Health and Nutrition

December 19, 2005

Primrose oil component cuts levels of cancer-causing gene Her-2/neu

Filed under: Herbal Remedies,Nutrition — Doc Joe @ 7:40 pm

Public release date: 1-Nov-2005

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a substance in evening primrose oil and several other plant oils used in herbal medicine, inhibits action of Her-2/neu, a cancer gene that is responsible for almost 30 percent of all breast cancers, Northwestern University researchers report.

“Breast cancer patients with Her-2/neu-positive tumors have an aggressive form of the disease and a poor prognosis,” said Ruth Lupu, director of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Breast Cancer Translational Research Program, who led the study, published in the Nov. 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Lupu is professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a researcher at The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

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December 12, 2005

‘Safe’ painkiller is leading cause of liver failure

Filed under: General Health — Doc Joe @ 8:03 pm

08 December 2005
NewScientist.com news service
Alison Motluk

A POPULAR over-the-counter painkiller is now the leading cause of acute liver failure in the US – and almost half of those cases are accidental overdoses.

Paracetamol (or acetaminophen as it is known in the US) is used by millions of Americans each year, and is commonly thought to be safe. Until 1980, paracetamol was not even listed as a cause of acute liver failure. But between 1998 and 2003, the proportion of cases of liver failure caused by the drug nearly doubled.

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December 8, 2005

Decaffeinated coffee may raise heart disease risk

Filed under: Diet,General Health — Doc Joe @ 8:02 pm

21/11/2005- Drinking decaffeinated coffee may increase consumers’ harmful LDL cholesterol more than normal coffee, and thin people are at a greater risk, suggests new US study.

Researchers randomly split 187 into three groups: one drinking between three and six cups of caffeinated coffee daily, another drinking the same amount of decaffeinated coffee, and one drinking no coffee at all.

After three months they found that apolipoprotein B (ApoB), a protein associated with ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and so an indicator of heart disease risk, had gone up eight per cent in the decaf group.

Levels of fat in the blood, also called non-esterified fatty acids or NEFA, also rose 18 per cent in the decaf group. There were no significant changes to either of these two in the other two groups.

“NEFA is the fuel that can drive the increase in ApoB and LDL,” said lead author of the study H Robert Superko, of the Fuqua Heart Center and Piedmont-Mercer Center for Health and Learning.

“These results are very surprising and have never been reported before in coffee consumption.

“There is a real difference between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and, contrary to what people have thought for many years, I believe it’s not caffeinated but decaffeinated coffee that might promote heart disease risk factors.”

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Mediterranean diet not responsible for overweight Greeks

Filed under: Diet — Doc Joe @ 8:01 pm

21/11/2005- Eating a traditional Mediterranean diet to protect heart health is unlikely to lead to weight gain, as some people previously feared, say Greek researchers.

The Mediterranean diet has been reported to increase longevity, protect against heart disease and may even lower the risk of some cancers.

But some nutritionists have raised concerns that this kind of regime, rich in olive oil and other unsaturated fats, could lead to overweight and obesity.

Researchers from the University of Athens gave around 23,600 participants in the Greek European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study a validated food-frequency questionnaire to assess whether they followed the traditional Mediterranean diet.

They also recorded anthropometric, sociodemographic, physical activity, and other lifestyle characteristics.

Writing in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (vol 82, no 5, pp935-940), they said that following a Mediterranean diet was essentially unrelated to body mass index (BMI), a measure of overweight.

This counters some theories that had attributed the high obesity rates in Greece and Italy, both on the Mediterranean, with the traditional diet.

“Overweight is a genuine problem in Greece and perhaps other Mediterranean countries, but it is likely to be related to limited physical activity in conjunction with excessive positive energy balance, brought about by the westernization of the Mediterranean diet,” concluded the researchers.

Hops rich in anti-cancer compounds

Filed under: General Health,Herbal Remedies — Doc Joe @ 7:58 pm

18/11/2005- New research into a flavonoid compound found only in hops shows that it may help prevent cancer if a method to improve its absorption in the body can be found.

The anti-cancer activity of xanthohumol was first discovered around 10 years ago by a team at Oregon State University in the US.

But although some brewers are now marketing products enriched in the compound, such as Germany’s Xam, the US researchers say beer is unlikely to offer any anti-cancer benefits.

Fred Stevens, based at Oregon’s Linus Pauling Institute, told NutraIngredients.com: “Even with higher levels of xanthuomol in beer it is very hard to get the levels we tested in cell cultures into the bloodstream.”

“Absorption is very limited and even if it was all absorbed, there is very active metabolism. The xanthuomol is mostly glucaronated.”

Nevertheless, Stevens believes the findings are promising enough to merit further research, and also to look at different methods of consumption.

“If you put the compound in a capsule, that’s a whole different story,” he said.

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