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Archive for June, 2010

MERCURY AND ITS DANGER TO MANKIND IN THE OCEANS OF THE WORLD

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Why Mercury Is

More Dangerous in Oceans

Science (June 28, 2010) — Even though freshwater concentrations of mercury are far greater than those found in seawater, it’s the saltwater fish like tuna, mackerel and shark that end up posing a more serious health threat to humans who eat them.


The answer, according to Duke University researchers, is in the seawater itself.

The potentially harmful version of mercury — known as methylmercury — latches onto dissolved organic matter in freshwater, while it tends to latch onto chloride — the salt — in seawater, according to new a study by Heileen Hsu-Kim, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering.

“The most common ways nature turns methylmercury into a less toxic form is through sunlight,” Hsu-Kim said. “When it is attached to dissolved organic matter, like decayed plants or animal matter, sunlight more readily breaks down the methylmercury. However, in seawater, the methlymercury remains tightly bonded to the chloride, where sunlight does not degrade it as easily. In this form, methylmercury can then be ingested by marine animals.”

Methylmercury is a potent neurotoxin that can lead to kidney dysfunctions, neurological disorders and even death. In particular, fetuses exposed to methylmercury can suffer from these same disorders as well as impaired learning abilities. Because fish and shellfish have a natural tendency to store methylmercury in their organs, they are the leading source of mercury ingestion for humans.

“The exposure rate of mercury in the U.S. is quite high,” Hsu-Kim said. “A recent epidemiological survey found that up 8 percent of women had mercury levels higher than national guidelines. Since humans are on the top of the food chain, any mercury in our food accumulates in our body.”

The results of Hsu-Kim’s experiments, which have been published early online in the journal Nature Geoscience, suggest that scientists and policymakers should focus their efforts on the effects of mercury in the oceans, rather than freshwater.

Her research is supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science.

In the past, most of the scientific studies of effects of mercury in the environment have focused on freshwater, because the technology had not advanced to the point where scientists could accurately measure the smaller concentrations of mercury found in seawater. Though the concentrations may be smaller in seawater, mercury accumulates more readily in the tissues of organisms that consume it.

“Because sunlight does not break it down in seawater, the lifetime of methlymercury is much longer in the marine environment,” Hsu-Kim said. “However, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency do not distinguish between freshwater and seawater.”

Mercury enters the environment through many routes, but the primary sources are coal combustion, the refinement of gold and other non-ferrous metals, and volcanic eruptions. The air-borne mercury from these sources eventually lands on lakes or oceans and can remain in the water or sediments.

The key to the sun’s ability to break down methylmercury is a class of chemicals known as reactive oxygen species. These forms of oxygen are the biochemical equivalent of the bull in the china shop because of the way they break chemical bonds. One way these reactive oxygens are formed is by sunlight acting on oxygen molecules in the water.

“These reactive forms of oxygen are much more efficient in breaking the bonds within the methylmercury molecule,” Hsu-Kim said. “And if the methylmercury is bonded to organic matter instead of chloride, then the break down reaction is much faster.”

Tong Zhang, a Ph.D. candidate in Hsu-Kim’s laboratory, was first author on the paper.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

GROWING NEW LUNGS ON A FRAME

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Scientists Grow New Lungs

Using ‘Skeletons’ of Old Ones

Science (June 28, 2010) — For someone with a severe, incurable lung disorder such as cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung transplant may be the only chance for survival. Unfortunately, it’s often not a very good chance. Matching donor lungs are rare, and many would-be recipients die waiting for the transplants that could save their lives.


Such deaths could be prevented if it were possible to use stem cells to grow new lungs or lung tissue. Specialists in the emerging field of tissue engineering have been hard at work on this for years. But they’ve been frustrated by the problem of coaxing undifferentiated stem cells to develop into the specific cell types that populate different locations in the lung.

Now, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have demonstrated a potentially revolutionary solution to this problem. As they describe in an article published electronically ahead of print by the journal Tissue Engineering Part A, they seeded mouse embryonic stem cells into “acellular” rat lungs — organs whose original cells had been destroyed by repeated cycles of freezing and thawing and exposure to detergent.

The result: empty lung-shaped scaffolds of structural proteins on which the mouse stem cells thrived and differentiated into new cells appropriate to their specific locations.

“In terms of different cell types, the lung is probably the most complex of all organs — the cells near the entrance are very different from those deep in the lung,” said Dr. Joaquin Cortiella, one of the article’s lead authors. “Our natural matrix generated the same pattern, with tracheal cells only in the trachea, alveoli-like cells in the alveoli, pneumocytes only in the distal lung, and definite transition zones between the bronchi and the alveoli.”

Such “site-specific” cell development has never been seen before in a natural matrix, said professor Joan Nichols, another of the paper’s lead authors. The complexity gives the researchers hope that the concept could be scaled up to produce replacement tissues for humans — or used to create models to test therapies and diagnostic techniques for a variety of lung diseases.

“If we can make a good lung for people, we can also make a good model for injury,” Nichols said. “We can create a fibrotic lung, or an emphysematous lung, and evaluate what’s happening with those, what the cells are doing, how well stem cell or other therapy works. We can see what happens in pneumonia, or what happens when you’ve got a hemorrhagic fever, or tuberculosis, or hantavirus — all the agents that target the lung and cause damage in the lung.”

The researchers have already begun work on large-scale experiments, “decellularizing” pig lungs with an eye toward using them to produce larger samples of lung tissue that could lead to applications in humans. They’re also taking on the challenge of vascularization — stimulating the growth of blood vessels that will enable the engineered tissues to survive outside the special bioreactors that the researchers now use to keep them alive by bathing them in a life-sustaining cocktail of nutrients and oxygen.

“People ask us why we’re doing the lung, because it’s so hard,” Cortiella said. “But the potential is so great, and the technology is here. It’s going to take time, but I think we’re going to create a system that works.”

Other authors of the Tissue Engineering Part A paper are UTMB research associate Jean Niles, associate professor Gracie Vargas, medical student Sean Winston, graduate student Shannon Walls, summer research fellows Andrea Brettler and Jennifer Wang, Andrea Cantu of Stanford University and Dr. Anthony Pham of Brown Medical School

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GUT MICROBES CAN ENHANCE HEALTH

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Manipulating Microbes in the Gut May

Remedy Disease and Enhance Health

Science (June 28, 2010) — We are what we eat, but who are “we”? New, high-powered genomic analytical techniques have established that as many as 1,000 different single-celled species coexist in relative harmony in every healthy human gut.


“For each human cell in your body there are 10 microbial cells, most of them living in the gut and helping us digest things we can’t digest on our own,” said Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “In turn, what you eat is proving to be one of the major determinants of the components of your ‘inner self’ — that community of bacteria living in your intestine.”

Each individual’s microbial ecosystem is different in its relative composition, with potential implications for our health. Disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer and even obesity have been linked to skewed intestinal microbe distributions.

Scientists hope that someday they will be able to manipulate microbial populations in the gut as a way of remedying disease and enhancing health. One step toward this goal would be taking “genomic censuses” to categorize and count the interacting components of each individual’s bacterial community and characterize how they respond to interventions, such as changes in diet. That’s no small task, because the aggregate gene count of the micro-organisms dwelling in a typical human gut outnumbers our own by a hundredfold — millions of them, versus the 20,000 human genes that have been identified.

In an animal study to be published June 25 in Cell, Sonnenburg and his colleagues showed that zeroing in on just a small set of bacterial genes, while ignoring the vast majority, allowed them to predict how bugs would respond to a diet change. The results highlight the potential of the burgeoning new field of prebiotics, which (in contrast to probiotics — the seeding of food with healthful bacterial organisms) involves adding substances to the diet in an effort to shift the mix of bugs in our gut in a healthy direction.

In conducting the study, the researchers used a vastly simplified model of the internal mammalian microbial ecosystem to prove that they could predict, by looking at a mere handful of microbial genes, how a shift in diet can alter the microbial composition of the gut. Sonnenburg’s team introduced two distinct species of bacteria, both known to abound in the human digestive tract, into mice that had been raised in a sterile environment and so lack the normally resident microbes — also known as “germ-free” mice. Then they fed the mice a diet rich in a particular complex carbohydrate that one bacterial species seemed genetically better equipped to digest, based on the presence of a small set of genes in its genome. As predicted, that bacterial species became predominant in the mice’s intestines.

These results set the stage for scaling up germ-free mice into living laboratories into which scientists can introduce, one by one, steadily increasing numbers of bacteria found in the human intestine, eventually enabling a sophisticated understanding of the astonishingly complex microbial superorganism that dwells inside each of us.

The complex carbohydrate the Stanford researchers added to the mice’s diet was inulin, which is found in certain bulbous plants — onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes — and has gained wide use as a prebiotic supplement (for instance, in yogurt or in powdered form) by people who believe it encourages the proliferation of healthful “good” bacteria. We humans can’t digest inulin on our own, but some bacteria are equipped with genes that encode enzymes capable of sawing through the chemical links joining this substance’s constituent sugar molecules.

“Think of these enzymes as a unique set of utensils that allow them to eat this food we can’t cut,” said Sonnenburg. The byproducts of bacterial metabolism are often valuable nutrients for humans — a win-win situation.

Previous genomic analyses had determined that only one of the two bacterial species the investigators introduced to the germ-free mice featured, among its 5,000 or so genes, a roughly 10-gene assemblage that permits the breakdown of inulin.

The researchers used a standard laboratory technique to precisely assess changes in each of the two species’ relative abundance before and after dietary inulin supplementation. “Within one or two weeks, there was a significant change in the composition of the mice’s gut communities,” said Erica Sonnenburg, PhD, senior research scientist in Justin Sonnenburg’s lab and first author of the study. As predicted, the ratio of inulin-digesting to non-digesting species shifted in favor of the former in the inulin-fed mice.

Both Erica and Justin Sonnenburg (they’re married) warned that it will be a while before the results in this simple experimental system — two competing bacterial species — can be extrapolated to the nearly-1,000-species jungle that is the real, human gut-dwelling microbial community. But the Sonnenburg lab has already embarked on increasing the complexity of their experimental system by increasing the number of human-associated bacteria into germ-free mice that have been “humanized” so that their intestines contain a microbial community similar to that of the human gut.

“We’ve now got germ-free mice to which we’ve introduced batches of bacteria representative of an entire human gut community in all its complexity,” said Erica Sonnenburg. “We’re looking to see if the bugs that we think should do better actually do better in this more competitive environment.”

The study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. Other Stanford co-authors were Steven Higginbottom and Payal Joglekar of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

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DARK CHOCOLATE WILL REDUCE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

DARK CHOCOLATE LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE – STUDY FINDS

Science (June 28, 2010) — For people with hypertension, eating dark chocolate can significantly reduce blood pressure. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Medicine combined the results of 15 studies into the effects of flavanols, the compounds in chocolate which cause dilation of blood vessels, on blood pressure.

Dr Karin Ried worked with a team of researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, to conduct the analysis. She said, “Flavanols have been shown to increase the formation of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes vasodilation and consequently may lower blood pressure. There have, however, been conflicting results as to the real-life effects of eating chocolate. We’ve found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure but not for people with normal blood pressure.”

The pressure reduction seen in the combined results for people with hypertension, 5mm Hg systolic, may be clinically relevant — it is comparable to the known effects of 30 daily minutes of physical activity (4-9mm Hg) and could theoretically reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event by about 20% over five years.

The researchers are cautious, however, “The practicability of chocolate or cocoa drinks as long-term treatment is questionable,” said Dr Ried.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha


GOLD USED TO REMOVE TOXIC MERCURY FROM DRINKING WATER

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Is Your Water Safe?

Physical Chemists Devise Quick

Spectrometry-Based Mercury Test

August 1, 2006 — Physical chemists have created a new, cheap test to detect mercury, an element known to harm the brain, kidneys, heart, lungs and immune system. A gold nanorod absorbs mercury from a sample and, then and an optical spectrometer measures changes in the nanorod’s light absorption. The process, which takes less than 10 minutes, can test mercury concentrations in liquids, gases, or solids.


ORLANDO, Fla. — Mercury … It’s in the ground, in the air, and in our water! We even have a little bit in our bodies. That’s normal. But too much mercury could cause health problems. What’s in your water? New tests may help detect if something dangerous is coming out of your faucet.

Courtney Hylton and her 2-year-old daughter Jordan enjoy their afternoon tea parties. Even though it tastes just right, what’s in the water could hurt them both.

“I really want to know what’s in there that shouldn’t be there,” Courtney says.

According to chemist Andres Campiglia, mercury attacks the nervous system. Too much mercury in your body can cause injury to your brain, kidneys, heart, lungs and immune system.

For pregnant women like Courtney, too much mercury can be toxic to their unborn babies. That’s why she is having her water tested.

Using gold to remove mercury from drinking water

University of Central Florida chemists Eloy Hernández and Campiglia have created a new quick, cheap test to detect mercury by using a very unlikely source — pure gold. Water is mixed with a solution containing gold nanorods, or solid gold bars 2,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Gold absorbs mercury. Then, scientists use an optical spectrometer to measure the light soaked up by the nanorods and reveal how much mercury is present.

“The more reddish it becomes, the higher the concentration of mercury,” Hernández tells DBIS.

The entire process takes less than 10 minutes. Results read out on a computer.

Courtney and Jordan’s water was safe, so for them it’s another cup of tea — with a little milk — and no mercury.

This mercury test works on not only liquids, but also on gases and solids. Scientists believe it can also be used in a larger capacity to clean up water and power plants. It could be available to the public within a few years.

BACKGROUND: Chemists are using an unusual technique to detect mercury in your water: gold nanorods, two thousand times thinner than a human hair The gold absorbs the mercury while the researchers monitor changes in the amount of light through a hand-held device called an optical spectrometer. This process can be used to create water filters and reclaim contaminated water.

HOW MERCURY GETS INTO WATER: Mercury is found in many rocks including coal, which when burned, releases mercury into the environment. Coal-burning power plants are the largest human-caused source of mercury emissions to the air in the United States, accounting for over 40 percent of all domestic human-caused mercury emissions. The EPA has estimated that about one quarter of U.S. emissions from coal-burning power plants are deposited within the U.S. Burning hazardous wastes, producing chlorine, breaking mercury products, and spilling mercury, as well as the improper treatment and disposal of products or wastes containing mercury, can also release it into the environment. Current estimates are that less than half of all mercury within the U.S. comes from U.S. sources. Mercury in the air eventually settles into water or onto land where it can be washed into water.

TOXIC MERCURY: Also known as “quicksilver,” mercury is heavy, silver-like metal, and one of five elements that are liquid at or near room temperature. Mercury is a neurotoxin, so it affects the central nervous system, causing personality changes, nervousness, trembling and in extreme cases, dementia. If mercury vapor is inhaled, as much as 80 percent of it may enter the bloodstream.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

ESOPHAGUS CANCER AND WINE. WHAT'S THE CONNECTION? FIND IT HERE…

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Drinking Wine Lowers Risk

Of Barrett’s Esophagus,

Precursor To

Nation’s Fastest Growing Cancer,

Study Suggests

Science (Mar. 7, 2009) — Drinking one glass of wine a day may lower the risk of Barrett’s Esophagus by 56 percent, according to a new study by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in the March issue of Gastroenterology. Barrett’s Esophagus is a precursor to esophageal cancer, the nation’s fastest growing cancer with an incidence rate that’s jumped 500 percent in the last 30 years.


Barrett’s Esophagus affects 5 percent of the population and occurs when heartburn or acid reflux permanently damages the esophageal lining. People with Barrett’s Esophagus have a 30- to 40-fold higher risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (a type of esophageal cancer) because the Barrett’s Esophagus cells can grow into cancer cells.

Because there are no symptoms or warning signs of Barrett’s Esophagus, people discover they have Barrett’s Esophagus when an endoscopy for anemia, heartburn or a bleeding ulcer reveals esophageal cells that were damaged, then changed form during the healing process. Currently nothing can be done to treat Barrett’s Esophagus; it can only be monitored.

This is the first and largest population-based study to examine the connection between alcohol consumption and risk of Barrett’s Esophagus. Funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the Kaiser Permanente study looked at 953 men and women in Northern California between 2002 and 2005 and found that people who drank one or more glasses of red or white wine a day had less than half the risk (or 56 percent reduced risk) of Barrett’s Esophagus. There was no reduction of Barrett’s Esophagus risk among people who drank beer or liquor.

“The rate of esophageal adenocarcinoma in this country is skyrocketing yet very little is known about its precursor, Barrett’s Esophagus. We are trying to figure out how to prevent changes that may lead to esophageal cancer.” said Douglas A. Corley, MD, a Kaiser Permanente gastroenterologist and the study’s principal investigator.

The study findings are echoed by two other studies published in the same issue of the Gastroenterology journal: Australian researchers found that people who drank wine were at a lower risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma, and Irish researchers found that people who drank wine were at a lower risk for esophagitis, an irritation of the esophagus that follows chronic heartburn and often precedes Barrett’s Esophagus and cancer.

Researchers are not certain why wine reduces the risk of Barrett’s Esophagus and esophageal cancer. One theory is that the wine’s antioxidants neutralize the oxidative damage caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, a risk factor for Barrett’s Esophagus. Another theory is that wine drinkers typically consume food with their wine as opposed to drinking straight liquor without food, thereby reducing the potentially damaging effect of alcohol on esophageal tissue, said Ai Kubo, MD, an epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente and lead author on the study. “But we cannot preclude the possibility that wine drinking is a proxy for other ‘health-seeking’ behavior,” Kubo added.

This study is part of larger, case-controlled Kaiser Permanente study led by Dr. Corley that looked at abdominal obesity and consumption of dietary antioxidants, fruits and vegetables in connection with Barrett’s Esophagus. It found that people can reduce their risk of Barrett’s Esophagus by eating eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day and maintaining a normal body weight.

“My advice to people trying to prevent Barrett’s Esophagus is: keep a normal body weight and follow a diet high in antioxidants and high in fruits and vegetables,” Corley said. “We already knew that red wine was good for the heart, so perhaps here is another added benefit of a healthy lifestyle and a single glass of wine a day.”

Researchers noted, though, that the protective effect of wine in terms of preventing Barrett’s Esophagus was greatest with just one or two glasses a day. The protective effect of wine did not increase with higher consumption.

“It’s not actually clear that treating the acid reflux will necessarily prevent getting someone from getting Barrett’s Esophagus,” said Dr. Corley. “The best way to prevent reflux is to maintain a normal weight.”

Authors of the study include: Ai Kubo, T. R. Levin, Gregory Rumore, Charles P. Quesenberry, Jr., of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Gladys Block and Patricia Buffler of the School of Public Health, University of California-Berkeley.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

LUNG CANCER AND RED WINE CONNECTION. READ ON….

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Red Wine May Lower Lung Cancer Risk

Science (Oct. 7, 2008) — Moderate consumption of red wine may decrease the risk of lung cancer in men, according to a report in the October issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention¸ a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.


“An antioxidant component in red wine may be protective of lung cancer, particularly among smokers,” said Chun Chao, Ph.D., a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Pasadena, California.

Chao analyzed data collected through the California Men’s Health Study, which linked clinical data from California’s health system with self-reported data from 84,170 men aged 45 to 69 years. Researchers obtained demographics and lifestyle data from surveys computed between 2000 and 2003, and identified 210 cases of lung cancer.

Researchers measured the effect of beer, red wine, white wine and liquor consumption on the risk of lung cancer. Adjustments were made for age, race/ethnicity, education, income, body mass index, history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema, and smoking history.

Among the study participants, there was on average a two percent lower lung cancer risk associated with each glass of red wine consumed per month. The most substantial risk reduction was among smokers who drank one to two glasses of red wine per day. The researchers reported a 60 percent reduced lung cancer risk in these men. Researchers warned men to stop smoking as the best way to reduce lung cancer risk; noting that even men who drank one to two glasses of red wine per day still face higher lung cancer risk than do non-smokers.

No clear associations with lung cancer were noted for consumption of white wine, beer, or liquor. “Red wine is known to contain high levels of antioxidants. There is a compound called resveratrol that is very rich in red wine because it is derived from the grape skin. This compound has shown significant health benefits in preclinical studies,” Chao said.

Chao said their findings should not be construed to recommend heavy alcohol consumption.

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RED WINE, WHITE WINE & BREAST CANCER. READ ON…

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Red Wine Vs. White?

Both Equal Offenders In Breast

-Cancer Risk

Science (Mar. 10, 2009) — The largest study of its kind to evaluate the effect of red versus white wine on breast-cancer risk concludes that both are equal offenders when it comes to increasing breast-cancer risk. The results of the study, led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, were published in the March issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.


“We were interested in teasing out red wine’s effects on breast-cancer risk. There is reason to suspect that red wine might have beneficial effects based on previous studies of heart disease and prostate cancer,” said lead author Polly Newcomb, Ph.D., M.P.H., head of the Cancer Prevention Program in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Hutchinson Center. “The general evidence is that alcohol consumption overall increases breast-cancer risk, but the other studies made us wonder whether red wine might in fact have some positive value.”

Instead, Newcomb and colleagues found no compelling reason to choose Chianti over Chardonnay.

“We found no difference between red or white wine in relation to breast-cancer risk. Neither appears to have any benefits,” Newcomb said. “If a woman drinks, she should do so in moderation – no more than one drink a day. And if a woman chooses red wine, she should do so because she likes the taste, not because she thinks it may reduce her risk of breast cancer,” she said.

The researchers found that women who consumed 14 or more drinks per week, regardless of the type (wine, liquor or beer), faced a 24 percent increase in breast cancer compared with non-drinkers.

For the study, the researchers interviewed 6,327 women with breast cancer and 7,558 age-matched controls about their frequency of alcohol consumption (red wine, white wine, liquor and beer) and other breast-cancer risk factors, such as age at first pregnancy, family history of breast cancer and postmenopausal hormone use. The study participants, ages 20 to 69, were from Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The frequency of alcohol consumption was similar in both groups, and equal proportions of women in both groups reported consuming red and white wine.

The National Cancer Institute, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, funded this research, which also involved investigators from Group Health Cooperative, Seattle; the University of Wisconsin; H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute; and Dartmouth Medical School.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

PROSTATE CONNECTION WITH RED WINE IS….

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Red Wine Protects The Prostate,

Research Suggests

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2007) — Researchers have found that men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are only 52% as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who do not drink red wine, reports the June 2007 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. In addition, red wine appears particularly protective against advanced or aggressive cancers.


Researchers in Seattle collected information about many factors that might influence the risk of prostate cancer in men between ages 40 and 64, including alcohol consumption. At first the results for alcohol consumption seemed similar to the findings of many earlier studies: There was no relationship between overall consumption and risk.

But the scientists went one step further by evaluating each type of alcoholic beverage independently. Here the news was surprising—wine drinking was linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. And when white wine was compared with red, red had the most benefit. Even low amounts seemed to help, and for every additional glass of red wine per week, the relative risk declined by 6%.

Why red wine? Doctors don’t know. But much of the speculation focuses on chemicals—including various flavonoids and resveratrol—missing from other alcoholic beverages. These components have antioxidant properties, and some appear to counterbalance androgens, the male hormones that stimulate the prostate.

Many doctors are reluctant to recommend drinking alcohol for health, fearing that their patients might assume that if a little alcohol is good, a lot might be better. The Harvard Men’s Health Watch notes that men who enjoy alcohol and can drink in moderation and responsibly may benefit from a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cardiac death.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

PROSTATE CANCER & HEAVY DRINKING CONNECTION

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Heavy, Daily Drinking

Increases Risk Of High-Grade

Prostate Cancer;

Makes Preventive Drug Ineffective

Science (July 14, 2009) — Current research is inconclusive regarding the relationship between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer risk. Researchers led by Zhihong Gong Ph.D. of the University of California San Francisco, examined the associations of total alcohol, type of alcoholic beverage, and drinking pattern with risks of total, low- and high-grade prostate cancer.


They used data from more than 10,000 men participating in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT). They found participants who reported heavy alcohol consumption (?50 g alcohol/day) and regular heavy drinking (?4 drinks/day on ?5 days per week) were twice as likely or more to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer (RR: 2.01, and 2.17, respectively). Less heavy drinking was not associated with risk.

They also compared drinking patterns with treatment outcome among men enrolled on this placebo-controlled trial of the drug finasteride. They found finasteride’s ability to lower prostate cancer risk was blocked in men drinking <50g alcohol per day.

They conclude heavy, daily drinking increases the risk of high-grade prostate cancer and that heavy drinking made finasteride ineffective for reducing prostate cancer risk.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha