OVERWEIGHT AT 70, ALZHEIMER'S AT 80? - "Women who are overweight at 70 may be at greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life. . . . Deborah Gustafson, of Utah State University in Logan, and her colleagues monitored 392 elderly Swedes over 18 years. Of this group, 93 developed dementia. Women who [developed dementia] in their eighties were more likely to have been overweight in their seventies. 'It shows the importance of maintaining a healthy weight throughout life,' says Gustafson. The team measured body-mass index (BMI) - the ratio of weight to height. Normal subjects score between 18.5 and 25. Elderly, demented women had an average BMI of 28, which borders on the obese. Each additional point raised the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 36%, the team found. http://www.nature.com/nsu/030721/030721-2.html
SECOND ESTROGEN RECEPTOR MAY AFFECT MANY ASPECTS OF HEALTH - Jan-Åke Gustafsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm stated that the ER-beta estrogen receptor that he discovered in 1996 is only now beginning to reveal its important health role to scientists. "'ER-b appears to be involved in many important physiological contexts and very important to the functioning of the body.'" He cites ongoing investigations into the efficacy of ER-b as a drug target for breast, colon, and prostate cancer; chronic myeloid leukemia; psychological disorders; and infertility, for instance. The receptor may even play a role in the immune system, he says." http://www.the-scientist.com/yr2003/may/feature_030519.html
KIDS EATING ORGANICS HAVE LOWER PESTICIDE EXPOSURE - (Great Lakes Radio Consortium) - A new study published in the Journal of the National Institutes of Environmental Health Science finds that children who eat organically grown fruits and vegetables appear to have less exposure to pesticides. http://www.envirolink.org/environews
PESTICIDES IN CAMBODIA - "The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture recently catalogued at least 418 pesticide products on the market [in Cambodia], 142 of which are legally banned or restricted in the country. . . . [The World Health Organization] reports 3 million acute pesticide poisonings each year [worldwide] and 220,000 deaths, 99 percent of them in developing countries. . . . . Cambodia is one of the worst cases . . . Interviews with 77 traders [selling pesticides] found that only eight could read the product labels in foreign languages and just one had received training in pesticide use. Farmers concoct their own chemical brews, sometimes mixing a dozen or more pesticides. . . [One woman] farmer believes her unborn baby died from pesticides--she sprayed during her pregnancy--and she regularly suffers the symptoms of pesticide poisoning, including vomiting, dizziness and headaches. 'We don't want to use pesticides,' says the mother of nine children. 'But we have no alternatives' . . . Few farmers use boots, gloves and masks because of the cost and heat, and most don't change their clothes after spraying. . . . Pesticide containers sit around fields and houses, often near cooking areas and within reach of children . . . . The pesticide deluge is beginning to degrade such ecosystems as the Tonle Sap, Southeast Asia's largest lake and a crucial source of protein for Cambodians." Sacramento Bee, February 2, 2003, pp. D1-D2.
ANESTHETICS THREATEN BABY BRAINS - "Anaesthetics given to expectant mothers or young babies could damage infants' brains, warns a new study. The drugs kill nerve cells in newborn rats1. US researchers gave week-old rats a cocktail of anaesthetics that are commonly used in paediatric surgery. One day later they found 15 times more dead cells than normal in parts of the rodents' brains. As adults, the animals developed learning problems. The study supports concerns that newborn babies could suffer subtle brain damage after surgery. "We do not want to create a panic," cautions team member John Olney of Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri. It is too early to say whether anaesthetics have the same effect in humans, he explains. Olney suggests that doctors could reduce any potential risks by limiting the time that infants are sedated. Non-critical operations could even be delayed, he adds - the brain is less vulnerable as infants get older. Jevtovic-Todorovic, V. et al. Early exposure to common anesthetic agents causes widespread neurodegeneration in the developing rat brain and persistent learning deficits. Journal of Neuroscience, 23, 876 - 882, (2003). http://www.nature.com/nsu/030203/030203-3.html
POSITIVE OUTLOOK INCREASES LONGEVITY - The most recent study of personality and longevity was conducted among a group of 660 people over 50 in Oxford, Ohio, who, in 1975, had answered questions having to do with, among other things, their attitudes about aging. They had been asked whether they agreed or disagreed with statements like "Things keep getting worse as I get older," "I have as much pep as I did last year," and "I am as happy now as I was when I was younger." Researchers checked to see which participants were still alive in 1998, and they noted when the others had died. It turned out that those who viewed aging as a positive experience lived, on average, 7.5 years longer than those who took a darker view. That is an advantage far greater, the researchers point out, than what can be gained from lowering blood pressure or reducing cholesterol, each of which has been found to lengthen life about four years. It also beats exercise, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight, strategies that add one to three years. The researchers who conducted the study have been careful not to suggest that views of aging are more important for one's health than exercise, nutrition and not smoking. "I think they are all important in predicting survival," says Dr. Becca Levy, a social psychologist at Yale. But, Levy says, it is surprising to find that a psychological characteristic could also be a strong predictor of life span. http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/in_the_news/lock_clip.lasso?id=35865
RESEARCHERS DISCOVER GENE THAT CONTROLS FEAR - HHMI researchers have discovered the first genetic component of a biochemical pathway in the brain that governs the indelible imprinting of fear-related experiences in memory. The gene identified by the researchers encodes a protein that inhibits the action of the fear-learning circuitry in the brain. Understanding how this protein quells fear may lead to the design of new drugs to treat depression, panic and generalized anxiety disorders. Research published in the December 13, 2002, issue of the journal Cell. HHMI investigator: Eric Kandel, Columbia University. For the full story, go to http://www.hhmi.org/news/kandel3.html.
HORMONE MAY REDUCE THE URGE TO OVEREAT - Judith Stern, a UC Davis professor in the nutrition department, discussed in the San Francisco Chronicle a study on a hormone that may reduce the urge to overeat. According to a recent report in the journal Nature, the first human test of hormone peptide PYY3-36, which occurs naturally in the gut, took place in front of an all-you-can-eat buffet of steaming Indian curry. Those given the hormone ate one-third less than they probably would have without it. "It's just another bit of evidence to say that this particular hormone is probably active in the food intake process, and long-term studies need to be done," said Stern. "For you and for me and the average person, we are not closer to curing obesity."
GENE VARIANT INCREASES RISK OF CARDIAC ARRYTHMIA FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS - A variant form of a gene found in the heart muscle of some African-Americans may increase the chances of developing a potential deadly heart condition called cardiac arrhythmia, according to HHMI researchers. The researchers estimate that 4.6 million African-Americans carry this gene variant. The research findings could benefit African-Americans by making it possible to detect who is at increased risk of developing arrhythmia and allowing those affected to take preventive measures. The study is one of the first in which researchers have been able to discern how genetics influences arrhythmia risk across a range of populations of people who originated from different geographic regions. For the full story, go to http://www.hhmi.org/news/keating4.html
ACCESS TO SPECIALIST CANCER CARE: IS IT EQUITABLE? - Results [from a study of Scotland hospitals] showed that patients admitted first to a 'non-cancer' hospital were less than half as likely to go on to receive chemotherapy as those first admitted to a cancer unit or center (OR=0.28). This result was not explained by distance between hospital of first admission and nearest cancer center, nor by increasing age or severity of illness. The study covers the period immediately preceding the introduction of the Calman-Hine report in Scotland and should serve as a baseline for future monitoring of access to specialist care. British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 1221-1226. www.bjcancer.com
REANALYSIS OF 53 HEALTH STUDIES SUGGESTS THAT ALCOHOL USE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR 4% OF BREAST CANCERS IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES; HOWEVER, THE LINK BETWEEN BREAST CANCER AND SMOKING IS LESS CLEAR - Alcohol, tobacco and breast cancer - collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 58 515 women with breast cancer and 95 067 women without the disease - When analyses were restricted to 22,255 women with breast cancer and 40,832 controls who reported drinking no alcohol, smoking was not associated with breast cancer (compared to never-smokers, relative risk for ever-smokers=1.03, 95% CI 0.98-1.07, and for current smokers=0.99, 0.92-1.05). The results for alcohol and for tobacco did not vary substantially across studies, study designs, or according to 15 personal characteristics of the women; nor were the findings materially confounded by any of these factors. If the observed relationship for alcohol is causal, these results suggest that about 4% of the breast cancers in developed countries are attributable to alcohol. In developing countries, where alcohol consumption among controls averaged only 0.4 g per day, alcohol would have a negligible effect on the incidence of breast cancer. In conclusion, smoking has little or no independent effect on the risk of developing breast cancer; the effect of alcohol on breast cancer needs to be interpreted in the context of its beneficial effects, in moderation, on cardiovascular disease and its harmful effects on cirrhosis and cancers of the mouth, larynx, oesophagus and liver. British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 1234-1245. www.bjcancer.com
STOPPING SMOKING REDUCES RISK OF LARYNGEAL CANCER WITHIN 3 YEARS OF CESSATION - A case-control study was conducted in Italy and Switzerland between 1992 and 2000 on 527 cases of laryngeal cancer and 1297 hospital controls. The risk of laryngeal cancer steadily decreased from 3 years after stopping smoking. Some decline in risk was observed only 20 years or more after stopping drinking. British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 1227-1229. www.bjcancer.com
DURING PMS, WOMEN MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO ALCOHOL - During PMS when progesterone levels are low, a half a glass of wine or less can dampen "neuronal excitability." http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/neuro/journal/v5/n8/full/nn888.html
LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF POSTNATAL VISUAL STIMULATION - Changes in cortical connectivity were noticed in rats placed in darkness between the age of 12 and 23 days of age. This indicates that the visual cortex is affected by early visual experiences during specific critical growth windows. http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/neuro/journal/v5/n8/abs/nn878.html
WOMEN HAVE BETTER AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY - A study out of New York demonstrates that women are able to re-call 'personal' events better than men. The study "'makes a strong link between cognitive behavior and a brain structure that gets activated' when exposed to emotional stimuli." The researchers posit that women attach more emotional significance to certain events such as arguments and objects such as guns which men view as more neutral. The more emotion that is attached to something, "the more neural blood flow" there is.
BREAST FEEDING PROTECTS AGAINST CANCER - "The number of children women have and the length of time they breast-feed them are the most important factors influencing their chance of developing breast cancer--even more important than genetic factors, major new research shows." After a review of 47 studies of 150,000 women, Oxford University researchers found that the risk of breast cancer "went down by 7 percent for every additional child" and "the risk of breast cancer dropped by 4.3 percent for every year the women breast-fed." (from Kenai Peninsula Clarion review of article in The Lancet)
BIRTHDAY MONTH AFFECTS WOMEN'S LONG-TERM REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH - A study of Canadian women in the 1800's revealed that women born in June ended up with seven more grandchildren than those born in April. According to researchers Virpi Lummaa and Alain Houle, these findings might indicate that in-utero effects of the outside environment affected women so much so that "those born in good months had more children and longer child-bearing lives . . . [and] they also had more grandchildren, suggesting that mothers' early lives even affected the reproduction of their offspring." http://www.nature.com/nsu/020708/020708-20.html
QUEBEC TO BAN MOST NON-FARM PESTICIDES BY 2005 - Bowing to pressure from the public and environmental groups, the Canadian province of Quebec said this week it will ban the use of most nonfarm pesticides by 2005.
WOMEN WHO TAKE ASPIRIN MAY REDUCE INCIDENCE OF LUNG CANCER - "[In a study of] women who had taken the painkiller three or more times a week for at least six months, the risk of developing any type of lung cancer was reduced by a third compared with non-users. The reduction in risk was even clearer for non-small cell lung cancer, which accounts for about three quarters of cases. Regular aspirin users were less than half as likely to develop this form of lung cancer as non-users. Lead author Dr Arslan Akhmedkhanov, of New York University School of Medicine, says: "Not smoking is by far the best way to avoid lung cancer, but our study suggests that regular aspirin use could also confer some degree of protection against the disease. We need larger-scale research to confirm the results of this study, but it's certainly consistent with other evidence for the health benefits of the drug." http://www.bjcancer.com
SCIENTISTS UNLOCK KEYS TO METASTASIS - "Metastasis is a multistep process that involves local tumour invasion followed by dissemination to, and re-establishment at, distant sites. Here we show that during multistage tumorigenesis, discrete expression thresholds of activated Smad2 and H-ras are sequentially surpassed, driving tumour progression through distinct phases from a differentiated squamous carcinoma to a motile invasive stage, followed by an overt change from epithelial to mesenchymal cell type, finally culminating in metastatic tumour spread. Smad2 activation alone induces migration of tumour cells. Elevated H-ras levels, however, are required for nuclear accumulation of Smad2, both of which are essential for the epithelialmesenchymal transition (EMT). Having undergone EMT, fibroblastoid carcinoma cells with elevated levels of activated Smad2, gain the capability to spread to a wide variety of tissues by a further increase in Smad2 expression. These findings have far-reaching implications for the prevention of tumour growth, invasion and metastasis." http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/ncb/journal/v4/n7/abs/ncb807.html
"A modified adenoviral vector designed to express melanoma differentiation-associated 7 gene (mda7) has been shown to destroy up to 70% of tumour cells in patients with advanced carcinoma. . . . The study investigated the effects of a single intratumoral injection of INGN-241 in patients with advanced carcinoma who had a surgically resectable lesion. At specific times after injection, the lesions were excised, sectioned and analysed for vector distribution, MDA7 protein levels and apoptosis induction. A total of 80% of the tumour cells expressed the MDA7 protein, and protein and vector DNA could be detected in sections up to 1 cm from the point of injection. INGN-241 was reported to have few toxic side effects, causing only pain at the injection site, transient low-grade fever and mild flu-like symptoms. . . . Previous results have shown that adenoviral transfer of mda7 induces apoptosis in a wide range of tumour cells including lung, breast, colon, prostate and melanoma without killing normal cells. INGN-241 is also being tested in combination with the chemotherapeutic agents adriamycin, taxotere, tamoxifen and trastuzumab (Herceptin) to treat breast cancer." http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/gateway.taf?g=2&file=/cancer/news/200207.html
"Cell death keeps the cellular balance in check by ridding organisms of unwanted cells, ensuring normal development and protecting against tumor formation and viral infection. Yet increasingly, cell death is being implicated in a number of disorders, including cancers, autoimmune diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. In 2000, two groups of scientists, working on altogether different aspects of the issue, made two seminal discoveries that shed crucial light on the matter. They showed for the first time that all cell deaths are not equal; it means different things at different times and in different places. The findings presented in both these [papers] give insight into the effect of cell death on immune system initiation and the implications for vaccine development; and the way in which a certain programmed cell-death trigger may offer a clue to the mechanism of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's." http://www.the-scientist.com/yr2002/jun/research2_020624.html
"U.S. scientists have reversed the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in rats using stem cells from mouse embryos. Another team has compelling evidence that they have isolated a stem cell from adult human bone marrow that can produce all the tissue types in the body, from blood to muscle to nerve." http://www.nature.com/nsu/020617/020617-11.html
UC DAVIS LEADS NATION IN AG SCI FUNDING - The UC Davis campus led the nation in research funding in the agricultural sciences in 2000, attracting $128.1 million according to the National Science Foundation. Industry advocates say the research projects to be underwritten by those funds are essential to the state's $27 billion agriculture industry - http://www.davisareatechnology.org/
ROOFTOP GARDENS HELP COOL CITIES DOWN - "Marcia Jiminez is the Commissioner of the City of Chicago's Department of Environment. She says Chicago wants building owners to do what they can to cool the city down and planting gardens on the roof is one way to do it. So that's what the city did on top of City Hall. 'Well, the garden on the rooftop is addressing what we call an urban heat island problem. By putting the garden with light colored pavers and the green plants on top of the roof, we're actually helping to use less energy inside the building and it actually helps to keep the building cooler.' Cooling down the building is just the beginning of this garden. Despite being eleven stories up in the middle of downtown, the roof is alive with bugs and butterflies. 'Actually birds and all of the insects, many of them, have found their way up here. We've actually put up birdhouses to study what kind of birds are coming to the rooftop garden. This is a place of respite as well as a place to feed.'" --Lester Graham, Great Lakes Radio Consortium
MERCURY CONTAMINATION A GROWING CONCERN - "'What happens is when you crush cars and the mercury goes on the ground, it gets washed into the aquifers. It affects a great deal, especially as it accumulates,' says Andrew Spano . . . . 'It takes less than a teaspoon of mercury to contaminate a lake and result in health warnings about eating fish caught there.' As a result of the mercury accumulation, 41 states have issued a fish advisory, either warning pregnant women and children not to eat certain species or suggesting only limited monthly consumption of some fish. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration advised pregnant women and those of child-bearing age who might become pregnant to avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. The FDA, which before this had not made its plans public, says it will expand its mercury testing to include more fish. "In a number of species, we have enough information, and in others, we don't have enough information," says Michael Bolger, a scientist with the FDA. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get rid of the mercury. 'If we stopped using mercury today, it would take 15 to 50 years until the levels are down so species of fish are safe to eat," says Mr. Bender.'" --article by Ron Scherer of the Christian Science Monitor
MICE WITH HEALTHY HEARTS - Scientists have discovered that in mice with a certain genetic protein, damaging substances are more likely to cling to their arteries, the first step in heart disease. http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v417/n6890/abs/nature00804_fs.html
AUTISM NOT LINKED TO IMMUNIZATION SHOTS - "There is no link between the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism or bowel disease, says the latest review of published evidence." http://www.nature.com/nsu/020603/020603-16.html
"Less lovin' in summer" - Scientists at Duke University studied conception rates in teenagers during the school year and during the summer. They found that "pregnancies in unmarried teenagers" rise abruptly when school starts. http://www.nature.com/nsu/020527/020527-15.html
BROCCOLI KILLS BACTERIA - "Carlos Quiros, professor in the UC Davis vegetable crops department, told the Wall Street Journal he agreed with Johns Hopkins researchers who say broccoli can kill cancer-causing bacteria. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain a chemical that kills the bacteria responsible for most stomach cancer, say researchers, confirming the dietary advice that moms have been handing out for years. Quiros' research interests include the Brassica genomes; genetics and evolution of autopolyploids and their ancestral diploid species; celery breeding and genetics." http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/in_the_news/lock_clip.lasso?id=34184
MOSAICISM POSSIBLY LINKED TO AUTISM AND ALZHEIMER'S - 'Mosaics' are people who "have patches of tissue that differ genetically from the rest of their body, thanks to a mutation or chromosomal anomaly that arose early in embryological development . . . . Recently, two research groups . . . have found that many patients with Alzheimer's also have low levels of cells with an extra copy of chromosome 21 cells circulating in their blood . . . . In unpublished research, Susan Folstein of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston examined autistic children under ultraviolet light and found that as many as 10% of them had pronounced Blaschko's lines [(indicating mosaicism)]. She suspects that a mosaic patch of brain cells, unable to migrate or communicate with its neighbors, might be what causes some cases of autism. But until an underlying mutation can be found, the idea remains unproven." http://www.nature.com/nsu/020429/020429-13.html
EPILEPSY MAY BE BASED IN AUTOIMMUNITY - "Epilepsies have long been viewed as diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), but in recent years, evidence has mounted that some may actually be autoimmune-mediated. . . . [Researchers have found] an autoantibody that is able to activate a neurotransmitter receptor. . . . These autoantibodies kill through more than one mechanism. . . . Viral or bacterial infections of patients before the presence of symptoms may contribute to the disease. A direct causal link between viral infection and the production of excitotoxic antibodies to GluR3 was demonstrated . . . After long-term treatments with monthly hIVIg (intravenous human immunoglobulin, 2 g/kg) and an H2 antagonist (histamine receptor 2 antagonist), all eight treated adult RE patients showed significant improvements in function, decreased seizures, SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and less inflammation in the CSF. These improvements were maintained for up to 5 years (I. Hart). . . . Together, the above findings suggest that epileptic patients should be tested for antibodies, primarily to GluR3. If positive, long-term immunotherapy should be considered before severe brain surgery." http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/ni/journal/v3/n6/full/ni0602-500_fs.html
GREEK STUDENTS VISIT SCOTLAND AND THROW HEALTHY EATING HABITS OUT THE WINDOW - "Before leaving home, the 80 Greek [students in the study] . . . had an exemplary diet, rich in olive oil, fresh produce, legumes and fish. Less than a year later, they were munching on biscuits and savoury snacks washed down with sugary drinks and booze. Many spread butter on their bread for the first time and spooned mayonnaise on the side. . . . Scotland's fatty diet has given its people the highest rate of coronary heart disease in Western Europe - Mediterraneans have the lowest rates. Health authorities are desperate to change the population's dietary habits . . . . Research on low-income families shows that most people are simply unaware that their diet is unhealthy. . . . Tough action equivalent to that discouraging smoking might be needed to enforce a change of diet . . . such as restricting advertising and availability of fast food, and subsidizing healthier options. The UK government, for example, recently announced plans to provide young schoolchildren with a daily free piece of fruit by 2004." http://www.nature.com/nsu/020520/020520-2.html
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has appointed 12 scientists to participate in a program designed to "improve the translation of basic science discoveries into enhanced treatments for patients. . . . 'Medical research is thriving today, primarily as a result of the powerful new tools of molecular biology that have revealed new concepts about the inner workings of the human cell,' said Joseph L. Goldstein of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and chairman of HHMIs Medical Advisory Board. 'What are crucially needed are more patient-oriented researchers with the expertise to translate and transform these molecular advances into the realities of clinical medicine. In the conquest of any disease, patient-oriented researchers are essential at every stage from the delineation of a new syndrome, to elucidation of pathogenesis, to design and evaluation of a new drug.'" http://www.hhmi.org/news/052802.html
MAGNESIUM MAY BENEFIT ASTHMA SUFFERERS - Judith Stern, professor in the nutrition department at the University of California, Davis, is organizing a study of asthma sufferers to determine whether magnesium can alleviate attacks. Stern told Channel 10 in Sacramento that: "People for hundreds of years have been going to the Dead Sea in the Holy Land, and they've been inhaling the salt air and their asthma gets better." The reason, she says, is that the salty air contains magnesium. More than 84,000 people in the greater Sacramento area suffer from asthma. The study is looking for hundreds of volunteers to take either a magnesium supplement or a placebo. If you have mild to moderate asthma and would like to participate, please call 916-734-5562. http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/in_the_news/lock_clip.lasso?id=34081.
PK2 for Sleepwalkers. Researchers at UC Irvine and the U of Massachusetts are studying a mammalian gene/protein called PK2 that is sensitive to light and is controlled by the body's circadian clock. Changing the levels of PK2 can affect how active animals are at different times of the day/night. http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v417/n6887/abs/417405a_fs.html
A typical wealthy Western diet rich in protein unfortunately leads to diseases of the kidneys such as gout. Pharmacologists, urologists, pediatricians and other Japanese scientists are working together to discover how our kidneys clean harmful oxidants out of our systems. Despite research difficulties such as key differences between human and research animal kidneys, researchers are beginning to identify genetic and environmental causes of kidney disease which should help in development of methods to maintain normal kidney function. http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v417/n6887/abs/nature742_fs.html
FOODS THAT FIGHT DISEASE - Grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits contain plentiful amounts of nutrients and other substances associated with better health. Here are six disease fighters and the foods that contain them. 1) Antioxidants - Green and red bell peppers, collard greens, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, oranges and other citrus; Vitamin E - vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, cottonseed, and safflower, wheat germ and nuts; Carotenoids - carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, papayas, cantaloupe, mangoes, apricots, watermelon. 2) Calcium dairy products and leafy green vegetables such as collard and turnip greens and broccoli. 3) Folic Acid - fortified cereals, beans and lentils, dark-green leafy vegetables, and citrus fruits. 4) Omega-3 Fatty Acids - fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, and in soybeans, nuts and flax seed. 5) Phytochemicals - Garlic and onions, soybeans, grapes and peanuts, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, chile peppers, green tea. 6) Dietary fiber - whole grains, oats, dried beans and some fruits. For more info visit: http://www.walgreens.com/library/healthtips/may02/foods.jhtml?ec=tp205
VITAMIN D MAY BE CRUCIAL IN PREVENTING COLON CANCER - New studies by researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute indicate that vitamin D protects against colon cancer by helping to detoxify cancer-triggering chemicals that are released during the digestion of high-fat foods. The research suggests that a drug that acts like vitamin D might help in preventing colon cancer by turning on the vitamin D receptor and clearing LCA from the body. One obstacle that must be overcome, however, is that high intake of vitamin D or drugs that mimic vitamin D can lead to dangerous levels of calcium in the blood. Research published in the May 17, 2002, issue of the journal Science. Research News from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. For more information, go to http://www.hhmi.org/news/mangelsdorf2.html.
All About Asthma - http://pbskids.org/arthur/grownups/health_tips/asthma.html. This new Web site from PBS Kids uses the cartoon character ARTHUR to teach children about asthma. The release of this site is timely because May is Asthma Awareness Month. The All About Asthma guide can be downloaded in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format, explaining things like how this common illness constricts the airways, what triggers an asthma attack, and how asthma is treated. The site also advertises upcoming PBS broadcasts of ARTHUR and "Buster's Breathless," programs that focus on this and other health related issues.
"Noisy Thoughts" - The huge range of random processes that take place in the human brain - such as the chaotic firing of neural networks makes for a particularly noisy environment. Mori and Kai reasoned that the brain might have evolved not only to take account of this noise, but also to harness it to aid signal transmission and detection. To test this idea, the authors looked for stochastic resonance in human 'brain waves'. There are several types of brain wave, all of which are detected as low frequency, spatially averaged oscillations in the brain's electrical field potential. Mori and Kai focused on alpha waves, which have a frequency of about 8-13 Hertz. These waves are useful because their production can be synchronized entrained in a subject by shining bright oscillating lights onto the person's closed eyelids. For more info, visit http://www.nature.com/plink/highlights/6886-2.html
EU Launches Study on "Gender Bending" Chemicals (Reuters) -- The European Commission announced a 20 million euro ($18.07 million) research programme yesterday on hormone-mimicking chemicals which stand accused of attacking animal and human reproductive systems. http://www.envirolink.org/environews/
NURSERY ATTENDANCE MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF CHILDHOOD LEUKEMIA - Toddlers that attend nursery school may have a reduced risk of developing childhood leukemia, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Cancer today (Tuesday). US researchers believe that children who are exposed to infection early and often may have a reduced chance of developing acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) because their immune system is stimulated to tackle infection at an early age. For more of this article, go to http://www.nature.com/bjc/press_release_9.html
Details of the Governor of California's budget which will affect the University of California and other educators in CA: 10% cut in UC research programs, $28.4 million cut in K-12 outreach, $11.3 million cut in professional development for K-12 teachers, 20% cut in UC equipment, library materials and instructional technology. http://www.ucop.edu/news/archives/2002/may14art1.htm
Tumour-suppressor genes act as safeguards that prevent normal cells from forming tumours. But how are they taken out of action during cancer development? Initial findings focused on genetic mutations or deletions. More recent research, however, has unveiled a role for epigenetic events in the inactivation of tumour-suppressor genes. A paper in Nature now sheds further light on the epigenetic mechanisms that operate in human cancer. Future research will undoubtedly investigate how specific methylation events are controlled in normal cells and during tumour development. Understanding these mechanisms will have important therapeutic implications: changes in DNA methylation are more readily reversible than mutations or deletions, so a deeper knowledge of how DNA methylation goes awry in cancer might pave the way to restoring the function of tumour-suppressor genes in human cancer. http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/gateway.taf?g=2&file=/cancer/resround/200205/6.html
Green Tea or Not to Tea? Research into the anticancer properties of green tea, the unoxidized form of the beverage that is favoured by tea drinkers in China and Japan, has yielded mixed results. Although many experimental and epidemiological studies have suggested that the polyphenols found in green tea may protect against cancer, definitive evidence of the benefits of green tea has yet to be obtained. http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/gateway.taf?g=2&file=/cancer/resround/200204/7.html