps deliver more oxygen to your muscles while speeding the removal of acids and the other byproducts of physical activity. There are other purported mechanisms of action, all of which supercharge performance while speeding recovery. That’s the theory, at least. The only thing missing is the proof.

“So far there is little evidence to suggest that wearing compression garments during an event can improve performance,” says Dr. Mike Hamlin, an associate professor of exercise and sports science at New Zealand’s Lincoln University.

MORE: Fat Water Is Now A Thing

Hamlin has studied the effect of compression garments on short-term recovery. And while his research observed recovery improvements among rugby players who wore compression leggings, those improvements only came from donning the leggings for 24 hours straight following exercise. Other researchers have found similar benefits among weightlifters who slipped into compression body suits, but only when those suits were worn continuously for more than a day following exercise.

Hamlin mentions one 1996 study that found trained volleyball players were able to increase their average—but not maximum—leaping height when wearing compression shorts. But he says there’s “little evidence” that endurance athletes perform better while wearing compression tights and tops. A recent study from Indiana University looked into lower-leg compression among distance runners and failed to find meaningful gains.

Which takes us back to Allen Iverson and his sleeve. Iverson’s doctor improvised the arm compression as an aid for the player’s inflamed elbow—not to boost Iverson’s performance. And when it comes to medical conditions that involve swelling or poor blood flow, compression is still a “mainstay” of treatment and recovery, says Dr. Thomas Wakefield, a professor of vascular surgery with the University of Michigan Health System.

Particularly for lower body blood clotting and venous circulatory issues, Wakefield says compression garments are helpful either in place of or in addition to blood thinning drugs and other forms of treatment. There’s some evidence compression may help control muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome, though Wakefield says its unclear whether compression might be helpful.

MORE: How Exercise Helps Curb Alzheimer’s Symptoms

While mixed, there’s also some evidence that compression can provide a small performance benefit when it comes to explosive movements: a basketball player leaping repeatedly for a rebound, say, or a soccer player suddenly sprinting a few feet for a loose ball. But a 2013 review of the existing research on compression doesn’t rule out the possibility that the placebo effect may explain these performance gains. (You can’t really trick an athlete into thinking she’s wearing compression garments if she’s not, the authors of that review write.)

So here’s the compression gear story, compressed: there are certainly medical conditions for which compression clothing can be beneficial. And when worn for lengthy periods—a day or more following exercise—compression appears to help with muscle recovery.

But for now, the question of whether compression gear can amp up your athletic performance is still up in the air.

TIME Sex/Relationships

See How ‘Female Viagra’ Works

This graphic explains the newly-approved drug

The first drug to treat a lack of female sexual desire has been approved by federal authorities.

The drug flibanserin, which has been coined ‘female Viagra,’ is intended to treat women with a condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) that’s characterized by lagging libido. On Tuesday, the drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Today’s approval provides women distressed by their low sexual desire with an approved treatment option,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

Although the drug is being called a “Viagra” for women, it actually works quite differently. You can see how below.

Female Viagra
Heather Jones for TIME

Read next: What 8 Medical Experts Think About ‘Female Viagra’

Download TIME’s mobile app for iOS to have your world explained wherever you go

TIME Sex/Relationships

‘Female Viagra’ Drug Approved By FDA

Authorities have approved flibanserin to treat lack of sexual desire among women

The first drug to treat a lack of female sexual desire has been approved by federal authorities.

The drug flibanserin, which has been coined “female Viagra,” was approved Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug is intended to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD)—a persistent lack of libido—in premenopausal women. The agency had rejected the drug twice in the past.

In June, an advisory panel to the FDA voted 18-6 in favor of approving flibanserin, which is developed by Sprout Pharmaceuticals. Though it’s compared to Viagra, the male drug for erectile dysfunction, flibanserin works in the brain by targeting neurotransmitters thought to play a role in sexual excitement.

MORE: Here’s What It’s Like To Take ‘Female Viagra’

The drug’s approval is not without controversy. Critics have expressed concern that the benefits of the drug do not override the side effects, which can include sleepiness and nausea. In clinical trials of the drug, 13% of women stopped taking flibanserin due to side effects. Some critics also take issue with the fact that the drug needs to be taken every day.

“I think it’s a disaster. It’s unsafe and it doesn’t work. That is all a drug is supposed to do,” Leonore Tiefer, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine told TIME.

Other experts argue that though the drug may be imperfect, it gives physicians an option to offer female patients. “Currently, there is no drug available in the U.S. for the treatment of HSDD, and clinicians and patients are very interested in having access to an approved medication,” Dr. Bob Barbieri, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital told TIME. “Once the drug is available to clinicians and patients, the role of the drug in the treatment of HSDD will be better clarified.”

The FDA has taken steps to cite possible risks. Due to risks associated with drinking alcohol while taking the drug, the FDA says flibanserin will only be available through specially certified health care professionals and certified pharmacies. The drug will also contain a “boxed warning” that highlights the risk of severe low blood pressure and loss of continuousness among patients who drink alcohol and take flibanserin and other at-risk patients.

MORE: What 8 Medical Experts Think About ‘Female Viagra’

Women’s groups that advocated for the drug’s approval under the campaign, Even the Score, framed the issue as sexist, arguing there are 26 approved drugs for sexual dysfunctions among men but none for women. The campaign was backed by Sprout.

Sprout Pharmaceuticals will be selling flibanserin under the brand name ADDYI. You can read more about the FDA decision here.

TIME Cancer

The Connection Between Light Drinking and Cancer: Study

healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, red wine, alcohol
Danny Kim for TIME

The latest study shows how much alcohol is linked to a higher risk of developing certain cancers

Researchers say that indulging in as little as one drink a day for women and two drinks daily for men can boost the risk of breast, colon, oral, liver and esophageal cancers. But the risk was higher for men who smoked, even those who had quit, than for non smokers.

Scientists at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital report in the BMJ on a review of nearly 136,000 men and women enrolled in studies that followed their health-related behaviors and outcomes for 30 years. Overall, those who drank more showed a higher risk of alcohol-related cancers, which wasn’t surprising, given that over-indulging can promote abnormal growths in certain organs like the liver.

MORE: 5 Things You Need to Know About Alcohol, Backed By Research

But what was more surprising was that, according to their observations, it didn’t take much. Previous studies have focused on heavy drinking, while the current analysis looked at light to moderate drinking. Among women, up to one drink a day contributed to a 13% higher risk of developing alcohol-related cancers, primarily breast cancer. For men, up to two drinks a day also increased the risk of certain cancers, but only for those who had smoked. Non smoking men didn’t show any higher risk.

The results suggest that smoking may be an important contributor to certain cancers, especially in combination with alcohol. In fact, says Yin Cao, a post doctoral research fellow at the School of Public Health and lead author of the study, it’s enough to consider becoming even stricter when it comes to imbibing. “For men, especially those who ever smoked, they should limit alcohol to even below the recommended limit,” she says. “And smoking and heavy alcohol consumption should be absolutely avoided to prevent cancer.”

 

 

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