Saturday, 21 April 2007

Hollaback Girl

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"A few times I've been around that track so it's not just gonna happen like that because I ain't no hollaback girl", like Gwen Stefani says in her motivational chant - I want answers.

This is not an attack in any way. This is an attempt to get answers as to why human synthetic insulin was manufactured without C-peptide. Yesterday Eli Lilly called me back. Admittedly, J Scott Macgregor told me he doesn't receive many questions about human synthetic insulin development. He asked me to email. No problem. My email said:

Why did Eli Lilly manufacture human synthetic insulin without c-peptide?

As Scott Strumello points out in his blog, I've tried to contact Eli Lilly before about this issue. And I guess it look a little while for the resonating curiosity of the blogosphere to provoke a response. Again - no problem. The content of my email is an open opportunity for every diabetic injecting insulin to ask away. I think we've got Eli Lilly's attention and we're on the right path to getting answers. Now where's that turn for C-peptide?

Readers: Here's how to learn more about post topics

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Today, I've been asked twice to offer more specifics about the information contained in posts. I thought I'd communicate my thoughts on this matter publicly so you all may benefit.

First, let me share that blogging is like talking to a friend -- Hey, did you hear about that new study about the breast cancer vaccine?, I might say to my neighbor before I explain the overall gist of the news I happened upon. The purpose of blogging is to communicate a few details and to spark interest, not to capture every speck of information on the topic. Digging up the nitty gritty is for you, the reader.

Your quest for more knowledge takes just one click. Once you read a post, look to the bottom left and you will see a blue link titled Read. Click here and you'll land at the news source related to the post. If you don't find what you're looking for here, just type some key words into Google and search for more. If bloggers happen to find news but there is no internet link -- this happens with magazines and other print publications -- the source will be noted at the end of the post.

If a post contains personal perspective, like this one, you won't find a Read link -- that's because the source is in the blogger's head. You are welcome to leave a comment requesting more information about these posts.

Now this whole lesson on the Read link does not mean you cannot ask questions of bloggers -- please do -- but if you desire the quickest route to post details, this link is your best bet.

I hope this is clear. And I hope you find exactly what you seek in this world where cancer is one hot topic.
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Scientists aim to disprove the "Thrifty Genotype Theory"

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For quite some time, many researchers and lay people alike have subscribed to what is known as the "Thrifty Genotype Theory." Basically, this theory suggests that cycles of feast and famine that occurred early in human history created a gene that assists the body in utilizing scarce nutrients.

Because we as humans no longer operate on a feast or famine eating cycle, however, this gene -- which still remains -- leads to obesity and diabetes. In addition, this theory pointed to certain ethnic groups; Native Americans, Mexican Americans, African Americans, Australian Aborigine and other indigenous groups as being genetically prone to diabetes because of their link to this particular gene.

In efforts to challenge the ethnic presumptions, and erode the "Thrifty Genotype Theory" altogether, a study by U.S. and Australian researchers examines existing genetic studies published across a variety of disciplines. Whereas past studies into the genetic link to diabetes failed to control for outside variables, this new study factors in poverty, housing segregation and poor diet -- and, upon completion of the researchers' analysis, all were found to be stronger indicators of diabetes than genes.

Green Light for DiabeCell Phase 1

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Living Cell Technologies has been given the go ahead to conduct clinical trials of its DiabeCell diabetes product in New Zealand.

DiabeCell is a porcine islet cell product for the treatment of insulin- dependent diabetes. The pig cells are injected into the body without any immunosuppressant drugs. The cells produce insulin to help regulate blood glucose levels appropriate to the amount of glucose detected in the blood stream of the diabetic recipient.

The Medical Director of Living Cell Technologies explains that DiabeCell offers considerable advantages over other available treatments in addition to the fact there is no need for immuno-suppressive drugs. Anther problem of islet transplants is the strain on the supply of islets. This is not a problem with the DiabeCell because their supply of cells derive from natural biocertified pig herds, unlike human organ donors.

LCT's application is to conduct the clinical trial of its DiabeCell product on 8 long standing Type 1 diabetics. The clinical trial is expected to be approximately 12 months in duration. This will then be followed by a trial on a larger scale. The trial will be conducted at a New Zealand hospital and involves the simple injection of encapsulated islets into the abdomen of the diabetic patients. It is anticipated that the trial would start by the end of 2007.

Exercise Control of your Heart Rate

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Guess what! If you're vehemently opposed to dieting (doesn't make you a bad person) here's an interesting study: a twice-weekly, 6-month, moderate, aerobic exercise program, without a concomitant weight loss diet, is associated with significant improvements in cardiovascular function in overweight, non-smoking, type 2 diabetic individuals.

The purpose of the study was to determine long-term cardiovascular changes when patients introduced moderate aerobic exercise. The study evaluated the effects on the vagal nerve applied to the heart rate in three different states: at rest, while lying, and while standing. Activation of the vagal nerve typically leads to a reduction in heart rate, blood pressure, or both. The study took place throughout a 6 month program where patients were evaluated twice a week. In a 10-min electrocardiogram recordings (EKG), Heart rate variability was measured by autoregressive power spectral analysis (PSA). This method allows a reliable quantification of the low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) components of the heart rate. The heart rate value before and after physical exercise were similar. In contrast, on standing, the heart rate was significantly higher whereas the LF component was significantly lower after exercise. Upon standing, the LF/HF ratio, reflecting the sympathetic vs. parasympathetic balance, was markedly lower. No significant exercise-related changes in these PSA components were observed on lying.

This study shows that the effects of short cardio events (for instance: 10 minutes on the treadmill) will enhance the ability of your heart to support sympathetic nervous system activities for homeostatic mechanisms in living. Furthermore, those same 10 minutes on the treadmill will enhance your parasympathetic nervous system - the internal organization also known as the rest and digest system. The parasympathetic system conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. Sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions typically function in opposition to each other. But this opposition is better termed complementary in nature rather than antagonistic. For an analogy, one may think of the sympathetic division as the accelerator and the parasympathetic division as the brake. The sympathetic division typically functions in actions requiring quick responses. The parasympathetic division functions with actions that do not require immediate reaction.

Diamyd Results on Newly Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes

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Diamyd showed promising results in slowing the attack on remaining islets in recently diagnosed type 1 diabetics. Diamyd is a therapy specifically designed to preserve residual beta cells in recently diagnosed type 1-diabetes.

The results from the Diamyd study demonstrated that the group of 35 recently diagnosed type 1-diabetes patients that received Diamyd produced approximately twice as much meal stimulated insulin, as measured by C-peptide levels. These results were present 15 months after the first treatment. Insulin and C-peptide are produced in equal amounts. As C-peptide is easier to measure, meal stimulated C-peptide levels is the most important parameter to follow in a type 1-diabetes study where the aim is to preserve beta cell function. C-peptide levels in both groups experienced a decline but the decline was significantly reduced in the Diamyd group. There were no significant differences in fasting C-peptide levels between the two groups.

There was no difference in HbA1c levels between the Diamyd group and the placebo group. This is consistent with type 1-diabetes patients striving to reach normal blood glucose levels through their standard insulin treatments. There was a tendency of increased GAD antibody levels in the Diamyd group, indicating that the drug candidate has an immunomodulating effect. Diamyd treated patients with disease duration of less than 3 months showed improved C-peptide levels at 15 months, whereas placebo treated patients showed a decline.

These results provide strong support that the administration of Diamyd is effective in preserving islet cell function in type 1-diabetes patients. Additionally, maintenance of endogenous insulin production is important as it helps patients to better control their disease and reduce long-term complications. There were no serious adverse events reported that were related to the Diamyd treatment.

No Food, No Problem

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A recent study confirms that people with type 1 diabetes can participate safely in prolonged fasts. Fasting is common in several religions. This study evaluated the safety for individuals with type 1 diabetes and to identify factors associated with success.

Patients intending to fast were instructed on insulin dose adjustments, frequent glucose monitoring and when to terminate the fast. The study included 56 subjects who intended to fast -- 37 successfully completed the study. Individuals terminated their fast in the presence of either hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia. Overall, adherence to the protocol was high.

Successful fasters had greater reductions in insulin dosage and higher HbA1c levels. There were no differences between individuals taking intermittent insulin injections and those with continuous infusion pumps. There were no serious side-effects of fasting. Results concluded that type 1 diabetics can successfully participate in a fast provided they reduce their usual insulin dose significantly and adhere to guidelines regarding glucose monitoring and indications for terminating the fast.

New diabetes treatment safe for Nondiabetics

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I know you've always wondered what a diabetes drug might do to a nondiabetic. Riddle solved for this drug- nothing. Dia-B Tech Limited, a Melbourne-based biotech, released results from a medical trial for a new treatment for type 2 diabetes that show it is safe for use in humans without diabetes.

The drug makes a patient's own insulin work better. The insulin sensitizing factor known as compound ISF402 attaches itself to insulin and helps break it down to a more useable form This is a great concept - and one that is fashioned fully in a bitter melon. However, let's give the Aussie biotech the spotlight. Bitter melon is not for the faint of heart - it has teeth!

The study included 24 healthy male volunteers given the treatment and it showed no adverse health effects. If it did not have any effect on healthy individuals - why call it a drug? Call it gum or something mundane. They may have to come up with a whole new category of drug that has no influence in healthy individuals. Maybe they should call it a biologically indifferent agent. Sounds like it still qualifies for a copay, right?

The company now plans to check the treatment's safety on 16 volunteers with type 2 diabetes. The company expects the safety trials to be completed mid-year and then plans to begin a larger trial to find out if the treatment works.

Study Tests Oral Insulin to Prevent Type 1 Diabetes

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It's still going - the TrialNet and the NIH are continuing to recruit patients for their clinical study of oral insulin to slow the onset of type 1 diabetes.

In the study, researchers are testing whether an insulin capsule taken by mouth once a day can prevent or delay diabetes in individuals at high risk for developing type 1 diabetes. An earlier trial suggested that oral insulin might delay type 1 diabetes for about four years. This was found to be true in people with autoantibodies to insulin in their blood. Some scientists think that introducing insulin via the digestive tract induces tolerance of the immune system. Insulin taken orally has no effect on glucose because the digestive system breaks it down quickly. To lower blood glucose, insulin must be injected or administered by an insulin pump.

In type 1 diabetes, a person's own immune cells destroy the beta cells of the pancreas. Beta cells sense blood glucose and produce the hormone insulin, which regulates glucose and converts it to energy. The autoantibodies causing type 1 diabtes may appear in the blood up to 10 years before diagnosis. These autoantibodies to glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), IA-2, and to insulin itself indicate a greater risk for developing type 1 diabetes. For a person with high-risk genes and all three antibodies, the risk of developing diabetes in the next 5 years is greater than 50%.

C-peptide: The Path to Enlightenment of Diabetic Complications

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As a diabetic with the esteemed honor of pouring my heart and soul out for an audience as well-informed as you - I feel it is OUR job to inform our doctor's of the important discoveries being made in diabetes. The discovery I am most concerned with these days is raising awareness of C-peptide.

When I learned that all forms of synthetic human insulin these days DO NOT have C-peptide (like natural human insulin does) I asked my doctor what C-peptide does. My doctor explained, "C-peptide is nothing more than a biomarker to tell us [doctors] how much insulin your body is naturally producing."

When Chrissie in Belgium asked her doctor he told her that [C-peptide] has absolutely no importance. Uh oh...

Doctor's are convinced that C-peptide is useless for type 1 diabetics. Give the next paragraph consideration and you and your doctor might have a new perspective on the importance of C-peptide.

In a healthy, nondiabetic individual -- islets produce insulin. Insulin is made of 51 amino acids in 2 chains, with a tail of something called C-peptide (connecting peptide). Insulin grabs sugar from the blood and transports it into the cells where it becomes energy. It gets into and out of the cells through cellular pathways that are monitored by a delicate balance of sodium (Na) and potassium (K). This balance is regulated by C-peptide. The movement of insulin and glucose through these cellular membranes without C-peptide is dangerous and causes diabetic complications that develop in small vessesls of the eyes, kidneys and nerves.

Tight control of diabetes results in complications over time. If you find 500 mg of protein in a 24 hour urine collection - it's a complication (nephropathy). If your nerve conduction velocity reaction time is measured at 5.0 seconds - it's a complication (neuropathy). You take your insulin -- these complications should not occur, right? The reason for diabetic complications may not be your insulin at all. It may be the thing that your insulin is lacking.

So here's a little community service we ALL can do to enlighten our doctor's. Ask your doctor about C-peptide. Chances are you will get the same answer Chrissie in Belgium and I did. When this happens - smile, and politely hand your doctor a printout of this blog.

After all, if the Creator put receptors in our cellular membranes - He must've done it for a reason. The path to enlightenment is paved with gold.

Stroke treatment borrowed from Parkinson's patients

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Doctors have for some time utilized a particular treatment method, involving the use of dopamine-like compounds, for patients who suffer left-brain stroke. This form of treatment is now being looked at again for use in patients who suffer strokes in the right hemisphere of their brain, and their finding that this may be helped with the use of drugs for Parkinson's Disease.

Similar to stroke patients who experience motor neglect, patients with Parkinson's Disease are also sometimes slow to respond to stimuli with movement. According to scientists, this is due a loss of neurons that use the neurotransmitter dopamine to regualte activity in the putamen.

Although earlier research has been conducted on treating stroke patients with motor neglect by using dopamine-like compounds, the results were mixed. This new study, however, focuses more on patients that would be more likely to benefit from the intervention, such as those who have damage to the putamen.

This information comes from a research article in The Journal of Neuroscience. Read on, it's quite interesting.

Thought for the Day: What kind of world do you want?

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John Ondrasik, the man and musician behind the band Five for Fighting, has released a new album and a new website that just happens to benefit the Breast Cancer 3-Day, a 3-day, 60-mile walk sponsored by Susan G. Komen For the Cure.

Think about this:

Ondrasik's new album, "Two Lights," features a song called "World" which is in heavy rotation on pop radio stations across the country. This single is the inspiration for Ondrasik's new website, What Kind of World Do You Want -- the first video community that gives back by allowing visitors a chance to make a difference.

This is how it works: reveal what kind of world you want and help raise money for charity by watching videos or creating and uploading a video of yourself, your friends, or your family. In your video, answer the question What Kind of World Do You Want? and then choose which charity you wish to help fund.

In addition to the
Breast Cancer 3-Day, selected charities include the Fisher House, Save the Children, Autism Speaks, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and NY Police and Fire Widows & Children. Video clips describing each charity, a message from Ondrasik, and a video of the song "World," are all featured on the site.

Sean Connery in good health, despite cancer fears

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You may not have known it but actor Sean Connery has been fearing cancer for the past two decades.

The Scottish Connery, 76, has been seeing doctors for 20 years so growths in his throat could be monitored. Fearing the worst -- cancer -- Connery wanted to stay on top of things.

Results from a recent medical appointment reveal Connery has been given the all-clear, according to his brother Neil who is also plagued by throat polyps.

Some were concerned about Connery's absence from a New York Tartan Week charity show he was scheduled to host two weeks ago. Apparently, there was nothing to worry about. He was just just getting his check-up, and he later assured fans he is in good health.

"It is something which needs to be followed through," says his brother. "You have to have yearly checks and that is why Sean went to the hospital, just to make sure everything was all right."

Connery's father died of throat cancer at age 69. Connery himself was rushed home from filming in Africa in 1993 due to throat problems. He later received radiotherapy treatment.

Eat your vegetables, fend off cancer

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If your mom was one to harp on you about eating your vegetables, it was likely because she knew how good veggies are for the body. Moms everywhere now have research on their side.

A large study of 500,000 American retirees has shown that increasing consumption of fruits or vegetables is enough to reduce the risk of head and neck cancer. Specifically, eating six servings of fruit and vegetables per day per 1,000 calories cut the risk of these cancers by 29 percent compared to eating one and a half servings.

"It may not sound like news that vegetables protect from cancer, but there is actually some controversy in the literature," says Dr. Alan Kristal, associate head of the cancer prevention program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Clearly, diet plays a role in cancer. Experts believe that up to two-thirds of all cancer cases stem from lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, and diet. So keep crunching those carrots and growing those green beans. You'll make your momma proud.

Thought for the Day: Stomped into oblivion

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I've said it before. Every time I go running I feel like I'm crushing cancer with each and every step I pound onto the pavement. It's exhilarating, knowing I'm doing something good for my body and my soul, knowing every day I run is one more day I've survived a nasty disease. Apparently, others agree.

Think about this:

A new Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure magazine advertisement features a close-up shot of the bottom of a running shoe. Woven into the tread on the bottom of the shoe are these words:

Every step resounds with the satisfying crunch of breast cancer being stomped into oblivion.


This is exactly how I feel.
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Marijuana halts lung cancer growth by half

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More and more media reports are mentioning the potential merits of marijuana. The most recent headlines say the active ingredient in the drug cuts tumor growth in common lung cancers in half and greatly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread.

Researchers at Harvard University tested marijuana's main ingredient, delta-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, in both lab and mouse studies and say their experiments are the first to show THC inhibits the growth of cancer.

Researchers are not certain why THC inhibits tumor growth, but it could be that the substance activates molecules that arrest the cell cycle. THC may also interfere with angiogenesis and vascularization, which promotes cancer growth.

There is a long way to go in the study of THC. Yet "the beauty of this study is that we are showing that a substance of abuse, if used prudently, may offer a new road to therapy against lung cancer," says Anju Preet, Ph.D., a researcher in the Division of Experimental Medicine.

Breastfeeding blocks breast cancer

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When my babies were born, those who promote breastfeeding as the only effective method for nourishing a child and preventing illness urged and pushed and prodded me to embrace their beliefs. I did believe them, never doubted them, and sometimes felt guilty I wasn't able to nurse my children -- a previous breast reduction surgery disabled my milk flow.

I got over it. Bottles and formula worked well for my family, allowed my husband to share middle-of-the-night feeding duties, and grew my two little boys into sturdy, healthy beings.

What I haven't completely gotten over is that breastfeeding could have done a whole lot of good for me too. It could have prevented the breast cancer I developed just after my second child stopped drinking formula from his bottle.

Research indicates breastfeeding can decrease the risk of breast cancer for women who have their first baby after age 25. I was 31 when my first child was born.

Previous studies showed that having a first baby before the age of 25 or having no children protected against breast cancers fueled by hormones. It did not, however, stop the less common, harder-to-treat tumors not fueled by hormones, like mine. It seems even breastfeeding would not have prevented my cancer.

That was then. This is now.

New studies show women who give birth after age 25 are twice as likely to develop either type of breast cancer. Therefore, breastfeeding really protects all women bearing children after 25 from both forms of the disease. It turns out breastfeeding could have helped me. But I couldn't do it. So it didn't.

What's done is done. I'll get over it. And I may just become one of those women who urge and push and prod others to embrace the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thought for the Day: A vaccine for breast cancer too

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There's a new vaccine out there that stimulates the immune system to find and destroy breast cancer cells. In early experiments, the vaccine held off or stopped the growth of tumors in all of the mice studied. Some mice were even cured.

Think about this:

Research presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research reveals this vaccine is different from most under development that help kick-start the immune systems of sick patients. In this case, the vaccine tells the immune system to recognize breast cancer cells and to attack and kill them on the spot.

One researcher says breast cancer cells usually fly under the radar of the immune system. To combat this problem, the injectable vaccine uses a bacteria-type substance that is altered to contain the gene HER2/neu and also antibodies that rev up the immune system. This makes the body react and wipe out cells containing HER2/neu.

If continued studies prove promising, the vaccine would work for the 15 to 25 percent of women whose breast cancers overexpress HER2/neu.

Congresswoman Millender-McDonald diagnosed with cancer

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California Democratic Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald has been diagnosed with cancer and will take a four to six-week leave of absence from the House.

Details about the congresswoman's condition have not been revealed but a statement from her office reports, "The congresswoman has been diagnosed with cancer and is recuperating with her family. The congresswoman wishes to thank everyone for their expressions of love, well wishes and prayers. She will maintain a limited schedule in her district and is requesting respect of her privacy at this time."

Millender-McDonald, 68, has been representing for seven terms a Southern California district that includes Compton, Long Beach, and parts of Los Angeles. She is also chair of the Committee on House Administration and oversees House operations and federal election procedures.

My sweet Cleo

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Cleopatra was her name, she died yesterday. She was eleven and half years old. What a sweet girl she was and I am going to miss her so much. She died of a liver tumor that was diagnosed yesterday. I took her to the emergency animal hospital after I noticed that she looked very lethargic.

Cleo was part of my life for such a long time. One thing that sticks in my mind about her was that after I was diagnosed with breast cancer she would always come over to me when I was crying -- like she knew I was upset and she always made me feel better.

Goodbye Cleo -- mommy loves you.

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Thought for the Day: Lucy arrives in heaven

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I'd never met Lucy. And I don't know how she died. I do know she was a loving pet for my friend Adriene, a breast cancer survivor diagnosed with the disease at the same time I was told the dreaded beast was living in my body.

I've never met Adriene. We've communicated only through e-mail and letters and packages and holiday cards. Still, we have a friendship, anchored in shared experience.

Through our friendship, I've come to learn that Adriene and Lucy were the best of friends who relied on one another through good times and bad. Their love was mutual, strong, and evident to those who knew the pair.

Lucy passed away on Monday. I was notified by Adriene who directed me to a new post on her photo journal.

Think about this, a message from Adriene:

Lucy was sent to the heavens on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. I was lucky to have her in my arms as I gave her over to her spiritual playmates who will take care of her and give her the room to play and be the loving dog that she was here on earth. I was blessed to have Lucy as my constant companion. She traveled the U.S. trekking cross-country three times, traveled up and down the eastern seaboard, road the subways of Boston, and graced the pages of American Photography magazine not once, but twice. She was a famous dog who had a reputation for the devilish behavior she possessed. We all loved her for the spirit she was and I will always respect the gifts she gave me as she carried my soul from illness to wellness. Rest in Peace, Lucy. I will always keep you close to my heart.

Cisplatin works for triple-nagative breast cancer

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It's called triple-negative breast cancer and it manifests itself in the lack of expression of two cell surface proteins -- estrogen and progesterone receptors -- and also the protein HER2.

It's a disease that does not typically respond to treatment with standard chemotherapy drugs and therefore, diagnosis can come with a poor prognosis. But a new study out of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston indicates this type of disease is sensitive to the drug cisplatin.

The study, appearing online in the April 19 Journal of Clinical Investigation and in the journal's May print issue, shows that triple-negative breast cancer expresses larger amounts of two proteins, delta-Np63 and TAp73. Delta-Np63 binds to TAp73 and prevents it from killing cancerous cells. Cisplatin does the trick, though, and releases TAp73 from delta-Np63. This causes the cells to die and offers hope for a sometimes hopeless disease.

President Bush authorizes cancer screening program

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On Friday, President Bush re-authorized a federal program designed to help low-income women get screening for both breast and cervical cancer.

While funding has not yet been allocated for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, the President's support for this outreach initiative is considered by many a victory in the fight against cancer.

Bush, whose mother-in-law survived cancer, says "early detection makes treatment more effective. It gives hope to patients and it saves lives."

Currently, the government spends $202 million on this program and has reached three million women who may not have otherwise received screening. With the President's new stamp of approval, the program is authorized to spend up to $275 million.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Rise in childhood obesity rates

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We're all trying. In some way, shape or form, we're all doing what we can to stay healthy. But, let's face it, it's not always easy. If you were to break down how much it costs to eat healthy versus eating a bunch of junk, you'll find that it's much more inexpensive to eat the unhealthier stuff. Therein lies reason number one: It has become cost prohibitive to eat healthy. Reason number two deals with time. Our workdays are longer than they have ever been, and the average commute to work is around forty-five minutes. So, by the time you're finally getting home -- after working ten hours or so -- you simply do not have time to exercise.

And the list of reasons for the worldwide weight gain for adults goes on and on and on...

What about kids? Their school day is the same length as yours or mine was. The commute is basically the same bus route. So why is it that research demonstrates a significant rise in childhood obesity, especially among girls? Before I attempt to answer, allow me to first point out just how much of a rise I'm talking about.

Swedish researchers found that in 2002, the average ten-year-old girl was 2.1 percent taller and 13.4 percent heavier than her 1982 counterpart, with a 13.3 percent increase in BMI. Boys were found to be about 1.1 percent taller and 7.6 percent heavier, with a 5.1 percent increase in BMI.

What the hell is going on?!!

Personally, I think it has to do with two things: 1) What these kids are eating, and 2) The lack of emphasis on physical activity. With respect to the former, you know as well as I do that those damn Lunchables aren't healthy. You know what I'm talking about; the fake pizza thing you make on a cracker. And it certainly doesn't end there. The cookies, the soda, the potato chips, the Doritos, the candy -- it's all to blame. Only recently have schools finally started to take steps in the right direction, with some offering healthier options in vending machines and cafeterias. As for the latter, the lack of emphasis placed on physical activity, I feel there are two separate points to be made.

The first has to do with how damn protective everyone has become with their kids. What happened to the days when kids would come home from school, change into their play clothes, and then vanish until dinner time? You see, all that time these kids were playing hoops, or touch football, or racing on their bikes. It's called exercise, and until recently, kids used to do it all on their own. Now, kids are lucky if they get exercise in gym class -- that is if they are allowed by their parents to take it. And speaking of gym class, it seems to have become so guarded, so structured that kids don't even play games anymore. A friend of mine, who is a gym teacher, told me that parents are becoming so overly concerned about the potential "dangers" of some games (i.e. Red Rover, Tag, etc.) that gym class may someday soon be reduced to an hour of calisthenics. Not a bad thing, but not exactly fun, either.

Now for the second point -- kids are spending far too much time in a virtual world instead of the real world. They IM instead of speaking to someone in person, they play video games instead of actual sports games in the playground, they surf the internet instead of swimming in the local pool. It's a dangerous path that is leading our kids to sedentary lifestyles, well before they are forced to live them because of our adult responsibilities.

It is incumbent upon us, the adults and so-called adults (the second is the category in which I think I fit best) to prevent our kids from having healthy and active young lives.

Mr. Universe Assaulted by Police during Low Blood Sugar Episode

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According to Diabetes Health Magazine -- he is a well-spoken and forthcoming man with a good sense of humor and an easy-going manner. His name is Doug Burns and he's Mister Universe, for crying out loud! So why was he severely beaten by police? Sad but true - it happened during an episode of low blood sugar that occurred at a movie theater in Redwood City, California.

Doug states that he remembers seeing his friend in the theater and then feeling that he was getting low. He had recently started using a new drug to treat his diabetes. He hurried to a snack counter to find food but apparently was intercepted by a security guard who thought he was intoxicated, even though he did not smell of liquor and was wearing a medic alert bracelet. The next thing he remembers is waking up while being given glucose by paramedics. He was surrounded by 7 armed policemen who had severely clubbed him in the head and body and maced him. He was handcuffed in spite of his medic alert bracelet.

This event raises a huge issue that needs to be addressed. Police officers and security personnel should be thoroughly educated so that they can distinguish between and individual experiencing hypoglycemia or one that is intoxicated.

Bush to Veto Stem Cell Research Bill

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After the successful outcome of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, the White House has announced that it will veto the bill. However, congressional leaders have said that if the bill is vetoed, they will consider this legislation again later in the year.

The Senate passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 last Wednesday, April 11th. The bill would change existing federal policy to allow the use of stem cells that were derived from human embryos donated from in vitro fertilization clinics.

The Senate also considered another bill, S. 30, the Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research Act sponsored by Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) that would allow for research on stem cells obtained through non-embryonic sources and "dead" embryos.

I apologize if I get out of line or offensive to anybody reading. But I am truly tired of being a pawn in this charade of politics being about what's best for the people. Initially I thought stem cell research reservations were based on the moral standing of embryos. But many of you insightful readers pointed out, it's all about the money. What would these businesses DO if they didn't have diabetes to fulfill a lifetime of drugs? I'd love to believe they could find another illness to cure - but diabetes is really a fruitful dia-business. Sad but true. So here goes - I apologize for anybody who is offended by my feelings. I'm just sounding off...

Listen Bush - if you keep vetoing these critically important bills - what are we going to do with you?? You've abused the prestigious position of President of the United States by acting like a reckless cowboy! You start unwarranted wars. Your vice president shot someone in the face. Start something good to makeup for the irreparable events your administration has inflicted. A good deed in the form of NOT VETOING this bill would be a convincing start.

ADA Response: Back and Forthcoming

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Fair and balanced, just like Fox News -- I want to let everyone know that the "Matt P" I spoke to, at the ADA responded to my blog about the aforementioned conversation. His response is #17 and it is sincere and genuine -- certifiable in my book. Again, let me reiterate that the nature of my call to the ADA was to ask for their assistance in getting a big pharmaceutical company to sponsor C-peptide FDA trials here in the US. Thanks again to Matt. He really is doing all he can, but there seems to be a suspicious roadblock holding up the research here in the US. Any guesses? Without further adieu, here's Matt:

I hope people will take time to read my reply to yesterday's post about ADA and c-peptide. I work for ADA, and I was the "Matt P" who talked to Allie a week or two ago.

I certainly wouldn't\'t discourage you from calling our 800-DIABETES number, but I think you should consider why we have an 800 number and what the staff of our Call Center are trained to do. Their primary goal is to help people with basic questions about taking care of diabetes. They have very little information about what research is going on in diabetes, because that information does not yet have any relevance for the vast majority of people who need the help of our Call Center. Callers are primarily concerned about nutrition, help with paying for medications, and information about complications. The staff does try to take care of callers who want to give guidance to ADA on things like research and legislative priorities, but their primary focus is on providing immediate, direct advice about diabetes management to people who can't get it any other way.

Again, please read my other reply. Guys, diabetes is awful, everyone who works at ADA thinks so and of course so do all of you. We would all sincerely like to see effective treatments come into our hands immediately, but I'm afraid that there is almost nothing ADA can do to change the basic nature of the research process or the drug approval process. Despite recent promising research results regarding c-peptide, there's no way the FDA would approve it as a therapy for diabetes complications until more research is done to precisely define what it does and how well and how safely it does it.

Could industry do more? Probably, although we don't know exactly what they\'re doing now---please see my other post. We live in free society where people and companies don't always have to tell you what they're doing. If you want my pledge to talk to people at Lilly and Novo about the potential promise of c-peptide, you have it.

By all means, call them yourself. I'm afraid our Call Center staff, who do an incredible job with handling a huge number of calls from a lot of desperate people, aren't going to be able to do much to address an issue that is still at the research stage.

Sincerely,

Matt

Diabetes Complications - the White Elephant

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A white elephant is a supposedly valuable possession whose upkeep exceeds its usefulness, and it is therefore a liability. Every type 2 diabetic is a valuable possession to someone: a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a daughter, a son...you get the picture. But when it comes to the complications of the disease - it costs the U.S. health system an extra $22.9 billion a year to treat these complications.

Annual health costs for a type 2 diabetic are THREE TIMES that of the average American without diabetes. About 20.8 million Americans have diabetes. Most have type 2, or adult-onset diabetes, in which the body loses its ability to use insulin. Obesity and lack of exercise are linked with type 2 diabetes, which can cause blindness, heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease and foot problems that can require amputations.

Dr. Daniel Einhorn says "the fact that people are still getting complications means we are not using our tools effectively enough," When people fail to follow their diet, exercise and drug treatment plans, the disease leads to complications that boost the total health bill to $57.1 billion. "Either the patient doesn't recognize they have it and complications develop, or they are not good about adhering to their doctor's orders," he said, adding, "We've got to do a better job of managing the disease." Dr. Einhorn serves on the board of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

Or Dan - let's stop being part of the problem and be the solution. Maybe the chosen methods of diabetes management need a crystal ball. Supposedly 30% of type 2 diabetics already have complications at the time of diagnosis. We should just put the whole world on notice: nobody says it's going to be easy, but losing weight voluntarily (before you become a diabetic) is certainly more rewarding than solicited medical advice to save your life. Choice is yours.

Customer for Life - but only what THEY want to Sell

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While patrolling the PubMed database this weekend, I came across a very interesting study that investigated the effects of new insulins on insulin and C-peptide antibodies, insulin dose, and diabetic control. Please note - this study was published in 1983. After reading -- I invite EVERYONE to let me know if it is possible to get purified pork insulin and whether or not you have been on it-- and if you have seen a difference in your diabetes control. Please?

24 diabetic patients using bovine (beef) insulin and possessing insulin antibodies underwent a study of the immunological and clinical consequences of changes in both purity and species of their insulin. The new insulin regimes tested were one of three: a) purified bovine insulin, b) highly purified porcine insulin, and c) semisythetic human insulin.

The patients underwent 3 consecutive 4-month periods on each insulin regimen. The average insulin antibody levels changed little on purified bovine (beef) insulin; actually increased on semi-synthetic human insulin but fell substantially on highly purified porcine insulin. Okay - so this means, in lay terms that the patient's insulin antibodies (the stuff killing your islets) remained relatively the same on beef insulin but became categorically HIGH on synthetic human insulin. And most importantly - to me-the highly purified porcine insulin actually DROPPED the insulin antibodies. Of course - it would cost big pharmaceutical companies more to manufacture highly purified porcine insulin.

C-peptide antibodies fell significantly and continuously throughout the study. The slower rate of fall in C-peptide antibody levels is likely to be due to the prolonged half-life of circulating exogenous proinsulin in the presence of insulin antibody. Although insulin dose remained constant the incidence of hypoglycaemic episodes did not increase and glycosylated haemoglobin levels rose significantly when patients were on porcine insulin. The deterioration in diabetic control may have been due to greater temporal mismatch between insulin needs and insulin availability with pork or human insulin than with beef insulins, and to reduced insulin antibody levels.

The use of purer insulins which more closely resemble the human form can cause a significant reduction in levels of insulin and C-peptide antibodies. These changes may not necessarily produce better diabetic control. Recent studies have shown that a depletion of C-peptide in the body results in a greater chance of microvascular complications associated with diabetes.

This study was published around the time when all of the synthetic human insulins were sweeping the Nation. I tried calling my local CVS Pharmacy on Saturday morning to see if I could get some purified porcine insulin. No such luck. Go figure. The big guys were successful at convincing the medical community and patients that no other insulin is better. Correction - no other insulin is cheaper to manufacture and that means it is better for them. And the importance of C-peptide was overlooked entirely - or was it? C-peptide prevents the complications associated with injecting insulin - but that sounds like another marketable drug. After all - synthetic human insulin doesn't have C-peptide. REAL HUMAN INSULIN does (the way it comes out of the beta cells, in natural form, it does)!!! And as long as your body is producing insulin antibodies - you NEED their synthetic insulin (conveniently -- the only kind you can buy). Best business model - customer for life!

Is Human Synthetic Insulin a Cock Block?

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Now that the US market is suspiciously saturated with human insulin - and many of us diagnosed within the last 10 years did not have a shot at trying porcine insulin - I'd like to set the record straight. When the pharmaceutical companies cherry pick the studies they wish to use for their gain, and not so much for your enhanced quality of life - they must've lost this study.

Please read the entire study (if you have access to it in a local library) but what grabbed my undivided attention was the sentence that says: it was observed that the action of porcine insulin was associated with... a striking increase of prolactinaemia, in relation to semisynthetic human insulin.

Okay -- so as I look deeper into the function of prolactin -- aside from some definite dopamine enhancing activities (if you know what I mean) :::wink wink::: -- it is responsible for the formation of myelin coatings on axons in the central nervous system. This is a certifiable problem that results in diabetic neuropathy and the related side effects (numbness, nerve dysfunction, i.e, ED).

Ex-queeze me? Does this say that human synthetic insulin may be a cock blocking drug?

Sorry for the blunt delivery -- but this is the truth. Why doesn't human synthetic insulin have this listed as a side effect? My guess is: if you had a choice of human synthetic insulin versus highly purified porcine insulin -- and you knew the side effects of human synthetic might take a toll on the health of your sex life -- you might be praying to the porcine gods.

Shame on the companies who knew about this study and kept it undercover so you couldn't...

Maximum Pumpitude

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"Hear me now and believe me later..."

Muscle wasting is extremely common, in addition to being a serious risk factor for premature death, in patients with end-stage renal disease. Being on dialysis doesn't exactly make it easy to avoid becoming inactive, especially when ESRD is oftentimes connected with type 2 diabetes.

The answer? Get pumped!! Hans and Franz may have been onto something with their mantra of getting pumped up, because research now points to high-intensity weight lifting exercise as an effective measure against the loss of muscle mass and strength in dialysis patients.

Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia studied the effects of progressive resistance training during hemodialysis in 49 patients with ESRD. One of the test groups was instructed to perform high-intensity weightlifting exercises during their three-times-per-week dialysis sessions. Amazingly, these exercises were performed while the patients were seated in the dialysis chair! By the end of the 12-weeks study, researchers found that the patients who lifted weights during their dialysis sessions had improved muscle mass and decreased fat deposits in the muscle -- suggesting the formation of new muscle tissue. (these measurements were taken on computed tomography [CT] scans). Other benefits included increased strength and reduced pro-inflammatory markers.

It is important to note that all of these physical changes these patients underwent occurred without any change in their diet, lifestyle, or additional physical activity (outside of the weight lifting).

Just the fats, ma'am.

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It wasn't very long ago that fat was considered the single-worst thing a person could eat if they wanted to follow a healthy diet. For starters, the stuff is called FAT -- so, even at first blush it has a negative connotation. Then, people began to associate the fat they wanted to lose with the fat they were consuming. Logic dictated that to lose that fat, one must eat less foods that contain a great deal of fat. Problem is, this reasoning is actually rather illogical, because fat isn't nearly the evil doer we once thought it was.

The key is to know the difference between "good" fats and "bad" fats. Here's the Cliff Notes description of each type:

TRANS FAT: Okay, so this one is definitely bad. It raises LDL cholesterol and lowers HDL cholesterol. It also increases inflammation, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes. It can be found occurring naturally in small amounts in red meat, but more abundantly in processed and baked foods (e.g. potato chips, cookies, Twinkies, etc.).

SATURATED FAT: Well, we're 0 for 2 at the moment -- Saturated Fat is also pretty bad for you. It raises LDL cholesterol, increasing one's risk of heart disease. Saturated fat can be found in cheese, whole milk, beef and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil.

MONOSATURATED FAT: Now we're getting healthier! Monosaturated fat protects your heart by lowering LDL levels. You should try to get about 20 to 35 percent of your total daily calories from a fats source, and monosaturated fats are a good way to fulfill this dietary goal. What are some sources? Canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, avocado, and most types of fish.

POLYUNSATURATED FAT: Here's another healthy option. Polyunsaturated fats -- including omega-3s and omega 6s -- reduce your risk of heart disease by decreasing LDL levels. You can source this good fat from sunflower, corn, walnut and soybean oils. Omega-3s are also found in fish and walnuts, and omega-6s are in seeds, nuts and vegetable oil.

As stated, the key is to understand the difference between good and bad sources of fat. However, just like anything else, too much of a good thing can sometimes become bad, so limit even your healthier fats to about 20 to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake.

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This is your brain on hypertension

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When I first came across a recent study about the brain's impact on blood pressure, I admittedly thought that it was going to point to stress. Thinking about work, thinking about mounting bills, thinking about thinking. To much thinking can sometimes result in too much stress. In turn, too much stress will effect your overall health. So, stupid me, I thought I had this whole study figured out.

But, this study was much different than I had anticipated. Leaving stress out of the picture completely, the researchers from the University of Bristol, UK found a much more direct link between the brain and hypertension. Known as junctional adhesion molecule-1 (or JAM-1 to super-cool research types), this protein -- which is located in the walls of the blood vessels in the brain -- traps white blood cells called leukocytes. Once these white blood cells are trapped, inflammation may occur and blood flow can be obstructed, resulting in poor oxygen supply to the brain. It is this JAM-1 trapping of leukocytes that has led the researchers to suggest that hypertension is an inflammatory vascular disease of the brain.

This discovery may open up new avenues for further research and potential treatment. Considering that nearly 60 percent of patients remain hypersensitive, even while taking the appropriate medication, the urgency for this problem to be addressed is great.

Thought for the Day: About the red meat

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Daily consumption of red meat increases the risk of breast cancer. Daily consumption of red meat doesn't increase the risk of breast cancer. Ahhh. Which one is it?

In a previous post, I cited research that supported the increased risk. And now I've come across something new.

Think about this:

A nutritionist from New Zealand is disputing research, published in the British Journal of Cancer, claiming that women who ate more than100g of meat each day had the highest risk of developing breast cancer.

Jim Mann, a professor in human nutrition and medicine at Otago University, says the study failed to consider other factors which may increase the risk of breast cancer. And he assures women
it's still safe to eat about 80g of red meat a day.

Press Secretary Tony Snow clears up cancer confusion

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White House Press Secretary Tony Snow popped in for an unexpected visit on Bill O'Reilly's Radio Factor on Wednesday with the purpose of clearing up a certain cancer matter.

"Some of this has been misreported," Snow told O'Reilly in reference to his recent cancer recurrence.

"I do not have liver cancer," Snow said. "There are a number of small tumors that are in my abdominal cavity; they have not hit any other organs."

Snow, 51, said there is also no cancer traveling through his bloodstream and that he plans to return to work after recovering from the surgery he had two weeks ago to remove tumors from his abdomen.

Although his cancer is not threatening his life -- he says if the tumors didn't grow from now until the time he died, he would be absolutely fine -- Snow will still receive chemotherapy to "drive this sucker into remission," he said.

Snow began battling cancer in 2005 when he was diagnosed with colon cancer, had his colon removed, and underwent several months of chemotherapy.

The Sopranos' final nine feature cancer

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The final nine episodes of HBO's Sunday night hit The Sopranos feature the stuff of life. You know -- blood, guts, betrayal, angst, and cancer. It's not quite the stuff of my life, well, except for the cancer part.

Actor Vince Curatola, who plays Johnny "Sack" Sacramoni, powerfully weaves cancer into the end of this popular television drama. Diagnosed with lung cancer, his character is given three months to live -- in a prison hospital bed.

Johnny Sack says very little in the last episodes. He does gasp to his wife in episode two, "I'm very, very sick," but he lacks the lung capacity to muster up much more. He disease is considered stage four.

The cancer depictions -- one shows Johnny Sack shuffling down a long corridor in his hospital robe, oxygen tank dragging behind -- are right on, say those who've taken an early peek at the shows. And reportedly, the cancer scenes pretty accurately reflect the concerns of the larger culture -- where cancer has become an epidemic that sadly, won't come to end in nine episodes.

Working through cancer treatments

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In the news there has been a lot of questioning whether or not it is wise for someone diagnosed with cancer, and needs therapy or treatments to control their cancer, should still work or carry on with their life the way it was before cancer entered into their lives.

Its a good question -- but all cancer survivors or patients must make this decision themselves and should not be judged either way. Treatments can be physically mild or debilitating and everywhere in between.

I know women who are walking in Elizabeth Edward's shoes and have metastatic breast cancer. These women that I know might not be blazing the campaign trail but they are still keepin-on- keepin-on with life like it was before their breast cancer returned. They still get up and go to work, do the laundry, feed their children, all the normal things that you and I do everyday. Not to say that days can't be really tough, emotionally and physically. But I see women who are living with the disease -- really living and not giving up any of their dreams.

I can't really speak for women with metastatic disease, I can only talk about what I see, because I am not walking in their shoes and don't completely understand what it is like living with recurrent breast cancer.

Recurrent breast cancer can mean being on some kind of cancer treatment for the rest of your life, it can mean long times of remission or no evidence of disease.

Can it mean Elizabeth Edwards being first lady with metastatic breast disease? I think so.

Thought for the Day: Linking breast cancer, abortion

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Is there a link between breast cancer and abortion? This is the first of I've heard of it -- and I consider myself fairly well-versed in the topic of breast cancer. Maybe I missed a beat somewhere along the line.

Think about this:

There is a Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer out there and Karen Malec, head of the group, says there would be far fewer breast cancer cases and deaths if women had been told the truth in the 1980s when conclusive evidence linked abortion with the disease.

Malec reports that government scientists wrote a letter in 1986 to the British journal Lancet, acknowledging that abortion causes breast cancer. She says as of 2006, eight medical organizations had recognized abortion as one cause of the disease.

Now this has nothing to do with delaying pregnancy until later in life -- also a known risk factor. Abortion stands on its own and is problematic because carrying a pregnancy to term is what protects against breast cancer, says Malec.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) does not agree and stands behind several studies backed by strong data concluding induced abortions have no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer.

Malec says such studies are seriously flawed.

"We call on the Society and other cancer businesses to put their priorities in order," she says. "Women's lives and cancer prevention are more important than making money, doing cancer walks, and protecting the abortion and pharmaceutical industries."

Malec also condemns Susan G. Komen For the Cure for donating money to Planned Parenthood -- a group she calls the nation's leading abortion business.

"It's unthinkable that groups that claim to want to eradicate the disease would help fund a cancer-causing organization, especially when the funds could be directed to legitimate health organizations."

Unthinkable? I'm not sure.

I need to think about it.

Stress helps cancer resist treatment

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Way to go Wake Forest University scientists -- for adding to the body of evidence connecting stress to illness and for reporting before anyone else that the stress hormone epinephrine causes changes in prostate and breast cancer cells that may make them resistant to death.

Emotional stress contributes not only to the development of cancer, says lead researcher George Kulik, D.V.M., Ph.D, but it also reduces the effectiveness of cancer treatments.

Previous research shows levels of epinephrine, produced by the adrenal glands, are sharply increased during stressful situations and can stay elevated during long-term stress and depression.

During this study, published in the on-line Journal of Biological Chemistry, Kulik and colleagues found that a protein called BAD -- the cause of cell death -- becomes inactive when cancer cells are exposed to epinephrine.

This is huge for patients and researchers.

"It may be important for patients who have increased responses to stress to learn to manage the effects," said Kulik. "And, the results point to the possibility of developing an intervention to block the effects of epinephrine."