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March 25, 2006, 10:04 AM CT

Myths About Low Nicotine Cigarettes

Myths About Low Nicotine Cigarettes
A study by scientists at the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that a number of smokers make false inferences about the safety of new low nicotine Quest® cigarettes. This research appears in the recent issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

"This study is the first to evaluate how regular smokers responded to a print ad for Quest cigarettes, a newly developed cigarette marketed as a way to gradually reduce nicotine exposure via smoking cigarettes that are lower in nicotine," said author Caryn Lerman, PhD, Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Science at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor in Penn's School of Medicine and the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Quest® cigarettes are a brand of low-nicotine cigarettes manufactured by Vector Tobacco, Inc., and currently marketed in eight US states. Quest® cigarettes, both regular and menthol, are manufactured with three progressively lower nicotine levels and marketed as allowing smokers to "step-down" nicotine levels to enjoy "nicotine-free smoking." Anti-smoking advocates highlight the long-term health effects - like cancer and emphysema - that result from a lifetime of smoking or chewing tobacco. These maladies, however, are the result of chemicals in cigarettes other than nicotine. While Quest® cigarettes do offer reduced nicotine levels, they do not have progressively less tar and thus, still pose significant health risks. Given evidence that a number of smokers misinterpret the information contained in marketing campaigns for such "light" cigarettes it is important to understand how smokers perceive this newly marketed low nicotine cigarette.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


March 24, 2006, 7:49 AM CT

Age is an independent predictor for breast cancer survival

Age is an independent predictor for breast cancer survival
Scientists and physicians are aware of the fact that young woman with breast cancer have a rather poor outcome. It was thought that this is because young woman are commonly diagnosed at a later stage of breast cancer with more advanced disease compared to older women. But now a study shows that youth on its own was a factor for poor prognosis.

Scientists reached this conclusion by analyzing data from 45,000 women with breast cancer. All women with early stage breast cancer (stage 1) were included in the study and the various age groups were compared. The results were surprising and indicated that being young was an independent indicator of poor survival - regardless of other factors known to be predictive of outcomes in older women such as tumor size, location, hormone receptor status, race, or therapy.

In fact the odds of dying from breast cancer rather than any other disease increased by 5% for every year of a women's age fewer than 45 when diagnosed. For example, a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35 was 50% more likely to die of the disease. The 10-year overall survival probability of a 30-year old patient (85%) was equal to that of a 60-year old, indicating a considerably reduced life expectancy in young patients.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink


March 24, 2006, 0:30 AM CT

No Treatment Is The Right Option

No Treatment Is The Right Option
When Houston restaurateur Tony Masraff was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, his life was packed with dancing, running marathons, playing tennis, gardening, leading a successful business and spending time with his family.

But it wasn't until his doctor at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center advised "watchful waiting" as an option to invasive surgery and radiation that he realized he could continue his active life - free of therapy side effects, but with the cancer.

Masraff is one of about 200 men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer at M. D. Anderson on active surveillance for their disease, having changes monitored through regular Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests, biopsies and check-ups. He also is one of hundreds of thousands of men nationwide who have had their prostate cancer detected by regular PSA tests at such an early stage that managing low-risk disease through surveillance outweighs the risks and possible side effects of therapys.

Now, a new study at M. D. Anderson will follow low-risk patients eligible for watchful waiting to determine if they can avoid or postpone treatment and related side effects, and still live as long as patients who immediately receive invasive treatment. The study will provide key information for the future development of clinical guidelines for watchful waiting.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


March 24, 2006, 0:26 AM CT

A Better Look At Heart

A Better Look At Heart Image courtesy of Yale Medicine
Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a newer development in echocardiography providing doctors with better imaging of the heart. In this procedure, a probe is inserted into the esophagus that transmits radio waves. Those waves are bounced off the heart and provide a moving image that can be seen more clearly than a traditional echocardiogram.

These more in depth images are providing further insight into certain conditions, and how doctors treat them. For example, TEE results were found to change or impact the therapy or evaluation of patients with stroke entities in 22 to 32 percent of individuals. This demonstrates that appropriate care can be improved in a large percentage of these patients by using TEE in the diagnostic work-up.

As a result of this research, TEE is increasingly being utilized in the diagnostic evaluation of patients with stroke, transient ischemic attack, or peripheral embolism.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


March 24, 2006, 0:17 AM CT

Why Older People Quit Smoking?

Why Older People Quit Smoking?
Research reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that elderly women are more likely to quit smoking than elderly men, while results are just the opposite for studies among younger populations.

"Smoking cessation was also observed more frequently among elders who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. In addition, the rate of recidivism (resuming smoking) was only 16 percent among the elderly smokers who quit, whereas prior studies report relapse rates of 35-45 percent, says head researcher Dr. Heather E. Whitson of Duke University Center for Aging." These findings indicate that older smokers may quit smoking for different reasons than younger smokers.

The study did not directly assess the smokers' reasons for quitting, but the authors postulate that factors such as lack of transportation, poor financial situation and dementia might contribute to smoking cessation in older smokers. Regardless of reason, the cessation of smoking may lower the risk of death, even when it occurs at an advanced age. The seven-year death rate among non-quitters in the study was 51.6% compared to only 44% among the quitters (eventhough the difference was not statistically significant).

The Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) conducted a survey of its members to find that only 39 percent of smokers had been advised by their physicians in the past year to stop smoking. Physicians may assume that older smokers are unlikely to give up one their few remaining pleasures. However, the Duke data suggests that further research is needed to understand the unique motivations and potential benefits of smoking cessation in the elderly.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


March 23, 2006, 9:27 PM CT

Eat Salmon To Prevent Prostate Cancer

Eat Salmon To Prevent Prostate Cancer
Everyone knows that eating fish rich in omega-3 fats may protect you from heart attacks. Now there is one more reason to eat fish rich in omega-3 fats. Recent research has shown that fish that contains good amounts of omega-3 fats may actually protect men from prostate cancer.

Omega-3 fatty acids together with omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that the body cannot synthesize. This has to be supplied from external sources and is shown to protect from heart attacks.

Rich sources of Omega-6 fats include vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. Omega 3 fats are found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel.

This study led by Dr Mick Brown found while Omega-6 increased the spread of tumor cells into bone marrow, omega-3 blocked the spread.

"We only need about half as much omega-3 as omega-6 - that will still stop cancer cells from spreading," Dr Mick Brown said.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink


March 23, 2006, 9:13 PM CT

Which Esophageal Cancer Patient Will Respond To Treatment

Which Esophageal Cancer Patient Will Respond To Treatment
New research at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center shows that Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is more accurate than conventional imaging in identifying patients who have good responses to chemotherapy and radiation therapy -- a finding that could one day help some patients avoid surgery.

The results, from a study of 64 patients with esophageal cancer, are reported in the recent issue of Annals of Surgery. PET, a technology that produces images of the metabolic function of tissue, was used to test patients for cancer after therapy with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation (chemoradiation).

"While additional multi-center studies are needed, the research clearly shows that PET is a useful tool for identifying patients who respond well to chemoradiation," said Edward A. Levine, M.D., lead investigator. "Being able to identify these responders may alter the need to take some patients to surgery."

Over the past two decades, the most common therapy for esophageal cancer has been chemoradiation followed by surgery. Even with these therapys, the prognosis is poor for most patients, with long-term control rates of 25 to 35 percent. Some patients, however, respond well to chemoradiation and have improved long-term survival.

Identifying which patients will respond to chemoradiation alone -- and perhaps avoid surgery to remove part of the esophagus -- has been difficult. Conventional imaging, including both computed tomography (CT) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), are poor predictors of response to chemoradiation.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


March 23, 2006, 7:24 AM CT

Avastin And Taxol For Breast Cancer

Avastin And Taxol For Breast Cancer
Avastin, and anti-angiogenesis drug is now showing promise in the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer. A new research led by Dr Robin Zon, of Michiana Hematology-Oncology, PC in South Bend, Indiana has shown that combining Avastin with Taxol improves outcome in patients with metastatic breast cancer. The study has shown that a combination of Avastin and Taxol is more effective in prevention of progression of breast cancer compared to using Taxol alone.

Avastin is an anti-angiogenesis drug that works by blocking the formation of new blood vessels by the growing cancer cells. Some claim that the combination of chemotherapy and Avastin works better by facilitating chemotherapy delivery to the cancer cells.

This new research studied effectiveness of Avastin in combination with Taxol. The study enrolled in total of 722 patients with advanced breast cancer. The study found that combination of Avastin and Taxol was capable of keeping the cancer stable for a period of 11.4 months in women who received the drug combo compared to 6.11 months in patients who had only been given Taxol.

Researchers say that this presents yet another option for patients with advanced breast cancer. "These results are good news for people with breast cancer," said Zon who presented the results of the trial sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute at the 5th European Breast Cancer Conference in Nice, France.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink


March 22, 2006, 11:30 PM CT

"Executive" Monkeys Influenced by Other Executives

When high-ranking monkeys are shown images of other monkeys glancing one way or the other, they more readily follow the gaze of other high-ranking monkeys, Duke University Medical Center neurobiologists have discovered. By contrast, they tend to ignore glance cues from low-status monkeys; while low-status monkeys assiduously follow the gaze of all other monkeys.

The discovery represents more than a confirmation of what most people believe about their bosses, said the researchers. The findings reveal that gaze-following is more than a reflex action; that it also involves lightning-fast social perception.

Such a discovery in monkeys gives the scientists an invaluable animal model that enables them to tease apart the reflexive-versus-social mechanisms that govern behavior, they said.

In particular, they can begin to understand the physiology and neural machinery of status, they said. Further animal studies will enable them to use drugs and genetic analysis to figure out what hormonal and/or genetic influences determine who becomes the monkey or human equivalent of Donald Trump, and who becomes a Woody Allen.

The scientists -- graduate student Stephen Shepherd, postdoctoral fellow Robert Deaner and Assistant Professor of Neurobiology Michael Platt -- published their findings in the Feb. 21, 2006, issue of Current Biology. The research was supported by the Cure Autism Now Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 22, 2006, 11:26 PM CT

Emotional Benefits From Online Support Groups

Emotional Benefits From Online Support Groups
Women with breast cancer who participate in computer support groups can obtain emotional benefits when they openly express themselves in ways that help them make sense of their cancer experience, as per a new study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center of Excellence in Cancer Communications Research (CECCR).

"Even though there are a number of women with breast cancer participating in online support groups, this is among the first research studies to demonstrate measurable benefits from participation in such groups," says Bret Shaw, lead author of the study, funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The analysis was conducted on message transcripts from 66 breast cancer patients participating in an online support group member that was integrated with the "Living with Breast Cancer" program, a computer-based health education and support system. The patients were recruited from Madison, Chicago and Indianapolis.

Text messages within the computer-mediated support groups were analyzed using a text analysis program, which measured the percentage of words that were suggestive of learning or understanding (e.g., aware, feels, know, realize, see, think and understand). A higher percentage of these insightful words were associated with improved emotional well-being and reduced negative mood in follow-up surveys.........

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.

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