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October 18, 2006, 10:43 PM CT

Hospital food not good enough

Hospital food not good enough
Montclair, NJ - October 18, 2006 -- Substantial nutrient loss in food occurs in hospital foodservice operations, according to research recently published in the Journal of Foodservice. The study quantifies how much Vitamin C, as a marker of nutrient quality, is retained at various stages of processing at two New Jersey hospitals.

The nutrient quality of Vitamin C was significantly reduced as a food sample progressed to patients by as much as 86% at a hospital in an inner-city neighborhood. Since many nutrients, including Vitamin C, degrade at high temperatures, this loss may be result from food being heated to a temperature much higher than recommended by hospital foodservice so as to still be warm when served to patients.

As improved nutritional status correlates with faster healing and recovery, leading to reduced hospital stays, hospitals need improved cooking methods to reduce the loss of nutrients in foods served to patients. Physicians, dietitians, and menu planners rely on published standard nutritional values, but these standards are derived from experiments made in ideal conditions and fail to consider the various handling, holding, and delivery methods that are common in hospitals. A more vigorous approach to patient nutrition is needed, both in terms of food preparation methods and in assessing the actual nutritional status of patients.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

October 18, 2006, 10:38 PM CT

Cancer Stem Cells Linked To Radiation Resistance

Cancer Stem Cells Linked To Radiation Resistance
Certain types of brain cancer cells, called cancer stem cells, help brain tumors to buffer themselves against radiation therapy by activating a "repair switch" that enables them to continue to grow unchecked, scientists at Duke University Medical Center have found.

The scientists also identified a method that appears to block the cells' ability to activate the repair switch following radiation therapy. This finding may lead to the development of therapies for overcoming radiation resistance in brain cancer as well as other types of cancer, the scientists said.

Working with animal and cell culture models, the scientists observed that a specific cellular process called the "DNA damage checkpoint response" appears to enable cancer stem cells to survive exposure to radiation and to switch on a signal to automatically repair any damage caused to their DNA.

"In recent years, people have hypothesized that cancer stem cells are responsible for the resistance of cancerous tumors to radiation therapy," said Jeremy Rich, M.D., senior investigator of the study and an associate professor of neurology at Duke. "We have shown, for the first time, that this is indeed the case".

The findings appear Oct. 18, 2006, in the advance online edition of the journal Nature. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and many philanthropic organizations [complete list below].........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

October 17, 2006, 9:55 PM CT

Femara More Effective Than Nolvadex

Femara More Effective Than Nolvadex
Scientists affiliated with the BIG-98 trial comparing Femara® (letrozole) to Nolvadex® (tamoxifen) have reported that longer follow-up confirms the superiority of Femara in postmenopausal women with early, hormone-positive breast cancer. The details of this follow-up study were presented at the 2006 annual European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) meeting in Istanbul in October.

Femara is an aromatase agent that is approved for first-line therapy of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive or hormone receptor-unknown locally advanced breast cancer; metastatic breast cancer; advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women with disease progression following anti-estrogen treatment; and as neo-adjuvant treatment. It is also approved for extended adjuvant treatment in early breast cancer, following 5 years of therapy with Nolvadex, based on phase III clinical trial results. Several clinical trials are ongoing to help elucidate optimal timing and/or sequencing of aromatase agents and Nolvadex in the therapy of hormone-positive women with breast cancer in the adjuvant setting, and it appears that aromatase agents are providing superior results to those of Nolvadex in several settings in the therapy of hormone-positive breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

October 17, 2006, 9:45 PM CT

Ethnic Variations In Hormone Levels

Ethnic Variations In Hormone Levels
Scientists have known that a woman's natural hormone levels can affect her risk of developing breast cancer. A new study from the University of Southern California (USC) has observed that the natural levels of estrogens in post-menopausal women varies by ethnicity and race, and may explain the differences in the groups' breast cancer rates. The study appears in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Using data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study, V. Wendy Setiawan, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and her colleagues determined that of the five primary ethnicities/races in the cohort, native Hawaiians have the highest risk of breast cancer--65 percent greater than whites. They also had some of the highest levels of circulating estrogens.

"We had found that some groups, such as native Hawaiians have higher breast cancer rates in comparison to white women. We knew hormones are a factor, so we decided to test them," says Setiawan. "The research seems to support that idea".

The scientists also observed that Japanese-American women have comparatively high estrogen levels and the second highest breast cancer risk of the five groups. "This is interesting because breast cancer rates have been increasing steadily in Japanese women who live in the United States, as well as in women who live in Japan," Setiawan says. "We think it could be caused by changes in lifestyle that impact age at first menstruation or other factors."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

October 17, 2006, 9:42 PM CT

New Research To Cut Animal Testing

New Research To Cut Animal Testing
Researchers at The University of Manchester have been awarded £130,000 to develop new techniques to reduce the need for animals in drug testing.

Current checks to establish whether a new drug is carcinogenic can be inconclusive and require further testing on live animals to establish whether they are harmful or not.

Dr Richard Walmsley and colleagues at the University spin-out company he founded, Gentronix, have developed techniques using cultured human cells to more effectively weed out cancer-causing compounds.

"The current pre-animal tests that are used are highly sensitive and so most carcinogens are identified," said Dr Walmsley, who is based in the Faculty of Life Sciences.

"Unfortunately, such tests have poor specificity and a lot of safe compounds are also wrongly identified as potential carcinogens. This means that animal testing is still carried out, in case such compounds turn out to be safe.

"The testing process developed at Gentronix has proven very reliable at telling us whether a drug will cause cancer but some chemicals, called promutagens, only become carcinogenic once they have passed through the body's liver.

"This grant will help us develop new non-animal experiments to identify these other toxic compounds and so reduce the need for animal testing".........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source

October 17, 2006, 9:30 PM CT

Bacteria Increase Risk Of Stomach Cancer

Bacteria Increase Risk Of Stomach Cancer
The bacteria Helicobacter pylori substantially increase the risk of cancer in the lower stomach, but it may decrease the risk of cancer near the junction between the esophagus and the stomach, as per a research studyin the October 19 Journal of the National Cancer Institute. This finding may help explain the changing rates and distributions of these cancers in Western countries over the past century.

Infection with H. pylori, which is known to cause ulcers, has also been linked to certain types of gastric cancer, but the strength of association varies with where the cancer is located in the stomach. Two types of gastric cancer usually exist -- cardia, or cancer of the upper stomach joining the esophagus; and noncardia, or cancer of the lower stomach.

A group of scientists led by Farin Kamangar, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., selected 234 cardia and noncardia gastric cancer patients in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study and matched them to controls. They assessed all of the subjects for H. pylori infection by testing their blood for antibodies that indicate previous infection.

The authors observed that the subjects infected with H. pylori had a higher risk of developing noncardia gastric cancer and a lower risk of developing cardia gastric cancer. They suggest that a decrease in H. pylori infections during the past century may be one reason that researchers have observed increasing rates of cardia and decreasing rates of noncardia gastric cancers in Western countries.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source

October 17, 2006, 9:26 PM CT

Childhood Cancer Survivors May Have Low Birth Weight Children

Childhood Cancer Survivors May Have Low Birth Weight Children
Female childhood cancer survivors may face pregnancy problems, including early deliveries and low birth weight children, as per a research studyin the October 19 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

New therapies for childhood cancer patients have increased survival, but a number of researchers are concerned about the long-term effects of the therapys, especially for patients exposed to radiation and chemotherapy.

Lisa B. Signorello, Sc.D., of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Md., and his colleagues assessed the records of 1,264 female participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and their 2,201 children. They compared them with 601 cancer-free siblings of survivors and their 1,175 children. The authors assessed possible long-term effects from therapy, such as preterm births, low birth weight, and having babies who were small for their gestational age.

The authors observed that survivors' children were more likely than those of siblings to be born early or underweight. The risk was highest when a survivor had their uterus exposed to pelvic radiation as a child.

"Radiotherapy to the pelvis may raise the risks of both preterm birth and restricted fetal growth," they write.

In an accompanying editorial, Leslie Schover, Ph.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, discusses the study and the overall interest in preserving fertility for childhood cancer survivors. "Given the complex terrain our young survivors need to traverse, we should design patient and professional education materials that map out the paths to making informed decisions".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

October 17, 2006, 9:21 PM CT

Virtual Colonoscopy Prevents Colorectal Cancer

Virtual Colonoscopy Prevents Colorectal Cancer Image courtesy of Vision system
Three-dimensional computed tomography (CT) colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy, is an accurate screening method for colorectal cancer, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of the journal Radiology. In addition, when covered by third-party payers, virtual colonoscopy may entice more people to be screened.

"Our positive experience with virtual colonoscopy screening covered by health insurance demonstrates its enormous potential for increasing compliance for colorectal cancer prevention and screening," said lead author Perry J. Pickhardt, M.D., associate professor of radiology at The University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison. "In addition, recent technical improvements have resulted in even better performance results".

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States, and the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be 148,610 new cases diagnosed in 2006 and 55,170 deaths. The disease is largely preventable through screening for colon polyps, which are non-malignant growths that may develop into cancer if not removed. ACS recommends that people at average risk for colorectal cancer begin regular colorectal cancer screening at age 50, but current compliance with this recommendation remains well below 50 percent. A number of people resist screening because of the discomfort and inconvenience caused by the standard optical colonoscopy test.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source

October 17, 2006, 5:02 AM CT

Older Breast Cancer Patients May Be Under-treated

Older Breast Cancer Patients May Be Under-treated
Elderly breast cancer patients who received care in a community hospital setting may have been under-diagnosed, under-staged and under-treated, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The number of older patients with breast cancer has increased along with overall elderly population, as per background information in the article. About half of patients with breast cancer are older than 65 years and 35 percent are older than 70; 77 percent of breast cancer deaths occur in women older than 55. Choosing the appropriate therapy for older patients is a challenge, because a number of have other serious illnesses in addition to their cancer that may threaten their health and shorten their lives. Questions remain about the best screening protocols for elderly women, as well. Some current guidelines suggest that women stop having mammograms at age 70, while others provide no upper limit.

David A. Litvak, M.D., then of Michigan State University, Lansing, and now at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Orange County, Calif., and Rajeev Arora, M.D., used a tumor registry database to identify 354 women age 70 or older who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1992 and 2002 at a community hospital. The scientists studied the group of women as a whole and also divided them into three age groups for analysis: ages 70 to 74 (136 patients), 75 to 79 (115 patients) and 80 or older (103 patients).........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

October 17, 2006, 4:57 AM CT

Vitamin D Can Fight Breast Cancer

Vitamin D Can Fight Breast Cancer
Vitamin D may help curb breast cancer progression, as per a research studypublished recently in the Journal of Clinical Pathology.

The authors, from Imperial College London, measured the levels of vitamin D in the blood serum of 279 women with invasive breast cancer. The disease was in its early stages in 204 of the women, and advanced in the remaining 75.

The results showed that women with early stage disease had significantly higher levels of vitamin D (15 to 184 mmol/litre) than the women in the advanced stages of the disease (16 to 146 mmol/litre).

The authors say that the exact reasons for the disparity are not clear, nor is it known whether the lowered levels of vitamin D among those with advanced disease are a cause or a consequence of the cancer itself. However, the researchers' results, taken together with results from prior studies, lead them to think that lowered levels of vitamin D may promote the progression of the disease to its advanced stages.

Laboratory studies have shown that vitamin D stops cancer cells from dividing and enhances cancer cell death. Vitamin D sufficiency and exposure to sunlight has been shown to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. The body produces its own vitamin D in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. The vitamin is also found in certain foods, including eggs and fatty fish.........

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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