Occupational health news in brief

Swine flu fatalities low

Between June and November there were 26 deaths for every 100,000 cases of swine flu in England, giving the pandemic a fatality rate of just 0.026%, according to figures. The research in the BMJ concluded the pandemic had, to date, been far less lethal than feared. School closures and workplace absence are likely to have more impact than the disease itself, another BMJ study has suggested.

Breast cancer stress link

Social isolation and stress can increase susceptibility to breast cancer, at least in rats, a US study has said. Scientists at the University of Chicago found rats which were prone to developing breast tumours were 3.3 times more likely to develop cancer if they were kept in isolation and suffered related stress, the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded.

Expressing anger cuts risk of heart attacks

Failure to openly express anger about unfair treatment at work can double the risk of heart attack. A study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that men who do not openly express their anger about unfair treatment at work double their risk of having a heart attack or dying from serious heart disease.

Money worry absence

Some 1.4 million people have taken time off work because of worries over debt and bills. One-fifth of 18- to 24-year-olds were also turning to alcohol to take their minds off their financial concerns, the research by AXA concluded. The poll of more than 2,000 people found more than one-third also felt financial concerns were affecting their productivity at work.

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