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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Despite Skin Cancer Warnings, Tan Still Hot in Study

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- The Jersey Shore uber-tan aesthetic may not be for everyone, but it seems that even for non-Guidettes, having a tan makes them sexier, according to a study from Emory University.

Researchers used the popular attractiveness-rating website to gauge whether "hotness" scores would change when the same woman was shown with her natural complexion and then with a tan.

Using Photoshop, 45 photos of women aged 21-35 were doctored to look tan.  The original photos and the doctored versions were posted to the site at different times.  The researchers found that the darker version was twice as likely to be rated as more attractive.

Of course, tan enthusiasts would say that you don't need science to figure that one out.

"When I look in the mirror I feel more attractive when I'm darker, like my face is prettier.  It's 100 percent a confidence boost for me," says Lauren Kafka, 31, of Miami, who uses a tanning bed three times a week to keep up her golden glow.

Kafka is aware of the skin cancer risks associated with her tanning bed habit, but she says the risk is worth it.  "I wouldn't want a relative or someone I cared about to do it, but I'm willing to take the risk for myself," she says.

Campaigns by health organizations like the American Academy of Dermatology to warn the public about the skin cancer risks of tanning have had limited success.  About 28 million Americans still frequent tanning booths each year and tanning-bed use among teens has only been growing.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Cooking with...Marijuana? Cookbook a Sign of Changing Attitudes

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Like so many other cookbook authors, Sandy Moriarty included recipes for a variety of foods, including desserts, appetizers and entrees.

But Moriarty's recipes include what she calls a special "magic ingredient."

"I'm known for my very potent cannabutter," said the 58-year-old Moriarty. Cannabutter, she explained, is butter mixed with marijuana and is used as the main ingredient in many of the recipes in her Aunt Sandy's Medical Marijuana Cookbook.

Moriarty's interest in medical marijuana developed as a result of her own medical condition. She has a non-growing tumor in her skull and because of her high blood pressure, she suffers periodically from excruciating headaches.

"The cannabis complements my blood pressure medication that keeps my pressure down, and I don't get headaches," said Moriarty.

She is author of one of the latest cookbooks to feature marijuana as an ingredient, and it's also just one of what experts say is a rapidly expanding marijuana industry featuring a wide range of marijuana-inspired products, including drinks, clothing, medical marijuana formulations and others. The booming business of pot, the experts say, is a natural outgrowth of the huge push to legalize medical marijuana.

"The medical marijuana movement has been critical in terms of giving some credibility to marijuana that isn't about stoners or recreational use," said Wendy Chapkis, professor of sociology at the University of Southern Maine in Portland and a co-author of the book Dying to Get High. "It's also mainstreamed it in some way."

The American Medical Association has urged the federal government to review marijuana's status as a Schedule 1 drug -- a drug considered to be highly addictive with no medical use -- to enable more clinical trials that can better assess the efficacy of medicinal marijuana.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 14 states, and experts believe because the medical marijuana movement is catching on, business is booming for the pot industry. The proof, they say, is books like Moriarty's.

But despite the opinion of much of the medical community and the fact that medical marijuana use is legal in 14 states, so far the federal government does not support its use. The Food and Drug Administration took the stance several years ago that marijuana has no medicinal use or value, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) does not support legalizing marijuana for any reason, citing its addictive nature and numerous adverse health effects associated with use of the drug.

Instead, the DEA supports the use of Marinol, a synthetic drug containing THC that's been available since the 1980s. It also supports research into the development of similar synthetic drugs.

"The Food and Drug Administration has determined that Marinol is safe, effective and has therapeutic benefits for use as a treatment for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, and as a treatment of weight loss in patients with AIDS," the DEA says on its website. "However, it does not produce the harmful health effects associated with smoking marijuana."

While the debate continues, people like Sandy Moriarty have been able to take advantage of the increasingly high profile of medical marijuana. Although she's been cooking with marijuana for decades and has been a staunch supporter of the movement to legalize medical marijuana, she's surprised she's been able to meet with commercial success.

"It tells me there's more of an underlying curiosity and interest in it than I thought," said Moriarty. "I thought it was a very small group of people who were fighting a no-win situation."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


New Weight-Loss Drug Wins Initial Approval

File Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – An FDA panel has recommended approval of the investigative weight-loss drug Contrave, even after two such drugs up for approval in 2010 were rejected.

The panel voted 13-to-7 to give Contrave the green light, despite blood pressure risks associated with the drug.

The FDA has until January to decide whether to approve the drug. Two other weight-loss medications, Qnexa and Lorqess, were rejected this year.

Contrave was said to have the least side effects of the three new agents, but also appeared to be the least effective in terms of weight loss.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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