2012

Some studies have indicated that the incidence of breast cancer is higher among women with higher socioeconomic status and in geographic areas of higher socioeconomic status. Analyses of BWHS data indicated that those associations are artifacts, probably due to differences in reproductive factors, such as age at first birth, that are associated with the most common subtype of breast cancer, estrogen receptor positive cancer.  link to online article

DNA from saliva samples provided by BWHS participants was genotyped to identify regions of the genome where the proportion of African or European ancestry was strikingly higher or lower than that seen elsewhere in the genome. This genotyping produced evidence that certain regions of chromosomes 2, 4 and 10 may be involved in the development of fibroids.  Further work is needed to specifically identify the genetic variants associated with risk, which probably differ across populations of differing ancestry.  link to online article

Some studies have linked early life factors, such as whether a woman was breast fed or was born prematurely, to the incidence in adulthood of uterine fibroids (leiomyomata).  BWHS results suggest that intrauterine and other early life factors do not play a major role in the development of uterine fibroids.  link to online article

DNA from saliva samples provided by BWHS participants was genotyped to identify genetic variants that might be associated with risk of sarcoidosis.  The analyses confirmed that a chromosome 10p12 locus is associated with risk and narrowed the area in which the causal gene is located. Further work must be carried out to identify the exact genetic variants responsible for the association and their functions.  link to online article

Sarcoidosis occurs more frequently among African American women than in other population groups and the causes of the illness are largely unknown.  The first study of whether factors related to reproduction might play a role was carried out using BWHS data.  Later age at first birth and later age at becoming menopausal were associated with reduced risk. These findings suggest a role for female hormones but they need to be confirmed in further studies.  link to online article

Sexual and physical abuse during childhood were associated with increased risk of overall obesity and central obesity during adulthood among BWHS participants.  The association was weakened after “controlling” for health behaviors, reproductive history, and mental health during adulthood, which may have resulted in part from the abuse. These findings add to the increasing evidence that childhood abuse can lead to adult obesity and other adverse health outcomes.  link to online article

It has been suggested that “metabolic syndrome”, which is associated with inflammation,  may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer. In an assessment of this possibility in the BWHS, women who had three or more markers of metabolic syndrome had a higher incidence of breast cancer than women who had no such markers (the markers were obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels). This finding supports the hypothesis that inflammation is involved in the occurrence of breast cancer.  link to online article

Children with lower socioeconomic status during childhood tend to gain more weight in adulthood than children from families with higher socioeconomic status.  In the BWHS, the risk of becoming obese in adulthood among participants who had graduated from college was the same for those who had high and low socioeconomic status in childhood, indicating that economic disadvantage during childhood can be counteracted by socioeconomic status in adulthood.  link to online article

Some studies have found high blood pressure to be associated with increased risk of uterine fibroids (leiomyomata) but results are conflicting.  In the BWHS, the association of high blood pressure treated with medications to risk of fibroids differed according to how the fibroids had been diagnosed.  These analyses suggest that observed associations of high blood pressure with fibroids reflect the types of medical care that women the received.  link to online article

This large collaborative analysis of data from 18 follow-up studies that included 33,380 breast cancer cases. The analysis assessed the relation of carotenoid intake from fruits and vegetables to the risk of breast cancer classified by estrogen and progesterone receptor status.  Intakes of alpha-carotene, beta carotene, and lutein/zeaxanthin were associated with a reduced incidence of estrogen receptor negative breast cancer, but not of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. link to online article

It is known that spikes in air pollution can increase risk of heart attacks, but whether chronic exposure to air pollution increases the risk of high blood pressure or diabetes is uncertain.  We obtained air pollution data for Los Angeles and found that high levels of nitrogen oxides were associated with small increases in the incidence of both high blood pressure and diabetes in BWHS participants in that area.   We are obtaining air pollution data for other areas of the country so that we can assess these relationships among all BWHS participants.  link to online article

Hair relaxer use is widespread and it should be demonstrated to be safe.  In the BWHS,  long-term users had a slightly higher incidence of uterine fibroids (leiomyomata) than shorter-term users or nonusers.  These results raise the hypothesis that hair relaxer use, or something associated with use, may be involved in the development of fibroids. Confirmation in other data , and investigation of factors that may account for the association, is needed.  link to online article

Sitting for many hours a day (sedentary behavior), such as watching T.V., has adverse effects on health. For example, sedentariness is associated with increased weight gain.  In a BWHS analysis, whether a neighborhood was conducive to walking had little relationship to hours of T.V. viewing. However, T.V. viewing was lower in neighborhoods of higher socioeconomic status.  link to online article