Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


University graduates face higher brain tumour risk: study

21 June 2016, 13:07

Paris - People with at least three years of higher education are at greater risk for cancerous brain tumours than those with no more than nine years of schooling, perplexed researchers said Tuesday.

"There is a 19 percent increased risk that university-educated men could be diagnosed with glioma," said Amal Khanolkar, a scientist at the Institute of Child Health in London and lead author of a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community.

For women, he said, the risk rose by 23 percent.

"It was a surprising result which is difficult to explain," Khanolkar said.

Concretely, the increase in risk is minimal because such brain tumours are rare.

At the lowest level of education, the chances of glioma were reported at five in 3,000. At the other end of the educational spectrum, the odds increased to six in 3,000.

But the question remained as to whether the gap - no matter how small - was real and, if so, what caused it.

Earlier research exploring a possible link between education or social level, on the one hand, and the frequency of brain tumours, on the other, had been inconclusive.

To "put to rest" these conflicting findings, Khanolkar and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute medical university in Stockholm used a new approach.

Rather than comparing a small number of brain tumour patients with healthy individuals, they sifted through the health records of 4.3 million adults tracked by the Swedish public health system from 1993 to 2011.

The researchers distinguished between three kinds of brain tumours - two of them non-cancerous - with different causes.

The strong link between education level and tumour incidence held for all three types, but was strongest for deadly gliomas.

Interestingly, an even higher risk gap was found between low-income manual labourers and high-income men and women who did not work with their hands.

- Why? -

Gliomas are malignant brain tumours which grow rapidly and cause severe symptoms, including migraines, nausea and memory loss.

The survival rate is very low.

The study did not seek to explain the link between higher education and tumours, nor did it consider the potential impact of environmental and lifestyle factors, such as smoking or alcohol consumption.

The most common explanation for risk levels that rise with years spent in the classroom is that people with a higher education or income "have a better awareness of symptoms," Khanolkar said.

This would mean they are more likely to seek help and receive a correct diagnosis.

But while this may be true in a country with a health system that clearly favours the well-to-do, the argument is far less convincing in the Swedish context, the researchers said.

"Sweden has a universal, tax-based health care system," said Khanolkar. Everybody has roughly the same access to treatment.

Moreover, he added, gliomas form very rapidly - often within 48 hours - and are excruciatingly painful.

"The symptoms are not avoidable - you can't sit at home and not seek care," he said.

To further their probe, the team will canvass an updated version of the database for possible correlations between ethnicity and brain tumour risk.

Underlying genetic variation in populations from different geographic regions -- where certain mutations are more or less common -- could be a factor, Khanolkar acknowledged.

One expert, commenting on the study, pointed to other possible culprits.

"Two additional factors which might be of interest in this context are height and, in women, hormone replacement therapy," said James Green, a clinical epidemiologist at the University of Oxford.

Risk of brain tumours - as of most cancers - is higher in taller people, and taller people tend to be richer and more educated," he noted.

"Hormone replacement therapy increases risk of brain tumours, and its use tends to vary by socio-economic group."



Sex talk

27 October 2016, 10:03

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM beats Jubilee in 3 by-electio...

ODM dominates Jubilee Party in by elections.

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Kenyan ivory seized in Vietnam

Vietnamese authorities have seized 1 tonne of ivory smuggled from Kenya, the fifth such seizure in the past month. Read more...

Submitted by
Cyril Mike Odhiz
Kenyans furious on young lady aft...

A young Kenyan woman is the talk of town after she posted a photo with her elderly lover after a round of steamy sex, or so the photo suggested.  Read more...

Submitted by
Kiplangat langat
Uhuru could be a one term Presid...

Bomet governor Isaac Ruto has said that President Uhuru Kenyatta could be a one term President if he fails to increase allocations to the counties. Read more...

Submitted by
Mody Sammy
35 year old farmer a new milliona...

A 35 year old farmer from Mpeketoni Lamu county has become the latest millionaire in town as she became winner in the ongoing ‘Shinda Mamili na Story Ibambe’. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Leave your past relationship bagg...

Leave your past relationship baggage at the door when you start a new relationship. Read more...