Safe Upper Limit To Know About Vitamin D

Vitamin D, also called “sunshine” vitamin, has been getting a lot of attention lately. It’s triggered naturally by your body when you’re out in the sun, as well as being a natural part of a few foods, an addition to others (like milk) and available as a supplement. Healthy people often take vitamin D supplements, sure they’re doing themselves good, but it’s important to understand that more isn’t better, and you might want to have a talk with your own doctor before you continue

Evidence is growing that vitamin D plays a pivotal part in our physiology, and a deficiency of this vital nutrient has been associated with cardiovascular events and death. Earlier studies have shown that supplementation doesn’t decrease these risks, while other research has found only minor beneficial effects.

When it comes to vitamin D, most people think the higher the level the better, but according to Yosef Dror, Ph.D. from Hebrew University in Rehovot in Israel who led the study, the findings suggest it is beneficial to do only moderate supplementation to keep levels of vitamin D in a very narrow range of serum calcidiol. It appears that people don’t need a lot of vitamin D, and too much could be trouble.

For the first time experts have calculated the upper safe limit of vitamin D. Go over this limit and the risk for cardiovascular events or death goes up significantly.

The large, population based study included 422,000 Israeli adults aged 45 years or older who had blood tests to determine vitamin D levels. The study ran for 54 months, and over that time 905 of the subjects died of acute coronary syndrome and 3933 were found to have acute coronary syndrome. The safe range in terms of coronary morbidity of vitamin D in the blood was found to be between 20 to 36 ng/mL, levels that are either below or above this range impacted rates of death significantly.

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Safe Upper Limit To Know About Vitamin D Continued…

.
More than 60% of the study population had insufficient blood levels of vitamin D, half had levels that are considered severely low and were associated with a 1.5 times higher risk of acute coronary morbidity or mortality. This has been found by other studies as well. What’s more, 3% of the subjects had levels of vitamin D that were over the top limit, 36 ng/mL, and this was linked to a 1.13 times higher risk of coronary morbidity or death. Giving supplements to the whole population might just jeopardize those who are in the upper-normal range. Perhaps supplementing, but with strict monitoring of blood levels, should be the strategy behind public health efforts. Supplement doses should be tailored to people based on the levels of vitamin D they have in their bloodstream.

Some experts including William B. Grant, MD of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center say this research is “not convincing”. He raises the point that subjects who had higher vitamin D levels when the study started were most likely supplementing with vitamin D, in response to a deficiency, and this could have undermined their health and the results.

The work has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). The issue on measuring vitamin D at the population level is a subject of much interest and discussed most recently during the 2013 European Congress of Endocrinology.

To your good health,

Fish Oil May Help You To Lose Weight

Fascinating findings on fish oil. An extensive review by researchers at the University of Liverpool of data from over 180 research papers suggests that fish oils could minimize the effects junk food has on the brain. We all know junk foods taste delicious, but what’s less clear is what these tasty tidbits do once they are inside the body. The team looked at research from around the world to see if there was enough data available to suggest that omega-3s have an important part to play in helping weight loss by stimulating certain brain processes.

Studies over the last decade have shown that high fat diets could disrupt neurogenesis, a process of making new nerve cells. Diets loaded with omega-3s could prevent these bad effects by stimulating the part of the brain that controls feeding, learning and memory. The data revealed that fish oils don’t have a direct impact on this process, but are likely responsible for stalling the ability of refined sugars and saturated fats to inhibit the brain’s control on the intake of food. So they help you eat what you need, without going overboard.

According to project lead Dr. Lucy Pickavance, who is from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, we know that body weight is influenced by lots of things, some of the most important are the nutrients we take in. Too many refined sugars and saturated fats can bring on the added pounds as well as disrupt metabolism and impact your mental processing.

The changes can be seen in the structure of the brain, including its ability to create new nerve cells, which may link obesity to neurodegenerative disorders. Studies have shown that omega-3 fish oils can reverse, or perhaps prevent, these effects.

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Research papers examined as part of the review found that on high fat diets hormones that are secreted from the body tissues into circulation after eating are kept from passing into the brain because of more inflammatory molecules and a type of fat known as triglycerides. Molecules that stimulate nerve growth are reduced as well, though research in animals shows omega-3s restore normal function by getting in the way of the production of inflammatory molecules, suppressing triglycerides and returning these nerve growth factors to normal levels.

Fish oils don’t have a direct impact on weight loss, but they do seem to put the brakes on the bad effects of some of the processes that are triggered in the brain by a high fat diet. They appear to mimic the effects of a calorie restricted diet and may just be a positive more for anyone who wants to get healthy explains Dr. Pickavance.

You can get the benefits by eating fish like mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovy, sardines, herring, trout and menhaden. If these don’t appeal, you can take fish oil supplements that are made from these types of fish and usually also have small amounts of vitamin E to keep them from spoiling. Supplements can also be combined with calcium, iron or vitamins like A, B1, B2, B3, C and D.

The research on fish oil appears in the British Journal of Nutrition.

To your good health,

Job Stress Impacts On Your Health

You’ve heard job stress is tough on the body, but just how tough? We may be closer to an answer based on work by researchers in Spain who’ve studied how stress on the job affects cardiovascular health, publishing the results in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. For years emotional stress has been linked to the risk of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease because of unhealthy habits (smoking, bad diet or sedentary life style), this work looks at the relationship between stress on the job and the lipid profile or a diagnosis of dyslipidemia.

Some of the most common (understandable to be sure) causes of workplace stress include a fear of losing the job, having to pick up the slack and work more overtime, increased responsibilities in the wake of layoffs, pressure to meet rising expectations and be “on”, brilliant and productive all the time.

The research on job stress was conducted on more than 90,000 workers who were having periodic medical checkups. Subjects filled out a questionnaire on job stress and lifestyle variables. The serum lipid levels of the participants were also measured. Those workers who said that they’d been having trouble dealing with their job over the last year (8.7% of the total sample) had a higher risk of having dyslipidemia, a disorder that changes the levels of lipids and lipoproteins in your bloodstream. The condition can show itself by an increase in total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as a drop in HDL (good) cholesterol.

In the study, the workers who had job stress were more likely to have abnormally high levels of LDL cholesterol, low levels of HDL and positive atherogenic indicators (a potential artery blockage).

It may be that one of the things that explain the relationship between stress and cardiovascular risk is the changes in our lipid profiles. More research is needed to clarify the picture. In the meantime, if you have a stressful job, or find yourself having trouble, understand that some job stress is normal, too much can cause problems not just on the job, but also impact your physical and emotional health. Even though you might not be able to control everything in your workplace, you’re not powerless. What’s more, the better you are at handling your own stress, the better example you’ll offer to those around you. Stress is contagious, so is staying positive, upbeat and focused.

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If job stress is getting in the way of your ability to do your job, to handle
your personal life or has negative impacts on your health, it’s time to do something.

- Start by looking at how much you exercise and make regular exercise a part of your life – it’s a powerful stress reliever.

- Look at what you’re eating and make changes. Eating healthy can help you get through those super stressful workdays by keeping your blood sugar even, your energy up and your focus where it needs to be.

- Don’t drink and avoid nicotine because while these substances may seem to reduce anxiety and worry, but nicotine is a powerful stimulant that brings higher levels of anxiety, and too much alcohol can bring on anxiety as it wears off.

- Get enough sleep as being well rested keeps you from being vulnerable to more stress. It’s easier to keep your emotions in balance when you’re well rested and this is important when facing down workplace stress.

To your good health,

Memory Loss ? 10 Drugs To Avoid If You Can

There was a time when doctors dismissed forgetfulness and mental confusion as normal, a part of aging we could not avoid and had to accept. Today all that’s changed. Now science knows that losing your memory as you get older isn’t inevitable, in fact, the brain can grow new cells and reshape the connections between cells all through life.

But if aging isn’t to blame for forgetfulness, what is? There are many other things that can impact memory. Alcohol and drug abuse, being a heavy cigarette smoker, heart injuries, a stroke, being sleep deprived, being under severe stress, a vitamin B12 deficiency as well as conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and depression are all known to play a role in our ability to remember.

What you might not realize is that some very common drugs have also been known to impact memory.

1. Antianxiety medications like benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety disorders, agitation, delirium, muscle spasms and prevent seizures. They can treat insomnia and the anxiety that sometimes is part of depression. When it comes to memory, these drugs dampen activity in key areas of the brain, including the ones involved in the transmission of events from short term to long-term memory.

2. Cholesterol lowering drugs, statins, are used to bring down high cholesterol but may impact memory and other mental processes by reducing brain levels of cholesterol. In the brain, these lipids are key to the formation of connections between nerve cells. Interestingly, the brain has one quarter of the body’s total amount of cholesterol.

3. Antiseizure medications although used to treat seizures, have also been prescribed for other uses like nerve pain, bipolar disorder, mood disorders and even mania. They impact memory by dampening the flow of signals in the central nervous system of which the brain is apart. Any drug that depresses the central nervous system also causes loss of memory.

4. Tricyclic antidepressants are given to treat depression and often anxiety disorders as well as eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, chronic pain, smoking cessation and some hormone related problems like severe cramping or hot flashes. Still, about 35% of those who take these drugs report some degree of impairment to memory, about 54% report having trouble concentrating. TCAs are believed to cause the trouble with memory because they block the action of two of the brain’s key chemical messengers.

5. Narcotic painkillers (also known as opioid analgesics) are medications used to ease moderate to severe pain, like that caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs work by stopping the flow of pain signals in the central nervous system, and by blunting your emotional reaction to pain. Both these actions are managed by chemical messengers that are part of thinking, long term and short-term memory.

6. Parkinson’s medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, some pituitary tumors and restless leg syndrome can cause loss of memory. These medications activate the signaling paths for dopamine that are involved in many brain actions including learning and memory.

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Memory Loss ? 10 Drugs To Avoid If You Can Continued…

7. Beta-blockers for hypertension slow the heart rate and bring down blood pressure
so they’re a good choice for those with high blood pressure, congestive heart
failure and abnormal heart rhythms and are also used to treat angina (chest pain),
migraines, tremors and some types of glaucoma. They cause memory problems by
blocking the actions of key chemical messengers in the brain.

8. Sleeping medications are used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders, and are also given to patients with mild anxiety. Though they are molecularly different than the benzodiazepines, they work on many of the same pathways and chemical messengers, so they bring similar side effects in terms of memory loss. They can also sometimes trigger amnesia and dangerous/strange behaviors with no recall of the event when you wake.

9. Incontinence drugs are given to ease symptoms of overactive bladder and cut the feeling of urge incontinence, but these medications block the action of acetylcholine a chemical messenger that is involved in many functions. In the brain this substance inhibits activity in the memory and learning areas. The risk of memory loss is increased when these drugs are taken for a long time, or used with other drugs of the same type.

10. First generation antihistamines are used to relieve or even prevent allergy symptoms as well as those that come with a cold. Sometimes these drugs are used to stop motion sickness, nausea, vomiting and dizziness, as well as to treat anxiety or insomnia. These medications also inhibit the action of acetylcholine that in the brain acts in the area of memory and learning.

To your good health,

Link Between Depression And Being Specific

Being specific is an important part of setting a goal, and personal goals are a key part of human existence. Now new research appearing in the journal PLOS ONE finds that those who have clinical depression express personal goals and reasons for wanting these things in less specific, more vague terms than those who don’t have this disorder. Overgeneralization as it’s called has been examined a good deal in terms of depression in general, but what’s been less clear is if the phenomenon would carry over to personal goals.

We know that depression has long been linked to negative thoughts, but experts have also found that depression is associated with abstraction and overgeneralization as well, particularly when it comes to negative thoughts about oneself. Patients often overgeneralize single negative events by thinking about the meaning in global terms. So a minor traffic accident would have a depressed patient feeling that they are totally irresponsible, reckless and due for blame.

Lack of motivation is another key issue in clinical depression, so the research team sough to explore a depressed person’s thinking as it related to personal goals.

The study included 29 (13 women, 8 men) depressed subjects aged 19 to 74 years old who were recruited from northwest England, while the 24 non depressed subjects (17 women, 7 men) aged 18 to 81 years were also recruited from the same geographic area. The participants in the research were asked to take part in two distinct tasks. The first was to list very specific goals that were personally meaningful to them and were given prompts like; “In the future it will be important for me to… “.

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Link Between Depression And Vague Goals Continued…

In the second part of the research task, the subjects were asked to list why
they would (and would not) reach these goals. Compared to the non-depressed controls,
the goals of depressed subjects were less specific and more abstract – and their
reasons for not reaching these goals were also less specific. There was no big
difference in the number of goals or reasons, or the kinds of goals, it was the
specifics that were the difference.

What is worrisome is that less specifics in terms of goals and how to get there undermine motivation. Lack of specifics could be a result of impaired executive function, as adding the detail is that to called for more executive level resources than just listing things you’d like to do. Future work might look at the role of executive functioning and goals.

If you, or someone you love, is struggling under the weight of depression, do what you can to help. Intense feelings of sadness, losing interest in things you like, feelings of anger and trouble managing stress are all symptoms of this condition. Unlike in the past, depression is not seen as a sign of weak will or poor character, but rather a medical condition that can be treated and put in the past. But you have to take the first step, recognizing that you need help and going to get it.

To your good health,

Cancer: What Midlife Men Should Know

Important news for middle aged men. Even modest fitness improvements appear to bring down disease risk according to new research. As you’ve heard, fitness has a huge impact on your chances of getting serious diseases, including cancer. This latest research finds that men who were considered fit in their 40s, 50s and 60s were less apt to get lung or colorectal cancer decades later on in life.

According to Dr. Susan Lakoski, who is an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Vermont, other research has found that physical activity protects against certain cancers, but fewer studies have looked at the impact of fitness to see if fit men would get or die from cancer. This current study was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.

To conduct the work, Lakoski and her team examined over 17,000 men who had one cardiovascular fitness assessment as part of a preventive checkup at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas TX when they were 50 years old, on average. The subjects walked on a treadmill under a workout that involved changing speed and incline. The results were categorized into five different groups from lowest fitness to highest fitness levels. Later the team looked at Medicare claims to find the subjects who had gotten any of three common cancers, lung, colorectal or prostate.

The average follow up period of the study was 20 to 25 years, and during those years 2,332 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, 276 were found to have colorectal cancer and 277 developed lung cancer. Also 769 of the subject men died, 347 from cancer, 159 of heart disease, 263 from other causes. The men who were the most fit on that treadmill test, compared to the least fit, had a 68% lower risk of lung cancer, a 38% lower risk of colorectal cancer. The prostate cancer risk didn’t go down with improved fitness, but the risk of dying from it did.

As you might expect, the lower fitness levels raised the risk of cancer and heart disease, even if a man was not obese. The researchers also accounted for factors that can increase cancer risk, like smoking habits and age.

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Cancer: What Midlife Men Should Know Continued…

What’s more, even a little improvement in fitness level helped the body. You don’t have to be highly fit to get some benefit. Moving out of the least fit group was the most protective against both cancer and heart disease. What you’re after is a moderately intense level of activity for 150 minutes a week; vigorous workouts should be 75 minutes per week. A combination of the two intensities also works.

Experts have no explanation for the protective effect of fitness, and the current study suggests a link between fitness and cancer protection, not a cause and effect relationship. Many mechanisms are likely at work here – so until we know more it will be hard to say for certain that fitness and cancer protection are related.

In the meantime, if you’re middle aged and struggling to keep active, don’t give up. There’s never been a more important time in your life to try and be as fit as you can. Midlife fitness really can pay off, both for your brain and for your body. So it’s important that you make time for exercise, for yourself, in all the hustle and bustle of your daily routine. If you don’t, who will?

To your good health,

[DHB] High Cholesterol! What You Should Know…

If you have high cholesterol, you probably know what statin drugs are, you may even be taking one. These medications are widely prescribed drugs that bring down cholesterol and thus hold off heart disease in those who have diabetes, metabolic syndrome or are obese, however, researchers from the University of Missouri, MU for short, have found that the drug simvastatin (Zocor) hindered the benefits of exercise for adults who were either obese or overweight.

Statins have been in use for 15 to 20 years, so the impact on aerobic fitness and overall health are still unknown. Many cardiologists choose to prescribe statin drugs to all their patients over a set age, whether they have metabolic syndrome or not. The medications are also a choice for those with type 2 diabetes. Associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at MU, Dr. John Thyfault thinks that professionals should more closely examine the risks and benefits to patients of using these drugs given the new data on how they can affect exercise training.

Fitness has been shown to be the best predictor of longevity because it protects people from so many dangerous and debilitating chronic diseases. Daily physical activity is what’s needed to keep fit, and get in on those positive health outcomes. Thyfault believes that if statin drugs cause complications to improving or maintaining fitness levels, not all patients should be taking them.

Thyfault and his colleagues assessed the cardiorespiratory fitness of 37 previously sedentary obese people who were from 25 to 59 years old and had low fitness levels. The subjects all followed a 12-week exercise regimen on the MU campus, and 18 of the subjects were taking 40 mg of simvastatin each day. Those who only exercised upped their cardiorespiratory fitness by an average of 10% compared to the 1.5% increase of those who were taking statins and exercising.

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To Know If You Have High Cholesterol Continued…

Then there’s this – skeletal muscle mitochondrial content, where muscles turn
oxygen into energy, decreased by 4.5% for those taking statins, compared to a
13% increase in the exercise only group.

Keep in mind that your need for a statin drug also depends on the other risk factors that you have for heart disease. If your only risk factor for heart disease is high cholesterol numbers, then statin drugs may not be right for you. When prescribing, your doctor will consider family history of heart disease, if you live an inactive lifestyle, if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, if you’re not in good health, are overweight or obese, if you smoke or have narrowing or the arteries in your neck, arms or legs.

Future work in this area will need to see if lower doses of simvastatin (or other statin drugs) have the same affect on exercise outcomes. Also, starting a statin dug after exercising and thus being more fit might lessen the impact on fitness Thyfault suggests. In the meantime, if you have high cholesterol and are taking medications, don’t stop just because of this latest work. Your own medical situation is unique and you should discuss any concerns you have about these medications with your doctor.

To your good health,

Control Your Blood Pressure With Yoga

Could yoga, a mind-body practice that brings together stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation also be an effective, easy to learn treatment for high blood pressure? A study presented at the 28th Annual Scientific Meeting found that yoga can help bring down blood pressure readings. High blood pressure (the “silent” killer) is a part of life for an estimated one billion people the world over, with almost one in three U.S. adults having the disease. Normal blood pressure readings are considered below 120/80.

Those who have mild high blood pressure might do well to consider alternatives to lifelong treatments with medications, and yoga is one such option. There are many styles, forms and different intensities, and people can benefit from any one of these. When it comes to yoga and blood pressure, Dr. Debbie Cohen of the University of Pennsylvania and a team has evaluated the effect yoga alone or yoga and diet had on these numbers for a group of 58 subjects, both men and women aged 38 to 62 years old.

The study subjects were broken into three groups, one was a supervised diet/weight loss and walking program, a second was a yoga practice in a studio two to three times a week for 24 weeks, and the third was a combination program made up of yoga and dietary intervention. The team saw that those who did yoga in a studio two or three times a week experienced a statistically significant drop in blood pressure, better than the diet only group. The diet only group did see a drop in blood pressure, but it was smaller than those in the yoga group.

The yoga group saw an average drop of three points for both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings, while the diet only group saw a drop of one point in both readings. Surprisingly those who followed the combination plan didn’t see a greater drop in blood pressure reading compared to those who were part of the yoga only group.

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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

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Control Your Blood Pressure With Yoga Continued…

Beyond helping with blood pressure, yoga is also known to ease stress and improve
the function of your heart, probably due to the relaxation and mindfulness that’s
such a part of this practice. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine
(BUSM) have found that yoga might be superior to other forms of exercise because
of its positive impact on both mood and anxiety. It’s the first study to show
such an association.

Using other lifestyle modifications, with regular yoga practice, could have a very good effect on those who are coping with high blood pressure. It’s important to understand that blood pressure treatment needs to be specific to the patient, what works for some is not good for others. The best treatments take into account your body mass index and other lifestyle factors according to work from State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center.

One example of treatment challenges comes from obese patients who respond best to diuretic drugs as a treatment for hypertension, but these medications shouldn’t be used for the non obese who have high blood pressure. Calcium channel blockers, by contrast, work for either thin or fat people.

To your good health,

Seven Ways To Keep A Strong Healthy Back.

Slouching might be the “in” thing on red carpets, a popular posture for cool teens or overburdened older people, but it’s also one of many reasons that almost 80% of Americans will deal with spinal problems at some time in their lives. The thing is, most people can cure or prevent back pain. It’s never too early, or too late, to get started.

We don’t always think about the spine as a part of the central nervous system that also includes the brain and the millions of nerves (the peripheral nervous system) that send messages to the brain to control the functions of our bodies. If you have a spine that’s not healthy, this impacts the entire system and cause health issues like pain, numbness, weakness in the arms and legs, breathing problems, digestion issues and impaired control of the bowel and bladder.

Here are 7 things you can do to keep your spine healthy.

1. Stop slouching, just as mom always told you. Start paying attention to how you naturally stand and you’ll find yourself slouching more than you thought. Good posture is vital for a healthy spine and is considered keeping your ears aligned with your shoulders and the shoulder blades retracted. In the right alignment spinal stress is eased. Good posture has other health and wellness benefits according to researchers from San Francisco State University who found a link between poor posture and mood disorders like depression. Others believe poor posture could be associated with issues like weight gain, heartburn, migraines, anxiety and even respiratory issues.

2. Deep belly breathing can really help with posture. Do this by putting your hands on your abdomen and feeling your stomach area move as you inhale/exhale. Do this as often during the day as you can to improve your posture and the health of your spine itself. The deep belly breathing helps the spinal nerves move in the spinal channels, easing pain and providing a sense of genuine well being.

3. Targeted exercises can strengthen you at the core says the American College of Sports Medicine. Only 10 minutes a day is what you need to do these simple, spine-strengthening activities. Neck stretches can help with cervical spine; lift weights to improve posture and yoga poses open the chest and stretch the spine. Push-ups are another great exercise for the spine and muscles that help with posture.

4. What you eat impacts your spine, so follow a healthy, balanced diet that includes lean proteins, healthy fats and lots of fresh fruits and veggies. By doing this you have the best chance at a lean body with toned muscles able to support the spine. You can supplement your diet with multivitamins and B-complex and omega-3s as these have all been shown to help ease pain in the nerves of the spine.

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5. Spend some time in the sun each day. The sun can have a great effect on the body, spine included. Sunlight energizes the entire body, waking it up and encouraging you to stand tall. What’s more, sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, needed for strong, healthy bones and that includes the spinal column. You need 10 to 20 minutes in the sun each day to get enough.

6. Pay attention to your sleep as studies suggest that not getting enough sleep is linked to higher neck and back problems. You need to try and get between six and eight hours a night, and sleep in a position that lets the spin relax. The ideal sleeping position is on your side, as this puts the lowest amount of pressure on the spine.

7. Try meditation as this can restore alertness, help improve mood, increase productivity and even prolong your life. Of course there are also positive effects on your spine and posture as those who meditate tend to focus on the core of the body, automatically straightening their spines as part of the process.

To your good health,

Cancer Prevention : All The Latest Research

Cancer is a viciously clever disease; a disease that draws lots of research interest as medicine struggles to find ways to conquer it. At a briefing for journalists held in advance of the 49th annual The American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, highlights of some of the most promising studies have been released early.

First up is work on exercise and cancer that finds workouts might just be the newest weapon in the war against the disease. Recent research has found that being in good shape may be an effective way to prevent cancer, as well as improving survival rates for patients after they get that life-altering diagnosis.

The study on exercise was conducted out of the University of Vermont and involved more than 17,000 male subjects who were followed for almost 20 years. The men who exercised the most were 68% less likely to have lung cancer, 38% less likely to have colorectal cancers than the men who were the least active. For those who were diagnosed with either of these two cancers, exercising helped bring down the death risk by 14% for each increase in fitness level.

Next, there is research on immunotherapy, medications that train your own immune system to both recognize and kill cancer. It’s a promising idea that one of these studies previewed before the meeting found that a new antibody, MPDL3280A, was able to shrink tumors in 21% of the patients taking part in the study, all victims of melanoma, lung or kidney cancer. The drug was well tolerated at all doses, and adverse reactions were infrequent.

There are also results from a first phase clinical trial of MPDL3280A that sought to establish safety and dosing guidelines. Now that this drug has been found to be safe and well tolerated, the next step is a much larger trail with lots more people. The early results on MPDL3280A are promising, so watch for more news.

The second study on immunotherapy treatment found that the combination of two drugs, FDA approved Yervoy and yet to be FDA approved Nivolumab may help shrink the size of melanoma tumors. More than half the participants in the study saw their tumors shrink by more than 50% in the first 12 weeks of treatment. That’s just incredible. Until Yervoy got FDA approval two years ago, those who had melanoma had no treatment options.

After years of little success in immunotherapy, there are now two studies that show some promise according to the president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Dr. Sandra Swain. These two therapies are bringing very rapid, profound and lasting shrinkage of tumors, and this hasn’t been seen before with other immunotherapies that have been studied. Very exciting.

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Cancer Prevention : All The Latest Research Continued…

The final three studies discussed at the briefing focused on existing cancer
therapies in an effort to evaluate which were proving the most effective. A study
from Washington University in St. Louis found that a 25% stronger radiation dose
for a type of lung cancer known as non small cell lung cancer was in fact more
dangerous to the patient, and less effective in treating the cancer itself. Doctors
expected using a higher dose would mean better outcomes, so this was a surprise.

Another study evaluated the effectiveness of post surgery chemotherapy and radiation for those who had seminoma, a common form of testicular cancer, versus follow up monitoring. This work involved 1,800 patients who had stage 1 seminoma living in Denmark where the protocol calls for regular visits, CT scans, X-rays and blood testing, not chemo or radiation as used in may U.S. treatment centers. What’s interesting is that more than 80% of the patients didn’t relapse after surgery, which eliminated the need for chemo or radiation. In those who did relapse, follow up treatment brought a 99.5% survival rate. Watching is safe.

The final study examined if patients who had a certain form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma should undergo regular CT scans to watch for relapse. The research saw that most relapses weren’t detected by the scans, but by patient complains of symptoms, a routine physical or blood testing. So doctors can spare patients the cost and extra radiation of follow up CT scans.

To your good health,