Friday, September 28, 2007

Cysteine may reduce alcohol cancer risk

Cysteine gum may reduce tobacco, alcohol cancer risk

So what's a person to do if they want a tipple? l-cysteine might be the answer.

"...The gum, called XyliCyst, is to be introduced by Finnish company Biohit Oyj, which holds the patents to the preparations to use I-cysteine to eliminate the carcinogen acetaldehyde after drinking or smoking...I-cysteine has been understood for many years to have the ability to bind to acetaldehyde, or ethanal, a toxic chemical compound that forms in saliva, especially with alcohol drinking and tobacco smoking...According to Finnish researchers Professors Mikko Salaspuro and Martti Marvola, epidemiological statistics indicating that 80 per cent of cancers of the mouth, pharynx and oesophagus are linked to smoking and drinking could be explained by increased exposure to acetaldehyde in the upper digestive tract..."

If you understand Finnish you can buy the gum here. Being the monoglot that I am, I have to wonder about l-cysteine supplements rather than gum.

Info on l-cysteine here, with this interesting nugget "Cysteine-supplemented mice and guinea pigs have enjoyed significantly extended life spans, and other animals, challenged with various toxins, have, when pre-supplemented with cysteine, survived considerably longer than non-supplemented controls. In one of these studies, 90% of control rats given large doses of acetaldehyde died. But other rats first given a combination of vitamins C and B, along with cysteine, and then exposed to the same dose of acetaldehyde, all survived. Cysteine's protective mechanisms could relate to its own antioxidant properties, its promotion of glutathione (a major antioxidant) or even, it has been hypothesized, to some ability to participate in DNA repair.""

What about dosage? "The usual supplemental dosage of L-cysteine is 500 milligrams to 1.5 grams daily. Those who supplement with L-cysteine should drink at least six to eight glasses of water daily in order to prevent cystine renal stones. Some studies indicate that an intake of 3 to 5 grams daily of vitamin C may prevent cystine stones. However, high-dose vitamin C itself may contribute to renal stones in some (see Vitamin C).""...Another delivery form of L-cysteine is N-acetylcysteine (see N-Acetylcysteine)."

LifeExtension lists their treatments for dealing with alcohol here. They actually sell an anti-alcohol antioxidant supplement. And cysteine is one of the ingredients.

One of the reasons you probably don't want to take this at high doses - might act as a neurotoxin.

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Alcohol And Cancer: Is Drinking The New Smoking?

ScienceDaily: Alcohol And Cancer: Is Drinking The New Smoking?
More bad news for those of us who occasionally like to imbibe.

"...According to CAMH Principal Investigator Dr. Jürgen Rehm, existing research consistently shows a relationship between alcohol consumption and an increased risk for cancer of the esophagus, larynx and oral cavity...
  • The risk of esophageal cancer nearly doubled in the first two years following alcohol cessation, a sharp increase that may be due to the fact that some people only stop drinking when they are already experiencing disease symptoms. However, risk then decreased rapidly and significantly after longer periods of abstention.
  • Risk of head and neck cancer only reduced significantly after 10 years of cessation.
  • After more than 20 years of alcohol cessation, the risks for both cancers were similar to those seen in people who never drank alcohol.
Dr. Rehm notes that more research is needed on the effects of alcohol cessation on other types of cancer -- especially breast, liver and colorectal cancers, for which the International Agency for Research on Cancer has also classified alcohol as carcinogenic -- and on the effects of alcohol type, drinking patterns, and the joint effects of smoking and alcohol cessation on the risk of cancer."

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Three drinks a day ups breast cancer risk

Three drinks a day ups breast cancer risk: study - Yahoo! News
"Three or more drinks a day, whether beer, wine or spirits, boost a woman's risk of breast cancer as much as smoking a pack of cigarettes...In what the researchers said was one of the largest studies to investigate links between breast cancer and alcohol -- found that alcohol itself and the amount a person consumed were key rather than the type of drink...Breast cancer is the second most common cancer killer of women, after lung cancer. It will be diagnosed in 1.2 million people globally this year and will kill 500,000...Other studies have shown that light- to moderate alcohol use can protect against heart attacks, though Klatsky said other mechanisms were probably at work.The heart protection likely comes from alcohol-induced "good" cholesterol, reduced blood clotting and decreased diabetes risk. But for breast cancer, the ethyl alcohol found in all booze likely ups the risk..."

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks -- With The Right Diet

ScienceDaily: You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks -- With The Right Diet
"These supplements, acetyl-l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid, are continuing to be studied in work with humans, and scientists believe they may provide a new approach to the neurodegeneration and cognitive decline common with aging...It found that supplements of these two antioxidant compounds, which are believed to play a role in slowing mitochondrial decay in the cell, significantly increased the ability of “geriatric” beagle dogs to learn a new task...In these tests, the effects of supplementation with these compounds appeared to work fairly quickly, in a matter of days or weeks, the scientists said. Some other studies, however, have required much longer periods of supplementation for various antioxidants to improve cognitive performance...The scientists suggested in the paper that long-term supplementation “may be effective in attenuating age-associated cognitive decline by slowing the rate of mitochondrial decay and cellular aging.” Enhancing the function of mitochondria - which provide almost all of a cell’s energy - could literally be providing animals with more “mental energy,” leading to improved memory and learning, the study indicated. The compounds may also cause increased synthesis of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine...An increasing body of research suggests that mitochondria may be an “Achilles heel” for absorbing age-related damage, as part of the natural process of oxidation in the body and the related “free radicals” that are produced and can cause cellular damage. As the power plant of cells, mitochondria perform many of the roles critical to cell function, use up to 90 percent of the oxygen humans breathe, but are also among the first cellular components to be damaged by reactive radical oxygen species..."

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Nestle points towards future of cocoa research

Nestle points towards future of cocoa research
"...The reviewers point out that we have yet to determine exactly how much chocolate and what type is necessary to obtain potential health benefits...Previous studies have also identified that about 40 grams per day of chocolate as a relevant amount to infer benefits, but this needs confirmation from additional studies..."In addition, the composition of the cocoa or chocolate must be carefully defined with regard to the proportions of polyphenols in the monomeric, oligomeric and polymeric forms, as well as the concentrations of the fats, sugars and other components such as proteins from milk solids," wrote Cooper et al."..."One way for industry (and academia) to improve transparency of ongoing human trials would be to formally register with one of the public domain agencies, such as with the National Institutes of Health, at the beginning of any study. The advantage is that a null or negative study would still be public knowledge, and this could help bring more balance to this area of research," they added..."

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Lack of "good" cholesterol always poses heart risk

Lack of "good" cholesterol always poses heart risk - Yahoo! News
"The amount of "good cholesterol" in the blood remains an important marker for heart disease regardless of how much "bad cholesterol" is lowered..."It means doctors can't ignore a low HDL even if they're treating people with statins. They need to attack the HDL as well, if the HDL remains low,"...Doctors have known for years that HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, protects against heart attacks and stroke, probably by cleaning up the bad low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, known as LDL..."become lean and become very active. That's probably as effective as anything we have at the moment. But most people who try don't succeed," Barter said. "The biggest frustration is that we don't have the magic bullet like we do for the LDL."...Barter said aggressively lowering levels of bad cholesterol probably reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by 40 to 50 percent. Having a drug that brought up HDL levels would likely cut the remaining risk by half.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Heart disease, colon cancer linked

Heart disease, colon cancer linked in study - Yahoo! News
"Patients showing signs of heart disease are at nearly double the risk of also having colon cancer, perhaps because unhealthy habits and inflammation are at the root of both...statins appear to have a deterrent effect on both illnesses, perhaps because the drugs reduce inflammation. Aspirin also seems to reduce the risk..."

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Omega-3 fatty acids protect against diabetes

Omega-3 fatty acids protect against diabetes: study - Yahoo! News
"..."It is a relatively large effect," said Jill Norris... at-risk children who ate a lot of foods rich in omega-3 were 55 percent less likely to have pancreatic islet autoimmunity..."This is all omega-3 fatty acids, not just the kind that are found in fish."...children with omega-3 fatty acids in their blood cell membranes had a 37 percent decreased risk of having islet autoimmunity"...Omega-3 fatty acids interfere with enzymes that play a role in inflammation, a potential trigger for type 1 diabetes..."

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Lack of sleep may be deadly

Lack of sleep may be deadly, research shows - Yahoo! News
"...more than twice as likely to die of heart disease, according to a large British study...A 17-year analysis of 10,000 government workers showed those who cut their sleeping from seven hours a night to five or less faced a 1.7-fold increased risk in mortality from all causes and more than double the risk of cardiovascular death..."

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

'Rain Man' mice provide model for autism

'Rain Man' mice provide model for autism Southwestern Medical Center
"Mice containing a mutated human gene implicated in autism exhibit the poor social skills but increased intelligence akin to the title character’s traits in the movie “Rain Man,”... Some cases of autism are genetically linked and have been associated with mutations that affect molecules called neuroligins, which link nerve cells together... In the latest study, the researchers introduced a mutated human form of the neuroligin-3 molecule into mice. They then tested the animals’ social interactions by exposing them to an unknown mouse in a cage. The genetically engineered mice spent less time near the strange mouse than their normal littermates and preferred to spend time with inanimate objects... The engineered mice were significantly better than normal, though, at learning a water maze, in which they had to find and learn the location of an underwater platform. They were also better at relearning a new position of the platform after it was moved...“When you manipulate a brain, you usually don’t improve it,” Dr. Südhof said. “The fact that we get an improvement is very good. It shows we’re changing something specific; we’re affecting how the brain processes information.”..."

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The longevity of whales

The old man of the sea « Ouroboros
"Embedded deep under its blubber was a 3½-inch arrow-shaped projectile that has given researchers insight into the whale’s age, estimated between 115 and 130 years old. …

Calculating a whale’s age can be difficult, and is usually gauged by amino acids in the eye lenses. It’s rare to find one that has lived more than a century, but experts say the oldest were close to 200 years old."

"...Whether they age or not, whales demonstrate that mammals can live at least twice as long as humans, raising the question of how they do it. As intractable a model system as even small whales might be for the average bench scientist, it would nonetheless be fascinating to study age-related phenomena in these creatures, perhaps in a cell-culture system where we could ask questions about their cellular senescence, DNA repair, and oxidation."

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NAC antioxidant linked to hypertension

Study links body-building antioxidant to hypertension condition
"the study examined the effect of N-acetylcysteine (NAC)...can form a red blood cell-derived molecule that makes blood vessels think they are not getting enough oxygen. This can lead to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a condition characterized by high blood pressure in the arteries carrying blood to the lungs. "

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Soy isoflavones could reduce infant mortality

Soy isoflavones could reduce infant mortality
"A soy isoflavone used in soy infant formula could reduce diarrhea in infants...and thereby save lives in developing countries...he soy isoflavone genistin may reduce a baby's susceptibility to rotavirus infections by as much as 74 percent..."

Also this article...Folate and genistein cut disease risk, study finds

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Tooth loss linked to higher heart disease risk

Tooth loss linked to higher heart disease risk - Yahoo! News
"...A number of studies have suggested that gum disease may contribute to heart disease over time -- though it's still not clear that there is a cause-and-effect relationship...those with a large number of missing teeth in young adulthood -- nine or more -- were one-third more likely to die of heart disease than their peers with fewer than five missing teeth...Scientists speculate that the bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities and gum disease may enter the bloodstream and either damage the blood vessel lining directly or trigger inflammation in the body that then contributes to heart disease..."Our study adds to the evidence that chronic infection -- oral or elsewhere in the (body) -- may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases," and women with the most severe tooth loss as college students were 35 percent more likely to have died from heart disease than those with four or fewer missing teeth..."

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Avocados May Help Prevent Oral Cancer, Study Shows

ScienceDaily: Avocados May Help Prevent Oral Cancer, Study Shows
"Nutrients taken from avocados are able to thwart oral cancer cells, killing some and preventing pre-cancerous cells from developing into actual cancers, according to researchers at Ohio State University...“As we identify the molecular mechanisms and targets by which individual phytonutrients prevent cancer, we may be able to improve upon nature by formulating phytonutrient cocktails for specific cancers and individual susceptibility and risk.”"

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Food additives may cause hyperactivity

Food additives may cause hyperactivity: study - Yahoo! News
"Certain artificial food colorings and other additives can worsen hyperactive behaviors in children aged 3 to 9...Tests on more than 300 children showed significant differences in their behavior when they drank fruit drinks spiked with a mixture of food colorings and preservatives, Jim Stevenson and colleagues at the University of Southampton said..."These findings show that adverse effects are not just seen in children with extreme hyperactivity (such as ADHD) but can also be seen in the general population and across the range of severities of hyperactivity,"...They included sunset yellow coloring, also known as E110; carmoisine, or E122; tartrazine, or E102; ponceau 4R, or E124; the preservative sodium benzoate, or E211; and other colors..."The implications of these results for the regulation of food additive use could be substantial," the researchers concluded..."

Of course food additives can do much worse than cause hyperactivity. Earlier this year research revealed that sodium benzoate can switch off vital parts of DNA.

Center for Science in the Public Interest - List of food additives and safety ratings on each.

BBC on this topic May 2007
BBC on the same topic in 2002

CNN list of common food additives

Want a full list of E numbers? Wiki has them all. "E numbers are codes for food additives and are usually found on food labels throughout the European Union... They are increasingly (though rarely) found on North American packaging... "

Another comprehensive list of food additives here.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Red Wine Compound Shown To Prevent Prostate Cancer

ScienceDaily: Red Wine Compound Shown To Prevent Prostate Cancer
"...resveratrol-fed mice showed an 87 percent reduction in their risk of developing prostate tumors that contained the worst kind of cancer-staging diagnosis. The mice that proved to have the highest cancer-protection effect earned it after seven months of consuming resveratrol in a powdered formula mixed with their food...Other mice in the study, those fed resveratrol but still developed a less-serious form of prostate cancer, were 48 percent more likely to have their tumor growth halted or slowed when compared to mice who did not consume the compound...resveratrol consumption through red wine has powerful chemoprevention properties, in addition to its apparent heart-health benefits, said lead study author Coral Lamartiniere...An earlier UAB study published May 2006 in the same journal found resveratrol-fed female mice had considerable reduction in their risk of breast cancer...The amounts used in the UAB mice studies were the equivalent of one person consuming one bottle of red wine per day, which is not advisable."

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Cancer Can Be Detected By Scanning Surface Veins

ScienceDaily: Cancer Can Be Detected By Scanning Surface Veins
"...By shining a laser on surface veins, such as those on the wrist and inside the cheek, researchers are able to reveal and count circulating tumor cells...n addition to being less invasive, the new detection method is able to evaluate a much larger volume of blood than what can be drawn from a patient for analysis, said Philip Low..."By increasing the volume of blood analyzed, we improve the sensitivity of the test and allow for earlier diagnosis. If there are two cancer cells in every 50 milliliters of blood, odds are the cells would not be found in a 10-milliliter blood sample. However, the cells would be found in the 100 milliliters of blood that flow through large veins each minute."..."

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"Skinny" gene keeps mice lean

"Skinny" gene keeps mice lean, study finds - Yahoo! News
"A gene that keeps mice and fruit flies lean might offer a way to prevent obesity and diabetes in people...The gene, discovered more than 50 years ago in fruit flies, makes mice fat when tweaked one way and thin when manipulated another way...The gene, called adp for adipose, was discovered by Winifred Doane, while she was studying infertility in fruit flies as a graduate student at Yale University..."It was always my dream that the drosophila (fruit fly) adipose gene would turn out to be a model for controlling obesity and type 2 diabetes. It looks like it is starting in that direction now,"...Doane said the gene appears to be a regulatory gene, meaning it controls the activity of other genes...In humans, adp is in a region of the genome that is already linked to obesity and diabetes, Graff said...And it is not an all-or-nothing gene, at least not in mice tested in the lab. "This is a volume control -- not on and off. As you get less and less function of protein, you get fatter and fatter, and as you get more and more, you get skinnier and skinner," Graff said... "

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More vitamin D could mean fewer cancers

More vitamin D could mean fewer cancers: study Reuters/Yahoo! 2007.09.04 "Thousands of cases of breast and colon cancers might be averted each year if people in colder climates raised their vitamin D levels...rates of breast, colon and ovarian cancer, for example, are lower in sunnier regions of the world than in Northern climates where cold winters limit people's sun exposure...lab experiments showing that vitamin D helps prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading, as well as some clinical trials in which people given high doses of vitamin D showed lower cancer risks... The protective effect against colon cancer seemed to begin when blood levels of vitamin D reached 22 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL); for breast cancer, that number was 32 ng/mL. The average late-winter vitamin D level among Americans is 15 to 18 ng/mL, according to the researchers...They argue that, based on their data, if Americans were able to maintain a vitamin D level of at least 55 ng/mL, 60,000 cases of colon cancer and 85,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented every year. Worldwide, those figures could be 250,000 and 350,000, respectively..."This could be best achieved with a combination of diet, supplements and short intervals -- 10 or 15 minutes a day -- in the sun," lead study author Dr. Cedric F.Garland..."

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