Monday, October 24, 2011

Vigorous exercise linked to lower mortality rates

Vigorous exercise helps people live longer 

Researchers in Europe have found vigorous aerobic exercise can lower the chances of dying almost 40 percent.  In their study, people who got 300 minutes of aerobic exercise a week had a 39 percent lower chance of dying, compared to sedentary individuals. Read at EmaxHealth

Overeating, obesity may be the result of feeling powerless

Researchers conducted an experiment to see if low socioeconomic factors might drive over eating. They concluded people often equate more food and even bigger cars and homes with prestige and power. The scientists believe feeling powerless might drive eating behaviors.

The finding is important for curbing rates of obesity. Read at EmaxHealth

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do diabetes drugs cause cancer?

Researchers looked at FDA adverse event reports, to find a possible link between two diabetes drugs and higher risk of pancreatitis and cancer of the pancreas.

The link between cancer and the diabetes drugs, isn't definite, but the researchers do suggest more studies. 

The finding, published in the journal Gastroenterology, links the two diabetes drugs to an increase in the chances of pancreatitis and cancer of the pancreas. Researchers also found an increased risk that patients taking one of the drugs might develop thyroid cancer, compared to those whose diabetes is treated with other therapies. Read the study finding at Emaxhealth

Could apples and pears lower stroke risk?

Apples and pears might be good medicine for stroke

Study suggests white fruits and veggies may lower the chances of having a stroke
In a first study, research links the color of fruits and vegetables to lower chances of stroke in an observational finding.
If you're looking for a natural and tasty way to protect from stroke, new research suggests apples and pears might be good preventive medicine.
The health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is well known, but the study is the first to discover that eating fruit with a white edible portion could lower stroke risk by 52 percent. Another recent study shows potassium, found in abundance in bananas, can reduce the chances of stroke. Read the rest at

Yellow eyelid skin and heart attack linked

What do the eyes say about heart disease?

Research suggests the presence of yellow cholesterol deposits around the skin of the eyes and on the eyelids might predict risk of having a heart attack.

Scientists haven't proven heart attack risk is higher when the skin condition is present, but they do suggest their finding could be used to help clinicians diagnose heart disease. Read the rest of my article at Digital Journal


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Freeway pollution damages mouse brains

Freeway traffic nanoparticles damages mouse brains
Image credit: Wikimedia commons

Freeway pollution dangerous for brain health

A daily commute in heavy traffic might be damaging to your brain suggests new research from University of Southern California. Scientists say traffic pollution could lead to the type of brain damage seen with Alzheimer's disease. 

Findings published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal showed mice exposed to 150 hours of freeway pollution over a period of ten weeks had damage to neurons in the brain that can lead to memory loss, premature aging, inflammation and developmental delays.

Senior author Caleb Finch, Chair of the ARCO/William F. Kieschnick in the Neurobiology of Aging says you can't see the harmful nanoparticles emitted from vehicles, but they're there "and have an effect on brain neurons that raises the possibility of long-term brain health consequences of freeway air."

The researchers used an aerosol suspended in water to deliver the same type of nanoparticle pollution inhaled by humans to the mice used in the study. The brain changes in the mice that lead to damage came from increased inflammatory cytokines, impaired growth of cell structures in the brain and decreased brain activity in the area of the hippocampus.

The scientists note the negative health effect of freeway pollution on blood vessels and lung health is well documented, but the effect on the brain has not been well studied.  The current findings shows pollution from vehicles found in freeway traffic damages the brain, according to the mouse study.

Environmental Health Perspectives

Citation: Morgan TE, Davis DA, Iwata N, Tanner JA, Snyder D, Ning Z, et al. 2011. Glutamatergic Neurons in Rodent Models Respond to Nanoscale Particulate Urban Air Pollutants In Vivo and In Vitro. Environ Health Perspect :-. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002973


Monday, April 4, 2011

Simple test can measure heart disease risk during sleep

Simple device that attaches to
the finger measures risk of heart disease

Simple test checks heart risks while sleeping

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden designed a simple and inexpensive way to find a person's risk for heart disease during sleep, using a device similar to a pulse oximeter that attaches to the finger.

Rather than just measuring oxygen saturation during sleep, the device also documents four other cardiac related changes related to pulse variations. 
Ludger Grote, associate professor at the Center for Sleep and Vigilance Disorders at the Sahlgrenska Academy and senior consultant at Sahlgrenska University Hospital said, "We believe that the patient's values reflect the risk at least as well as the individual's risk factors 'on paper'."
The scientists hope the device can also be put to use to find the effect of weight loss and exercise for reducing cardiovascular disease risks. 

The research team is designing a portable device and have started clinical studies to confirm their results. 

The results of the test that measures pulse rate, acceleration, variability, pulse wave oscillation and oxygen levels during sleep could provide a quick, simple and inexpensive way to provide heart screening to large numbers of people while they sleep.

Chestdoi: 10.1378/chest.09-3029


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Immune profile could predict breast cancer survival

Immune cells tell
researchers much about
breast cancer

Immune markers could guide breast cancer treatment

Researchers say understanding immunity in women with breast cancer could predict survival and improve treatment options. Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco have found drugs that can alter tumor growth in mice, based on three types of immune cells.

UCSF Department of Pathology Professor Lisa Coussens, PhD, who led the research explains "If our work translates into the clinic, it may improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy in the treatment of certain cancers."

The researchers plan to enroll women in clinical trials later this year at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and two collaborating institutions.

The findings, published in the journal Cancer Discovery, suggest the body should be immune to cancer. Normally, cancer cells should be destroyed by the body's own immune fighting T-cells that can also become dangerous and damage healthy tissue. When that happens, but body uses macrophages to keep T-cells in check. Fewer T cells would help the body destroy cancer tumors.

For the study, the researchers looked at the killer T cell, macrophages, and another immune cell known as a helper T cells in women with breast cancer. 

The abundance of the three types of immune cells found in 677 people with breast cancer  predicted which cancer tumors would metastasize or recur after treatment. Tumors in mice most amenable to chemotherapy had fewer T cells. 

In the lab, the scientists used a drug to reprogram the immune profile of cancer tumors in mice. The drug made cancer more susceptible to chemotherapy.

The scientists aren't certain whether the strategy will work in humans. The next step is to take the findings from the lab to humans. Researchers know the body should be immune to cancer. The new findings show understanding immune profiles in women with breast cancer might predict survival. Changing immune cells with drugs could help destroy cancer.

Source: AACR News


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Antidepressants linked to thicker arteries, suggesting heart disease risk

Antidepressant use is linked to thicker
arteries that could lead to heart disease.

New findings suggest antidepressant use might increase the chances of heart disease and stroke.

In a study of twins, scientists found taking SSRI's that inhibit the re-uptake of the hormone serotonin, as well as other types of antidepressants, seemed to lead to thickening in the walls of the carotid arteries, known as the intima. The findings suggest increased heart disease and stroke risk associated with the medications.

Scientists will present their findings April 5 at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans. In the study, 59 sets of twins, one using antidepressants and the other none,  were compared using carotid artery ultrasound. 

The researchers noted the arteries were "four years older" in the participants taking antidepressants. The findings also took into account other lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet and lifestyle contributors for vascular disease.

Amit Shah, MD, lead author and a cardiology fellow at Emory University School of Medicine says, "In our study, users of antidepressants see an average 40 micron increase in IMT, so their carotid arteries are in effect four years older."

The researchers aren't certain why the carotid arteries were thicker in the group taking antidepressants and say the findings should be interpreted with caution. They do not recommend people stop taking their antidepressants. You can read more details of the findings at


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Breast cancer, cholesterol and fat linked in mouse study

Fat and Cholesterol leads to Aggressive Breast Cancer, Found in a Mouse Study

Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson determined how the American diet that high in fat and cholesterol makes cancer tumors grow and spread faster, in a mouse study.

Philippe G. Frank, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University found breast cancer tumors use cholesterol as building blocks to grow, making them more aggressive. Read more

Digestion of Green Tea Protects Brain from Toxins that Cause Alzheimer's Disease

In a first study, scientists found digested compounds in the brew protect cells from toxins that cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease as well as slowing cancer growth, that they weren't sure existed after the beverage was consumed and digested.

Scientists from Newcastle University used technology that simulates the human digestive system to find the anti-cancer and brain protective properties of digested green tea. In the lab, the researchers exposed cells to hydrogen peroxide and a protein known as beta-amyloid that plays a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease. (read more)

Men who Exercise Vigorously more Likely to Survive Prostate Cancer

Vigorous exercise is found to lower the chances of dying after prostate cancer by 46 percent.

Exercise lowers the chances of dying from any cause, but in the study, men who performed vigorous exercise following a diagnosis of prostate cancer were found to have the lowest risk of dying from the disease.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, included 2,705 men diagnosed with prostate cancer who were part of the 18-year Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. In the study, exercise and prostate cancer deaths were compared among men who reported how much time they spent performing physical activity such as walking, running, biking, swimming, sports and working outdoors. (read more) ◦

Saturday, January 1, 2011

32% of 9 month olds obese, found in study


Obesity at 9 months of age could predict later health problems

A new analysis suggests babies who are obese at 9 months could have later health problems.

The new study showed infants with early obesity were among the heaviest by age 2, putting them at risk for later health issues that include heart disease, diabetes and emotional problems.

Lead author Brian G. Moss of Wayne State University and William H. Yeaton of the University of Michigan analyzed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort to find 32% of children were either obese or overweight and at risk by 9 months of age. (read more)

Baby boomers turn 65 this year. Is our Nation ready?

Experts say the first round of baby boomers turn 65 in 2011. They also fear the country is not ready to meet their demands, medically or socially.

According to geriatricians at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, baby boomers are aging in waves that they call the Silver Tsunami. Specialized services that include medical care, facilities to accommodate active lifestyles, geriatricians, nurses, therapists, social workers, dieticians and community caregivers are sorely needed as the first round turns 65. (read more)

Exercise stops colon cancer

People who are physically active in adulthood have a lower chance of death from colon cancer, found in a large study.

An analysis of 150,000 men and women showed that beginning an exercise program as simple as walking 30 minutes a day also has benefits for reducing the chances of death from cancer, even after being diagnosed with the disease. (read more) ◦