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Showing posts from April, 2011

Vitamin supplements could lead to risky health behaviors

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Supplement use linked to hedonistic behavior
Findings from researchers suggest people who use vitamin supplements tend to engage in risky health behaviors. 
In a series of experiments, investigators from Taiwan found vitamins and supplements may make people feel invulnerable to health problems, leading to poor food choices and less exercise. 
The study findings show vitamin supplements might work against people who were found to overindulge in hedonistic behaviors when taking supplements that they believe promoted good health.
According to Wen-Bin Chiou of National Sun Yat-Sen University, "After reviewing the literature of theprevalence of dietary supplement use, it seemed to show that use of dietary supplements is increasing, but it does not appear to be correlated with improved public health.”
He adds, "People who rely on dietary supplement use for health protection may pay a hidden price, the curse of licensed self-indulgence.”
In the study, the investigators gave everyone a pl…

Rising PSA no indication for biopsy, prostate cancer

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High PSA velocity no predictor of prostate cancer risk
Researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center say a sudden rise in PSA (prostate specific antigen) level, known as PSA velocity, is not a predictor of prostate cancer, as long as the total PSA remains low and clinical exam is otherwise normal.
The scientists studied 5000 men, finding strong evidence that using PSA velocity can lead to unnecessary biopsies. The researchers say men should be cautious about consenting to a prostate biopsy when digital exam is normal but there are variations in the test. 
According to Peter T. Scardino, MD, Chair of the Department of Surgery, "This study should change practice. We have previously published papers determining that PSA naturally varies from month to month and have urged men whose PSA suddenly rises to wait six weeks and repeat the test before agreeing to a needle biopsy."
Guidelines from the the National Cancer Center Network and the American Urological Association recom…

UA survey suggests 'fat tax' won't stop consumers

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Overweight shoppers avoid food with fat warnings
Shoppers who reach for unhealthy fattening foods in the grocery store are less likely to purchase with a warning label than they would be if a "fat tax" is added to the price.


When researchers at the University of Alberta compared consumer buying relative to cost, to that of warning labels about what's in the food, they found consumers who are overweight were more likely to avoid unhealthy snacks with a warning.

Price no deterrent to buying unhealthy food
In the study, shoppers were asked to choose either a healthy or a fattening snack that cost between 50 cents and 2 dollars. Among 3 groups of shoppers, only those who were overweight were less likely to choose junk food if there was a warning label about the fat content.
Sean Cash, an adjunct professor of rural economy at the U of A who led the study said, "The consumers who heeded the label didn't care about the price, but responded to the warning and were much less …

Video games improve upper extremity motor skills for stroke patients

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Stroke patients develop upper extremity motor skills from video games
Researchers say compared to standard therapy, stroke patients who play video games are five times more likely to regain upper body motor skills after a stoke.

According to Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, the lead author of the study and the director of the Stroke Outcomes Research Unit at St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, virtual reality gaming shows promise as a therapy for stroke patients that is affordable and fun.
Saposnik says, "Recovery of motor skill depends on neurological recovery, adaptation, and learning new strategies. Virtual reality systems drive neuroplasticity and lead to benefits in motor function improvement after stroke."The original study from Saposnik was published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, July 2010.


A new analysis from Saposnik looked 12 existing studies on the effect of electronic games on upper extremity strength and mobility, finding the repetitiveness and challen…

UW researchers kill cancer cells with oxygen and wormwood compound

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Adding pure oxygen boosts effectiveness of natural compound artemisinin for killing cancer cells

University of Washington researchers studied the compound artemisinin that comes from wormwood, finding adding pure oxygen boosted the ability of artemisinin to kill cancer cells. Scientists have been exploring the anti-cancer potential of the wormwood compound since the 1990’s.
In new research, when the scientists combined pure oxygen with artemisinin, the growth of leukemia cells in the lab was reduced by 38 percent, boosting the effect of the wormwood compound 50 percent.
Oxygen alone stopped cancer cell growth by fifteen percent, but the researchers say using high-pressure oxygen at three-and-a-half times normal air pressuremade the compound even more potent.
“If you combine high-pressure oxygen with artemisinin you can get a much better curing effect,” said author Henry Lai, a UW research professor of bioengineering. “We only measured up to 48 hours. Over longer time periods we expect the…

Less stress could help cancer patients

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Chronic stress shortens telomeres in cancer patients
Reducing chronic stress for cancer patients could improve health outcomes. Researchers collected biological samples in 31 women diagnosed with cervical cancer, then compared two groupsin a study that measured length of telomeres that are found at the end of chromosomes. Telomeres protect genetic information. Shorter length has been linked to shorter lifespan.
The findings showed enhancing quality of life with counseling sessions was associated with longer telomeres. The study also enhances understanding of the mind-body connection.Researchers at the University of California, Irvine conducted the study.

Edward Nelson, M.D., division chief of hematology/oncology at the University said, "For this study, we wanted to know if chronic stress was associated with accelerated telomere shortening in cancer patients, and if a psychosocial intervention that modulates the stress response could also modulate telomere length."
Women with can…

Soybean antioxidants could help fight lung cancer

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Three isoflavones in soy make lung cancer tumors more amenable to radiation treatmentResearchers say genistein in soy is known to help fight lung cancer. New research shows three isoflavones make it harder for cancer cells to survive. The effect of the antioxidants could boost the effect of radiation cancer treatment.The scientists used human cancer cell lines to study the impact of genistein, daidzein and glycitein in soybeans on cancer cells They found the isoflavones are even more potent than genistein that has been used in clinical trial in pill form as a pretreatment for cancer therapy. The scientists studied soy in  A549 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. They say soy damages DNA in cancer cells, making them easier to destroy with radiation.The findings are important because soy is a non-toxic way to treat cancer and won't harm healthy tissue.The study was conducted by Wayne State University's School of Medicine and the Karmanos Cancer Institute and published in th…

Coffee and fatty food dangerous for blood sugar levels

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Researchers find coffee and a fast food meal causes dangerous spikes in blood sugar.In the new study, researchers found a 65 percent increase in blood sugar levels in men who consumed a specially made lipid (fatty) cocktail, followed by caffeine and a sugar drink.
The reason say scientists from University of Guelph, is because saturated fat disrupts communication between the gut and the pancreas that release insulin. Normally, blood sugar is cleared from the body and delivered to muscles for energy, but eating a high fat diet blunts the effect of hormones in the gastrointestinal tract. The effect lasts for hours and can harm body organs. The effect is worse when coffee with caffeine is added.Researcher Marie-Soleil Beaudoin explains, "Ultimately we have found that fat and caffeinated coffee are impairing the communication between the gut and the pancreas, which could be playing a role in why participants couldn't clear the sugar from their blood as easily."The scientists …