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June 7, 2006, 6:49 AM CT

Yoga Helps With Breast Cancer Treatment

Yoga Helps With Breast Cancer Treatment
Women who are undergoing therapy for breast cancer may get benefit from yoga according to a recent report from M.D. Anderson cancer center. The study participants performed regular yoga consisting of meditation, relaxation, imagery, controlled breathing, stretching and physical movements. Women who participated in yoga scored much better in physical well being compared to women who did not participate in yoga.

This was a small pilot study, which focused on 61 women who had surgery for breast cancer and were getting radiation therapy. About half of these women took part in twice a week yoga classes. Other half served as control group.

Investigators assessed the two groups of participants using questionnaires. The questionnaire was aimed at evaluation of their general health and measured factors such as ability to lift groceries walk a mile and perform other physical activities. They also were asked about feelings of fatigue, their sense of well being and other aspects of their quality of life.

The study showed that women who participated in yoga consistently had higher scores in almost every area. Improvement was most marked in areas of a physical function. Woman who participated in yoga had better general health, were less fatigued and had fewer problems with daytime sleepiness. But there were no differences between the groups in measurements of depression or anxiety.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

June 7, 2006, 0:11 AM CT

Lung Cancer Overdiagnosis

Lung Cancer Overdiagnosis
Screening may lead to overdiagnosis of lung cancer, a study reports in the June 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Screening for cancer can find tumors that might not otherwise have been diagnosed in a person's lifetime, a situation called overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis wastes health care resources. Tests and therapy resulting from overdiagnosis can lead to substantial toxicity and even premature death in patients.

Pamela M. Marcus, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and his colleagues surveyed 7,118 participants in the Mayo Lung Project for information on their lung cancer diagnosis, health, and smoking history, and chest scan results after the study's initial follow-up in July 1983. The patients in the initial project had been randomly placed in two groups, one of which underwent multiple screening chest x-rays and spectrum tests used to identify lung cancer.

The authors identified a total of 585 cancers in the patients in the screened arm and 500 cancers in the group that was not screened. They report that the 85 more cancers found in screened patients suggests that screening can lead to lung cancer overdiagnosis.

"Eventhough the magnitude of overdiagnosis in chest x-ray screening appears to be modest, the very real and deleterious role that overdiagnosis plays in mass screening can not be discounted. The newest imaging technologies can detect very small lung abnormalities, but these abnormalities may be clinically unimportant. The question remains as to whether early detection of lung cancer through mass screening results in a net benefit to the public's health." the authors write.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source

June 7, 2006, 0:07 AM CT

Breast Cancer In Younger Black Women

Breast Cancer In Younger Black Women
For decades, scientists have tried to understand why breast cancer in younger black women is such a significant public health problem.

Black women have fewer breast cancers than white women, but their mortality is worse. Black women under the age of 50 have a 77 percent higher mortality rate from breast cancer than white women of the same age.

Results of a study led by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill schools of Public Health and Medicine and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer suggest one reason for these differences.

When younger, premenopausal, black women get breast cancer, they are more than twice as likely as older women, black or white, to get an aggressive breast cancer subtype, the study found. They are also much less likely to get the least aggressive type. A report of the research appears in the June 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"The present study adds an important piece to a large puzzle," said senior study author Dr. Robert Millikan. "Prior studies showed that a number of breast tumors in younger African American women are very fast-growing and hard to treat.

"We found something new: Younger African American breast cancer patients show a high frequency of one of the aggressive subtypes of breast cancer called basal-like," said Millikan, associate professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health, a UNC Lineberger member and principal investigator of the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS). The CBCS, one of the largest black breast cancer databases in the United States, is a population-based case-control study that enrolled women with breast cancer from 24 counties of North Carolina as cases, and an equal number of women without breast cancer as controls. Women who consented to the study were interviewed about their histories, and their tumor tissue was collected. The study mandatory extensive cooperation from all of the women who took part in the study, their physicians and pathologists, and a large number of hospitals in North Carolina.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 6, 2006, 11:50 PM CT

Green Tea And The 'Asian Paradox'

Green Tea And The 'Asian Paradox'
There is a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer in Asia where people smoke heavily, which may be accounted for by high consumption of tea, especially green tea, as per a review article published by a Yale School of Medicine researcher.

"We do still not have a full explanation for the 'Asian paradox,' which refers to the very low incidence of both heart disease and cancer in Asia, even though consumption of cigarettes is greater than in most other countries," said Bauer Sumpio, M.D., professor and Chief of Vascular Surgery in the Department of Surgery. "But we now have some theories."

Sumpio, the lead author of the review in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, said he and colleagues reviewed more than 100 experimental and clinical studies about green tea in writing the article.

He said one theory is that the average 1.2 liters of green tea consumed daily by a number of people in Asia offers the anti-oxidant protective effects of the polyphenolic EGCG. EGCG may prevent LDL oxidation, which has been shown to play a key role in the pathophysiology of arteriosclerosis. EGCG also reduces the amount of platelet aggregation, regulates lipids, and promotes proliferation and migration of smooth muscle cells, which are all factors in reducing cardiovascular disease, he said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

June 6, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Cancer Patients Use Exercise To Feel Better

Cancer Patients Use Exercise To Feel Better
When individuals with breast or prostate cancer followed a moderate, home-based exercise program using resistance bands and walking, the patients had less fatigue during radiation therapys, greater strength and could walk farther and faster in only four weeks, scientists discovered in a pilot study.

"At the end of the study, the patients in the exercise program were averaging more than 12,000 steps a day - which is above the American College of Sports Medicine and Centers for Disease Control recommendations of 10,000 steps a day for healthy people without cancer," said principal investigator Karen Mustian, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester James P. Wilmot Cancer Center.

"The results of this study are extremely promising and I am hopeful this that this type of research is creating a body of knowledge that is focused on treating the whole patient and all of the complexities of cancer," Mustian said.

Mustian presented the results of her randomized, controlled study at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2006 annual meeting in Atlanta on June 5. ASCO awarded her an ASCO Junior Investigator Research Merit Award, given to outstanding early-career scientists to recognize their cancer prevention and control research.

Exercise is emerging as a new therapeutic weapon to help cancer patients manage and reduce side effects and improve quality of life. Studies are beginning to show that exercise is safe and feasible for a number of patients. In her clinical trial, Mustian found that the participants were enthusiastic and adhered well to the exercise program, even though they were older (average age was 60), half of them had received chemotherapy, and 84 percent had already endured a surgery. Still, 95 percent completed the prescribed exercise routine.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 6, 2006, 11:28 PM CT

Obesity Dominates In The Former Soviet Bloc

Obesity Dominates In The Former Soviet Bloc
Obesity is more prevalent in Central and Eastern European countries that formerly comprised the Soviet bloc than in Western European countries, a new Saint Louis University School of Public Health found.

The research - thought to beamong the first studies to focus on environmental risk factors for obesity in Europe - was reported in the June 2006 issue of the European Journal of Public Health.

"I've seen a number of changes in Central and Eastern Europe, which I had suspected could be linked to obesity," says Borsika Rabin, a doctoral student from Hungary at Saint Louis University School of Public Health and lead investigator. "We didn't have too a number of McDonald's before the Soviet bloc collapse began in 1989. So I wasn't surprised by the study results."

The obesity rates in all Western European countries were lower than rates in Central and Eastern European countries.

"This study shows the importance of environmental factors in shaping obesity," Rabin says. "The higher obesity rates in Central and Eastern Europe seem linked to political changes that influence the lifestyle of the inhabitants of those countries. The working environment changed and fast food became more popular."

The Saint Louis University study explored the relationship between the prevalence of obesity in 24 European countries and the economy, types of foods, urbanization, availability of cars and roads, and government characteristics. Scientists examined statistics from 1997 to 2002, after the end of the communist economy in the central and eastern part of Europe.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

June 5, 2006, 11:48 PM CT

Self-injury is prevalent among college students

Self-injury is prevalent among college students Janis Whitlock, right, director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behaviors in the Family Life Development Center, and John Eckenrode, Cornell professor of human development
About 17 percent of college students -- 20 percent of women and 14 percent of men -- report that they have cut, burned, carved or harmed themselves in other ways, reports a new survey by Cornell and Princeton University researchers, the largest study on self-injurious behavior (SIB) in the United States to date.

However, fewer than 7 percent of the students studied had ever sought medical help for their self-inflicted physical injuries.

"Self-injurious behavior is defined as inflicting harm to one's body without the obvious intent of committing suicide," said Janis Whitlock, director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behaviors in the Family Life Development Center (FLDC) at Cornell and lead author of the study, reported in the recent issue of Pediatrics. SIB also may include such behaviors as ripping or pulling skin or hair, biting, bruising and breaking bones, she said.

The findings, the scientists contend, may reflect broader national trends: "Our findings are entirely consistent with nationally representative research in the United Kingdom and with smaller studies in the United States and Canada, which show self-injury to be a widespread phenomenon among adolescents and young adults," said Whitlock, adding, "There is virtually universal consensus among college and secondary-school mental health providers that a number of psychological disorders, including SIB, have increased significantly in the past five years."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 5, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Smoking And Osteoporosis

Smoking And Osteoporosis
Young or old, man or woman, smoker or non-smoker - no matter what category you fit into, cigarette smoke can weaken your bones and increase your risk for fractures, as per new research presented this week at the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis in Toronto.

Smoking has long been known to increase the risk for osteoporosis in women, but the new studies, two conducted in Sweden and one in China, find that smoking also hastens the erosion of men's bones. In addition, the Chinese study demonstrates, for the first time, that even second-hand smoke can significantly increase the risk for osteoporosis and fractures in both men and women.

Bad News from GOOD Study

The deleterious effects of smoking can readily be detected in young bones. That's one conclusion from the Gothenburg Osteoporosis and Obesity Determinants (GOOD) study, which has been following the health of young Swedish men (see conference Abstract No. OC31).

"Though smoking has previously been linked to low bone density in the elderly population, its effects on adolescents has remained controversial. Now, we clearly demonstrate that young smokers also have significant losses in bone density," said Mattias Lorentzon, lead author on the study.

Lorentzon, working with Prof. Claes Ohlsson and his colleagues at the Center for Bone Research at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, measured bone mineral density--a measure of bone strength--in over 1,000 Swedish men between 18 and 20 years old. They found that in smokers, bone density in the spine, hip, and body as a whole, was lower than in their non-smoking peers. The most significant effects were in the hip, where the mineral density was over 5% lower than in non-smokers--typically, a 10% loss of bone mineral density doubles the risk of fracture.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 5, 2006, 11:30 PM CT

High School Teacher Helps Discover New Cancer Drug

High School Teacher Helps Discover New Cancer Drug
Sixteen years ago, when Stuart Shifrin, then a chemistry teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, volunteered to be one of the first teachers in a new research internship program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all he expected from the experience was to see how scientific research is conducted. Instead, his summer research project has developed into a promising new chemotherapy drug.

The Student and Teacher Internship Program, sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and run by the Montgomery County Public Schools, places high school students and teachers in NIH labs to experience science in action. Shifrin, whose father died of colon cancer, asked to work at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He was placed in the lab of Leonard M. Neckers, then a principal investigator in NCI's Medicine Branch. Neckers and his postdoctoral fellow, Luke Whitesell, were examining a group of drugs that appeared to turn malignant cells into normal cells.

"We asked Stuart to put some drugs called benzoquinone ansamycins on cancer cells and tell us what happened," said Neckers. "The literature said these drugs worked by interfering with the cancer cells' tyrosine kinase metabolism, and we wanted to see if that was true." Tyrosine kinases are enzymes that have been implicated in cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 5, 2006, 11:26 PM CT

CAD Detects Breast Cancers

CAD Detects Breast Cancers
Small lesions are very challenging for the radiologist to detect, said Rachel F. Brem, MD, director of breast imaging at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and lead author of the study. The study of 201 women found that CAD was "highly effective in detecting even the smallest lesions, with a sensitivity of 92% for lesions of 5 mm or less," said Dr. Brem. CAD was most effective in detecting cancers measuring 11-15 mm (94%) and least effective in detecting cancers measuring 16-20 mm (80%), Dr. Brem said. Lesion size is important; "cancers smaller than or equal to 1 cm have a better prognosis than cancers greater than 1 cm," she said.

Subtle masses are also difficult to detect, Dr. Brem said. The study found that CAD had a sensitivity of 83% for the smallest masses (those measuring 1-5 mm). It was most sensitive for masses 11-15 mm (91%) and least sensitive for larger masses measuring greater than 20 mm (75%).

CAD systems assist the radiologist by "processing the breast films, using algorithms to detect suspicious areas and highlighting those areas," said Dr. Brem. This study shows that CAD can help in the most difficult-to-detect cases. CAD prompts the radiologist to re-examine the films, and the radiologist decides whether "true areas of concern are present at the highlighted locations before making the final diagnosis," she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Archives of health news blog

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