Monday, April 30, 2007

Alcohol 'makes fruit healthier'

Strawberries are good for you but having them in a cocktail may make them even healthier, a study suggests.
The fruit contains compounds that can protect against cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
But having them with alcohol, such as in a daiquiri, boosts these antioxidant properties, the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture says.
Nutritionists said the "detrimental effects" of such drinks could cancel out such benefits.

The most common cocktail to include strawberries is the daiquiri - which also includes lime or lemon juice, strawberry liqueur, sugar - and rum.

Source - BBC

Labels: , , ,

Herbal remedy shown to have anti-cancer effect

A widely used herbal supplement taken to aid digestion has been found to have powerful anti-cancer properties. Triphala, made from the dried and powdered fruit of three plants, is the most popular Ayurvedic remedy in India. It is used to stimulate the appetite, treat intestinal disorders and act as a laxative.
Indian scientists have claimed for years that Triphala has value as a detoxifying and anti-cancer agent. Now researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute say they have shown that it can prevent or slow the growth of pancreatic cancer tumours implanted in mice.
Millions of cancer patients turn to herbal supplements and vitamin pills in the hope that they can boost their immune systems and help fight the disease. Many take them out of disaffection with conventional medicine but doctors warn that exaggerated claims are being made for their effects.
The latest findings, presented to the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in Los Angeles yesterday, suggest some herbal preparations may have genuine anti-cancer action.
Mice grafted with human pancreatic tumours were fed one to two milligrams of Triphala for five days a week. By the end of the study, their tumours were half the size of those in a control group of mice fed saline (salt solution) only.
Sanjay Srivastava, the assistant professor in pharmacology who led the study, said: "We discovered that Triphala fed orally to mice ... was an extremely effective inhibitor of the cancer process. Triphala triggered the cancerous cells to die off and significantly reduced the size of tumours without causing any side effects."

Labels: , ,

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Foods that guard against cancer

Is a chocolate treat likely to increase the chance of my colleague developing cancer of the breast, and another recurrence of my own prostatic cancer? Will the butter on the hot-cross buns at Easter be more hazardous than chocolate eggs, and just how much did that steak increase the likelihood of my developing colorectal cancer? Would I have done better to have chosen guinea fowl, because one study indicated that where red meat increased the incidence of some gut cancers, white meat reduced it?
These are some of the questions raised by research published last week by the Vasterbotten Intervention Project in Sweden. It studied the medical history of 64,500 men and women, and compared the incidence of cancer of the pancreas, skin, uterus and urinary tract with blood sugar levels.
Part of the funding for the project was provided by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). The project demonstrated a heightened risk for women but not for men. Unexpectedly, males with higher than average blood sugar levels were less likely to develop prostate cancer, but this difference was not clinically significant. A high-fat diet had previously been thought to be one of the factors that might increase the incidence of prostate cancer.
The heightened risk posed by increased blood sugar levels was, however, significant for those women whose levels were in the top quarter of the league table. They had an appreciably greater chance of developing one of the four cancers than did those in the bottom quarter of the table. Why the blood sugar caused an increase in these four cancers is unexplained, though. Was it an effect of raised insulin levels and insulin resistance, or was it associated with obesity?
The WCRF (UK) will publish its own more extensive study in November. This will be a follow-up to a similar but less rigorous examination of the statistics that were available and published in 1997. Rumour has it that the new report will not only extend existing knowledge, but has also detected differences in the emphasis that should be given to various known risk factors.

Source - Times

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Car drivers 'risking skin cancer'

Drivers who spend a lot of time behind the wheel increase their risk of skin cancer, US work suggests. Experts say repeated sun exposure through the car's side windows is to blame, and drivers who roll down the window are at even greater risk.

Most glass used for windows blocks UVB rays that cause sunburn but not deeper penetrating UVA rays.

The Saint Louis University School of Medicine team presented their work to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Source - BBC

Labels: ,

Watercress 'may cut cancer risk'

Eating watercress regularly could help cut the chances of developing cancer, research suggests.

The University of Ulster work suggests it cuts DNA damage to white blood cells - considered to be an important trigger in the development of cancer.

Watercress appears to raise levels of beneficial compounds, and cut levels of harmful compounds in the blood.

The study is funded by the Watercress Alliance, but is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Source - BBC News

Labels: , , , ,

Common scents for healing

Aromatherapy can significantly lift anxiety and depression. It’s the sort of statement you see on alternative-therapy websites and pamphlets for practitioners who massage fragrant oils into people’s skin. And you’ve probably always suspected that there was little to back it up.
Today all that changes. According to an authoritative study by Cancer Research UK, in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, that assertion is true. The new study is significant, and not just because it indicates that after chemotherapy and other treatment, aromatherapy helps to relieve anxiety and depression much quicker than other approaches.
The researchers believe it is the first large randomised controlled trial (the highest standard of research, which doctors take most seriously) to be conducted on a complementary therapy in several centres in the NHS. And it indicates that health service workers and research funders are beginning to take seriously the potential contribution of complementary medicines. “I think it’s enormously exciting,” says the lead researcher, Amanda Ramirez, the director of the Cancer Research UK London Psychosocial Group at King’s College London. “I’m unaware of other treatments, including talking therapies, that can achieve such fast improvements in people with cancer who are anxious or depressed.”
The study, which cost £300,000 (most multi-centre trials cost £500,000), examined 288 people with all types of cancer and at various stages of the disease who had had anxiety or depression diagnosed after treatment. Many had severe symptoms such as panic attacks, inability to sleep and needle phobia. Recent studies have indicated that about half of cancer sufferers get some such problems in the first year. Half of the subjects in the trial received a course of weekly aromatherapy massage and half received normal support services, such as counselling and, in severe cases, psychotherapy and medication. Their symptoms were monitored for 12 weeks.
The results were so clear that they surprised Ramirez, a professor of psychiatry. Symptoms lifted far earlier in the aromatherapy group than in the nonaromatherapy group; within two weeks of the treatment beginning as opposed to six weeks. And although by ten weeks after the trial started the two groups showed equal alleviation of symptoms, members of the group receiving aromatherapy consistently reported more improvement in anxiety than the other group right though the trial. However, aromatherapy seemed to bring no significant improvement to pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 09, 2007

How three cups of coffee can cut Alzheimer's risk

DRINKING three cups of coffee a day can significantly reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer's disease, say researchers.
A ten-year study of 600 elderly men found those getting a regular caffeine fix experienced a much smaller decline in their mental abilities than non coffee-drinkers. Researchers believe caffeine may trigger a chain reaction in the brain that prevents the damage of Alzheimer's.
In a report on their findings, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they raised the possibility that doctors may one day recommend coffee to the elderly.
"Drinking three cups a day was associated with the smallest cognitive decline," they said."
Alzheimer's affects an estimated 750,000 people in the UK.
Most die within ten years of being diagnosed, and the cost of caring for victims is more than for stroke, heart disease and cancer put together.

Source - Scotsman

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

High-fibre diet 'can cut cancer risk for women under 50'

A breakfast bowl of muesli, wholemeal sandwiches at lunch and fruit in the evening could halve a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.

Researchers have found that younger women who eat a high-fibre diet appear to be protected against the disease - at least until the menopause.

A study of 35,000 women over seven years found those with the highest fibre intake of 30 grams a day had a 50 per cent lower incidence of breast cancer than those eating 20 grams a day. But the effect was only seen in pre-menopausal women up to the age of about 50. In post-menopausal women, a high-fibre diet offered no protection.

Source - Independent

Labels: , , ,

How spicy foods can kill cancers

Scientists have discovered the key to the ability of spicy foods to kill cancer cells.
They found capsaicin, an ingredient of jalapeno peppers, triggers cancer cell death by attacking mitochondria - the cells' energy-generating boiler rooms.

The research raises the possibility that other cancer drugs could be developed to target mitochondria.

The Nottingham University study features in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

The study showed that the family of molecules to which capsaicin belongs, the vanilloids, bind to proteins in the cancer cell mitochondria to trigger apoptosis, or cell death, without harming surrounding healthy cells.

Capsaicin was tested on cultures of human lung cancer cells and on pancreatic cancers.

Lead researcher Dr Timothy Bates said: "As these compounds attack the very heart of the tumour cells, we believe that we have in effect discovered a fundamental 'Achilles heel' for all cancers.

"The biochemistry of the mitochondria in cancer cells is very different from that in normal cells.

"This is an innate selective vulnerability of cancer cells."

He said a dose of capsaicin that could cause a cancer cell to enter apoptosis, would not have the same effect on a normal cell.

Source - BBC


Mobile phone use 'linked to tumour'

Long-term users of mobile phones are significantly more likely to develop a certain type of brain tumour on the side of the head where they hold their handsets, according to new research.
A large-scale study found that those who had regularly used mobiles for longer than 10 years were almost 40 per cent more likely to develop nervous system tumours called gliomas near to where they hold their phones.

The new research, to be published later this year in the International Journal of Cancer, is the second study to suggest increased risks of specific types of brain tumours in regions close to where mobile phone emissions enter the head.

However, a number of other studies have found no increased health risks associated with mobile phone use.

Prof Lawrie Challis, the chairman of the government-funded Mobile Telecommunications Health Research (MTHR) programme, said last week that most research had shown that mobiles were safe in the short term but that there was a "hint of something" for longer-term
Prof Challis, who is negotiating funding for a long-term international study, said last night: "I agree with the authors that this is a hint that needs further exploration. It's further reason why a long-term study is necessary."

Louis Slesin, the editor of Microwave News, a US newsletter on radiation and health that reported the new study, said: "We now have two tumour types found among people who use mobiles for more than 10 years shown by two different research groups. That is compelling evidence."

Researchers from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland compared the mobile phone use of 1,521 people with gliomas with that of 3,301 people without the cancers.

Source - Telegraph


Fibre 'lowers breast cancer risk'

Pre-menopausal women who eat large amounts of fibre could halve their breast cancer risk, a UK study has suggested.

The University of Leeds researchers, who studied 35,000 women, found those who ate 30g of fibre a day had half the risk of those who ate less than 20g.

They said women should try to increase their fibre intake.

Experts said the International Journal of Epidemiology study was more evidence of the benefits of a healthy diet.

Source - BBC News


Cloudy apple juice 'healthier'

Cloudy apple juice is better for you than clear varieties, say researchers.

Polish scientists found the levels of antioxidants which protect against heart disease and cancer are almost double in cloudy apple juice.

The antioxidants, called polyphenols, are also found in red wine, berries and dark chocolate.

In the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, the researchers said the manufacturing process led to fewer polyphenols in clear apple juice.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Drink up your greens

Juicing fruit and veg is all the rage for detox, weight loss and even disease prevention. But how much good does it really do, asks Lucy Atkins
Between lectures, Leeds University students are busy necking slammers and buying grass at a popular campus bar. This is perhaps not so startling news until you know that the grass is wheatgrass, and the bar is a "Juice Master" juice bar. These days, the truly fashion-conscious no longer accessorise with cardboard buckets of latte, but clutch biodegradable cups brimming with freshly juiced raw fruit and vegetables.
Juice bars are nothing new. But this year Santa's sack is likely to be stuffed with DIY juicing machines as the trend for "squeeze your own detox" takes off. Celebrities such as Jordan, who lost 28lb on a juicing diet devised by "Juice Master" Jason Vale, members of Take That and even Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans have all recently sung the praises of juicing. Naturopath newspaper and magazine columnists are recommending juice blends to cure anything from psoriasis to PMT. Amazon is similarly buzzing with juicing regimes that promise to cure all ills. In The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies, Natalie Savona provides an ailment chart, cross-referenced to 365 juice blends. The Juice Master's 7lb in Seven Days Super Juice Diet, meanwhile, includes a breakdown of what each combination of fruit and veg will do for you ("anti-cancer", "great for hair, skin and nails", "detoxing" and so on). Jo Pratt's In the Mood for Food cookbook, out next January, includes two smoothies - breakfast berry and tropical fruit, designed to improve your mental wellbeing. And The Complete Idiot's Guide to Juicing by Ellen Hodgson Brown will be out in time for the January detox boom.

Juicing is big business. According to the consumer research group Mintel, the UK fruit juice market is worth around £1.4bn a year. Smoothies and juices are the biggest boom area in a total non-alcoholic drinks market that rose by 26% between 2000 and 2004 alone. Drinking fresh juice is an undoubtedly healthy way to get more fresh fruit and veg into your system. According to Vale, however, to get maximum nutrients, "Juice must be unpasteurised, made only with fresh and raw ingredients, no concentrates or added sweeteners." This is something that bottled products and some juice bars don't always achieve.
But sometimes the juice hype is scientifically shaky. "Our colons are clogged with rotting food and cannot absorb nutrients properly" says Vale, so "our cells are starved". "Think of your digestive system as the clogged M25 at rush hour on a bank holiday weekend," he suggests. "Juice is a fast motorcycle courier bypassing the blockage".

This is a great image, but according to Dr Adam Harris, consultant gastroenterologist at Kent and Sussex hospital, and honorary secretary of the British Society of Gastroenterologists, biologically inaccurate. If your colon was blocked or your digestion not functioning or absorbing nutrients properly, you would be very obviously ill. "Some disease processes such as a tumor, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease and severe constipation can narrow the diameter of the colon," Harris explains. "In the absence of disease, the only thing found in the lumen [lining] is faeces, which is entirely normal. If it wasn't, we would all be sitting on the loo all the time."

Source - Daily Mail

Labels: ,

Olive oil 'can cut cancer risk'

Adding plenty of olive oil to a diet could help protect against cell damage that can lead to cancer, experts say.

A study of 182 European men found those who had 25 millilitres of olive oil per day had reduced levels of a substance which indicates cell damage.

The Danish team said it may explain why many cancer rates are higher in northern Europe than the south, where olive oil is a major part of the diet.

The study is in the Federation American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Labels: , , ,

Expert Advice Online On Alternative Medicine

As alternative medicine becomes more popular, a growing number of people are accessing the internet for information. The problem is sifting through tons of web pages, and deciding what is reliable and what isn't. Hence the creation of
SafeAlternativeMedicine was created at the end of 2005. It is a unique reference point on safe alternative medicine. Their features and articles are written by experts and professional journalists who have a particular interest in this area.

There are several dedicated sections in the website, including:

-- Anti Ageing
-- Aromatherapy
-- Beauty and Skin Care
-- ComplementaryTherapies
-- Complementary Therapy
-- Heart Health
-- Helping with Cancer
-- Herbal Health
-- Massage
-- Men's Health
-- Mental Health
-- Mind & Body Health
-- Nutrition
-- Sports Health
-- Women's Health

Opinion of the Editor of Medical News Today

I found it easy to navigate around this web site, the information is clear and useful. Of all the alternative medicine web sites I have seen on the internet, I would say this one, for me, is the best.

Source - Medical News Today

Labels: , , ,

Protect Patients From Exploitation By Alternative Medicines Industry

It is time to protect patients from 'vile and cynical exploitation' by the alternative medicines industry, argues a cancer expert in this week's BMJ.

It is estimated that up to 80% of all patients with cancer take a complementary treatment or follow a dietary programme to help treat their cancer, writes Jonathan Waxman, Professor of Oncology at Imperial College London.

Yet the rationale for the use of many of these approaches is obtuse - one might even be tempted to write misleading, he says.

Indeed the claims made by companies to support the sales of such products may be overtly and malignly incorrect and, in many cases, the products may be doctored by chemicals borrowed from the conventional pharmaceutical industry. The reason that these products are accessible to patients is that they are not subject to the testing of pharmaceuticals because they are classified as food supplements.

So why do patients take alternative medicines" Why is science disregarded" How can it be that treatments that don't work are regarded as life saving"

Waxman believes that it is because the complementary therapists offer something that doctors cannot offer - hope. If you eat this, take that, avoid this, and really believe this then we can promise you sincerely that you will be cured.

And if the patient is not cured, it is the patient who has failed, not the alternative therapy. The patient has let down the alternative practitioner and disappointed his family who have encouraged his 'treatment.'

Source - Medical News Today

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Does Chocolate Have Health Benefits?

By Art Vine


Chocolate contains high levels of beneficial chemicals and antidioxants such as Seratonin, Phenylethylaminea, Pentamer and flavonoids. It is also high in essential trace elements, minerals and vitamins such as iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E as well as many nutrients. Cocoa powder is also the highest known natural source of Magnesium.

Because it contains Seratonin and Phenylethylamine, chocolate can be good for mental health. These substances are 'mood lifting' agents which are released naturally into our system by the human brain when we are feeling happy or in love. Eating chocolate also releases Seratonin and Phenylethylamine into the system, thus (as all chocoholics know), when we are feeling down or depressed chocolate can provide a 'lift', instantly improving our mental state.

Studies indicate that a chemical found in chocolate called Pentamer help can protect against cancer.

Chocolate is very high in anidioxants in the form of flavanoids Also found in lesser amounts in tea, fruit and red wine, studies indicate they protect the heart and arteries from damage by free radicals.

Magnesium deficiency is linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and pre-menstrual problems, otherwise known as PMT or PMS. This condition is caused by a pre-menstrual drop in progesterone levels and it's this which precipitates the violent mood swings familiar to so many women (and their families). Adding magnesium to the diet has been proved to increase pre-menstrual progesterone levels, helping to reduce or even eliminate the problem.

There are benefits for men too, as well as the high Magnesium and flavanoids content which are beneficial for the heart, arteries and hypertension, studies indicate that the cocoa butter in high quality chocolate, although technically a 'saturated fat', does not fur up the arteries or contribute to high cholesterol levels.

Chocolate is an unsurpassed nutritional source, providing high levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, a single chocolate chip can provide enough energy for the average man to walk about 170' or 50m. Napoleon carried chocolate with him on his campaigns and today most armies provide chocolate in daily ration packs for soldiers in the field. For over 100 years the British, army have issued soldiers with emergency or 'Iron Rations' of chocolate, containing very high levels of cocoa (80%+), for use in emergencies. Each 'iron ration' of 8oz's - 227g of chocolate can not only provide enough nutrition to keep a soldier going for 7 days or more, it also helps keep up moral in difficult circumstances.

STOP PRESS Nov, 06: Results of a study by Johns Hopkins University indicate that chocolate acts in a similar way to Aspirin in effectively preventing blood clots in the arteries, reducing the likelihood of heart attacks.


They say "there's no such thing as a free lunch" and chocolate, like all good things in life, has it's problems too. It contains sugar and fat in the form of chocolate butter and eating too much of either will cause health problems. As a result, chocolate has developed an undeserved reputation for being unhealthy.

But, although recognised as being addictive to many people, particularly to Women, chocolate itself is not really the cause of the major health problems it's been associated with.

These problems are caused by the simple fact that many chocoholics choose to satisfy their chocolate cravings in the unhealthiest way possible, by buying heavily advertised, mass produced, brand name, milk and white chocolates.

These products are generally very low in chocolate solids (ave less than 20%) and very, very high in sugar and saturated fats. The beneficial cocoa butter has usually been replaced with Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (HVO's), and there's no question that HVO's are catastrophically ruinous for your health. To make matters worse, because of the very low chocolate content, chocoholics have to eat 3 or 4 times more of this type of product to satisfy a craving for chocolate.

Filled chocolates, both the commercial variety and, sadly, many handmade chocolates, are some of the worst culprits, with centre's consisting almost exclusively of flavoured Fondants and pralines - fondant is virtually 100% sugar and many pralines aren't much better.

The upshot is, if you want a guaranteed way to to get very unhealthy in a very short time, this is one of the most effective ways to way do it.


To find the healthiest chocolate the first thing you need to do is start reading the labels, real chocolate should only contain the following ingredients:

Dark chocolate should contain: Cocoa, Sugar, Vanilla and Lethicin in that order.

Milk chocolate should contain only Cocoa, Sugar, Milk solids/fats, Vanilla and Lethicin.

White chocolate should contain only Cocoa Butter, Sugar, Milk solids/fats, Vanilla and Lethicin.

Flavoured chocolates may also contain a natural flavouring such as Orange oil, spices etc, it should not contain Vanillin (artificial Vanilla), vegetable fats or anything else.

For our purposes here, the healthiest chocolate is going to be that which contains the maximum cocoa solids and the minimum sugar. This would make 100% pure chocolate the healthiest option, unfortunately this is virtually inedible because of it's bitterness.

In practice all chocolate has to have some sugar added simply to make it palatable. Dark chocolate containing 70% (or more) cocoa content is generally recognised as being the healthiest option, simply because it contains more chocolate and less sugar.

If you must eat milk or white Chocolate, you should moderate your consumption and make sure your milk chocolate contains a minimumn 35% cocoa and your white chocolate contains a minimum 30% cocoa butter, with the balance of both made up of milk solids and sugar in about equal proportions.

If you like filled chocolates, either handmade chocolate or otherwise, choose those chocolates with fillings containing high cocoa content, covered with high quality chocolate coverture. Not mass produced, high sugar content Pralines or Fondants covered with low quality coatings that barely even qualify as chocolate.

Chocolate should contain ABSOLUTELY NO Vegetable oils or artificial additives of any kind.


If you love chocolate and/or filled chocolates, there's good stuff out there if you look, and as chocolate lovers become more and more discerning, demand for the real thing grows, so it's getting more plentiful by the day. For the healthiest way to satisfy a craving for chocolates, you just have to be more choosy over what you buy to eat (or for gifts) remember, the higher the cocoa content, the healthier it is..... and the nicer it tastes.

About the Author: Art Vine is half of a wife/husband team dedicated to making real handmade chocolates.

Visit Aphrodite Chocolates website for a range of handmade chocolate gifts and chocolate articles.

Reproduced with permission.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good old Cranberries

Research has shown that cranberries have multiple benefits on human health, the benefits range from increased HDL and reduced LDL, and in lab tests it can kill H. pylori bacteria, which can cause stomach cancer and ulcers. In addition, a compound in cranberries prevents plaque formation on teeth, and extracts of chemicals in cranberries also appear to prevent breast cancer cells from multiplying in a test tube. It is possible that it protects body cells against free radicals and oxidation, conditions related to high levels of 'bad' cholesterol in the blood, ulcers, stroke and a wide range of cancers, including stomach cancer breast cancer. It also prevents or treats urinary infections.

Research has so far found that cranberry juice can be used by women as a natural medicine and antibiotic to prevent or treat urinary infections, like cystitis. The juice contains “antibiotic” compounds called proanthocyanidins that annihilate the Escherichia coli bacteria which cause urinary tract infections and it prevents these bacteria from adhering to the mucosal cells which line the urinary tract.

Labels: , ,

Red wine molecule helps mice live longer

A compound in red wine and grapes can extend the life span of obese mice and help them enjoy a healthier old age, scientists say.

The molecule known as resveratrol not only enabled the mice to live longer than other overweight rodents, it also reduced the negative health effects of eating a high-calorie diet.

Resveratrol has been shown to have same effect in studies on yeast, flies and worms. But the scientists say their research is the first to show it works in mammals.

"It is possible to find a molecule that activates the body's natural defences against ageing. You can use it to enhance the health of a mouse or mammal. That is unprecedented," says Associate Professor David Sinclair, of Harvard Medical School.

He adds that the study, reported online today in the journal Nature, is proof of the principle that it works in mammals.

But the real test will be to develop formulations or find other molecules to treat age-related illnesses such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease and cancer in humans.

Researchers already know that restricting calories can prolong life in mice and other organisms.

Resveratrol seems to mimic the beneficial effects of eating less without the hassle of dieting.

Source - News in science

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Eating bread 'raises cancer risk'

People who eat a lot of bread are at greater risk of kidney cancer, Italian research has suggested.

The study of more than 2,300 people also claimed pasta and rice could moderately raise the risk, while vegetables and poultry reduced it.

Cancer Research UK said it was the first time such a claim had been made and warned people not to be alarmed.

A spokesman for the charity said smoking and being overweight were the only well-established avoidable causes.


Can exercise beat cancer?

Simply keeping active as a teenager is the new hope in preventing breast cancer. Simon Crompton reports

Some scary figures were released last week: the number of women with breast cancer has risen by 81 per cent in the past 33 years. Although breast cancer death rates are also falling, the statistics are deeply worrying for women, not least because scientists says that it’s hard to pin down the exact cause of the rise.
However, a more hopeful message will emerge at the National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Birmingham next week. The conference will hear that there is something women can do to reduce the risk of breast cancer: exercise. The message will be made in a keynote speech supported by the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and will mark a new era in official acknowledgement from cancer research bodies that there is a clear link between activity and a reduction in breast cancer.

Professor Leslie Bernstein, the chair in cancer research at the University of California, will draw on 20 years’ research into the effect of exercise on breast cancer rates and will conclude that young girls can significantly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer as they get older if they exercise regularly in their teens. And both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal adults can improve their odds of staying clear of the disease by keeping active.

Her research indicates that exercising over a lifetime seems to have the strongest protective effect; young women who exercise for just four hours a week over their entire reproductive years experience more than a 50 per cent reduction in breast cancer risk. But exercising in adolescence may be particularly crucial; another of her studies showed that breast cancer risk was reduced by 30 per cent among women who exercised for two hours or more every week during their teens. It all gives extra cause for concern over Britain’s couch-potato youth.

Source - Times


White bread increases cancer risk

Eating lots of white bread raises the risk of a cancer that kills thousands of Britons every year, according to new research.

Those who eat five slices a day are almost twice as likely to develop the most common form of kidney cancer compared to those who have one and a half slices.

Scientists put the cause down to refined cereals triggering a surge in blood sugar and insulin levels, which is thought to fuel cancer cell growth.

People should particularly cut down on white bread, which causes the biggest rise in blood glucose levels, and opt for wholemeal varieties instead.

The study also adds to the mounting evidence of the health benefits of following a low GI diet.

This involves avoiding processed and refined foods, such as white bread which have a high Glycaemic Index.

Whole grain foods are classed as having a low GI value as they lead to slower release of sugar into the blood stream.

The new study published in the International Journal of Cancer set out to investigate potential triggers of Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Source - Daily Mail


Saturday, September 30, 2006

A feeling for healing

A spiritual healer on the NHS staff - what in heaven’s name is going on?

Music is drifting out of one of the anterooms on the haematology unit at University College London Hospital (UCLH). The piece is called Sacred Spirit, a rousing Native American drum song. Inside, a patient lies with her eyes closed, while a hospital staff member, Angie Buxton-King, stands by her bed, holding her hands three inches above the woman’s body and saying nothing. In the corridor, doctors and nurses pass by without so much as a glance.
Sound a little unusual? It should. The UCLH haematology unit claims that Buxton-King and her two colleagues are the only paid spiritual healers to work in an NHS hospital ward. Buxton-King joined the UCLH haematology unit, which treats patients with leukaemia, as well as lymphomas, myelomas and sickle-cell disease, in 1999 as an unpaid volunteer, working one day a week. Since 2001 she has a been fully-paid, part-time staff member, who manages a team of six complementary therapists, as well as treating about ten patients a week.

A fierce debate over complementary therapies on the NHS erupted last May: 13 of Britain’s most senior medical experts, including Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, wrote to hospitals to urge staff not to spend money on unproven treatments. Yet Buxton-King’s mission is to make spiritual healing available to NHS cancer patients. So how did she convince UCLH to take her on, and why does she believe that her therapy is of benefit to patients? Buxton-King’s story begins with the kind of news that every parent dreads. In 1995, acute myeloid leukaemia, a cancer that affects blood-producing cells in the bone marrow, was diagnosed in her son Sam, 7, and he was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital. By then, Buxton-King, a full-time mother to Sam and his older brother Nick, then 12, had developed an interest in spiritual healing.

“My mother was told that she had ovarian cancer in 1988,” she says. “We sought out alternative treatments and I sat in on her first healing session. When I mentioned that my hands felt hot as the treatment was taking place, the healer told me it was a sign that I could work with energy healing myself.”

Source - Times

Labels: , ,

Vitamin D 'slashes cancer risk'

Taking vitamin D tablets could substantially reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, research suggests.

US scientists found taking the tablets cut the risk of a disease, which has a poor prognosis in almost half of cases.

There are more than 3,600 new cases of pancreatic cancer in women and more than 3,500 in men in the UK each year. Surgery is not often effective.

Vitamin D was examined as it previously showed promise in cutting the risk of prostate, breast and colon cancer.

Source: BBC News

Labels: , ,

Curcumin Efficient Against Colorectal Cancer

A recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) showed that the curcumin pigment in the curry spice prevents colorectal cancer. Numerous previous studies have already acknowledged the beneficial properties of the natural pigment against a wide range of cancers, including colorectal ones. But the current study is based on curcumin's potency to block the neurotensin gastrointestinal hormone, which is closely connected to the production within our bodies of an inflammatory protein which plays a key-role in the growth and proliferation of cancer cells.

The study carried out by UTMB researchers is entitled 'Curcumin inhibits neurotensin-mediated interleukin-8 production and migration of HCT116 human colon cancer cells' Xiaofu Wang et al. It is hoped that further studies will develop new strategies in fighting against colorectal cancer, by using curcumin to inhibit the production of the neurotensin hormone.

Source: BBC Health

Another claim for Turmeric (a sourc of Curcumin) is that it helps to prevent Alzheimers.


Blackberries fighting cancer

A recent study conducted by researchers at the US Agricultural Research Service and the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that a certain compound in fresh blackberries may reduce the size and spread of cancerous tumors. The particular compound is a flavonoid, the water-soluble flavonoid cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G) more exactly.

Flavonoids are a class of naturally occurring plant compounds that function as antioxidants. They are plant pigments and, even if they are not labeled as essential nutrients, they enhance the processing of vitamin C, which is itself a powerful antioxidant. Flavonoids are also needed to maintain capillary walls and protect against infections. Deficiency of flavonoids may lead to easily bruising.

Earlier studies highlighted the cancer-fighting potential of blueberries and strawberries, and now blackberries (Rubus occidentalis)—also know as black raspberries—have been found to be equally as potent.

The cyanidin-3-glucoside flavonoid in blackberries reduced the growth and inhibited the spreading of malignant tumors in skin and lung cancer.

Source: JBCL

Labels: , ,

Mandarins 'cut liver cancer risk'

Eating mandarins may cut the risk of developing liver cancer and other diseases, research suggests.

Japanese scientists found the key were vitamin A compounds called carotenoids which give the fruit its orange colour.

One study found eating mandarins cut the risk of liver disease, hardened arteries and insulin resistance.

And a second found drinking the fruit's juice cut the risk of patients with chronic viral hepatitis developing liver cancer.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Can Naturopathic Remedies Fight Cancer, Hot Flushes?

FRIDAY, Aug 18 (HealthDay News) -- Advocates for naturopathic remedies say their treatments may help fight menopausal symptoms, depression and even cancer.

For example, "bio-identical hormone therapy" looks promising for relieving the symptoms of menopause, one study found, while an age-old herbal remedy for cancer is proving effective -- at least in the laboratory and in animals.

That's according to naturopathic physicians presenting their research at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians annual meeting, held earlier this month in Portland. Ore.

Naturopathic physicians are trained in "natural" health care at accredited medical colleges, according to the AANP. Their approach is based on the belief that it is the nature of all things to return to balance. Treatments include dietary changes, counseling for lifestyle modification, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and homeopathy.

"Bio-identical hormones," a natural alternative to synthetic hormone replacement therapy, were effective in reducing the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, said lead researcher Dr. Jan M. Siebert, a naturopathic physician in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

Source: Health Day News

Labels: , ,

War paint plant 'tackles cancer'

A plant Celts used to get blue dye for their war paint is a rich source of a compound that fights breast cancer, scientists have found.

Woad, which belongs to the same plant family as cauliflower and broccoli, contains high levels of the compound glucobrassicin.

The Italian team at Bologna University discovered woad contains 20 times more glucobrassicin than broccoli.

They were also able to boost its concentration by damaging the plant.

Source: - BBC news


Cider 'may have health benefits'

Remember the song "I am a cider drinker?" Well there might be a bit more to it.

Scientists in Glasgow are examining whether drinking cider may offer the same health benefits as eating apples.

The researchers have found that English cider apples have high levels of "phenolic antioxidants" - linked to protection against strokes and cancer.

The next stage of the study, partly funded by the National Association of Cider Makers, is to analyse how humans absorb these chemicals from cider.

Twelve volunteers have been recruited to take part in the tests.

Lucky, lucky people.


Monday, July 31, 2006

Juice 'can slow prostate cancer'

Drinking a daily eight ounce glass of pomegranate juice can significantly slow the progress of prostate cancer, a study suggests.

Researchers say the effect may be so large that it may help older men outlive the disease.

Pomegranates contain a cocktail of chemicals which minimise cell damage, and potentially kill off cancer cells.

The study, by the University of California in Los Angeles, appears in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Source: BBC News


Sunday, April 30, 2006

Watchdog warns over apricot seeds

Apricot stones sold for health benefits could be fatal in high doses, the food safety watchdog has warned.

Apricot kernels are thought to contain high levels of vitamin B17, which is described as an immune system booster and even sold as a cancer treatment.

But the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said they also produce cyanide and can be poisonous in high doses.

It is now recommending that people consume no more than two bitter apricot kernels in a single day.

An FSA spokesman said there were reports from overseas of "very serious health effects" being associated with the consumption of 20 to 30 kernels in a short period of time.

He added: "They could be potentially lethal in high enough doses."

Source: BBC News

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Broccoli chemical's cancer check

A chemical in vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can boost DNA repair in cells and may stop them becoming cancerous, a study says.

Another chemical in soy also performs the same role, the Georgetown University team said.

Although a link has already been found between eating these foods and a reduced cancer risk, this research shows how that might happen.

The research is published in the British Journal of Cancer.


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Magnet therapies 'have no effect'

Magnet therapies which are claimed to cure conditions ranging from back pain to cancer have no proven benefits, according to a team of US researchers.

Sales of the so-called therapeutic devices, which are worn in bracelets, insoles, and wrist and knee bands, top $1 billion worldwide, they said.

But a major review showed no benefits, a British Medical Journal report said.

The team also warned self-treatment with magnets risked leaving underlying medical conditions untreated.

Source BBC World


Fruit and veg 'cut stroke risk'

Eating more than the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day can cut risk of stroke, a study says.

People who ate three to five cut the risk by 11% compared with those eating fewer than three, The Lancet reported.

It was 26% lower for people who ate more than five servings, University of London researchers found in the study of data on more than 257,500 people.

The Department of Health says five or more daily portions cuts risk of heart disease, cancer and other problems.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the most common cause of disability in most developed countries.

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Vitamin D 'can lower cancer risk'

High doses of vitamin D can reduce the risk of developing some common cancers by as much as 50%, US scientists claim.

Researchers reviewed 63 old studies and found that the vitamin could reduce the chances of developing breast, ovarian and colon cancer, and others.

Experts said more research was needed to draw firm conclusions.

Source - BBC News

Labels: , ,

Cancer team make 'super-broccoli'

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO! It's super broccoli!

Scientists are developing a "super-broccoli" which they hope will help people ward off cancer.

Broccoli has anti-cancer properties but an Institute of Food Research study has found some people's genetic make-up may minimise the protection they get.

IFR scientists say creating broccoli containing more of the key chemical - sulforaphane - may counter this effect.

They hope it will be ready in three years but recommend eating lots of different green vegetables until then.


High-veg diet 'wards off cancer'

Eating at least five portions a day of certain fruit and vegetables could cut the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 50%, US researchers believe.

Onions, garlic, beans, carrots, corn, dark leafy vegetables and citrus fruits were among the most protective foods, according to the study.

A University of California team compared the diets of 2,200 people.

Cancer experts said previous studies had revealed similar findings, but more research was still needed.

Source - BBC News

Labels: ,

Fibre cancer benefits questioned

Scientists remain divided over whether eating a high-fibre diet can reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer.

An analysis of data from 13 studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found there was no added protection.

But UK experts said other research found a high-fibre diet was of benefit.

In addition, they say there is no evidence a high-fibre diet causes harm, and that it has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Source - BBC News


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Plant oil 'acts like cancer drug'

Scientists have pinpointed how evening primrose oil fights breast tumours.
It is down to a substance in the oil called gamma-linolenic acid that acts on the same receptor in tumours as the powerful breast cancer drug Herceptin.

Unlike Herceptin, which blocks the Her-2/neu receptor, GLA interferes with the gene carrying the DNA code needed to make the receptor work.

The US work in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute applies to about 30% of breast cancers.

Source BBC News.


Monday, October 31, 2005

Beans and soya beat lung cancer

Mounting evidence suggests eating a diet rich in plant foods such as beans and soya cuts the risk of lung cancer.

The latest study involving more than 3,000 US people found those who ate more of these foods were less likely to develop lung cancer.

The protective effect, thought to be down to oestrogen-like compounds within the foods, appeared to reduce cancer risk by as much as 46%.

The research appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Source - BBC News


Cabbages 'cut lung cancer risks'

Eating vegetables from the cabbage family can reduce the risk of lung cancer for people with a certain genetic make-up, scientists say.

Such cruciferous vegetables had already been linked to reduced rates of lung cancer, but it had not been clear why.

The study found eating the vegetables at least once a week cut cancer risk for people with inactive versions of two genes, carried by 70% of people.

The Lancet study was by International Agency for Cancer Research scientists.

Source - BBC News


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Anti-HIV drug from rainforest almost lost before its discovery

Rainforest plants have long been recognized for their potential to provide healing compounds. Indigenous peoples of the rainforest have used medicinal plants for treating a wide variety of health conditions while western pharmacologists have derived a number of drugs from such plants.

However, as forests around the world continue to fall -- the Amazon alone has lost more than 200,000 miles of forest since the 1970s -- there is a real risk that pharmaceutically-useful plants will disappear before they are examined for their chemical properties. Increasingly, it is becoming a race against time to collect and screen plants before their native habitats are destroyed. One near miss occurred recently with a compound that has shown significant anti-HIV effects, Calanolide A.

Calanolide A is derived from Calophyllum lanigerum var austrocoriaceum, an exceedingly rare member of the Guttiferae or mangosteen family. Samples of Calophyllum lanigerum var austrocoriaceum were first collected in 1987 on an National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored expedition in Sarawak, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Once scientists determined that Calophyllum lanigerum var austrocoriaceum showed activity against HIV, researchers returned to the original kerangas forest near Lundu (Sarawak, Malaysia) to gather more plant matter for isolating the active compound. The tree was gone -- likely felled by locals for fuelwood or building material. The disappearance of the tree lead to mad search by botanists for further specimen. Good news finally came from the Singapore Botanic Garden which had several plants collected by the British over 100 years earlier. Sarawak banned the felling and export of Calophyllum shortly thereafter.


Labels: , ,

Friday, September 30, 2005

Anti-HIV drug from rainforest almost lost before its discovery

Rainforest plants have long been recognized for their potential to provide healing compounds. Indigenous peoples of the rainforest have used medicinal plants for treating a wide variety of health conditions while western pharmacologists have derived a number of drugs from such plants.

However, as forests around the world continue to fall -- the Amazon alone has lost more than 200,000 miles of forest since the 1970s -- there is a real risk that pharmaceutically-useful plants will disappear before they are examined for their chemical properties. Increasingly, it is becoming a race against time to collect and screen plants before their native habitats are destroyed. One near miss occurred recently with a compound that has shown significant anti-HIV effects, Calanolide A.

Calanolide A is derived from Calophyllum lanigerum var austrocoriaceum, an exceedingly rare member of the Guttiferae or mangosteen family. Samples of Calophyllum lanigerum var austrocoriaceum were first collected in 1987 on an National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored expedition in Sarawak, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Once scientists determined that Calophyllum lanigerum var austrocoriaceum showed activity against HIV, researchers returned to the original kerangas forest near Lundu (Sarawak, Malaysia) to gather more plant matter for isolating the active compound. The tree was gone -- likely felled by locals for fuelwood or building material. The disappearance of the tree lead to mad search by botanists for further specimen. Good news finally came from the Singapore Botanic Garden which had several plants collected by the British over 100 years earlier. Sarawak banned the felling and export of Calophyllum shortly thereafter.


Labels: , ,

Rock pool sponge may fight cancer

Sponges collected from rock pools in south Wales could be a source of new drugs to combat breast and lung cancer, say researchers.

A team from the Welsh School of Pharmacy found extracts from the Hymeniacidon sponge contain compounds which can block cancer growth.

Medicinal compounds from marine organisms have traditionally been found in species in warm or tropical seas.

Details were presented to the British Pharmaceutical Conference.


'Eat more beans' to stop cancer

A diet rich in beans, nuts and cereals could be a way to prevent cancer, believe UK researchers.

Scientists at University College London have discovered that these everyday foods contain a potent anti-cancer compound.

This blocks a key enzyme involved in tumour growth, they told Cancer Research journal.

The researchers say, in the future, it might be possible to mimic this compound in an anti-cancer drug.


Pomegranates 'slow tumour growth'

Pomegranate juice may help to slow down the progress of prostate cancer, research suggests.

Tests on mice showed the juice dramatically slowed down prostate cancer cell growth.

Pomegranates, native to the Middle East, are packed with healthy anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.

The study, by the University of Wisconsin, appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Heart drug becomes cancer killer

US scientists say they have successfully tweaked a common heart drug to make it fight cancer.

Digoxin or digitalis, which comes from the foxglove plant, is normally used to steady the rhythm of the heart and help it beat more efficiently.

Now a University of Wisconsin-Madison team have changed some of its building blocks to make it target tumours.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences work provides hope other "natural" drugs can be manipulated.

Source - BBC News


Aspirin 'cuts bowel cancer risk'

Taking aspirin regularly for over 10 years does reduce the risk of bowel cancer, a study which looked at almost 83,000 women has suggested.

Those who had taken two or more aspirin - or similar painkillers - a week had significantly cut their risk, it found.

However, the doses were high enough to increase the risk of gut bleeds.

Source - BBC News

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Pineapple stem may combat cancer

Two molecules isolated from an extract of crushed pineapple stems have shown promise in fighting cancer growth.

One molecule called CCS blocks a protein called Ras, which is defective in approximately 30% of all cancers.

The other, called CCZ, stimulates the body's own immune system to target and kill cancer cells.

It is hoped the research, carried out by Queensland Institute of Medical Research, could lead to new anti-cancer drugs.

Source - BBC News


Quit smoking to save your teeth

So, if cancer, ageing skin and bad breath weren't enough of an insentive for you there is now this:-

Smokers who give up are much less likely to lose their teeth prematurely than those who do not kick the habit, research shows.

A team at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne studied cigarette smokers with chronic gum disease - which can lead to loss of teeth - over one year.

They found some symptoms were more likely to improve in the people who quit during the study period.

The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

Source BBC News

Labels: ,

Vitamin E 'not a heart protector'

Vitamin E provides little protection against heart attacks, strokes and cancer - despite millions of people believing it does, a major study shows.

Some previous trials had suggested it might be beneficial, prompting one in 10 US women to take it as a supplement.

But a Women's Health Study of 40,000 women aged over 45, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, should settle the debate, say experts.

Source - BBC News

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Herbal remedies do have 'real benefits

Researchers from King's College in London have said that scientific tests on a range of herbal remedies have shown that they do have 'real benefits'.

The researchers said that herbal treatments from around the world had properties, which may help treat conditions such as diabetes and cancer.

The researchers examined Indian diabetes treatments, Ghanaian wound healing agents and cancer treatments used in China and Thailand.

One of the plants examined was the curry-leaf tree (Murraya koenigii) from India, which is reputed to have potential benefits in treating diabetes.

The researchers discovered that extracts from the curry-leaf tree appeared to restrict the action of a digestive enzyme called pancreatic alpha-amylase, which is involved in the breakdown of dietary starch to glucose. They are now looking at which compound in the curry-leaf tree has this effect, and claim that once it is identified, it should be possible to evaluate if it could be better than existing anti-diabetic drugs.

The researchers while working with experts from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, also looked at plants used by the Ashanti ethnic group.

They found that an extract of the Commelina diffusa, or climbing dayflower, had both antibacterial and anti-fungal activity, which could help heal wounds and also stop them getting infected.

In a third study, the researchers studied Thai and Chinese plants used as traditional remedies in the treatment of cancer, and found promising activity against lung cancer cells, particularly in tests of the Thai plant Ammannia baccifera, an aquatic weed and the Chinese plant Illicium verum, star anise.

"This research is very interesting, very promising. We need much more research of this sort. More and more research of this kind is coming out. It is no surprise to those who work in this field," the BBC quoted Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, as saying.

Ernst, however, added in the same vein, "This type of study can only be the first step in a line of research and at the end of this line, it's necessary to have good clinical proof that this works."

Source - Hindustan Times

Labels: , ,

Sun 'cuts prostate cancer risk'

Sunlight can reduce a man's risk of prostate cancer, a study suggests.

Researchers from three US centres found men exposed to a high amount of sun had half the risk of the disease than those exposed to a low amount.

Writing in Cancer Research, they suggest that the protection was a result of the body's manufacture of vitamin D after sun exposure.

But men were warned not to sunbathe excessively because of the risk of developing skin cancer.

Vitamin D is also found in foods such as oily fish.

Labels: , ,