White women three times more likely to commit suicide than black

White women in North Carolina commit suicide at nearly three times the rate of minority women across the state, a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows. No one knows why. Some say black women, for example, may have a larger circle of nearby family members and friends to help them through trying times, but study leader Dr. Carol Runyan says she prefers not to speculate.

Iron overload gene tied to colon cancer increased risk

Researchers have found that people with gene mutations associated with abnormally high iron levels are 40 percent more likely than others to develop colon cancer. A report of the research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute today (Jan. 15) found the cancer risk greater in mutation carriers who are older or who consume high quantities of iron.

Study: Aging boomers won’t boost health-care costs as much as predicted

Baby boomers will increase Medicare and other medical expenditures as they age but not nearly as much as some analysts have feared, according to a new study. The study, which appears in the January issue of the Journal of Gerontology, suggests that by living longer, many baby boomers will pass the ages at which the most “heroic,” and hence expensive, efforts are made to prolong their lives. Once members of that generation survive into their mid-80s or so and beyond, many medical procedures will become too risky for their older bodies and will be avoided in many cases.

Acidic aerosols greatly increase secondary aerosol formation

Atmospheric particles that become acidic through exposure to such pollutants as sulfuric acid can lead to vast increases in the formation of secondary organic aerosols, a new study indicates. Such aerosols are major components of the unsightly haze that hangs over cities and oil refineries and even affects otherwise pristine U.S. national parks.

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