Tag Archives: canadian

New role for cell dark matter in genome integrity

Each time a cell divides, chromosomes, the long DNA molecules that encode our genes, must be duplicated. But the machinery that does this replication is imperfect, failing to perform duplication all the way to the ends of chromosomes. How living cells divide and how this process is accurately achieved are among the deepest questions scientists have been addressing for decades. …

Using math to kill cancer cells

"Oncolytic viruses are special in that they specifically target cancer cells," explains Dr. Bell, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine. "Unfortunately, cancer is a very complicated and diverse disease, and some viruses work well in some circumstances and not well in others. As a result, there has been a lot of effort in trying to modify the viruses to make them safe, so they don’t target healthy tissue and yet are more efficient in eliminating cancer cells." Dr. …

15 ways to cancer-proof your life

We're all grown-ups here—nightmares aren't a big problem anymore. We're calm, we're cool, we're mostly collected...until it comes to the C-word. For adults, cancer is the thing that goes bump in the night; that bump gets louder when family or friends are diagnosed. Whether your risk is monumental or blessedly average, we know you want to protect yourself. So we've combed through research, interrogated experts, and found cutting-edge strategies to help keep you safe. Worship a wee bit of sun People who get the most vitamin D, which lies dormant in skin until ultraviolet rays activate it, may protect themselves from a variety of cancers, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, breast, and colon. Ironically, it even improves survival rates of melanoma, the most serious skin cancer. But 10 to 15 minutes a few days a week is all it takes to benefit. If you're out any longer than that, slather on the sunscreen (Are you applying enough? We’ve got the recommended amount for every body part, here.) If you go the supplement route, aim for 400 IU of vitamin D a day. Eat an orange every day It just may zap a strain of the H. pylori bacteria that causes peptic ulcers and can lead to stomach cancer. Researchers in San Francisco found that infected people with high levels of vitamin C in their blood were less likely to test positive for the cancer-causing strain. (Bonus: research shows a scent of citrus can reduce stress.) Listen to Katie Couric Though colonoscopies are about as popular as root canals, if you're 50 or older, get one. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Don't think you're off the hook because you got a digital fecal occult blood test at your last checkup: Research by the Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study found that the test missed 95 percent of the cases. Schedule your first colonoscopy before your 50th if you have a family history of colon cancer. Steam a little green Piles of studies have shown that piles of broccoli help stave off ovarian, stomach, lung, bladder, and colorectal cancers. And steaming it for three to four minutes enhances the power of the cancer-fighting compound sulforaphane, which has been shown to halt the growth of breast cancer cells. (Sorry, microwaving doesn't do the trick; it strips out most antioxidants.) Get more protection by sprinkling a handful of selenium-rich sunflower seeds, nuts, or mushrooms on your greens. Researchers are discovering that sulforaphane is about 13 times more potent when combined with the mineral selenium. Pick a doc with a past Experience—lots of it—is critical when it comes to accurately reading mammograms. A study from the University of California, San Francisco, found that doctors with at least 25 years' experience were more accurate at interpreting images and less likely to give false positives. Ask about your radiologist's track record. If she is freshly minted or doesn't check a high volume of mammograms, get a second read from someone with more mileage. Drink jolt-less java Drink jolt-less java. Downing two or more cups of decaf a day may lower the incidence of rectal cancer by 52 percent, finds a study from two large and long-term research projects—the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study from Harvard University. One theory is that coffee increases bowel movements, which helps to reduce the risk. Why decaf reigns supreme, however, remains a mystery. Drop 10 pounds Being overweight or obese accounts for 20 percent of all cancer deaths among women and 14 percent among men, notes the American Cancer Society. (You're overweight if your body mass index is between 25 and 29.9; you're obese if it's 30 or more.) Plus, losing excess pounds reduces the body's production of female hormones, which may protect against breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers. Even if you're not technically overweight, gaining just 10 pounds after the age of 30 increases your risk of developing breast, pancreatic, and cervical, among other cancers. Make like a monkey Or a bunny. Women who ate four to six antioxidant-laden bananas a week cut their risk of kidney cancer by 54 percent, compared with those who didn't eat them at all, found an analysis of 61,000 women at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Gnawing on root vegetables such as carrots had the same benefit. Get naked with a friend You'll need help examining every inch of your body—including your back, scalp, and other hard-to-see places—for possible changes in the size or color of moles, blemishes, and freckles. These marks could spell skin cancer. Women, take special note of your legs: Melanoma mainly occurs there. For the guys, the trunk, head, and neck are the most diagnosed spots. While you're at it, check your fingernails and toenails, too. Gray-black discoloration or a distorted or elevated nail may indicate the disease. And whether you see changes or not, after age 40, everyone should see a dermatologist yearly. (Find out 7 more things your nails can say about your health.) See into the future Go to Your Disease Risk to assess your chance of developing 12 types of cancer, including ovarian, breast, and colon. After the interactive tool estimates your risk, you'll get personalized tips for prevention. Pay attention to pain If you're experiencing a bloated belly, pelvic pain, and an urgent need to urinate, see your doc. These symptoms may signal ovarian cancer, particularly if they're severe and frequent. Women and physicians often ignore these symptoms, and that's the very reason that this disease can be deadly. When caught early, before cancer has spread outside the ovary, the relative five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is a jaw-dropping 90 to 95 percent. Get calcium daily Milk's main claim to fame may also help protect your colon. Those who took calcium faithfully for four years had a 36 percent reduction in the development of new pre-cancerous colon polyps five years after the study had ended, revealed Dartmouth Medical School researchers. (They tracked 822 people who took either 1,200 mg of calcium every day or a placebo.) Though the study was not on milk itself, you can get the same amount of calcium in three 8-ounce glasses of fat-free milk, along with an 8-ounce serving of yogurt or a 2- to 3-ounce serving of low-fat cheese daily. Sweat 30 minutes a day One of the best anticancer potions is a half hour of motion at least five days a week. Any kind of physical activity modulates levels of androgens and estrogen, two things that can protect women against estrogen-driven cancers such as ovarian and endometrial, as well as some types of breast cancer. The latest proof comes by way of a Canadian study that found that women who get regular, moderate exercise may lower their risk of ovarian cancer by as much as 30 percent. Bonus: All that moving might speed everything through your colon, which may help stave off colon cancer. (Trouble carving out 30 minutes a day? Be ready for a fitness opportunity at a moment’s notice by keeping a perfectly packed gym bag in your car at all times.) Stamp out smoking—all around you Lung cancer is well known as one of the main hazards of smoking. But everything the smoke passes on its way to the lungs can also turn cancerous: mouth, larynx, and esophagus. The fun doesn't stop there. Smokers are encouraging stomach, liver, prostate, colorectal, cervical, and breast cancers as well. The good news: If you give up the cigs today, within 15 years, your lung cancer risk will drop to almost pre-smoking lows. Share that news with the people who puff around you, because exposure to someone else's smoke can cause lung cancer, and it may boost your chances of cervical cancer by 40 percent. Step away from the white bread If you eat a lot of things with a high glycemic load—a measurement of how quickly food raises your blood sugar—you may run a higher risk of colorectal cancer than women who eat low-glycemic-load foods, finds a Harvard Medical School study involving 38,000 women. The problem eats are mostly white: white bread, pasta, potatoes, and sugary pastries. The low-glycemic-load stuff comes with fiber. Blew through our list already

Lifestyle change may ease heart risk from job stress

Being under stress at work is tied to a higher risk of heart problems, new research confirms - but putting down the beer bottle and going for a walk may help. Researchers found that job strain - defined as having a lot of demands at work, but little control - was tied at a 25 percent higher chance of having a heart attack or dying of heart problems. But heart risks were cut in half among people - stressed or not - who maintained a healthy lifestyle compared to those who drank, smoked or were obese. “For many people avoidance of work stress is unrealistic,” lead researcher Mika Kivimaki, from University College London, said in an email. “Thus, we wanted to ask the question whether adopting an otherwise healthy lifestyle would reduce heart disease risk among those with job strain,” he said. Kivimaki and his colleagues combined the results of seven European studies that surveyed 102,000 people about their general lifestyle habits and health, including how much strain they were under at work. None of those participants had heart disease at the start of the study. Over the next seven years, on average, there were about 1,100 heart attacks or deaths from heart disease across the trials. About one in six people in the studies initially reported being under job strain. Rates of heart problems over a decade ranged from 12 cases per 1,000 generally healthy people without job strain to 31 per 1,000 people with job strain and multiple lifestyle risks, such as rarely exercising or having more than three or four alcoholic drinks a day. Kivimaki's team calculated that close to 4 percent of all heart attacks and heart disease deaths could be attributed to job strain and about 26 percent to drinking, smoking, obesity and lack of physical activity. The researchers wrote in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that for people with stressful jobs, adopting a healthier lifestyle may be a strategy to lower heart risks. “We hope this message reaches those who want to reduce their heart disease risk but feel they cannot avoid work stress,” Kivimaki said. One researcher who has studied work stress and heart disease separately said the new review may underestimate the link between job strain and heart disease. OTHER FACTORS? Paul Landsbergis of SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, said other types of job stress that may influence heart risks - such as having low social support and job insecurity - weren't taken into account. The new study doesn't prove pressure at work caused heart problems. But cardiologist Dr. Vincent Figueredo from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia said the results are in line with past studies suggesting that chronic stress, including from job strain, can have negative health effects. “With chronic stress, there's activation of these systems that can have long-term effects on things like insulin resistance, central obesity (and) high blood pressure,” Figueredo, who wasn't involved in the new research, said. What this review adds, he said, is that workers may be able to do something about those extra risks. “It does offer some hope for those people who do have that job strain they can't do anything about at work,” Figueredo said. “If you're stuck being stressed at work, at least go out and exercise, don't smoke and eat healthy.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/17/lifestyle-change-may-ease-heart-risk-from-job-stress/

Small restaurants serving big calories, salt, studies find

Despite public health progress in cutting calories, as well as salt and fat from fast foods and supermarket products, neighborhood restaurants are still packing big helpings of each into their meals, a trio of studies suggests. Small independent eateries are not required to display nutritional information for consumers - if they did, the researchers report, patrons would routinely see single meals containing nearly a full day's worth of calories and fat plus one and half times the daily recommended intake for salt. “It's really a disgrace. Every day the newspapers say things about the obesity epidemic… To a large extent, you can trace that to too many calories,” said Susan Roberts, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Energy Metabolism Lab and professor of nutrition at Tufts University, in Boston. About two thirds of Americans are considered overweight or obese, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. And as American waistlines continue to expand, public health policy has focused on the quality of food available in supermarkets and restaurants. President Barack Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act, for example, contains a requirement that restaurants with at least 20 outlets in the U.S. make their nutritional information available to customers. But one of three new studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday points out that policy only applies to about half of the nation's restaurants. The other half is made up of smaller chains or independent restaurants exempt from the requirement. For their analysis, Roberts and her colleagues measured the calories in 157 meals at small Mexican, American, Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Thai restaurants in and near Boston between June and August 2011. Overall, the researchers found the average meal at those restaurants contained 1,327 calories. That's about 66 percent of the 2,000 daily calories recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. About 8 percent of the meals exceeded 2,000 calories. The meals from small restaurants also contained up to 18 percent more calories than comparable dishes from larger chains - suggesting the requirement to display nutritional information is keeping the large-chain restaurant meals healthier, according to the researchers. In another of the studies published Monday, Canadian researchers led by Mary Scourboutakos from the University of Toronto found similarly high calorie counts in more than 3,500 meals from Ontario restaurants they analyzed. What's more, Scourboutakos and her fellow researchers found that individual meals contained an average of 89 percent of the daily recommended amount of fat and 151 percent of the daily recommended amount of salt. A third study also zeroed-in on salt as a major area of concern. Several organizations, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization have all called for reductions in the amount of sodium people consume. The Institute of Medicine recommends that most healthy people get 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, with an upper limit of 2,300 mg. But the average American eats closer to 3,600 mg each day, largely in processed foods. For their new study, Dr. Stephen Havas of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and his colleagues analyzed 402 processed foods and 78 fast-food products to see if their salt content had changed between 2005 and 2011. They found a small decrease in the amount of salt in processed foods over that period but also a similarly-sized increase in the amount of salt in fast-food products. The differences in each category, however, were small enough that they could have been due to chance. Havas said the results show that the calls for voluntary reductions in salt have been a “total failure.” “The only thing that will solve this problem is for the amount of salt in our food to be regulated,” he added. But regulating food and what goes into it has been a controversial topic, according to Dr. Mitchell Katz, from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services in California. Instead, he suggests in a commentary accompanying the three studies that doctors should advocate for their patients' right to know what they're eating. “As we debate the controversial role of government in stemming the interrelated endemics of obesity, diabetes mellitus, and heart disease, we must insist on the right of our patients (as well as ourselves) to know what we are eating, whether fast food or slow, whether large chain, small chain, or individual restaurant,” he wrote. One encouraging finding from the study of Toronto restaurant meals highlighted by Scourboutakos and her colleagues is that entrees identified on the restaurant menus as “healthy” were generally at least healthier - with about 474 calories, 20 percent of the day's value of fat and 50 percent of the recommended daily intake of sodium. Roberts told Reuters Health she'd like to see restaurants add a few healthy choice options to their menu to at least give people an alternative. “That would mean the restaurant doesn't have to calculate the whole menu and that would give people choices,” she said.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/14/small-restaurants-serving-big-calories-salt-studies-find/