Saturday, May 23, 2009

Prostate Cancer Risk Drops with Herbal Preparation

A promising herbal preparation has been shown to reduce risk of prostate cancer in phase 1 clinical trials. Men with high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), between age 40 and 75 dropped their risk of developing prostate cancer by taking the herbal preparation Zyflamend.

The study comes from the Center for Holistic Urology at Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia. The herbal preparation was not shown to produce toxicity or side effects among twenty-three men studied with HGPIN, a condition known to precede prostate cancer.

Aaron E. Katz, M.D., senior author of the study says "Since we know that men with HGPIN have an increased risk for developing prostate cancer, new strategies formulated to decrease cancer risk, prevent or delay surgery, and improve quality of life, will be greatly beneficial for these men.” The herbal preparation was found to reduce spread of abnormal prostate cells that can be precursors to cancer, perhaps because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

The men reduced their risk of prostate cancer by taking Zyflamend for eighteen months, three times a day. The herbal preparation consists of holy basil leaf, curcumin rhizome, (Turmeric), ginger rhizome, green tea leaf, rosemary leaf and essential oil, Hu Zhang root, Chinese goldthread root, barberry root, oregano leaf, and skullcap root. Previous studies showing the anti-inflammatory effects of Zyflamend have also been performed, dating back to 2005.

Prostate cancer risk drops with the herbal preparation, according to the study, though the number of participants was small. According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2009 there will be 192,280 men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Finding ways to reduce risk of prostate cancer using a safe herbal preparation may be worth discussion with your doctor.

Columbia University Medical Center


Friday, May 22, 2009

Vitamin D may Stop Cancer in Early Stages

Researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego suggest that cancer in its earliest stages may be linked to low levels of Vitamin D, versus genetic mutations. The link between low Vitamin D levels and cancer may be related to loss of communication between cells, which in turn allows cancer to become aggressive. Maintaining adequate vitamin D levels may stop cancer in its early stages.

Lead researcher and epidemiologist Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor of family and preventive medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine explains, “The first event in cancer is loss of communication among cells due to, among other things, low vitamin D and calcium levels. In this new model, we propose that this loss may play a key role in cancer by disrupting the communication between cells that is essential to healthy cell turnover, allowing more aggressive cancer cells to take over."

The new view that low levels of vitamin D can lead to cancer rather than genetic mutations is dubbed DINOMIT. The proposed view of how cancer develops may have important implications for cancer prevention and treatment.

According to Dr. Garland, D" stands for disjunction, or loss of intercellular communication; "I," for initiation, where genetic mutations begin to play a role; "N" for natural selection of the fastest-reproducing cancer cells; "O" for overgrowth of cells; "M" for metastasis, when cancer cells migrate to other tissues, where cancer can kill; "I" refers to involution, and "T" for transition, both dormant states that may occur in cancer and potentially be driven by replacing vitamin D.” The study suggests that by ensuring that Vitamin D levels are not low, it may be possible to stop cancer in its earliest stages.

Maintaining vitamin D levels can be accomplished by supplementing with vitamin D3 at 2000 IU/day, and perhaps help with cancer prevention by keeping communication between cells intact. Dr.Garland suggests, “Vitamin D may halt the first stage of the cancer process by re-establishing intercellular junctions in malignancies having an intact vitamin D receptor."

More research is needed to establish how vitamin D and calcium could reduce cancer risk and improve outcomes for patients with breast, colorectal and prostate cancer, but for now Dr. Garland suggests annual testing for Vitamin D levels.

Source: University of California San Diego

Cedric Garland, Dr. P.H., discusses the expected vitamin D serum level for cancer prevention. Series: Vitamin D Deficiency - Treatment and Diagnosis [2/2009] [Health and Medicine] [Professional Medical Education] [Show ID: 15767]


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chewable Aspirin Best during Heart Attack

Researchers find that swallowing or chewing aspirin during a heart attack work equally, as long as you choose a chewable brand of aspirin. A recent study measured how quickly three different aspirin types enter the bloodstream to help thwart heart attack, finding that chewable aspirin is best.

Education aimed at the public has make the message clear – aspirin can prevent damage from a heart attack by providing beneficial blood flow to the heart muscle when a heart blockage is suspected. Until now, no one was sure which type of aspirin provided the best protection during a heart attack.

Researchers from University of California measured aspirin levels in the bloodstream among a group of volunteers. The study, led by Dr. Sean Nordt, looked at the effect of regular whole aspirin swallowed, regular aspirin chewed, then swallowed, chewable aspirin swallowed completely, and chewable aspirin, chewed then swallowed. They found that chewable aspirin, swallowed completely or chewed enters the bloodstream rapidly, making it the best choice for heart attack.

The researchers say the simple findings can lead to better care of patients experiencing heart attack. Aspirin, when given early, can help in the prevention of heart attack, and the new study shows that chewable aspirin is best. If you have had a previous heart attack, or are at risk, keeping chewable aspirin at hand may be beneficial, provided you are not allergic, or have any history of bleeding problems.

Stroke can also be prevented by taking aspirin, but the American Heart Association does not recommend chewable aspirin for treating stroke symptoms. Some strokes can be caused by bleeding. Chewable aspirin could only make things worse.

If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 before doing anything else. You may then be advised to take an aspirin. We now know that chewable aspirin is best heart attack prevention, thanks to the new research.


Four Simple Ways to Prevent Heart Attack:

Buy Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Known to Reduce Heart Attack Risk

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pathfinders Mind Body Program Helps Women with Breast Cancer

Researchers at Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center find that women with cancer can benefit through improved quality of life by participating in programs that address mind, body and spirit.

Amy Abernethy, M.D., an oncologist at Duke University Medical Center, lead investigator of the study says that Pathfinders, a program that takes a holistic approach to caring for women with metastatic breast cancer, helped women cope with their diagnosis of cancer, showing that a mind, body, spirit approach can help meet the psychological needs of women diagnosed with cancer.

The Pathfinder program utilizes hope, balance, inner strengths, self care, support, spirit and life review to teach women how to cope with being diagnosed with cancer.

“Even though the women were getting sicker and experiencing more symptoms related to their cancer, they reported that they felt less distress and despair as a result of being able to better cope with the cancer," explains Dr. Abernethy.

Tina Staley, director of Pathfinders says the goal is to teach women diagnosed with cancer effective ways to communicate with physicians, nurses, and Pathfinders, using a common language. The program also encourages women to seek alternative and complementary services.

"There is a growing body of data that shows cancer patients have unmet psychosocial needs, and with programs like Pathfinders we are able to care for the whole person. As a result, we found that this group of women reported a higher quality of life three months after being diagnosed than was expected”.

The study enrolled fifty women with a life expectancy of less than six months, diagnosed with breast cancer. The women met with a Pathfinder and social worker monthly, in addition to receiving e-mails, and telephone conversations to provide support. The women were taught how to find their inner strength, helping them to deal with breast cancer, and improving quality of life.

Duke Medicine News and Communications

Learn to Eat for Breast Cancer Prevention:


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Vibration Plate Exercise Better for Weight Loss, Belly Fat

Results from a study performed by the European Association for the Study of Obesity show that vibration plate exercises work better for sustained weight and belly fat loss than aerobic exercise and dieting, or dieting alone. The new study emphasizes that performing vibration plate exercise properly is essential. Combined with calorie restriction and aerobic activity, the results are encouraging, and may provide an alternative to using weights, because vibration machines contract muscles.

The researchers looked at the effect of the Power Plate 51, studying four groups of people over six months. The groups were given dietary counselling, delivered daily, and personalized for calorie restriction. One group only dieted, another dieted and performed vibration plate exercises, a third group performed aerobic exercises combined with calorie restriction, and a fourth group was used as a control, doing nothing for weight and belly fat loss.

Lead author of the study, Dirk Vissers, a physiotherapist at the Artesis University College and the University of Antwerp in Belgium led the study, and says this is the first time vibration plate exercises have been compared to other types of weight loss. The study showed that vibration plate exercise machines that are becoming popular in gyms work well for sustained weight loss, when used properly, and with supervision.

Vissers says, vibration plate exercise machines “are increasingly found in gyms across the industrialized world and have gathered a devoted following in some places, but there has not been any evidence that they help people lose weight. Our study, the first to investigate the effects of vibration in obese people, indicates it's a promising approach. It looks like these machines could be a useful addition to a weight control package." Vibration plate exercise was better for weight and belly fat loss, perhaps because the vibration adds something extra to workouts.

The study yielded better results for those performing vibration plate exercises, combined with dieting when compared to dieting alone. Vibration plate exercisers also lost more weight than the group performing aerobic exercise with calorie restriction. The group properly instructed on the use of vibration plate exercise machines not only lost the greatest amount of weight and belly fat, but they sustained most of the weight loss at one-year follow-up. Dieters did lose weight, but weight loss was not sustained. The control group in the study only gained weight.

Vibration plate exercise, over six months, yielded an eleven percent weight loss, trimming approximately seven percent of belly fat. After twelve months, total weight loss was sustained at 10.9 percent. The aerobic exercise group, who swam, ran, and performed resistance training three days a week lost seven percent of their initial body weight, sustaining weight loss at 6.9 percent after twelve months.

Vibration plate exercises resulted in trimming 47.8 sq. cm of belly fat when combined with a calorie-restricted diet alone, during the first six months of the study. Physiotherapists helped the group in performing lunges, calf raises, abdominal crunches, squats and pushups. Aerobic exercise and dieting resulted in 24.3 sq. cm of belly fat loss.

The researchers hope to continue studies on obese people, using vibration plate exercises on larger groups. Vissers explains if vibration plate exercises seem easy, you are not performing the exercises correctly. "Supervision in the beginning is imperative and the longer the better. What we see in gyms very often - people just standing on the machine holding the handles - is not going to do anything."

Calorie restriction, combined with proper use of vibration plate exercises might work better than aerobic exercise and dieting because of increased circulation to abdominal viscera, changing the harmful effect of hormones that lurk in belly fat. You can watch a short video about vibration plate exercise below.

What is the Power Plate? - Click here for more free videos

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weight Loss is Easier with Competitions

Results of a new study show that people who enroll in weight competitions lose weight easier. Analysis of the Shape up Rhode Island 2007 weight competition showed encouraging results that weight loss competitions work.

The internet-based program showed that weight loss competitions could help people lose weight at low cost, while targeting large groups of people, helping in the fight against obesity.

Rena Wing, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Waren Alpert Medical School of Brown University examined the results of the weight loss competition in Rhode Island. “We evaluated the results and showed that this is an effective way to reach large numbers of people.” The weight loss competition was developed by conceived and implemented by Rajiv Kumar, a study co-author and a medical student at the Alpert Medical School.

The weight loss competition reduced obesity rates from 39 percent to 31 percent. Increases in activity resulted in the greatest amount of weight loss. Shape up Rhode Island was started in 2005. Teams compete for weight loss, pedometer steps and exercise minutes.

Team members who completed at least twelve weeks of the weight loss competition lost a modest amount of weight, and included 70.2 percent of the original participants. Those who were heaviest lost the most amount of weight.

Weight loss competitions encourage people to keep moving, promoting more exercise and weight loss. The researchers hope the study will spawn similar programs that involve large numbers of people in weight loss competitions. Losing weight is easier when performed as a group, and as a competition.

For the weight loss competition, 62 per cent of employers paid the $15 fee for their employees. The current study shows encouraging results for fighting obesity through weight-loss competitions.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Study Shows Dairy Intake Best for Bone Health

Eating foods fortified with calcium, or taking calcium supplements may not be as good as dairy intake according to a new study from Purdue University. Researchers looked at the difference in bone health between rats fed a nutritious diet supplemented with calcium carbonate and rats given dairy products.

The study showed that dairy intake led to the best bone health between the two groups of rats. After ten weeks of diet followed by comparison of bone measurements, the rats given non-fat dry milk had longer, stronger, and denser bones than those fed calcium carbonate.

Kids drink plenty of milk early in life. According to the study, dairy intake then declines, likely from peer pressure. Bone health later in life is best facilitated by a steady intake of dairy products throughout life, suggested by the current study.

Professor Connie Weaver, head of the food and nutrition department at Purdue University says, "A lot of companies say, if you don't drink milk, then take your calcium pills or calcium-fortified food. There has been no study designed properly to compare bone growth from supplements and milk or dairy to see if it has the same effect. We found it was an advantage having milk or dairy while bones were growing over calcium carbonate, and it protects you later in life."

Weaver also says it is not just about the way calcium is absorbed. Rats given half as much calcium in adulthood still maintained better bone health, compared to rats who did not receive dairy products when they were younger.

"It's not due to increased calcium absorption. It's more about protecting against bones losing calcium, according to our results of calcium metabolism. Bones are in constant turnover, especially when they are growing. Youth need to have bone formation to outweigh bone loss."

More research will reveal why dairy products, equivalent to 1300 mg. of calcium daily from milk, yogurt and cheeses leads to better bone health, compared to food fortified foods and calcium carbonate supplements. Natural whole food sources of nutriton seem to offer our best options for optimal health, and in this study, dairy intake is shown to be best for bone health.

Enjoy a video all about milk.