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Health & longevity news archive: September-October 2007





overweight men
Be thin to cut cancer, study says
(Oct 31, 2007)


Even those who are not overweight should slim down if they want to cut their risk of cancer, a major international study has claimed. The World Cancer Research Fund carried out the largest ever inquiry into lifestyle and cancer, and issued several stark recommendations. They include not gaining weight after the age of 21, avoiding soft drinks and alcohol, and not eating bacon or ham.

Read more. Source: BBC

cigarette
Therapy may cut lung cancer risk
(Oct 31, 2007)


Treatment with a derivative of vitamin A called retinoic acid may help to cut former smokers' risk of lung cancer, research suggests. It is suspected that lung cells damaged during years of smoking may continue to grow and evolve into cancer even after that person has quit. Scientists found the therapy reduced growth among those lung cells.

Read more. Source: BBC


light-activated therapy
Light activated cancer drug hope
(Oct 30, 2007)


Scientists say they may be able to make cancer-fighting drugs target tumours far more effectively by using ultra-violet light to activate them. Monoclonal antibodies are seen as a key weapon in the fight against cancer, but can attack healthy tissue as well. Writing in ChemMedChem, Newcastle University researchers say they have found ways to make antibodies only respond when light is shone.

Read more. Source: BBC

tomatoes
Organic produce 'better for you'
(Oct 29, 2007)


Organic produce is better for you than ordinary food, a major European Union-funded study says. The 12m four-year project, led by Newcastle University, found a general trend showing organic food contained more antioxidants and less fatty acids. But researchers did admit the study showed some variations.

Read more. Source: BBC

fruit and vegetables
Diet choices 'written in genes'
(Oct 23, 2007)


Our genes and not just our upbringing may play a key role in our food likes and dislikes, UK researchers believe. Experts from Kings College London compared the eating habits of thousands of pairs of twins. Identical twins were far more likely to share the same dietary patterns – like a penchant for coffee and garlic – suggesting tastes may be inherited.

Read more. Source: BBC

cancer cell
Optimism 'no bearing on cancer'
(Oct 22, 2007)


The power of the mind has been overestimated when it comes to fighting cancer, US scientists say. They said they found that a patient's positive or negative emotional state had no direct bearing on cancer survival or disease progression. The University of Pennsylvania team followed more than 1,000 patients with head and neck cancer.

Read more. Source: BBC

garlic
Why garlic is good for the heart
(Oct 16, 2007)


Researchers have cracked the mystery of why eating garlic can help keep the heart healthy. The key is allicin, which is broken down into the foul-smelling sulphur compounds which taint breath. These compounds react with red blood cells and produce hydrogen sulphide which relaxes the blood vessels, and keeps blood flowing easily.

Read more. Source: BBC

blood test
Test 'can spot Alzheimer's risk'
(Oct 15, 2007)


A newly developed blood test can identify those at risk of Alzheimer's disease up to six years before symptoms would become apparent, researchers say. The test identifies changes in a handful of proteins that cells use to convey messages to one another. The US researchers found it could indicate who had Alzheimer's, as well as who was likely to develop the condition, with 90% accuracy.

Read more. Source: BBC

tissue and organ regeneration technique
Cell-squirting needles could 'weave' new organs
(Oct 13, 2007)


A new approach to "printing" living cells could make it easier to arrange them into precise structures without harming them. This could enable future therapies where replacement limbs or organs can be printed to order.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

brain scan
Sedated patients can hear speech
(Oct 12, 2007)


Research into the brain's response to speech when under sedation has revealed reduced activity in areas critical for memory and understanding language. Cambridge University scientists used brain imaging to find evidence which may influence the amount of anaesthetic given to patients undergoing surgery. It may also affect attitudes to patients in a coma or vegetative state.

Read more. Source: BBC

pills
Heart drugs 'have longer effect'
(Oct 11, 2007)


The cholesterol-lowering drugs statins can provide protection against heart disease years after patients stop taking them, a study has found. The drugs can reduce the risk of heart attacks by a quarter in men, according to the report's lead author. The University of Glasgow study found long-term benefits in taking statins.

Read more. Source: BBC

woman's hips
Hip size 'gives cancer risk clue'
(Oct 9, 2007)


Women whose mothers have big hips may be more likely to develop breast cancer, research suggests. A study led by the University of Southampton found breast cancer rates were more than three times higher among women whose mothers had wide hips.

Read more. Source: BBC

acupuncture
Needles 'are best for back pain'
(Sep 25, 2007)


Acupuncture – real or sham – is more effective at treating back pain than conventional therapies, research suggests. A German team found almost half the patients treated with acupuncture felt pain relief. But the Archives of Internal Medicine study also suggests fake acupuncture works nearly as well as the real thing. In contrast, only about a quarter who received drugs and other Western therapies felt better.

Read more. Source: BBC

sources of vitamin D
The virtues of Vitamin D: It's time we saw the light
(Sep 19, 2007)


It may not be the first supplement to be called a "wonder vitamin", but it is one of the few to have lived up to the name. Last week, the biggest review of the role of vitamin D in health found that people who took supplements of the vitamin for six years reduced their risk of dying from all causes.

Read more. Source: The Independent

honey
Honey is the bee's knees for staying young
(Sep 14, 2007)


Perhaps Winnie the Pooh knows something we don't. Honey could soon be marketed as a way to combat the effects of ageing. Lynne Chepulis and Nicola Starkey of the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, raised rats on diets containing 10 per cent honey, 8 per cent sucrose, or no sugar at all for 12 months. The rats were two months old at the start of the trial, and were assessed every three months using tests designed to measure anxiety and spatial memory.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

contraceptive pills
Pill use 'may cut risk of cancer'
(Sep 12, 2007)


Contraceptive pill use does not raise a women's overall risk of cancer – and may cut it for most, research shows. Any increased risk of breast and cervix cancer linked to pill use appears to be cancelled out by long-term protection from other cancers. However, the British Medical Journal study found using the pill for more than eight years was associated with an increased overall risk of cancer.

Read more. Source: BBC

man yawning
Contagious yawn 'sign of empathy'
(Sep 11, 2007)


Yawning may reveal more about a person than their boredom threshold, according to research. A susceptibility to contagious yawning may actually be a sign of a high-level of social empathy. Although many species yawn, only some humans and possibly their close animal relatives find yawning infectious, suggesting the reason is psychological.

Read more. Source: BBC

person suffering from depression
Depression leads to worst health
(Sep 7, 2007)


Depression is a more disabling condition than angina, arthritis, asthma and diabetes, World Health Organization research shows. And those with depression plus a chronic illness, such as diabetes, fare particularly badly, the study of more than 245,000 people suggests. Better treatment for depression would improve people's overall health, the researchers concluded in the Lancet.

Read more. Source: BBC

food with additives
Parents warned of additives link
(Sep 6, 2007)


Parents have been warned of the effects of food additives on their children's behaviour after new research found a possible link to hyperactivity. A Food Standards Agency (FSA) study of 300 random children found they behaved impulsively and lost concentration after a drink containing additives. The FSA now says hyperactive children might benefit from fewer additives.

Read more. Source: BBC

measuring height
Scientists discover height gene
(Sep 4, 2007)


Scientists have discovered the first gene that influences a person's height. People who carry two copies of the "tall" version of the HMGA2 gene are up to 1cm taller than those who carry two copies of the "short" version. The international team of researchers say the discovery could aid a greater understanding of the link between height and disease.

Read more. Source: BBC

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