A preliminary study of a shark cartilage extract validates reports of anti-cancer properties.Research at McGill University in Montreal found a 70 percent decrease in metastatic tumors in mice that were given Neovastat, a preparation derived from shark cartilage. The lead researcher in this study, an admitted skeptic, says "... there still are a lot of charlatans out there selling shark cartilage." He adds: "But I have seen evidence in my own lab that there is something there."1 The substance works by impeding new blood vessel development.2
1. United Press, quoting Dr. Gerald Batist of McGill University, March 29, 1998.
2. Presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans, March 29, 1998.
Black Raspberries and Curry
More anti-cancer food research was presented recently at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.3 One researcher from Ohio State University4 reports that black raspberries decreased the risk of esophageal cancer in rats by as much as 49 percent. The effect seems to correlate to the amount of the fruit consumed.
Turmeric, a constituent of curry, contains an ingredient that reduces colon cancer in laboratory rats by nearly 30 percent, according to one scientist from the American Health Foundation.5 The compound is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
3. New Orleans, March 29, 1998.
4. Laura Ann Kresty, a graduate student at OSU.
5. Bandaru Reddy.
A British researcher6 reports that awareness and memory may develop sooner that previously thought, and in a different area of the brain. The cerebral cortex is thought to not be sufficiently developed by the 20th week of pregnancy to store memories. However, he has found that unusual melodies listened to by the three weeks after birth. He hypothesizes that the thalamus is responsible for this learning. Some scientists feel that this and other studies may help relate some behaviors to early pre-birth trauma.
6. Stephen Evans of Kelle University in central England, reporting to a meeting of the British Psychological Society, March 29, 1998.
A study conducted at the University of California7 suggests that psychological stress in a pregnant woman can translate into temperamental and behavioral difficulties in her offspring. This preliminary research involved 120 infants and toddlers, relating maternal stress during pregnancy to resultant behavior using interviews and psychological testing.8
7. By Dr. Pathik Wadhwa et al., University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center.
8. Presented to the 19th annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, March 26, 1998.
Impotence May Be Early Warning of Heart Disease
A small study of men between the ages of 35 and 55 reports that men experiencing erectile difficulties due to blood flow disturbances are more likely to show cardiac irregularities during a heart exam, even if no cardiac symptoms are being experienced.9 Researchers suggest this may be one way to detect heart disease in its early stages.
9. Presented to the American Urological Association's annual meeting in San Diego, May 31, 1998, by Dr. John Mulhall of the Loyola University Medical Center.
Longevity in a Monogram?
Investigators from the University of California, analyzing death records of 3,500 citizens, have produced some interesting statistics. They found that a man's initials seem to influence his longevity. Men with positive monograms like ACE, VIP, and WIN lived an average of 4.48 years longer than those with initials that spelled neutral words or no words at all. Those with decidedly negative initials such as PIG, RAT, BUM, or DIE died 2.8 years younger than the neutral group. Women showed a weaker relationship to positive monograms but did not appear to be influenced by the negative.10
10. Behavioral Medicine, March 27, 1998, by Dr. Nicholas Christenfeld of the University of California, San Diego.
Smoke Gets in the Milk
The American Journal of Public Health11 reports that even if a nursing mother goes to another room to smoke a cigarette, her baby still gets the toxins -- through her milk. Even second-hand smoke appeared in the mothers' milk and subsequently produced metabolites that could easily be measured in the baby's urine. Researchers are unsure of the effects tobacco products might have on an infant exposed in this manner.
11. AJPH, June 1998.
New Epidemic in Older Women
A study by Columbia University warns that physicians should be watchful for a new "hidden epidemic" among older female patients: addiction to psychoactive prescription drugs. According to this study, 11 percent of older women fall into this category. By contrast, they estimate that about 7 percent of women in the same age group abuse alcohol. The study reviewed prescriptions given to 13,000 women over age 59 for a six-months. Researchers concluded that about half of these were prescribed irresponsibly.
The study also faults doctors for not considering the possibility of alcohol abuse when diagnosing patients. When presenting classic symptoms of alcohol abuse, 80 percent of patients were diagnosed with depression. Only one percent of the physicians considered alcoholism.12
12. Report released by Columbia's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, June 4, 1998.
Heart Drug Withdrawn
Roche Laboratories is withdrawing a recently approved heart medication from the marketplace because of safety problems. The drug mibefradil (brand name Posicor) has been found to interact dangerously with at least 25 different medications. The drug is used for medical treatment of angina and hypertension.13 The manufacturer urges patients to consult their prescribing physician for an alternative.
13. United Press, June 10, 1998.
Red Meat for Diabetes
Researchers from Purdue and Penn State Universities are suggesting that a type of fat found in red meats and cheeses may act to prevent adult-onset diabetes. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) seems to prevent this disease in laboratory animals, their study suggests, and does so as well as drugs developed for the same purpose known as thiazolidinediones.14
14. United Press, June 2, 1998, reporting on the work of Martha Belury (of Purdue), et al.
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control report that they have identified a new strain of gonorrhea that is immune to fluoroquinolones in the United States, a class of drugs that has become popular for treatment in the past 10 years since the organism began to develop resistance to penicillin and tetracycline. Researchers say that during the period between 1992 and 1994, this strain has increased from one percent to 11 percent of gonorrhea infections in Hong Kong. Officials fear a similar trend in the U.S.15
15. United Press, May 28, 1998.
More Prenatal Care Better?
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that pregnant women in both high and low-risk groups have received more prenatal care in the United States in recent years. However, at the same time for some reason, premature and low-weight births increased as well.16 Explanations range from suggestions that the wrong women are getting care to problems associated with overutilization of invasive procedures.
16. Journal of the American Medical Association, May 24, 1998.
Brian Sutton, DC
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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