Posts Tagged ‘research’

Exercise—Any Physical Activity Saves Lives

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Physical activity of any kind can raise the heart rate, prevent heart disease and death and help people meet the current guidelines of 30 minutes  a day or 150 minutes a week according to a new study published in the Lancet. The study involved more than 130,000 people in 17 countries. People from low and middle income countries who often do not participate in leisure time physical activities were included. Researchers said “By including low and middle income countries in this study, we were able to determine the benefits of activities such as active commuting,. having an active job, or even doing housework. ” He also said one in four people worldwide do not meet the current activity guidelines and that number is nearly three in four in Canada.

Using the new criteria of activity influenced the death rates of all diseases and and heart disease 28% and 20%. They also found that those who had brisk walking 750 minutes a week reduced their risk of death by 36%They also found that less than 3% of the people achieved that level with leisure activities but 38% did with activities such as commuting, being active at work, and doing housework. They concluded that if people could be active for at least 150 minutes a week, a total of 8% of deaths could be prevented..

Increased Breast Cancer risk in Women Related to Night Lights

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

 

A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives concluded that women who live in areas with higher levels of outdoor lights at night may be at a greater risk of breast cancer than women in areas of lower light,  The link was stronger among women who worked nights  Previous studies have found that exposure to light at night may lead to decreased levels of the hormone melatonin that can effect our circadian rhythms and lead to breast cancer.

In the study nearly 110,000 women enrolled in the Nurses Health Study II between 1989 and 2013 were evaluated. Data on night satellite images of earth residential addresses were linked to for each participant and also considered night work or not. Data on health and socioeconomic factors were also considered.  Women exposed to the upper level of light at night (the top fifth) had an estimated 14% increase in breast cancer during the study period than those in the lowest fifth.  As the light increased outside so did the risk of breast cancer.

This relationship was found only among women who were premenopausal and those who were current or past smokers. In addition, the link was stronger among women who worked nights. The researchers said further research is needed.

 

New Cervical Cancer Diagnostic Test has Minimal Discomfort.

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

 

A new diagnostic test for cervical cancer that could replace the colposcope (usually used following an abnormal pap smear) is less painful and minimizes discomfort according to new research published in Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease .In the colposcope a metal instrument is used  to obtain a small sampling of cells inside the cervix that is often painful for the patient and does not always provide good results.

An alternate device called the fabric -based endocervical curettage used a fabric hook similar to that found on the rough side of Velcro to do the sampling instead of the metal scraping. The hook simultaneously biopsies, traps, and stores the tissue for transport to the lab. Researchers said “We have found that the new fabric device has significantly fewer  “inadequate” specimens—meaning patients did not need to return for repeat biopsies. ” “This new device means patients will get better results, with fewer patients needing repeat biopsies, which can increase patient satisfaction.”

A sample of 81 physicians and nurse colposcopists who switched from the old metal version (January, 2010 to July 2011)  to the new fabric version (Sept 2011 to October, 2013) were included. The researchers looked at pathology lab results for the two periods. They found the new device is not sharp and removes the appropriate amount of cells with minimal discomfort. “Because the biopsy gets more tissue, it is able to find more precancerous cells. This could be the difference between intervening early before someone develops cancer and waiting until it has grown larger.”

Green Tea may Improve Memory Impairment, and Reduce Brain Insulin Resistance, and Obesity.

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Green tea components may alleviate high-fat and high-fructose (HFFD)-induced insulin resistance and cognitive impairment.according to a new study published in The FASEB Journal. Previous studies identified the potential of EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) to treat a variety of human diseases but none recognized the impact on insulin resistance According to researchers “Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water, and is grown in at least 30 countries.” “The ancient habit of drinking green tea may be a more acceptable alternative to medicine when it comes to combating obesity, insulin resistance, and memory impairment.”

Three month old male mice  C57BL/6J were divided into 3 groups based upon diet:1) a control group fed with a standard diet: 2) a group fed with a  high fat and high fructose diet (HFFD) and 3) a group fed with an HFFD and 2 grams of EGCG per liter of drinking water.  Mice were monitored for 16 weeks and researchers found that those fed with HFFD had a higher final body weight than the HFFD+EGCG micIn performing a Morris water maze test, the mice in the HFFTD took longer to find the platform than the mice in the control group. The HFFD+EGCG group had a significantly lower  escape latency and escape distance than the HFFD group on each test day. When the hiden platform was removed to perform a probe trial, HFFD treated mice spent less time in the target quadrant compared to the control group, with fewer platfrorm crossings. The HFFD+EGCG group exhibited a significant increase in the average time spent in the target quadrant and had greater numbers of platform crossings, showing that EGCG could improve HFFD-induced memory impairment. .

Dementia: Are Some Cases Preventable.

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Recent research published in Lancet and reported by the first Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care stated that managing lifestyle factors such as hearing loss, smoking, hypertension, and depression could prevent one-third of the world’s dementia cases. They also said nonpharmacological interventions such as social contact and exercise for people with dementia are beneficial. Researchers said “There’s been a great deal of focus on developing medicines to prevent dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.” ” But we can’t lose sight of the real major advances we’ve already made in treating dementia, including preventive approaches.”

Twenty four international experts were brought together to systematically review existing research and provide evidence=based recommendations for treating and preventing dementia. Nine risk factors were identified in early, mid and late life that increase the likelihood of developing dementia. They said by increasing education in early life and addressing hearing loss, hypertension, and obesity dementia could be reduced by up to 20 percent. In late life stopping smoking, treating depression, increasing physical activity, increasing social activities, and managing diabetes could reduce dementia by another 15 percent. Evaluating medications they said “Antipsychotic drugs are commonly used to treat agitation and aggression. but there are substantial concern about these drugs because of an increased risk of death, cardiovascular adverse events and infections, not to mention excessive sedation.”

Colorectal Cancer Impacted by High Fat Diets

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Cancer stem cell growth in the colon is enhanced by a high fat western diet according to new research in Stem Cell Research. It has been known that 80% of colorectal cancers are associated with poor diet but until now the mechanism was unknown. In their pre-clinical model the cancer stem cell growth in the colon, believed to be partially responsible for the spread and recurrence of cancer, was enhanced by a high-fat Western diet  when researchers blocked the JAK2-STAT3 cellular signaling pathway, a pathway known to promote tumor growth, the spike in cancer stem cell growth caused by the high fat diet declined.

Researchers said “We have known the influence of diet on colorectal cancer. However, these new findings are the first to show the connection between high-fat intake and colon cancer via a specific molecular pathway.” “We can now build upon this knowledge to develop new treatments aimed at blocking this pathway and reducing the negative impact of a high-fat diet on colon cancer risk.”

Liquid Biopsy/ Evaluating Cancer Treatment

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Liquid Biopsy, a blood test that detects circulating DNA tumor DNA, may not only sound an early alert that a treatment effect is diminishing but may also may offer clues about what to do next according to a new study published   Researchers say “We have shown that integrating regular liquid biopsy into our patient routine care is feasible and easily incorporated into clinical practice.” ” This technology can precisely help us understand each patient’s individual disease course and allows us to tailor care based on an understanding of their significant disease biology.”

In the study 40 patients with various forms of gastro-intestinal (GI) cancers who had previously responded to treatment that stopped were included. Liquid biopsies were done when their disease began to progress and circulating tumor DNA in the blood was analyzed for genetic mutation that might be making patients resistant to treatment. Thirty one of the 40 patients had at least one mutation, and 14 had more than 1 mutation. It was interesting that about two thirds of patients  had traditional biopsies taken at the same time and the liquid biopsy picked up extra mutations that could not be seen in the tissue biopsy. Researchers said “Identifying what specific mutations are responsible for treatment resistance is very important in helping clinicians choosing what treatment path  a patient should try next, whether it be another drug or prehaps radiation.”

Although liquid biopsies are not widely used outside the research setting, the researchers believe they are about to transform cancer treatment. The researchers say “We have shown this approach to be feasible across different GI cancers.” “Thew next step is to study how best to use this technology in daily practice.”

NB>I came across liquid biopsies a couple months ago while working on content for my cancer website .  I will have the test information on the site within the next month  as it is used to detect cancer and can do so before many other tests. However, the major problem now is that the cost can be up to $4,500.

Does the Presence of a Smart Phone Reduce Brain Smarts.

Friday, June 30th, 2017

A new study discussed on CBS news  concluded that participants in the study with smart phones in another room significantly outperformed those with  their smartphones on their desk so that your cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when your smartphone is within reach–even if it is off. Studies were conducted with about 800 smartphone users in an attempt to measure how well people can complete tasks when they have their smartphones nearby even though turned off.

In one study participants were asked to sit at the computer and take a series of tests that required full concentration to score well. The tests measured the available cognitive ability of participants. Before beginning participants were randomly instructed on their desk with the face down, in their pocket or personal bag, or in another room. All were instructed to turn the phones to silence. Researchers found that those with their smartphone in another room significantly outperformed those with it on the desk, and slightly outperformed those with it in a pocket or bag.

In another study researchers looked at how a person’s self reported smartphone dependence or the strength of their reported need for a smartphone to get through a typical day– affected cognitive capacity.  Subjects performed the same series of computer-based tests as the first group and were randomly assigned to either keep their smart phones either in sight on the desk face up, in a pocket or bag, or in another room. In this study, some subjects were also asked to turn off the smartphones. Researchers found that subjects who were the most dependent on their smartphones performed worse compared with their less-dependent peers, but only when their smartphones were on the desk or in their pocket or bag. Researchers also found that it did not matter whether smartphones were turned off or on, or whether it was face down or faced up. But having a smartphone within sight or easy reach reduced a persons ability to focus and perform tasks because part of their brain was active working to not pick up the phone.

Cannabis Health Risk Lowered with Public Health Guidelines

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health reported that Canada’s Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines that were released with the endorsement of key public health and medical organizations provide ten science-based recommendations to enable cannabis users to reduce their health risk. Canada has one of the highest cannabis use rates in the world and related problems range from memory and physical coordination problems, to motor vehicle accidents and mental health or dependence problems.

Researchers noted that as Canada moves toward legalization with the federal Cannabis Act it was a good time to educate and inform cannabis users on order to reduce or prevent cannabis-related health issues. They said “Factual, science-based information can provide guidance to cannabis users to make choices that reduce both immediate and long-term risks top their health.” They continue “Cannabis use carries with it real health risks, and mitigating those risks for Canadians–particularly young Canadians–must be the first priority.” “The CMA (Canadian Medical Association) continues to recommend a broad policy approach focused in preventing problematic drug use, ensuring the availability of assessment and treatment services for those who wish to stop using, and harm reduction to increase the safety for those who are using.”

Guidelines include abstaining, and the elevated potential of  risk related to initiating use at an young age, using high potency products, alternative delivery system, heavy use and driving, and identifying people at higher risks of problems with concrete recommendations for risk reduction in each case.

Meditation/Yoga Reverse DNA Response Underlying Stress

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

 

A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology reviewed over a decade of studies  analyzing how our genes are affected by different Mind-Body Interventions and and concluded meditation, yoga and Tai Chi don’t simply relax us, they can reverse the molecular reactions in our DNA which cause ill-health and depression. Researchers reviewed 18 studies with 846 participants over 11 years and found a pattern of molecular changes that happened in the body as a result of the mind-body interventions.  Those changes benefited the mental and physical health of the participants.

When a person is exposed to a stressful situation, their sympathetic nervous system is triggered  that in turn increases production of af a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) that regulates how the genes are expressed. KF-kB translates stress by activating genes to produce protein called cytokines that cause inflammation at the cellular level-a reaction that is useful for short term fight or flight reactions. But if this persists it lead to a higher risk of cancer. accelerated aging, and psychiatric disorders like depression.  Researchers found, however, that people who practice mind-body interventions exhibit the opposite effect-that is, a decrease in production of NF-kB and cytolines, leading to a reversal of the pro-inflammatory gene expression pattern and a reduction in the risk of inflammation-related diseases and conditions.

Researchers said “These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverse the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our well-being.” “More needs to be done to understand these effects in greater depth, for example how they compare with other healthy interventions like exercise or nutrition. But this is an important foundation to build on to help future researchers explain the benefits of increasingly popular mind-body activities.”