Cancer

As the use of marijuana is increasing in the United States, researchers are asking whether the use of this substance — particularly smoking joints — is associated with an increased risk of any form of cancer, and, if so, which.

Marijuana is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States, with more than one in seven adults reporting that they used marijuana in 2017.

Statistical reports project that sales of cannabis for recreational purposes in the U.S. will amount to $11,670 million between 2014 and 2020.

According to recent researchTrusted Source, smoking a joint remains one of the main ways in which individuals use marijuana recreationally.

While specialists already know that smoking tobacco cigarettes is a top risk factor for many forms of cancer, it remains unclear whether smoking marijuana can increase cancer risk in a similar way.

To try to find out whether there is a link between recreational marijuana use and cancer, researchers from the Northern California Institute of Research and Education in San Francisco and other collaborating institutions recently conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies assessing this potential association.

In their paper — which appears in JAMA Network OpenTrusted Source — the team notes that marijuana joints and tobacco cigarettes share many of the same potentially carcinogenic substances.

“Marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke share carcinogens, including toxic gases, reactive oxygen species, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, such as benzo[alpha]pyrene and phenols, which are 20 times higher in unfiltered marijuana than in cigarette smoke,” write first author Dr. Mehrnaz Ghasemiesfe and colleagues.

“Given that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and smoking remains the largest preventable cause of cancer death (responsible for 28.6% of all cancer deaths in 2014), similar toxic effects of marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke may have important health implications,” they go on to emphasize.

‘Misinformation — a threat to public health’

Dr. Ghasemiesfe and team identified 25 studies assessing the link between marijuana use and the risk of developing different forms of cancer. More specifically, eight of these studies focused on lung cancer, nine looked at head and neck cancers, seven examined urogenital cancers, and four covered various other forms of cancer.

The studies found associations of different strengths between long-term marijuana use and various forms of cancer.

The researchers note that the study results regarding the link between marijuana lung cancer risk were mixed — so much so that they were unable to pool the data.

For head and neck cancer, the researchers concluded that “ever use,” which they define as exposure equivalent to smoking one joint a day for 1 year, did not appear to increase the risk, although the strength of the evidence was low. However, the studies produced mixed findings for heavier users.

There was insufficient evidence to link this drug to a heightened risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, oral cancer, or laryngeal, pharyngeal, and esophageal cancers.

Among urogenital cancers, the investigators found that individuals who had used marijuana for more than 10 years appeared to have a higher risk of testicular cancer — more specifically, testicular germ cell tumors. Once again, however, the strength of the existing evidence was low.

There was insufficient evidence that marijuana use was associated with an increased risk of other forms of cancer, including prostate, cervical, penile, and colorectal cancers.

Dr. Ghasemiesfe and colleagues note that the studies that they had access to had many limitations, including numerous methodological problems and an insufficient number of participants who reported high levels of marijuana use.

Going forward, the team suggests that there is an urgent need for better quality studies assessing the potential relationship between marijuana and cancer. The researchers conclude:

“Misinformation [on this topic] may constitute an additional threat to public health; cannabis is being increasingly marketed as a potential cure for cancer in the absence of evidence, with enormous engagement in this misinformation on social media, particularly in states that have legalized recreational use.”

“As marijuana smoking and other forms of marijuana use increase and evolve, it will be critical to develop a better understanding of the association of these different use behaviors with the development of cancers and other chronic conditions and to ensure accurate messaging to the public,” they add.

The majority of people can donate blood. However, those who use nicotine products, cannabis products, or both may wonder whether or not they can donate blood.

Hospitals and health clinics use donated blood to treat various medical conditions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of blood donations collected around the world per year exceeds 117.4 millionTrusted Source.

Blood donations can help with:

  • serious injuries
  • surgery
  • anemia
  • cancer
  • chronic illnesses

Read on to learn more about how different ways of using cigarettes, cannabis, and other drugs can affect a person’s ability to donate blood.

Nicotine

If a person smokes cigarettes or vapes, it does not disqualify them from donating blood.

However, both tobacco cigarettes and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) contain harmful chemicals that may affect a person’s blood.

The American Lung Association claim that a burning cigarette produces more than 7,000 chemicals, including carbon monoxide, ammonia, and arsenic. Several of these chemicals are toxic, and 69 of them can cause cancer.

In addition to nicotine, e-cigarettes may contain the following harmful substances:

  • propylene glycol, which is present in paint solvents, antifreeze, and some foods (as an additive)
  • acetaldehyde, which is a toxic product of ethanol alcohol
  • formaldehyde, which is a chemical preservative present in disinfectants, glue, and plywood
  • diacetyl, which is a flavoring agent that tastes like butter
  • heavy metals, including nickel and lead
  • benzene, which is a chemical compound present in car exhaust

Currently, minimal information exists regarding the exact effects of vaping on blood donations. One thing to keep in mind is the fact that both vaping and smoking cigarettes can increase blood pressure.

According to American Red Cross guidelines, people can donate blood as long as their blood pressure is between 90/50 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and 80/100 mm Hg.

In one 2018 studyTrusted Source, researchers compared blood donations from people who smoke with donations from people who do not smoke. They concluded that smoking cigarettes does not affect the overall quality of the donated blood.

However, the researchers did note that the donations from the people who smoke had higher concentrations of carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) in the red blood cells. COHb forms when red blood cells come into contact with carbon monoxide, significantly reducing the amount of oxygen that red blood cells can carry.

Based on these findings, the researchers recommend that people avoid smoking for 12 hoursTrusted Source before donating blood.

Cannabis

Like smoking cigarettes and vaping, smoking cannabis does not disqualify a person from donating blood.

Current scientific researchTrusted Source suggests that cannabis use can negatively impact the cardiovascular system by:

  • increasing blood pressure and heart rate
  • narrowing the blood vessels
  • causing inflammation in the vessel walls
  • promoting blood clots

However, these potential adverse health effects should not impact the quality of any donated blood.

That being said, Vitalant — a nonprofit blood service provider — explain that people must not be under the influence of recreational drugs or alcohol at the time of donation.

Other drugs

According to the American Red Cross, people with a history of recreational intravenous drug use are not eligible to donate blood. This requirement helps prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis.

It is important to note that this is not the case for people who have used drugs in other ways, such as by smoking them or taking them orally. The American Red Cross and other blood donation companies do not specify drug use as an excluding factor.

However, a person does need to make sure that substances such as nicotine and cannabis are not in their system when donating blood.

Excluding factors

To donate blood, the general requirement is that a person should be at least 17 years old. A person can be 16 years old, but they must have a legal guardian’s consent.

Other factors that may disqualify a person from giving blood include:

  • feeling sick or having cold or flu symptoms
  • using intravenous drugs not prescribed by a licensed doctor
  • having an active infection
  • having HIV or testing positive for hepatitis B or C
  • having uncontrolled diabetes
  • having a blood clotting disorder
  • having ever had the Ebola virus
  • having blood cancers, such as leukemia or lymphoma
  • having received a blood transfusion within the past 12 months
  • having a heart rate below 50 beats per minute (BPM) or above 100 BPM
  • having recently traveled to a foreign country
  • being pregnant, or having given birth within the past 6 weeks

Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of donating blood here.

Summary

Although smoking cigarettes, vaping, and using cannabis will not disqualify a person from donating blood, they should refrain from smoking for at least 2 hoursTrusted Source before and after donating blood.

A person may feel lightheaded or weak after giving blood, and smoking can exacerbate these symptoms. It is a good idea to avoid smoking until these symptoms go away.

Flavonoids are compounds that are naturally present in fruit and vegetables. Scientists have known for 20 years that they can help prevent colorectal cancer but have not fully understood the underlying biology.

Flavonoids are compounds that are naturally present in fruit and vegetables. Scientists have known for 20 years that they can help prevent colorectal cancer but have not fully understood the underlying biology.

Now, a new study describes a molecular mechanism through which a product of flavonoid digestion can inhibit cancer cell growth under certain conditions.

The study is the work of a team at South Dakota State University in Brookings, who report their findings in a recent issue of the journal Cancers.

At first, the researchers were investigating how aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) can reduce colorectal cancer risk.

In that earlier work, they saw how a salicylic acid derivative called 2,4,6-trihydroxybenzoic acid (2,4,6-THBA) was able to slow cancer cell growth.

They decided to search for natural sources of 2,4,6-THBA and found that it was also a compound that results from the digestion of flavonoids.

Metabolite of flavonoid digestion

Flavonoids begin to break down once they enter the intestines. Gut bacteria reduce them further into metabolites when they enter the colon.

Having observed these processes, scientists have proposed that the anticancer effects of flavonoids are due to their metabolites. One of these metabolites is the molecule 2,4,6-THBA.

“We hypothesized,” says senior study author Jayarama Gunaje, Ph.D., “that flavonoids decrease colorectal cancer due to the action of the degraded, or broken down, products rather than the parent compounds.”

“These areas are underexplored,” adds Gunaje, who is an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy & Allied Health Professions at the university. The study paper gives his name as G. Jayarama Bhat.

Testing 2,4,6-THBA on colon cancer cells

The new study is the first to investigate how 2,4,6-THBA, as a product of flavonoid breakdown in the gut, can help to prevent cancer of the colon or rectum.

The colon and rectum form part of the large intestine. With help from a range of gut bacteria, the final stage of digestion takes place in the colon, which then passes the remaining waste to the rectum to await evacuation through the anus.

According to 2016 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancers are the fourth most common type of cancer in the United States and also the country’s fourth most common cause of cancer deaths.

During 2016, the latest year for which figures are available for the U.S., some 141,270 people found out that they had cancer of the colon or rectum, and 52,286 died from these types of cancer.

In the new study, the researchers found that 2,4,6-THBA can bind to three enzymes that typically help cells to divide. They wondered if this ability was sufficient to block cancer.

However, when they tested the effect of 2,4,6-THBA on colon cancer cells, they found that there was none.

The metabolite needs a transporter

A search of previous studies on 2,4,6-THBA revealed that the metabolite could not enter cells without the aid of a transporter protein called SLC5A8.

Gunaje points out, however, that cancer cells can disable the transporter protein with a genetic mutation. This has a protective effect that allows the cancer cells to proliferate.

Further tests, including some with cancer cells that express SLC5A8, demonstrated that 2,4,6-THBA was able to enter cells that expressed the transporter protein but could not gain access to cells that did not.

The researchers say that these results show that 2,4,6-THBA needs the transporter to inhibit cancer growth.

Gunaje explains that the flavonoid metabolite likely has two ways of helping to prevent cancer. The first way is that by slowing the rate of cell division, 2,4,6-THBA gives immune cells a chance to locate and destroy the cancer cells.

The second way that 2,4,6-THBA likely helps to prevent cancer is that by slowing cell division, it gives the cell more time to repair any damage to its DNA.

Damage to DNA is how mutations occur, which raises the risk of cells growing out of control and starting tumors.

The researchers are already investigating which gut bacteria produce metabolites from flavonoids. They foresee the possibility of developing probiotics that could help to prevent colorectal cancer.

“We have so many drugs to treat cancer, but almost none to prevent it. Therefore, demonstrating 2,4,6-THBA as a protective agent against colorectal cancer has immense potential health benefits.”

Jayarama Gunaje, Ph.D.

According to recent data, incidence rates for anal cancer have seen a steep growth in the United States, and mortality rates for this form of cancer have more than doubled.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is perhaps the most commonTrusted Sourcesexually transmitted infection.

Although it does not usually have a significant impact on long-term health, it can sometimes lead to more serious outcomes.

HPV is a top risk factor for cervical cancer, oral cancer, and anal cancer. However, one recent study found that more than 70% of adults in the United States remain unaware of these risks.

This fact is particularly worrying in light of even more recent revelations regarding the incidence and mortality rates of anal cancer in the U.S., as reported in a new study paper in the Journal of the National Cancer InstituteTrusted Source.

The study — from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston — analyzed trends in U.S. incidence rates for squamous cell carcinoma of the anus, usually caused by HPV, over a period of around 15 years.

“It is concerning that over 75% of U.S. adults do not know that HPV causes this preventable cancer. Educational campaigns are needed to increase awareness about the rising rates of anal cancer and importance of immunization,” says lead study author Ashish Deshmukh, Ph.D.

Recent findings ‘are very concerning’

The researchers accessed the U.S. Cancer Statistics dataset to analyze national trends in incidence and mortality rates of anal cancer in 2001–2015 and 2001–2016, respectively. Their findings were not encouraging.

During these periods, the team identified 68,809 cases of anal cancer and 12,111 deaths to it.

Their analysis of the data revealed that in 2001—2016, diagnoses of anal cancer and anal cancer mortality rates more than doubled for adults aged 60–69. In fact, mortality rates for this form of cancer increased by 3.1% per yer.

Incidence rates rose by nearly 3% per year. Together, these data suggest that anal cancer may be one of the most rapidly rising causes of cancer incidence and mortality.

When the investigators looked at the data split according to people’s race and ethnicity, as well as biological sex and age group, they noticed that the risk of anal cancer had increased fivefold among black males born from the mid-1980s onward, compared with those born around 1946. For white males and females born after 1960, the risk had doubled.

“Given the historical perception that anal cancer is rare, it is often neglected,” says Deshmukh.

“Our findings of the dramatic rise in incidence among black millennials and white [females], rising rates of distant stage disease, and increases in anal cancer mortality rates are very concerning.”

Ashish Deshmukh, Ph.D.

Following on from these findings, the researchers argue that doctors may want to start screening for anal cancer among patients they consider to be at risk.

“Screening for anal cancer is not currently performed, except in certain high risk groups, and the results of this study suggest that evaluation of broader screening efforts should be considered,” says senior study author Dr. Keith Sigel, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, NY.

by -
0 394

What is Thrombosis and circumstances that can lead to it?
Thrombosis simply means formation of clots within the blood vessels. Blood within the blood vessel is supposed to be in a ‘fluid-state.’ So, when blood clots within a vessel, its bad news. Clots can form within veins or arteries. Thrombi or clots occur in veins, when there is interplay between three factors, which include, hypercoagulability, sluggish or slow blood flow through the blood vessel and damage to the blood vessel. This is referred to as the ‘Virchow’s triad.’ Depending on their location, clots can cause blockage of blood flow leading to tissue death or they could get dislodged and carried to other parts of the body, where they cause serious harm.Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT is a serious condition that occurs, when clots form within the deep vessels of the body, most commonly, the leg or thigh, arms, but can occur anywhere in the body.

What are the first signs of DVT?
The most common site for DVT is the leg and symptoms include, pain (especially in the calf), swelling in one leg with warmth of the skin around the area affected and reddish or bluish discoloration of the affected area. In about half of the cases of DVT, there may be no symptoms and the diagnosis is made after a patient presents with features of pulmonary embolism (PE), which is a dreaded complication of DVT that is potentially fatal.

PE usually occurs, when a clot is dislodged and is carried to the lungs, where it blocks the pulmonary artery, causing reduced blood flow to the lungs. Patients often present with shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing up blood. It is a very serious condition that may lead to death, if prompt intervention is not taken.

Is it hereditary? 
DVT is not hereditary, but there are some hereditary or genetic conditions that increase the risk of developing DVT.

What are the risk factors for DVT?
DVT may occur in any condition that is associated with the factors that increase the risk of developing DVT in that person (Virchow’s triad). These conditions include, but are not limited to, prolonged periods of immobility e.g. after major surgeries, long distance travels, obesity, trauma, smoking, pregnancy, positive family history of DVT, combined oral contraceptive pills, hormone replacement therapy, cancer, etc.

In addition to the above, there are some inherited disorders that predispose to the development of DVT, especially when they occur in the presence to some of the conditions mentioned above. Such inherited disorders include, Factor V Leiden mutation, proteins C and S deficiency (these are naturally occurring anticoagulants) and Antithrombin III deficiency, among others.

Does it limit one’s mobility?
Depending on the severity and location of the thrombus, DVT may limit mobility, especially in the presence of severe pain and swelling.

Can it be treated?
Yes, DVT can be treated. Treatment of DVT is aimed at preventing the clot from growing bigger, preventing other clots from forming and preventing PE (Pulmonary embolism). Drugs called anticoagulants, also known as ‘blood thinners’ are used for treatment of DVT. These may be intravenous (unfractionated heparin, low molecular weight heparin) or oral (warfarin, dabigatran, rivaroxaban, etc.).

These drugs don’t break up existing clots, but prevent other clots from forming, while the body takes care of the already formed clot. In severe cases, drugs that directly break the clots may be used. These are called thrombolytic agents and are usually given intravenously or directly on the clot through a catheter. Patients on these drugs have to be monitored, as they may cause bleeding.

Another way of treating DVT includes the use of filters in large veins that can prevent the clot from travelling to the lungs. Sometimes, compression stockings are used, especially for post-DVT complications.

Measures should be taken to prevent DVT, especially in settings known to increase the risk of its development. For example, for people that are going to have major surgeries, there should be a plan for administration of prophylactic anticoagulants after the surgery and to also encourage early mobilisation. People travelling long distances, for instance by air, should ensure they move around the plane, do leg exercises and drink lots of fluid.

What are lifestyle habits to adopt to reduce risk of developing DVT?
By engaging in regular exercise, not smoking, keeping a healthy weight and diet. Females should seek advice from a doctor on the type of contraception to use. All doctors should be aware of procedures or interventions that could predispose to DVT and take appropriate preventive measures. Anyone that has symptoms suggestive of a DVT should immediately see a doctor.

by -
0 831

The National Breast Cancer Foundation defines breast cancer as a group of cancer cells (malignant tumour) that starts in the cells of the breast. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, impacting 2.1 million women each year, and also causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women. In 2018, it is estimated that 627,000 women died from breast cancer, which is approximately 15 percent of all cancer deaths among women. While breast cancer rates are higher among women in more developed regions, rates are increasing in nearly every region globally. Dr. M.Y.M Habeebu, Head of department of Radiotherapy, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), in this interview with GERALDINE AKUTU, shed more light on breast cancer, management and prevention.

What causes breast cancer? 
There are several risk factors for breast cancer. These can be subdivided into Inherent and Acquired. Under Inherent factors and genetic predisposition, you have for example, women with such familial factors as BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, early menarche and late menopause, while acquired risk includes excessive intake of alcohol, sedentary lifestyle and use of contraceptives, among others.

What are the warning signs? 
The list of warning signs for breast cancer are numerous, and it includes, breast lump, bloody discharge from the nipple, breast pain, discoloration of breast skin, lump in the armpit, swelling of the whole breast and dimpling of the breast skin, among others.

Who is likely to have breast cancer?
Breast cancer can affect both adult male and female. However, it is 99 times more likely to affect an adult female than male. Women with first-degree relatives with breast cancer have higher risk. Other factors are early onset of menstruation (menarche), late onset of menopause, nulliparity, multiple abortion, history of breast lumps, which may be benign and not breast feeding. The list of factors that predispose to breast cancer is exhaustive. Certain genetic predisposition like BRCA1 and 2 have also been linked to breast cancer.

What are the types and stages of breast cancer?
Breast cancer can be classified into two major categories. These are the ductal carcinoma and the lobular carcinoma. The ductal carcinoma is about four times more common, while the lobular carcinoma tends to affect the other breast more commonly after diagnosis.

What are the treatment options?
Treatment for breast cancer depends on the type and characteristics. Available treatment options include: surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. There are other minor treatment options like counseling.

Exactly what does radiation therapy do? How well does it work? 
Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is a form of therapy that involves the use of ionising radiation like X-rays and Gamma rays to burn off cancerous cells. Radiotherapy can be classified into teletherapy and brachytherapy. Radiotherapy is a very effective therapy, which is used either with curative intent, primarily to kill the microscopic malignant cells that cannot be removed by surgery, or reduce the size of inoperably large tumours, rendering the tumours smaller and operable.

Radiotherapy can also be with palliative intent, either to reduce pain, reduce symptoms of cancer or to stop bleeding. Radiotherapy is a very effective form of cancer treatment, and when properly used will spare the normal cells, while eliminating offending cancer cells.

How many radiation treatments are required for breast cancer?
A complete treatment for breast cancer will take about a month of daily treatment of Monday to Friday per week. The exact dose depends on the practice of the particular centre.

What can be done to reduce risks of breast cancer?
To reduce the risk of breast cancer, improved lifestyle to include regular exercises, abstaining from excessive alcohol intake, breastfeeding and genetic testing.

It is also very important to perform regular screening, which is in three categories. First is the Self-Breast Examination (BSE), Clinical breast examination and Breast Imaging (either Breast Ultrasound for women, who are less than 40 years old or Mammogram for women who are up to 40 years old and above).

Breast self-examination (BSE) is a very cheap but effective form of breast screening. With this screening done regularly, even the slightest change in the breast can be easily noted and reported to an expert. Early diagnosis gives the best chance for cure, if well managed.

by -
0 21

Women who eat diets high in fat and junk foods risk damaging the health of three future generations of their family, according to new research.

Their poor eating habits could cause obesity, diabetes and addiction to alcohol or drugs in their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren even if their offspring eat well, warn scientists.

Experiments found female mice who consumed a high-fat diet before, during and after pregnancy passed on metabolic problems and addictive tendencies through their bloodline.

Researchers at the University of Zurich said that the lasting effects of fatty diets of female mice suggest that women need to be warned that relying on fast food could not only endanger their lives but risks the health of generations to come.

The study was published in Translational Psychiatry.

Corresponding author, Dr. Daria Peleg-Raibstein, said: “Most studies so far have only looked at the second generation or followed the long-term effects of obesity and diabetes on the immediate offspring.

“This study is the first to look at the effects of maternal overeating up until the third generation in the context of addiction as well as obesity.”

It adds to a growing body of evidence that eating too many hamburgers, pizzas, chicken nuggets and chips alters genes – that are then inherited by offspring.

Experts say the phenomenon not only applies to mothers but fathers as well.

It didn’t matter that the original female mice that were fed high-fat diets never became obese themselves, nor that none of the following generations consumed a high-fat diet – the genetic damage was done.

Dr. Peleg-Raibstein said: “To combat the current obesity epidemic, it is important to identify the underlying mechanisms and to find ways for early prevention.

“The research could help improve health advice and education for pregnant and breastfeeding couples and give their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren a better chance of a healthy lifestyle.

“It may also provide a way of identifying risk factors for how people develop obesity and addiction and suggest early interventions for at-risk groups.”

In the study, published in Translational Psychiatry, female mice were fed either a high-fat or standard laboratory diet for nine weeks before mating and then during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Dr. Peleg-Rabstein and her colleagues then measured body weight, insulin sensitivity, metabolic rates and blood plasma levels such as insulin and cholesterol in the second and third generations.

In behavioral experiments, they investigated whether the mice chose a high-fat diet over a standard laboratory diet or an alcohol solution over water, and assessed their activity levels after exposure to amphetamines.

The children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the mice with high-fat diets were all more prone to addictive behaviors, though by the third generation the females’ predisposition for obesity seemed to normalize.

“Obesity can be something that is already programmed in the fetus, in utero,” said Dr. Peleg-Raibstein.

“There’s something that happens very early in the development of offspring that led to a kind of addictive-like brain and this led to over-eating.”

She says that the ‘hedonic’ behavior was not limited to food, but was also seen in the tendency of these animals pursue and consume alcohol and drugs. While in the mother’s womb, a fetus’s brain is developing, including ‘the connectivity between different regions,’ explained Dr. Peleg-Raibstein.

“That could all change in this time period and then this child or offspring has a higher risk of this kind of psychopathology and metabolic disorder.”

Though Dr. Peleg-Raibstein says her team’s research is ‘highly translational,’ meaning it has close correlations to humans, it’s too soon to say that exactly the same phenomena happen in women and their bloodlines.

“But studying effects of maternal over-eating is almost impossible to do in people because there are so many confounding factors, such as socio-economic background, the parents’ food preferences or their existing health conditions,” Dr Peleg-Raibstein.

“The mouse model allowed us to study the effects of a high-fat diet on subsequent generations without these factors.”

The Western diet is characterized by a high intake of fat, salt and sugar that can damage the heart, kidneys and waistline.

And while giving in to the occasional craving won’t be disastrous for future generations, keeping junk food to a minimum would be wise, Dr. Peleg-Raibstein says.

“We are exposed to more and more processed and junk food because it’s easier and we’re living stressful lives and this is the easiest, fastest way to get food and consume it, and it has addictive qualities to it. It’s tastier than eating a salad or something healthy,” she explains.

“It’s not that women aren’t allowed to eat anything that is not healthy, they just cannot consume highly processed foods that contain a high percentage of processed sugar, salt and fat every day for every meal.”

Previous research showed it was possible to reduce the burden of damaged cells, termed senescent cells, and extend lifespan and improve health, even when treatment was initiated late in life. They now have shown that treatment of aged mice with the natural product Fisetin, found in many fruits and vegetables, also has significant positive effects on health and lifespan.

Previous research published earlier this year in Nature Medicine involving University of Minnesota Medical School faculty Paul D. Robbins and Laura J. Niedernhofer and Mayo Clinic investigators James L. Kirkland and Tamara Tchkonia, showed it was possible to reduce the burden of damaged cells, termed senescent cells, and extend lifespan and improve health, even when treatment was initiated late in life.

As people age, they accumulate damaged cells. When the cells get to a certain level of damage they go through an aging process of their own, called cellular senescence. The cells also release inflammatory factors that tell the immune system to clear those damaged cells. A younger person’s immune system is healthy and is able to clear the damaged cells. But as people age, they aren’t cleared as effectively. Thus they begin to accumulate, cause low level inflammation and release enzymes that can degrade the tissue.

Robbins and fellow researchers found a natural product, called Fisetin, reduces the level of these damaged cells in the body. They found this by treating mice towards the end of life with this compound and see improvement in health and lifespan.

The paper, “Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan,” was recently published in EBioMedicine.”These results suggest that we can extend the period of health, termed healthspan, even towards the end of life,” said Robbins. “But there are still many questions to address, including the right dosage, for example.”

One question they can now answer, however, is why haven’t they done this before? There were always key limitations when it came to figuring out how a drug will act on different tissues, different cells in an aging body. Researchers didn’t have a way to identify if a treatment was actually attacking the particular cells that are senescent, until now.

Under the guidance of Edgar Arriaga, a professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, the team used mass cytometry, or CyTOF, technology and applied it for the first time in aging research, which is unique to the University of Minnesota.”In addition to showing that the drug works, this is the first demonstration that shows the effects of the drug on specific subsets of these damaged cells within a given tissue.” Robbins said.

Meanwhile, new research suggests women tend to live longer than men, and the key may be in the protective effects estrogen has on chromosomes. One of our best gauges of longevity is the length of telomeres, the set of genetic information at the tips of chromosomes. Women’s telomeres tend to be longer than men’s and to stay that way for longer, though exactly why telomere-length is associated with longer lifespans. Now, new research from the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that estrogen actually stokes the activity of an enzyme that helps to lengthen telomeres and may extend lifespans.

On average, women life is about five percent longer than men throughout the world, though the gender gap varies significantly from country to country. Experts have blamed this on all manner of environmental differences through the years: men are more likely to drink and smoke more and are at greater risk of developing heart disease.

One recent analysis suggested that that gap would close by 2032, as rates of smoking and drinking fall and level out for the two genders. But scientists have also observed that differences in life expectancy may be coded into the genetics of men and women. Also, studies on red and processed meat consumption with breast cancer risk have generated inconsistent results. An International Journal of Cancer analysis has now examined all published studies on the topic.

Comparing the highest to the lowest category in the 15 studies included in the analysis, processed meat consumption was associated with a nine per cent higher breast cancer risk. Investigators did not observe a significant association between red (unprocessed) meat intake and risk of breast cancer.

Two studies evaluated the association between red meat and breast cancer stratified by patients’ genotypes regarding N-acetyltransferase 2 acetylator. (Differences in activity of this enzyme are thought to modify the carcinogenic effect of meat.) The researchers did not observe any association among patients with either fast or slow N-acetyltransferase 2 acetylators.

“Previous works linked increased risk of some types of cancer to higher processed meat intake, and this recent meta-analysis suggests that processed meat consumption may also increase breast cancer risk. Therefore, cutting down processed meat seems beneficial for the prevention of breast cancer,” said lead author Dr. Maryam Farvid, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Meanwhile, a new study has warned crash-dieting leaves you with more belly fat and weaker muscles. A study performed on rats found limiting the number of calories per day not only increased the circumference of the rats’ waists but also thinned out their muscles. Even more troubling: a hormone known to increase blood pressure became hyperactive in the rats on the reduced-calorie diet.

The team, led by Georgetown University in Washington, DC, warn that the two combined – increased blood pressure and belly fat together – could pave they way to dangerous long-term health risks, such as diabetes and heart disease, for past crash dieters.For the study, the team split female rats into two groups – one where calories would be reduced and one where the diet would remain the same.

The reduced group had their calories slashed by 60 percent, the equivalent of reducing a diet in humans from 2,000 calories to 800 calories.After three days of being on the reduced-calorie diet, the rats’ weights were lowered, but the diet also caused cycling – similar to a human’s menstrual cycle – to stop.

In addition, a number of metabolic functions decreased including blood pressure, heart rate and kidney function. When the rats resumed a normal diet, cycling was restored and both heart rate and body weight increased.

But the researchers found that three months after the reduced-calorie diet, the rats had more belly fat than rats that ate a normal diet.“Even more troubling was the finding that angiotensin II, a hormone in the body, was more potent at increasing blood pressure in the rats that were on the reduced-calorie diet,” said Dr Aline de Souza of the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Angiotensin II binds to receptors and constricts blood vessels, thereby increasing blood pressure. Additionally, it stimulates the production of other hormones in the body that cause the body to retain salt and water.Dr. de Souza said that this increased blood pressure, when coupled with increased belly fat, could pose long-term health risks for people who have crash-dieted in the past.

Several previous studies have found that crash dieting can wreak havoc on the body both immediately and in the long run. Because your body is unsure of when you will feed it again, it conserves as much energy as possible so you burn fewer calories throughout the day. Additionally, although your body burns through fat stores first, it will then turn to lean tissue in the form of your muscles. A 2014 study at Maastricht University in the Netherlands put one group of subjects on a 500-calories-per-day diet and the other on a 1,250-calories-per-day diet.

At the end of the study period, the 500-calorie group lost 3.5 pounds of muscle mass, but the 1,250-calorie group lost just 1.3 pounds of muscle. Following a crash diet, the body then works to first rebuild fast stores before muscles, meaning any fat lost while dieting will come back first. The findings of the new study were presented Tuesday at the American Physiological Society’s annual Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolic Diseases: Sex-Specific Implications conference in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Women tend to live longer than men, and the key may be in the protective effects estrogen has on chromosomes, new research suggests. One of our best gauges of longevity is the length of telomeres, the set of genetic information at the tips of chromosomes. Women’s telomeres tend to be longer than men’s and to stay that way for longer, though exactly why telomere-length is associated with longer lifespans. Now, new research from the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that estrogen actually stokes the activity of an enzyme that helps to lengthen telomeres and may extend lifespans.

On average, women life is about five percent longer than men throughout the world, though the gender gap varies significantly from country to country. Experts have blamed this on all manner of environmental differences through the years: men are more likely to drink and smoke more and are at greater risk of developing heart disease.

One recent analysis suggested that that gap would close by 2032, as rates of smoking and drinking fall and level out for the two genders. But scientists have also observed that differences in life expectancy may be coded into the genetics of men and women. They have found a close link between the length of a person’s telomeres and the length of their life. Our DNA is encoded in 23 pairs of chromosomes and telomeres are the end caps of those chromosomes.

Telomeres are made of the same nucleic acid bases as the rest of human genetic information but their job is a protective one. They keep the precious genetic material in the rest of the chromosome from getting damaged, especially as cells replicate. Replication after replication over time starts to wear down telomemeres. When eventually they become too short to be functional, cells start malfunctioning, in part because their DNA is exposed, so to speak. Without telomeres, cells start to age and die, so these simple end-caps are vital to our health, and also good measures of our overall health and potential longevity.

It is not just time, but trauma that ages telomeres. Stress, health problems and poor habits all also wear on telomeres, and, in turn, on our life spans. American life expectancy fell for the second year in a row in 2018, and the gap between men and women’s life expectancies has grown to five years. Women now live to an average age of 81.1, while men only live to be 76.1 years old.

Their telomeres reflect this. And the new research from the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that the estrogen might be the secret. The female hormone that gives women their feminine appearances, menstrual cycles, and fertility, may also help to give them longer lives. Estrogen fuels some cancers, but has long been known to have protective effects against other diseases. Higher levels of the hormone are thought to help keep the cardiovascular system in good working order and promote healthier bones.

The new research, presented Wednesday at the North American Menopause Society annual meeting in San Diego, adds to the list of good things estrogen does the possibility of protecting telomeres. Lead study author, Dr. Elissa Epel, said: “Some experimental studies suggest estrogen exposure increases the activity of telomerase, the enzyme that can protect and elongate telomeres.” If this is in fact the case, maintaining estrogen levels may become more important to women as they reach menopause and their hormone levels fall.

by -
0 356

Drinking a daily glass of wine for health reasons may not be so healthy after all, suggests a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, United States (U.S.).

Analyzing data from more than 400,000 people ages 18 to 85, the researchers found that consuming one to two drinks four or more times per week — an amount deemed healthy by current guidelines — increases the risk of premature death by 20 percent, compared with drinking three times a week or less. The increased risk of death was consistent across age groups.

The study was published online October 3 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.”It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health,” said first author Sarah M. Hartz, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry. “But now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk.”

Although some earlier studies have linked light drinking to improvements in cardiovascular health, Hartz said the new study shows that those potential gains are outweighed by other risks. Her team evaluated heart disease risk and cancer risk and found that although in some cases, drinking alcohol may reduce risk of heart-related problems, daily drinking increased cancer risk and, as a result, mortality risk.

“Consuming one or two drinks about four days per week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits,” she said. “With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental.”

The new study comes on the heels of research published in The Lancet, which reviewed data from more than 700 studies around the world and concluded that the safest level of drinking is none. But that study looked at all types of drinking — from light alcohol consumption to binge drinking. The Washington University team analysis focused on light drinkers: those who consumed only one or two drinks a day.

The Washington University study focused on two large groups of people in the United States: 340,668 participants, ages 18-85, in the National Health Interview Survey, and another 93,653 individuals, ages 40-60 who were treated as outpatients at Veterans Administration clinics.

“A 20 percent increase in risk of death is a much bigger deal in older people who already are at higher risk,” Hartz explained. “Relatively few people die in their 20s, so a 20 percent increase in mortality is small but still significant. As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20 percent risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25.”

She predicted that as medicine becomes more personalized, some doctors may recommend that people with family histories of heart problems have a drink from time to time, but in families with a history of cancer, physicians may recommend abstinence.”If you tailor medical recommendations to an individual person, there may be situations under which you would think that occasional drinking potentially could be helpful,” she said. “But overall, I do think people should no longer consider a glass of wine a day to somehow be healthy.”

There are many reasons why drinking papaya juice has become more popular in recent years, although it has been a cultural staple in many areas of the world for centuries.

What is Papaya Juice?

Papaya juice is made from the fruit of the papaya tree, which is native to the tropical areas of the Americas, particularly Mesoamerica and the Caribbean. The fruit is actually a large berry and is roughly the same size as a large potato. The outside of the ripe fruit is an amber or orange color and you can tell when the fruit is ripe when the outer skin is slightly soft to the touch. The inside of the fruit has a cavity filled with dozens of black seeds in a clear pulp, but the orange flesh is the part of the fruit that is eaten, and also turned into juice.

Papaya juice benefits from a rich supply of vitamin and nutrients including vitamin C and folate in large quantities, followed by vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K, various B-family vitamins, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, and a number of phytochemicals, carotenoids and other antioxidant compounds. While many people choose to eat papaya fruit raw, you can get an even more concentrated boost of these nutrients if you choose to drink papaya juice. It is not the most widely available juice on the market, but it is also quite easy to make at home so you can enjoy its many health benefits.

Benefits of Papaya Juice

Some of the best benefits papaya juice offers are its ability to clear up skin inflammation, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, prevent chronic disease and cancer, improve nerve function, build strong bones, boost cardiovascular health, aid vision, and reduce inflammation.

Prevents Cancer

This exotic fruit has a wealth of beta-carotene, lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin and isothiocyanates, all of which seek out and neutralize free radicals in the body that can cause mutation and cancer. Some of these active ingredients also promote the production of tumor-suppressing proteins, making this juice both a preventative measure and a supplementary treatment.

Strengthens Nervous System

High levels of copper are required for our nervous system to effectively communicate with other parts of the body. Although copper is often overlooked, it is found in significant levels in papaya juice.

Promotes Strong Bones

Papaya juice contains nearly a dozen different minerals, and while some of them are in trace amounts, many of them contribute to the strength and durability of your bones. By increasing bone mineral density with a glass of this juice each morning, you can prevent or delay osteoporosis as you age.

Soothes Inflammation

Papain is a critical digestive enzyme found in this tropical fruit but it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can affect the rest of the body. Combined with vitamin C and other antioxidants in this fruit, it can soothe symptoms of arthritis, headache, gout, irritable bowel syndrome and high blood pressure, among others.

Reduces Blood Pressure

A more specific blood pressure-lowering compound in papaya juice is potassium. This legendary vasodilator will relieve stress and strain on your cardiovascular system by easing the tension in blood vessels and promoting better circulation.

Improves Heart Health

Not only is papaya juice rich in antioxidants, which can lower the oxidative stress in blood vessels and arteries, but it is also a rich source of folate, which can suppress homocysteine levels and keep your cholesterol levels down. In addition to vitamin C and other key minerals, this can protect the integrity of your arteries and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Boosts Immunity

A single papaya has more than 300% of the daily required vitamin C intake for an adult male, and while some of that vitamin C will be lost in the blending process, it still gives you an incredible immune system boost, particularly when supported by arange of antioxidants that prevent mutation and chronic disease. 

Improves Vision

Boasting high levels of beta-carotene, papaya is well known as a vision booster, capable of preventing the oxidative stress in the retina that causes macular degeneration, while also slowing down the development of cataracts.

How to Make Papaya Juice?

Papaya juice can be purchased at some grocery stores but papaya nectar is also a popular product, which offers more added sugar and less overall nutrients. So be careful about what variety you are purchasing. Making your own juice at home also guarantees that you know precisely what is being added to this healthy drink. Papaya has a very strong sweet flavor, so most recipes include other fruits or spices to make the drink more palatable.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh papaya, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 cup of water, filtered

Step 1 – Remove the skin from the papaya, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds.

Step 2 – Chop the papaya into chunks that can fit in your blender.

Step 3 – Add the papaya, pineapple, honey and water to the blender.

Step 4 – Blend thoroughly for 2-3 minutes until the beverage has a smooth consistency.

Step 5 – You can add more water or pineapple juice if the mixture is still too thick.

Step 6 – Add more honey for sweetness, if desired and blend for another 5-10 seconds.

Step 7 – Serve chilled and enjoy!

Note: Unlike many other fruit juices, papaya is not high in fibrous material when blended, so there is no need to use a sieve or filter to remove the pulp.

How Long Can You Store Papaya Juice?

Preparing this juice should always be done with ripe fruit, and the juice should be consumed relatively soon after preparing. Most experts recommend drinking any prepared juice or smoothie within 24-36 hours. Once fruit becomes exposed to oxygen, many varieties will begin to oxidize, causing a change in the color and the quality of the nutrients. A great way to slow down the oxidation of the juice is to add a few drops of lemon juice.

Papaya juice has a number of powerful enzymes that will actually begin to break down the components of other juice, if you blend them, so it is best not to store this juice for very long. Refrigerating your papaya juice for 12-24 hours in an airtight container should help it retain most of its nutrients and flavor.

Side Effects of Papaya Juice

While many people praise the benefits of papaya juice, there are some potential side effects that should be taken into consideration, such as skin discoloration, stomach problems, an increased risk of kidney stones and possible allergic reactions. In most cases, these side effects can be avoided by consuming this juice in moderation but for those with sensitive stomachs or allergies, consume this juice with caution.

  • Stomach Upset – One of the active ingredients in papaya, called papain, is excellent for gastrointestinal issues when consumed in normal amounts. However, if too much of this enzyme enters the system, it can cause bloating, cramping, diarrhea and other stomach problems.
  • Skin Discoloration – Papayas are packed with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps the body in many different ways, but if you go overboard with drinking papaya juice, it can turn your skin into an orange hue. This is harmless, and will normally go away within a day or so.
  • Kidney Problems – This tropical fruit is overflowing with vitamin C, which is excellent news for your immune system, but having too much vitamin C in your system can cause a rise in oxalate levels in the body, which can contribute to the development of kidney stones. If you already suffer from kidney issues, speak with a doctor before adding this juice to your daily diet.
  • Allergic Reactions – The digestive enzyme in papayas can also act as an allergen for certain people, causing shortness of breath, runny nose or itchy eyes but generally, the symptoms are mild. 1-2 glasses of papaya juice per day is more than enough to enjoy the benefits without suffering from the side effects.