Drinking coffee daily may improve survival in colon cancer patients

imagesccRegular consumption of caffeinated coffee may help prevent the return of colon cancer after treatment and improve the chances of a cure, according to a new, large study from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that reported this striking association for the first time.
The patients, all of them treated with surgery and chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer, had the greatest benefit from consuming four or more cups of coffee a day (about 460 milligrams of caffeine), according to the study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. These patients were 42 percent less likely to have their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers, and were 33 percent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause.
Two to three cups of coffee daily had a more modest benefit, while little protection was associated with one cup or less, reported the researchers, led by Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber. First author is Brendan J. Guercio, MD, also of Dana-Farber.
The study included nearly 1,000 patients who filled out dietary pattern questionnaires early in the study, during chemotherapy and again about a year later. This

High-salt diet could protect against invading microbes

indexdddMost people consume more salt than they need and therefore have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the two leading causes of death worldwide. But a study published by Cell Press March 3rd in Cell Metabolism reveals that dietary salt could have a biological advantage: defending the body against invading microbes. A high-salt diet increased sodium accumulation in the skin of mice, thereby boosting their immune response to a skin-infecting parasite. The findings suggest that dietary salt could have therapeutic potential to promote host defense against microbial infections.
“Up to now, salt has been regarded as a detrimental dietary factor; it is clearly known to be detrimental for cardiovascular diseases, and recent studies have implicated a role in worsening autoimmune diseases,” says first study author Jonathan Jantsch, a microbiologist at Univ Regensburg and Univ Regensburg. “Our current study challenges this one-sided view and suggests that increasing salt accumulation at the site of infections might be an ancient strategy to ward off infections, long before antibiotics were invented.”
Large amounts of sodium stored in the skin, especially in older individuals, can lead to high blood pressure

Why does running make us happy?

indexzzThe joy of running. That sense of well-being, freedom and extra energy that runners often experience is not just a matter of endorphins. A study at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) shows that the “runner’s high” phenomenon is also caused by dopamine, an important neurotransmitter for motivation.
“We discovered that the rewarding effects of endurance activity are modulated by leptin, a key hormone in metabolism. Leptin inhibits physical activity through dopamine neurons in the brain,” said Stephanie Fulton, a researcher at the CRCHUM and lead author of an article published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Secreted by adipose tissue, leptin helps control the feeling of satiety. This hormone also influences physical activity. “The more fat there is, the more leptin there is and and the less we feel like eating. Our findings now show that this hormone also plays a vital role in motivation to run, which may be related to searching for food,” explained Stephanie Fulton, who is also a professor at Université de Montréal’s Department of Nutrition.
Hormone signals that modulate feeding and exercise are in fact believed to be closely linked. Endurance running

Woman’s health, education and marital status pre-pregnancy affect birth weight of her daughters, granddaughters

A woman’s weight at birth, education level and marital status pre-pregnancy can have repercussions for two generations, putting her children and grandchildren at higher risk of low birth weight, according to a new study by Jennifer B. Kane, assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. The findings are the first to tie social and biological factors together using population data in determining causes for low birth weight.
“We know that low-birth-weight babies are more susceptible to later physical and cognitive difficulties and that these difficulties can sharpen the social divide in the U.S. But knowing more about what causes low birth weight can help alleviate the intergenerational perpetuation of social inequality through poor infant health,” said Kane, formerly a postdoctoral scholar at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where the research was conducted. She joined UCI in July.
Published in the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the study is based on both the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. The former yielded birth weights and pre-pregnancy physical and social health data on female respondents as well as

Health risks of saturated fats aggravated by immune response

High levels of saturated fat in the blood could make an individual more prone to inflammation and tissue damage, a new study suggests.
Received wisdom on the health risks of eating saturated fat has been called into question recently. This new research supports the view that excessive consumption of saturated fat can be bad for us.
Scientists from Imperial College London studied mice that have an unusually high level of saturated fat circulating in their blood. The research, published in Cell Reports shows that the presence of saturated fats resulted in monocytes — a type of white blood cell — migrating into the tissues of vital organs.
The researchers believe that the newly arrived monocytes could worsen tissue damage because they may exacerbate ongoing or underlying inflammation, but this aspect is still under study.
Lead researcher Dr Kevin Woollard said: “The mice we studied were treated with a drug that caused them to accumulate extremely high levels of fat in their blood. Although it is unusual, humans do sometimes have measurements approaching those levels, either from an inherited condition, or through eating fatty foods.
“Modern lifestyles seem to go hand-in-hand with high levels of fat in the blood.

The first steps of sun protection: How to keep your baby safe

From childproofing to car seats, parents take all sorts of measures to protect their babies. According to new research presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s 2015 Summer Academy Meeting in New York, however, some parents are not taking the proper steps to protect their infants from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
The following nformation was provided by board-certified dermatologist Keyvan Nouri, MD, FAAD, chief of dermatology services, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center/University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, and Louis C. Skinner Jr., MD, Endowed Chair in Dermatology and Richard Helfman Professor of Dermatologic Surgery, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.
UV radiation is the most preventable risk factor for all types of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Unprotected UV exposure can cause sunburn, and sun damage in childhood can lead to skin cancer and early skin aging later in life, so it’s important for parents to protect their children from the sun’s harmful rays, Dr. Nouri says.
The Academy recommends keeping infants younger than 6 months out of the sun as much as possible. Keeping babies in the shade is the best way to
shield them from the sun; parents

Using healthy skin to identify cancer’s origins: Cancer-linked DNA changes in 25 per cent of normal skin cells

Normal skin contains an unexpectedly high number of cancer-associated mutations, according to a study published in Science. The findings illuminate the first steps cells take towards becoming a cancer and demonstrate the value of analyzing normal tissue to learn more about the origins of the disease.
The study revealed that each cell in normal facial skin carries many thousands of mutations, mainly caused by exposure to sunlight. In fact, around 25 per cent of skin cells in samples from people without cancer were found to carry at least one cancer-associated mutation. Ultra-deep genetic sequencing was performed on 234 biopsies taken from four patients revealing 3,760 mutations, with more than 100 cancer-associated mutations per square centimetre of skin. Cells with these mutations formed clusters of cells, known as clones, that had grown to be around twice the size of normal clones, but none of them had become cancerous.
“With this technology, we can now peer into the first steps a cell takes to become cancerous,” explains Dr Peter Campbell, a corresponding author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “These first cancer-associated mutations give cells a boost compared to their normal neighbours. They have a burst of growth that increases