Durham, NC — The latest statistics show impressive progress in the fight against malaria — a 46 percent decrease in infections among children in sub-Saharan Africa and an estimated 4.3 million deaths averted globally.
A substantial increase in international funding has contributed to those achievements. The U.S. government is among the major funders of malaria control through its President’s Malaria Initiative– one of the few international assistance programs that has garnered bipartisan support through the Bush and Obama terms. Read more →
Taking aspirin every day appears to reduce the odds of developing and dying from colon, stomach or esophageal cancer, a new study suggests.
Based on a review of available studies, researchers determined that the benefits of aspirin therapy for preventing cancer outweigh the risks. Millions of people already take this inexpensive drug to prevent or treat heart disease.
“We came to the conclusion that most people between the ages of 50 and 65 would benefit from a daily aspirin,” said lead researcher Jack Cuzick, head of the Center for Cancer Prevention at Queen Mary, University of London.
“It looks like if everyone took a daily aspirin, there would be less cancer, and that would far outweigh any side effects,” added Cuzick.
Gastrointestinal bleeding is the most serious side effect associated with aspirin.
Taking aspirin for 10 years could cut colon cancer risk by around 35 percent and deaths from colon cancer by 40 percent, the researchers reported Aug. 6 in the Annals of Oncology.
Daily aspirin also can reduce the risk of esophageal and stomach cancers by 30 percent and deaths from these cancers by 35 to 50 percent, the investigators reported.
Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said this study falls short of a recommendation that everyone take aspirin to prevent cancer. “But it rises to the level that people should have a discussion with their doctor,” he said.
The latest fad in homeopathy to hit the United States has roots in an unlikely place: the salt caves of Eastern Europe—a sort of primordial spa where people flocked for eons to treat ailments ranging from respiratory illnesses to skin infections. Dry salt therapy (or, as it’s officially known, “halotherapy”) involves basking in the sodium-rich air of small, custom-crafted “salt chambers.” Its lack of regulation and scientific backing hasn’t stopped its surge in popularity. According to Ulle Lutz, president of consultation service Salt Chambers Inc., about 150 halotherapy facilities have sprung up in the U.S. in the past two years. We gave one a test run.
Medical experts have hailed a malaria vaccine that will prevent millions of young children from catching the disease, which could be available in October after trial results found that it reduces number of cases by half.
Researchers say the vaccine, which has just completed the final stages of testing, could make a ‘substantial contribution’ to controlling the disease.
Drug firm, GlaxoSmithKline has applied for a licence from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the RTS,S vaccine. The news is significant because RTS,S is the first malaria vaccine to reach advanced trials. Read more →
Laughter is great not just for your mood, but for your gray matter, says a new study out of Loma Linda U., where a group of adults who watched a funny video for 30 minutes did better on unrelated short-term-memory tests afterward than a separate group who’d just sat twiddling their thumbs.
Your love for avocados is oh-so right, according to a new study that finds that eating an avocado a day can improve bad cholesterol levels — at least in overweight and obese people.
Avocados have gotten a bad rap in the past because they’re high in calories and fat. But it’s their richness in monounsaturated fat that researchers say gives avocado its ability to lower bad cholesterol.
THERE are few more reliable routes to an early grave than cigarette smoking. But despite the dangers, nicotine addicts find it almost impossible to kick the habit. Half of those who try to stop “cold turkey” will fail within a week. Fewer than 5% manage to stay clean for a year or more. Crutches such as nicotine patches or gum, which provide the drug without the cigarettes, can help—but only a little.
How to avoid the possibility of eating poisonous rice.
Eaters of white and brown rice have healthier diets— they take in more fruits and vegetables and less saturated fat and added sugar, a Baylor College of Medicine study of more than 14,000 adults showed. But all’s not well in Riceville. It turns out, the grain is often tainted with carcinogenic metals, especially when crops are grown in once industrial areas. In China, the concern is cadmium, a metallic compound that may cause cancer and kidney disease. In fact, a Greenpeace East Asia test found unsafe levels of cadmium in 12 of 13 rice crops sampled. Stateside, arsenic is the enemy, though the FDA has so far deemed levels too low to cause immediate adverse health effects.
Age of first menses has decreased substantially since the early 20th century, and studies have shown that younger age of menarche is associated with increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer in later life.Here is another mark against sugary drinks: A new study has found that drinking them is associated with lowered age of menarche.
The study, published online in Human Reproduction, used data on 5,583 girls ages 9 to 14 who had not yet attained menarche at the start. They filled out diet questionnaires yearly from 1996 to 1998. By 2001, 159 still had not yet had their first period.
After controlling for birth weight, maternal age at menarche, physical activity, and many dietary and behavioral factors, they found that girls who drank one-and-a-half 12-ounce cans a day of nondiet soda or sugared iced tea had their first period an average of 2.7 months earlier than those who drank less than two cans a week.
The lead author, Karin B. Michels, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard, said that the contribution of sugary drinks to early menarche was independent of the well-known contribution of obesity.
“Our findings are robust,” she said, “and not dependent on body mass index. Sugared beverages are not healthy to begin with, and there should be heightened attention to avoiding them.”
The sun is the biggest culprit in causing skin cancer, but there’s a beverage that may thwart some of the tumor-causing effects of ultraviolet rays
You may grab a cup (or two) of coffee every morning to help you wake up and face the day, but you may also be doing your skin a favor. Researchers in a new paper released January 20 say that coffee can protect against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Melanoma is triggered by damage to skin cells’ DNA caused by UV rays from the sun or tanning beds; these mutations prompt the cells to grow abnormally and spread to other tissues in the body, where it can be fatal. But in a report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Erikka Loftfield from the National Cancer Institute and her colleagues found that people who drank more than four cups of coffee a day on average had a 20% lower risk of developing melanoma over 10 years.