Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cancer survivors, doctors in Somerville blast fed's mammogram recommendation

SOMERVILLE -- Cancer survivors and doctors in Somerville today blasted last week’s federal recommendation that women not get mammograms before age 50, saying the panel that made the recommendation were putting numbers before people’s lives.

Last week the federally-appointed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that women under age 50 should not receive mammograms, contending the risks involved with the procedure outweigh benefits before that time.

The recommendations have generated controversy since they were made, and U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.), cancer survivors and doctors joined the chorus of critics today.

“None of the people that wrote that report have ever taken care of a patient,” said Dr. Angela Landfranchi, chair of the Breast Cancer Institute at the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center. “They made a calculation that one life saved out of 1,900 isn’t worth it.”

Radiologist Dr. Gail Eliot, left, looks at a digital mammogram while talking to transcriber Pat Giannini at Chilton Memorial Hospital's Comprehensive Breast Center.

The task force report stated that one out of every approximately 1,900 women under 50 who receive a mammogram learn they have cancer, pre-cancerous growth or receive a false positive test. The report said anxiety caused by a large number of false positive tests and more invasive treatments that often follow, such as biopsies, outweigh the rewards of getting mammograms as a younger woman.

Whitehouse Station resident Kathy Petrozelli, 49, was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer last year.

“I’d hate to think what might have happened if I hadn’t gotten a routine mammogram at 48 and instead had waited until I was 50,” Petrozelli said.

Deborah Belfatto, executive director and co-founder of breast cancer awareness group Susan G. Komen for the Cure, said if the recommendations issued last week were to become conventional wisdom “all the work Komen for the Cure has done would go up in smoke.”

Lance, whose mother died of breast cancer, said he hopes Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will reject the recommendations because “a tremendous hole is left in any family who loses a member to breast cancer.”

Read more:http://www.nj.com/news/local/index.ssf/2009/11/cancer_survivors_doctors_in_so.html

TiVo heading to the UK - Will take on Sky Plus with new service in 2010

TiVo, the US equivalent of Sky Plus is coming to the UK following a deal with Virgin Media announced on Tuesday.

The news, broken during the American companies earnings results will see a "long-term, strategic partnership with Virgin Media," says Tom Rogers, President and CEO of TiVo.

According to the two companies the deal will involve TiVo developing a converged television and broadband interactive interface to power Virgin Media's next generation, high definition set top boxes.

"TiVo will offer Virgin Media's nearly four million UK customers TiVo's advanced television software and user interface on both its traditional and DVR set-top boxes, including TiVo's broadband to the television capabilities," confirmed Rogers.

Virgin Media currently anticipates its first TiVo co-branded product in 2010.

Read more : http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/29790/tivo-signs-deal-virgin-media

Friday, November 20, 2009

Daily portion of chocolate will keep wrinkles at bay

It sounds too good to be true, but scientists have found that nibbling a bit of chocolate each day can prevent signs of ageing caused by the sun and may even lower the risk of skin cancer.

However, bear in mind that these benefits come only from dark chocolate high in flavanols.

These are the antioxidants - compounds known to prevent cell damage - found naturally in cocoa beans, the main ingredient in chocolate. But most chocolate goods on sale in the UK have had their antioxidant capacity greatly reduced during processing.

Previous studies have found flavanol-rich dark chocolate can lower the risk of blood clots, protect against bowel cancer and even help prevent premature births.

Researchers found that the skin of volunteers who ate dark chocolate high in flavanols was more resistant to the damaging effects of UV light than those who didn't. Their report said: ‘High-flavanol chocolate protects the skin from harmful UV effects. The main mechanism is likely to be the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of cocoa flavanols. But conventional chocolate had no such effect.'

Dr Nick Lowe, a spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologists, said the study showed ‘very interesting and important findings'.

Source: http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/health/429534/daily-portion-of-chocolate-will-keep-wrinkles-at-bay.html

Hepatitis B hits men harder than women due to an abnormal protein

Researchers are trying to explain the long-standing mystery of why the hepatitis B virus (HBV) sexually discriminates -- hitting men harder than women.

The study has been published in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication.

Shuhan Sun, Fang Wang and colleagues note that chronic hepatitis B seems to progress and cause liver damage faster in men, with men the main victims of the virus's most serious complications -- cirrhosis and liver cancer. Men infected with HBV also are 6 times more likely than women to develop a chronic form of the disease.

About 400 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis B, including a form that is highly infectious and can be transmitted through blood, saliva, and sexual contact.

In experiments with laboratory mice, the scientists found abnormal forms of apolipoprotein A-I (Apo A-I), a protein involved in fighting inflammation, in the livers of infected male mice but not infected females. They then identified abnormal forms of these Apo A-I proteins in blood of men infected with HBV, but not in women. In addition to explaining the gender differences, the proteins may provide important markers for tracking the progression of hepatitis B, the scientists suggest.

Source: http://www.healthnewstrack.com/health-news-1904.html

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two more deaths linked to H1N1

The Department of Health has announced two more deaths likely caused by the H1N1 flu .

Low-carb diets can put you in the grumpy zone

DIETS low in carbohydrates that limit intake of foods like bread, pasta and potatoes produce good weight loss, but make people grumpy, a study has found.

The study compared a low-carbohydrate diet that was high in fat and protein with a low-fat diet rich in carbs. It found that while they produced similar weight loss, those eating more carbohydrates were much happier.

Scientists from the CSIRO, South Australia University and Flinders University tracked 106 overweight people on the two diets over the course of a year. Participants were weighed and filled out questionnaires about their emotional state at weeks eight, 24, 40, and 52.

The results showed rapid improvement in the moods of people in both groups during the first eight weeks, but then a regression in these gains in the group eating a diet low in carbohydrates for the rest of the year. In contrast, those on the low-fat diet that was rich in carbs experienced considerably less depression, tension, anxiety and feelings of hostility.

The study, which appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine, published by the American Medical Association, also assessed changes in the cognitive function of participants, but found no significant trends between the two groups. People in both groups lost an average of 13.7 kilograms each.

On the low-carb plan, diets consisted of 4 per cent carbohydrate, 35 per cent protein and 61 per cent fat, while the high-carb diet had 46 per cent carbohydrate, 24 per cent protein and 30 per cent fat. Each group was allowed the same number of calories daily, about 1400 for women and about 1700 for men.

The deputy director of the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre at the University of South Australia and one of the researchers, Jonathan Buckley, said the mood difference could reflect how difficult it is to comply with a low-carb diet in Australia, where the typical diet is about 50 per cent carbohydrate.

''If you're eating a low-carb diet and you're out with friends at a restaurant, it might be more difficult to stick with that diet because restaurants don't offer many other options,'' he said.

Associate Professor Buckley said previous research had also shown that a diet high in saturated fat could affect blood vessel function, including in the brain.

''This has the potential to alter people's moods … but we're not certain about that at this stage. More research is required to look at that,'' he said.

source: http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/lowcarb-diets-can-put-you-in-the-grumpy-zone-20091110-i7lc.html

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