Tag Archives: animal

Bitter melon extract may have potential to fight head, neck cancer

Preliminary findings of the research were published in the Public Library of Science One Journal by Ratna Ray, Ph.D. associate professor of pathology at Saint Louis University. Ray found that bitter melon extract, a vegetable commonly used in Indian and Chinese diets, reduces the head and neck cancer cell growth in the animal model. "We wanted to see the effect of the bitter melon extract treatment on different types of cancer using different model systems," said Ray, who first tested the extract in breast and prostate cancer cells. …

Peptide derived from cow’s milk kills human stomach cancer cells in culture

"Gastric cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related mortality worldwide, especially in Asian countries," says Wei-Jung Chen, PhD, of the Department of Biotechnology and Animal Science of National Ilan University, Taiwan Republic of China. "In general, the main curative therapies for gastric cancer are surgery and chemotherapy, which are generally only successful if the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage. Novel treatment strategies to improve prognosis are urgently needed." Investigators evaluated the effects of three peptide fragments derived from lactoferricin B, a peptide in milk that has antimicrobial properties. …

Mechanisms, potential biomarkers of tumor cell dormancy

A study published online October 27 by Nature Cell Biology by Bragado et al. reveals that bone marrow contains high levels of TGFβ2, which activates the tumor suppressor gene p38 in tumor cells and triggers a cascade of events that renders tumor cells dormant and keeps HNSCC growth in check. In the lungs, where TGFβ2 is in short supply, these cells rapidly form tumors…

Changes in cell shape may lead to metastasis, not the other way around

Using automated high content screening and sophisticated computational modeling, the researchers’ screening and analysis of tens of millions of genetically manipulated cells helped them identify more than a dozen genes that influence cell shape. Their work could lead to a better understanding of how cells become metastatic and, eventually, pinpoint new gene therapy targets for cancer treatment. "We found that by altering the way the cells are grown to better mimic conditions in a living organism, gene expression could have a profound impact on cell shape," said Zheng Yin, the paper’s lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Systems Medicine and Bioengineering of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute (TMHRI). …

Are probiotics miracle food?

Probiotics claim to support immunity and fix everything from bloat to skin trouble, and they're popping up in all kinds of foods and drinks—more than 500 new products in the last decade. Clearly lots of people are on board: Sales of anything touting the probiotic promise increased by $1 billion in the United States in the past two years alone. So should you stock up? Well, it's complicated. Related: Delicious Mediterranean Dishes Under 400 Calories Yes, probiotics do have some awesome health powers. But to really get how they work, you first need to understand a few things about your body and, well, bugs.  From the time you're born, millions of bacteria (those bugs) from your mom, food, air and the things you touch start setting up camp in and on your body.  Related: Tone Up Your Trouble Spots The mix is called the microbiome, and most of it lives in your colon (happily), where it helps signal your body to digest food, fight pathogens, break down cholesterol and more, Gregor Reid, director of the Canadian Research & Development Centre for Probiotics, said. Animal studies suggest the microbiome may affect blood pressure and even behavior. Related: 6 Moves To Resize Your Butt and Thighs Can't believe we're actually saying this, but the microbiome is very trendy right now. There's tons of new research on it: Scientists say it's the next frontier in understanding the human body.  Certain “good” bacteria strains (aka probiotics) seem to help the body function more efficiently, while “bad” bacteria tax it. And when the balance of the gastrointestinal system is off (blame stress, illness, a poor diet or taking antibiotics), we may be left susceptible to disease-causing organisms and diarrhea.  So the theory makes sense: If you have microbiome imbalance, ingesting extra good bacteria—found naturally in certain foods like yogurt and sauerkraut and added to others like tea—might help make you healthier. But you need to make sure you're eating the right stuff. Research suggests taking large doses of certain probiotics—several strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria found in fortified yogurts and pills, specifically—may help prevent colds and soothe digestive problems. Plenty of docs recommend these products as natural meds, and they seem to be generally safe for most people. But there's a catch: The FDA doesn't regulate most probiotics the way it does drugs. Some reports suggest claims about the amount and type of bacteria on product labels aren't always accurate. And many products are never clinically tested for efficacy. So sketchy pills—like ones that combine a bunch of strains experts don't know much about—are on store shelves.  “A lot of things called probiotics shouldn't be, because they've never been tested in humans,” Reid said. The bottom line: Probiotic supplements may help prevent colds and ease GI issues, but no need to pop pills every day to balance your microbiome when your diet can do it, too, Dr. David Rakel, director of the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine Program. said.  Have at least three weekly servings of fermented foods—yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi—which contain probiotics naturally, Dr. Rakel said. (There's no guarantee fortified sources like cereals and teas will help, so it might not be worth it to shell out the cash.) Finally, fill up on fiber from veggies and whole grains: It helps create a more probiotic-friendly environment in your gut.  We'll take food over pills any day. This article originally appeared on Self.com. source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/14/are-probiotics-miracle-food/

BPA linked to higher risk for obesity among young girls

A chemical commonly found in plastic food containers, water bottles and canned foods called bisphenol-A (BPA) has long been linked to serious health issues, including infertility and birth defects.Now, researchers say exposure to BPA may also be associated with a higher risk for obesity among puberty-age girls. In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers measured the levels of BPA present in urine samples from 1,326 children between the ages of 9 and 12. Researchers discovered that girls who had higher levels of BPA in their urine had a greater risk for being overweight. The effect was not seen in the boys involved in the study. Girls who had more than 2 micrograms per liter of BPA in their urine were twice as likely to be overweight, compared to girls with below normal levels of BPA in their urine. And girls that had more than 10 micrograms of BPA per liter in their urine had a ten times greater risk for obesity. Dr. Di-Kun Le, the study’s principal investigator and a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., has been studying the effects of BPA for years. “Animal (studies) started to show that BPA can impact metabolic processes, which often leads to obesity and diabetes,” Le told FoxNews.com. “So we decided to look at it (in humans).” Le noted that though he expected to find a link between obesity and BPA levels, he didn’t expect it to be such a strong correlation.   While the research does not necessarily prove BPA is the reason for the girls’ obesity, Le said that the effect is likely caused by the fact that BPA is an endocrine disrupter and acts similarly to the hormone estrogen, which impacts metabolic function. Because of the damage that BPA incurs on the endocrine system, Le believes exposure to BPA is contributing to the global obesity epidemic.   “Overeating a little won’t cause obesity, but (by) having this kind of endocrine damage without knowing it, and adding more food, the consequences are magnified,” Le said. Though Le said there are currently no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations forcing manufacturers to label how much BPA is used in packaging, he hopes this research will add to the body of evidence mounting against the chemical. He warns that people should try to avoid products containing BPA as much as possible. “Buy BPA-free containers, particularly containers used for kids. Kids and fetuses are the most affected populations,” Le said. “Also try to reduce using plastics. It’s not feasible to use none, but reduce exposure to plastic containers…and reduce the use of canned foods.” Le hopes to study the effects of BPA further, by testing its impact on unborn babies. “I want to look when pregnant women, and their fetuses, are exposed to even small amounts of BPA, how it’s going to damage (them),” Le said. “When you damage the fetus, you damage the rest of their life.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/13/bpa-linked-to-higher-risk-for-obesity-among-young-girls/

Vegetable fats tied to less prostate cancer spread

After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, men who eat a diet high in vegetable fats, such as those in nuts and olive oil, may be less likely to have their disease spread, a new study suggests. Researchers found that replacing some carbohydrates with those healthy fats was also tied to a lower risk of dying from any cause during the study. But the opposite was true for saturated and trans fats often found in meat and processed foods. “A lot of doctors will simply say, ‘Cut out fat,'” after a prostate cancer diagnosis, said Dr. Stephen Freedland, a urologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. But this study challenges that advice, said Freedland, who wrote a commentary on the findings. “It actually says, if you eat more fat, albeit the right kind of fat,… you're less likely to die of not only prostate cancer, but really of any cause, which really flies in the face of this ‘low-fat, low-fat, low-fat' mantra that we've been told for decades now,” he said. Researchers tracked 4,577 men who were diagnosed with localized prostate cancer during a large study of health workers beginning in 1986. Those men filled out questionnaires every four years on how often they ate or drank about 130 different types of foods and beverages. Over the next eight to nine years, 315 men developed lethal prostate cancer - cancer that spread to other parts of the body or killed them - and 1,064 died from any cause. Men who reported getting the highest proportion of their daily calories from vegetable fat - more than 21 percent - after their diagnosis were about one-third less likely to die during the study than those who ate the least vegetable fat. And they had a borderline lower risk of developing lethal cancer. On the other hand, men who ate a similar amount of animal fat tended to be more likely to die during follow up, from prostate cancer or anything else, than those who skimped on animal meat. Erin Richman of the University of California, San Francisco, and her colleagues found that switching 10 percent of daily calories from carbohydrates to vegetable fat was linked to a 29 percent lower risk of lethal prostate cancer and a 26 percent lower chance of dying from any cause. But replacing 5 percent of those calories with saturated fat, or just 1 percent with trans fat, was tied to a 25 to 30 percent higher risk of death during the study period, according to findings published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. “The benefit was really when you were replacing refined carbohydrates with (things like) olive oil and nuts,” Richman said. She said vegetable fats contain antioxidants and may reduce inflammation in the body, thereby making it harder for cancer to spread. The American Cancer Society estimates about one in six U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, and one in 36 will die of the disease. Because how animals are fed and how meats are cooked may both affect cancer risks associated with eating animal fats, Freedland said, “It becomes difficult to say, ‘Animals are bad; vegetables are good.' It's not that simple.” He recommends that men with prostate cancer cut out simple sugars and processed foods, as that is one of the easiest ways to get to a healthy weight. But not all fat should go. Richman agreed. “I think there's enough established benefit that you're not going to do any harm by adding nuts or olive oil,” she said.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/11/vegetable-fats-tied-to-less-prostate-cancer-spread/

More research needed on anesthesia’s impact on brain, study shows

Surgical anesthesia’s impact on the brain has long been debated, and even anesthesiologists have admitted the effects of these drugs on humans is not clearly understood. “Anesthetics have been somewhat of an enigma; nobody knows how they really work, and we basically use them in thousands of patients every day,” study author Dr. Andreas Loepke, a physician and researcher in the department of anesthesiology at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, told FoxNews.com. Concerns have been raised among anesthesiologists like Loepke over previous research indicating that exposure to anesthesia may increase the rate of cell death in the brains of young animals. And now, a new study in mice published in Annals of Neurology indicates that anesthesia seems to kill off younger neurons more often than older neurons – regardless of the age of the animal.  Researchers have not yet studied the impact of anesthesia on human brain cells. “You can’t section a human brain,” Loepke said. “…But if it were occurring in humans, we would predict that anesthetics affect neurons in patients of all ages.” Loepke and his colleagues examined the rates of cell death in the brains of mice exposed to anesthesia for six hours. They focused particularly on the dentate gyrus region of the brain, which helps control learning and memory. “We found something very interesting, in that cell death occurred in the spot where the dentate gyrus forms new neurons,” Loepke said. The root cause and impact of anesthesia-related cell death is unknown, and the study’s authors said more research needs to be done.   “During development, (we) form twice as many neurons as we need as an adult. The brain needs to be pruned back to properly function,” Loepke said. “So it’s currently unknown whether anesthesia kills neurons that would have been eliminated anyways from the brain or neurons later needed for vital function.”   Loepke added that human studies of older adults have indicated that some people do experience memory problems after undergoing anesthesia, which can be short-term or long-term.  Whether this is caused by anesthesia or by the body’s reaction to pain or surgery remains unclear. “The need for surgery could be a marker for these problems occurring – (or the) inflammatory response to the body from the surgery. These have all been found to alter neurons,” Loepke said. Loepke and his colleagues hope to go on to study the effect of anesthesia in humans using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. But until more research is done, Loepke urged people not to worry too much. “Patients need to make sure they get the surgery they need, because putting off the surgery could put you at more risk (than the anesthesia),” Loepke said.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/05/more-research-needed-on-anesthesias-impact-on-brain-study-shows/

Swine virus confirmed in Iowa, Indiana hog herds

Farms in two of the nation's leading pork producing states have tested positive for the potentially fatal porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), U.S. pork industry veterinarian official said Monday. Three farms in Iowa and one Indiana operation have confirmed cases of the virus, said Dr Lisa Becton, director of swine health information and research for the National Pork Board. The cases in Iowa were located on farms “all across the state, not in one specific area,” Becton said. PEDV does not pose a food safety or health risk to humans and the pork is safe eat. Other animals cannot contract the swine-only virus. Still, this marks the first time PEDV had been found in the United States, and poises yet another challenge for hog farms still recovering from record-high feed costs from last summer's historic drought. “The severity of the outbreak is not yet known, but we're hoping to have a better assessment soon,” Becton told Reuters. Iowa is the nation's leading hog producer with more than 20 million hogs and Indiana is No. 5 with 3.65 million, according to USDA. Agriculture Department officials are pulling together an agricultural epidemiologic survey, and plan to send the questionnaire out to swine veterinarians in the coming days, to try to determine how the virus was introduced into the nation's pork production chain and see how it spread, Becton said. Swine veterinarians across the U.S. are collecting samples from pork farms that have reported possible cases and sending them in for testing at National Veterinary Service Laboratories and other sites. Some veterinarians are also sending in samples of animal feed for testing, to see whether the virus was spread that way, said Dr. Keith Roehr, Colorado's state veterinarian. “There's a lot of biosecurity and prevention measures in place that prevent the spread of disease. That's what's so puzzling in this case. To be in different states, and to have crossed between different swine operations and between different owners, all of which are painstakingly kept separate to prevent the spread of disease - that's unusual,” said Roehr. There is no cure or vaccine for PEDV, which causes diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration in hogs and could result in deaths - particularly in baby pigs whose immune system can be weak. The virus is similar in some ways to transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) where mortality can range from 50 percent to 100 percent among pigs that are a week old or younger, Becton said. Older pigs can be affected but will recover in a matter of a few weeks after contracting the disease. There is no effective treatment for PEDV other than good care, warm housing and adequate water to combat dehydration. Strict bio-security and quarantine measures can help to slow the spread of the virus. PEDV also is sensitive to heat and sunlight, which may help curtail the spread of the outbreak as the weather turns warmer in the Midwest, veterinarians say. While this marks the first appearance of PEDV in the U.S., the virus dates back to the 1970s. Over the years, it has cropped up on pork operations in England, Canada, China and South Korea and Japan, said Becton. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed it had detected the virus in hog populations in Iowa on Friday, and noted that the disease may have spread to other hog producing states. The virus is also not expected to threaten U.S. pork exports, said Becton, who explained USDA does not consider PEDV a reportable disease to the World Organization for Animal Health, so no trade restrictions are expected. Roughly 23 percent of U.S. domestic pork production, which last year totaled 5.383 billion pounds worth $6.322 billion (U.S.) is earmarked for export.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/21/swine-virus-confirmed-in-iowa-indiana-hog-herds/