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Thursday
Dec092010

Study: Estrogen-Only Therapy May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO) -- For years, doctors have warned women that taking hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.  Now, a new study suggesting that a particular form of HRT may actually lower the risk of breast cancer in some women is likely to re-ignite the controversy surrounding this link.

The study, presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, uses previously collected data to suggest that menopausal women with no strong family history of breast cancer who are on estrogen replacement therapy may be at a 30-40 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer.

Lead researcher Dr. Joseph Ragaz, medical oncologist and clinical professor at the School of Population and Public Health at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, acknowledged the study results fly in the face of conventional thinking about findings contradicting a widely held belief about HRT.

"Our analysis suggests that, contrary to previous thinking, there is substantial value in bringing HRT with estrogen alone to [treatment] guidelines," said Ragaz in a press release.  "The data show that for selected women it is not only safe, but potentially beneficial for breast cancer, as well as for many other aspects of women's health."

Ragaz and his colleagues re-analyzed data from hormone replacement therapy trials of the Women's Health Initiative, a national health study aimed at developing strategies for preventing heart disease, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and bone fractures in postmenopausal women.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

Surgeon General Says No Exposure to Tobacco Smoke Is Safe

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke, according to the latest surgeon general's report released Thursday.

The report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease, finds that even an occasional cigarette, inhaled directly or secondhand, "causes immediate damage to your body that can lead to serious illness or death."

Inhaling tobacco smoke exposes you to over 7,000 chemicals and compounds, hundreds of which are toxic and at least 70 of which cause cancer.  Regardless of whether a cigarette is filtered, low-tar or light, they still carry the same disease risk as regular ones.

Nearly half a million Americans die each year from exposure to tobacco smoke.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

Nutmeg Treated as Drug for Hallucinogenic High

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MIAMI) -- A sprinkle of nutmeg in eggnog or a pinch in apple pie can add the perfect punch to a holiday dessert.  But the spice has also made headlines as an unconventional way of getting high -- it's called a nutmeg high.

Nutmeg contains myristicin, a natural compound that has mind-altering effects if ingested in large doses.  The buzz can last one-to-two days and can be hallucinogenic, much like LSD.

According to reports this week from the ABC affiliate WPLG in Miami, the Florida Poison Information Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital has recently seen a small spike in phone calls reporting people who snorted, smoked or ate the spice.

About 30 minutes to an hour after taking large doses of nutmeg, people usually have severe gastrointestinal reactions, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  But that's just the beginning.  Hours into the high, people can suffer from heart and nerve problems, as well.

Visual, auditory or sensory hallucinations do not set in until hours after ingesting the spice, so there is also the worry that someone could overdose, thinking they haven't taken enough to feel anything.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

Radiation Could Prevent Invasive Breast Cancer

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(NEW YORK) – Radiation after surgery could reduce the risk of developing invasive cancer in people with localized breast cancer, reports Healthday News.

The new study also suggests that the radiation treatment in combination with the drug Tamoxifen could help stop localized cancer from recurring.

Researchers studied patients with DCIS, the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer, and found that the risk of invasive cancer developing in the same breast was reduced by 70 percent with the addition of radiation.

The addition of Tamoxifen lowered the chance of non-invasive recurrent DCIS in the same breast by 60 percent.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

Second-Hand Smoke Could Lead to Hearing Loss

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(ATLANTA) – A new study has revealed another side effect to breathing second-hand smoke, reports Science Daily.

According to research published in Tobacco Control, non-smokers who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are at an increased risk of levels of hearing loss.

The data, compiled from yearly household surveys and physical examinations of a sample of the U.S. population, determined that former smokers and passive smokers were both associated with impaired hearing. Previous studies have already determined that smokers are at a higher risk of impaired hearing.

About nine percent of those who have never smoked but have been exposed to second-hand smoke had a low- to mid-frequency of hearing loss. Just fewer than 27 percent had a high frequency of hearing loss.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

New Test Could Detect Hidden Heart Disease

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) – Doctors may soon be able to detect heart disease in patients who show no symptoms, according to the Press Association.
 
The new blood test is designed to read levels of a protein called cardiac troponin T (cTnT) that previously were too low to be detected.

Researchers at the University of Texas used the test to screen 3,500 individuals, and obtained a positive reading from a quarter of those screened. Those with a detectable level of the protein are seven times more likely to die from heart disease.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

Botox Could Lead to Muscle Loss

Photo Courtesy - Mark Sullivan/ WireImage(CALGARY, Canada) – A new study has revealed possible long-term consequences of using Botox, reports the New York Daily News.
 
Researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada injected rabbits with the substance and found that it could spread through the body.
 
"We were surprised by the degree of muscle loss and atrophy in the limb that was not injected with the Botulinum toxin," said lead study author Rafael Fortuna. "I think it’s fair to say that the paper raises some important questions about the long-term therapeutic use of Botox, especially with children and adolescents."

The long-term effects of Botox have not been evaluated by the FDA, although it was approved for cosmetic use in 2002.

Approximatly 2.5 million Americans used Botox injections last year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

Experimental New Heart Transplant Keeps Donor Hearts Pumping

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An experimental new heart transplant procedure could change the way transplants are performed in the U.S. Instead of stopping a donor heart and putting it on ice before transplanting, doctors can now keep a human heart beating from the moment it's removed from a donor's body all the way until installation in its new recipient.

Since the first heart transplant 42 years ago, the donor organ was always stopped and kept on ice during transport and surgery. Doctors had to thaw it out first, waiting one hour for every hour that the heart was frozen.

"The normal preservation time, or time that we allow the heart to be outside of the human body, is usually six hours. Maybe the upper limit is close to eight hours," said Dr. Abbas Ardehali, a cardiac transplant surgeon with UCLA. "With this, it can go on. The upper limit is unknown, maybe up to 24 hours."

The experimental transplantation technique could mean that potential recipients won't be limited to people who happen to live nearby a donor organ.

In addition, the procedure could allow surgeons to determine right away whether the heart is viable, like a test drive outside of a body. With a frozen heart, surgeons say, it's always a guessing game, until it's too late to put a patient's old heart back.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

Elizabeth Edwards' Death: Children Face Piercing Pain

Photo Courtesy - Alex Wong/Getty Images(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- When Elizabeth Edwards died of breast cancer Tuesday, she left behind two young children -- Emma, 12, and Jack, 10 -- who must now carry on without their mother.

Learning her disease was terminal, Edwards said she didn't fear death but was "very sad" for her youngest children, whose mother might never guide them through maturity.

"I'd like to be seeing them off in life, not as a distant mother playing Legos on the floor," she said last June on Larry King Live.

Child development experts say how well the Edwards children cope depends to a large extent on the support they receive from surviving loved ones in the years ahead.

Their adjustment, however, may be complicated by their parents' recent separation and the scandal over their father's affair and three-year-old daughter he had with Rielle Hunter.

The death of a parent can be devastating for children, who, as adults, continue to describe the loss as a "piercing" indelible pain. Pop star Madonna, whose mother died of breast cancer when the performer was six, said her mother's death was "like having your heart ripped out of your chest. Like a limb missing. The ultimate abandonment."

Actresses Rosie O'Donnell and Jane Fonda, Prince William, Beau and Hunter Biden and scores of other high-profile adults have described the loneliness and anguish they felt at the early loss.

Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis, whose mother died when he was nine, wrote, "With my mother's death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable, disappeared from my life. There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of Joy; but no more of the old security. It was sea and islands now; the great continent had sunk like Atlantis."

One out of every four adults diagnosed with cancer in the United States has children younger than 18, according to the National Cancer Institute, and an estimated three million children live with a surviving parent after the death of their mother or father, a number Dr. Paula Rauch, a pediatric psychiatrist and expert in families coping with terminal illness, believes is underestimated.

"It's amazing how resilient children are when they are supported," she said. "While children who lose a parent early in life have some increased risk of anxiety and symptoms of depression, the majority of children who are well-supported will cope well."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec082010

Scientists Find a New Reason for Qutting Smoking

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) -- Cigarette smokers frequently argue that the reason they don't stop smoking is that quitting would make life more depressing. But new research indicates the opposite is true. Persons who quit in a clinical trial actually showed lower signs of depression for weeks and months after giving it up.

Smokers who quit were happiest during periods of abstention, and if they began smoking again their moods turned darker, according to psychologist Christopher Kahler of Brown University, lead author of a study in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Participants in the study who never quit smoking were the most depressed of all. Those who quit entirely were the least depressed at the beginning of the months-long study and they remained the happiest throughout the project.

"We're still puzzling about why that's the case," Kahler said. "A sense of personal triumph makes a lot of sense. The people in this study were really motivated to succeed. And when you succeed at something that's important to you, you naturally feel better."

But he concedes that many ex-smokers complain that "they felt miserable for weeks" after quitting, and many say they resumed smoking because they felt depressed or anxious or irritated about something in their lives. Yet in this study, the less people smoked, the less they suffered from depression.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio