Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Charred meat ups cancer risk

WASHINGTON - REGULARLY eating meat cooked at a high temperature, to the point of charring, could increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 60 per cent, researchers said on Tuesday.

'Our findings in this study are further evidence that turning down the heat when grilling, frying, and barbecuing to avoid excess burning or charring of the meat may be a sensible way for some people to lower their risk for getting pancreatic cancer,' said Kristin Anderson of the University of Minnesota, who led the study.

Dr Anderson said the research, presented at the meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, in Denver, Colorado, found that well and very well done meats cooked by frying, grilling or barbecuing formed carcinogens.

Meat that is baked, stewed or cooked at lower temperatures does not form carcinogens, she added.

The study tracked the eating habits of 62,581 healthy people over nine years, after which 208 cases of pancreatic cancer were found.

Subjects who preferred very well done steak were nearly 60 per cent as likely to get pancreatic cancer as those who ate stake less well done or did not eat meat at all.

'Those with the highest intake of very well-done meat had a 70 per cent higher risk for pancreatic cancer over those with the lowest consumption,' Dr Anderson said.

'We cannot say with absolute certainty that the risk is increased due to carcinogens formed in burned meat,' said Dr Anderson.

'However, those who enjoy either fried or barbecued meat should consider turning down the heat or cutting off burned portions when it's finished; cook meat sufficiently to kill bacteria without excess charring,' Dr Anderson said.

She also said that the precursors of cancer-causing compounds can be reduced 'by microwaving the meat for a few minutes and pouring off the juices before cooking it on the grill.' -- AFP

Walnuts prevent breast cancer

'Walnuts contain multiple ingredients that, individually, have been shown to slow cancer growth including omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols,' Dr Hardman's team wrote in a summary presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting in Denver. -- ST PHOTO: ALAN LIM

WASHINGTON - BY EATING walnuts, women could reduce their risk of breast cancer, researchers said on Tuesday.

Researchers at Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia, found that lab mice bred to develop breast cancer had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer if fed the human equivalent of a handful of walnuts a day.

'Walnuts are better than cookies, french fries or potato chips when you need a snack,' Elaine Hardman, one of the researchers working on the study, said in a statement.

Dr Hardman said while the study was done with laboratory animals, likely the same mechanism would be at work in people.

'Walnuts contain multiple ingredients that, individually, have been shown to slow cancer growth including omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols,' Dr Hardman's team wrote in a summary presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting in Denver.

The researchers used specially bred mice that normally always develop breast cancer. Half got the human equivalent of two ounces of walnuts per day and half got a normal diet.

The mice eating the walnuts had fewer and smaller breast tumours and those that did get them got them later than the other mice.

'These laboratory mice typically have 100 per cent tumour incidence at five months; walnut consumption delayed those tumours by at least three weeks,' Dr Hardman said in a statement.

'It is clear that walnuts contribute to a healthy diet that can reduce breast cancer.' The study adds to evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can provide a range of health benefits, from preventing heart disease to lowering cancer risks.

Scientists have been unsure whether the types found in nuts and leafy green vegetables work as well as the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. -- REUTERS

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Breastfeeding 'protects mother'

Women who breastfeed their babies may be lowering their own risk of a heart attack, heart disease or stroke, research suggests.

A US study found women who breastfed for more than a year were 10% less likely to develop the conditions than those who never breastfed.

Even breastfeeding for at least a month may cut the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The research features in the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting breastfeeding has health benefits for both mother and baby.

Research has found that breastfeeding reduces a woman's risk of ovarian and breast cancer and osteoporosis in later life.

And the list of benefits for the baby is long, with breast milk credited with protecting against obesity, diabetes, asthma and infections of the ear, stomach and chest.

The latest US study, by the University of Pittsburgh, focused on nearly 140,000 post-menopausal women.

On average, it had been 35 years since the women had last breastfed - suggesting the beneficial impact lasts for decades.

As well as cutting the risk of heart problems, breastfeeding for more than a year cut the risk of high blood pressure by 12%, and diabetes and high cholesterol by around 20%.

Fat stores

It has been suggested that breastfeeding may reduce cardiovascular risk by reducing fat stores in the body.

However, the researchers believe the effect is more complex, with the release of hormones stimulated by breastfeeding also playing a role.

Researcher Dr Eleanor Bimla Schwarz said: "We have known for years that breastfeeding is important for babies' health; we now know that it is important for mothers' health as well.

"Breastfeeding is an important part of the way women's bodies recover from pregnancy.

"When this process is interrupted women are more likely to have a number of health problems (including heart attacks and strokes).

"The longer a mother nurses her baby, the better for both of them."

In the UK, the Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months.

June Davison, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Breastfeeding has long been thought to be beneficial to baby and mother.

"This research suggests that it might have also have heart health benefits for mum too.

"However, it only showed an association between breast feeding and these health benefits. We will need further research to understand why this is the case."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Over 30,000 New Cases Of Cancer Annually In Algeria

ALGIERS, April 17 -- More than 30, 000 new cases of cancer are recorded nationwide every year according to the data of tumour register in Pierre & Marie Curie anti-cancer centre (CPMC), unveiled Professor Doudja Hamouda from the Public Health Institute in El Biar here.

Quoting Hamouda, who was speaking on the occasion of the first days on radiotherapy held at the military hospital of Ain Naadja, Algerian news agency (APS) said that the tumour registry data of CPMC for the period 1993-2007 reported nearly 50.3 percent of cases among women and nearly 49.7 percent of cases among men.

The rate of disease is 83.4 percent per 100,000 population for males and 85.9 per 100 000 population among women, she said.

For women, breast cancer ranks first with 4,541 cases (29 percent) in 2007 followed by cancer of the cervix with 1,612 cases (10.5 percent) of colorectal cancer with 1,882 cases (7.1 percent) and then of thyroid cancer with 737 cases (4.8 percent).

As for men, lung cancer comes in first position with 1,681 cases (12.3 percent), colorectal cancer with 1,180 (8.6 percent), prostate cancer with 1,169 (8.5 percent), skin cancer with 1,005 cases (7.3 percent) and cancer of the digestive tract with 942 cases (6.9 percent).

Up to 8,706 cases of cancer in early stages were identified in 2007 in both sexes, 6,093 cases in the second stage and 4,202 cases in the third stage, the same source added.

For children, 1,267 cases were recorded during the same year with 748 boys (59 percent) and 519 females (41 percent) or some 23 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for the first category and some 16 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for the second category, since leukemia is a top cancers in children.

CPMC register indicates that for this therapy is that 12,376 patients have undergone surgery the same year, 2,031 in the centre and 1,543 indicated in the private sector.

Some 9,712 patients have undergone treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the public sector.

According to estimates by the CPMC, the number of cancer is known to increase in Algeria in 2012 to more than 34,000 cases per year.

Experts attribute this increase to several factors including the change of diet, environmental pollution and increasing life expectancy.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

New tool for cancer diagnosis

CHICAGO - A NEW imaging technique that uses tiny, dye-containing particles to 'fingerprint' proteins within a single cell may lead to better ways to diagnose and treat cancer, US researchers said on Tuesday.

If the technique succeeds on a larger scale, it could improve the ability not only to diagnose cancers, but to determine how aggressive a tumour is and how likely it is to respond to therapy.

'We could use it for diagnosis and maybe to help plan an appropriate treatment for a specific indication,' said Cathy Shachaf, a researcher at Stanford University whose study appears in the Public Library of Science Journal PLoS One.

Ms Shachaf said the effort is designed to give doctors a better look at the machinery inside a cell.

'Different types of cells are active in cancer,' Ms Shachaf said. 'What we tried to do is develop technology to be able to look at the proteins active in a single cell to able to define and distinguish different types of cancer cells from each other.' She said current cell imaging technology known as flow cytometry uses antibodies tagged with fluorescent dye to detect proteins, which light up as they flow through a beam of light.

But the images can become muddy if there are too many overlapping colors, limiting the number of proteins that can be imaged simultaneously to about 20.

Rather than simple fluorescent dyes, the Stanford team used special nanoparticle probes created by Intel Corp that give off distinct signals.

'Instead of giving us a very broad, smooth spectrum they give us sharp fingerprints,' Ms Shachaf said.

Ms Shachaf's team used the technology to detect two distinct cancer proteins simultaneously, but she said they have imaged as many as nine in the lab.

'What we've done is shown we can use these particles to detect specific proteins in a single cell,' She said.

Ms Shachaf said the team hopes eventually to be able to image as many as 100 distinct features inside a cell.

'The goal of this is to outdo current technology,' she said. -- REUTERS

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dealing with blood cancer

It was an infection, soon after his latest round of chemotherapy, that led to the sudden death of DBS chief Richard Stanley (left). -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HOW do you deal with a cancer that attacks blood?

Early diagnosis and treatment improve the odds of beating fast-spreading blood cancer, or acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML).

But it was an infection, soon after his latest round of chemotherapy, that led to the sudden death of DBS chief Richard Stanley on Saturday.

In fact, doctors had felt that Mr Stanley's AML was treatable when it was diagnosed in late January.

Mr Stanley, 48, went to see a doctor when he had flu-like symptoms, including fever and a cough, over the Chinese New Year holidays.

Tests over the next three days confirmed he had AML.

The bad news came just nine months after he became chief executive of Singapore's biggest bank.

He took leave, for up to six months, and began chemotherapy treatment at once.

In a staff memo then, DBS chairman Koh Boon Hwee said doctors felt Mr Stanley's condition was treatable and full remission was possible.

Haemologists who spoke to The Sunday Times on Saturday explained that AML is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells.