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Vegetarian Diet to Prevent Breast Cancer

 

If you want to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer , it is time to change your eating habits. And is that a new study shows that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, reduced by 30% the chances of getting this wrong.

Researchers at the University of Colorado published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , the results of a study involving a total of 34 000 Chinese women, aged between 35 and 74. Most of them, exercised and stayed thin.

After interviewing and analyzing their responses, the researchers found that higher consumption of vegetables, fruits and soybeans, the lower their risk of developing the disease in postmenopausal women.

The team of Dr. Lesley M. Butler conducted a questionnaire that asked participants about their diet, weight and physical activity they perform. Moreover, none of these women had a history of breast cancer.

Thus, the researchers successfully identified two dietary patterns: the unhealthy, which ate meat, starch and saturated fat, and healthy, which is consuming plenty of vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, squash and cabbage.

Following up the study, which ended interview these women in 2005, it was noted that 10 years later it developed only 629 cases of breast cancer, according to the Singapore Cancer Registry.

In presenting the results of its investigation, Butler suggested that although this study was conducted among Chinese women, the benefits of a vegetarian diet would also apply to the population of American women.

 

The Surprising Health Benefits of Sadness

Dina S.* had already been on antidepressants for a few months when she got the most devastating news of her life: Her beloved husband of 10 years had been killed on impact when the small plane he'd been piloting crashed. The next days and weeks were a tearful, painful blur, but even as she grieved, the 50-year-old was dismayed by her own response to the tragedy--it felt hollow somehow, as if she weren't able to access the full depth of her anguish. So after 2 months, she made a decision that was squarely against her doctor's advice: She gradually weaned herself off the antidepressants.

As the effects wore off, her emotional agony became profound. "I was tortured by the fact that I did not get a chance to say good-bye to my husband," Dina says. She took a leave from work and let her raw emotions take over, aware that this meant she would have to confront the pain of her husband's death as well as the anxiety issues that prompted her to start taking the drugs to begin with. "I felt I had a choice--to take antidepressants to just get through the day, or to stop and potentially grow and learn," she says. "I chose the latter."

Dina's decision to part ways with a pharmaceutical solution puts her in an ever-growing minority. Antidepressants have become the most commonly prescribed drugs in America for adults under age 60. At any given moment, about 10% of the adult population is taking them, double the percentage just 10 years ago, and about twice as many of them are women as men. And at the same time, talk therapy as treatment for depression is becoming increasingly uncommon. An American Journal of Psychiatry study published last year found that among people being treated for a mental health issue, 57% used medication only, while just 11% used psychotherapy alone and about one-third used the two treatments together.

"There are lots of reasons why drugs are so popular," says Mark Olfson, MD, an author of the study and a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University School of Medicine. One of them is the widespread attitude that the easiest way to deal with whatever ails you is by swallowing a pill. "People hear about antidepressants in TV ads and ask for them by name," he says. The way insurance companies reimburse for services only supports this easy-fix expectation. "Insurers tend to be much more generous with coverage for antidepressants than for psychotherapy, which means patients who don't want drugs often have to pay a lot more out of pocket for it," adds Dr. Olfson. The financial incentives work both ways: Because psychiatrists can make more money doling out meds in 15-minute office visits than seeing patients for 45-minute talk sessions, more and more of them no longer even provide talk therapy as a service. "The decline in psychotherapy is a huge loss, in my opinion," says Dr. Olfson.

 

Relaxation Drinks Are They Safe Sleep Aids

Stressed and sleep deprived? In our frazzled world, ample sleep and relaxation seem to be elusive goals. Now manufacturers are trying to cash in on our need to relax, and the market is anything but sluggish. More than 350 varieties of so-called relaxation drinks have hit the shelves, with revenues expected to reach $73 million this year.

But do they work? Prevention investigated and found some unpleasant surprises with these "serenity sips." Because they're not FDA regulated and many labels cite a proprietary blend, a buyer has no idea how much of each active ingredient--melatonin, valerian, L-theanine, and others--is actually captured in the can or bottle. There's also limited research on how these relaxants interact with one another. Nor are they all shelf stable: Some of these compounds degrade in liquid.

We sent five popular brands (two samples of each) to chemistry professor Joe Vinson, PhD, at the University of Scranton for analysis. He found that the amounts of active ingredients often differed from batch to batch. Even more shocking: In testing, some of the ingredients were barely present. Our advice? Save yourself the $3 (the average price per bottle).

Relaxation Drinks:

Unwind
The promise: "Ultimate Relaxation"

Our testing detected about half of the listed 3 mg of melatonin. (The hormone degrades up to 30% a month in liquids.) Even that much may be overdoing it. Andrew Weil, MD, director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, says that 0.25 to 0.3 mg may produce a more natural sleep cycle.

MiniChill
The promise: "Dr. formulated to make you feel calm, focused, and happy"

The lab tests showed that this drink had only 0.7 mg of L-theanine, nowhere near the 200 mg dose that's proven effective. Instead, try gyokoru green tea for your L-theanine fix.

RelaxZen
The promise: "Promotes sleep, wake refreshed, reduce stress"

This "sleepy" blend claims to include valerian, but we couldn't detect any of the active acid compound. That may be a good thing: Dr. Weil doesn't recommend taking it regularly, as it can caus dependency.

Dream Water
The promise: "Drink to dream"

This 2.5-ounce shot touts 5-HTP on the label. The amino acid decomposes in liquid, so it's not surprising we didn't detect any in our samples. As for the neurotransmitter GABA, we found only 0.3 mg in a serving--insufficient for any relaxing effects.

Mary Jane's Relaxing Soda
The promise: "Enjoy euphoric relaxation that's all natural, plain and simple"

Kava, the only relaxant in this cola, is controversial: The FDA warns of potential liver damage from kava products. Dr. Weil recommends avoiding the herb in any form if you have liver problems, drink alcohol regularly, or just took acetaminophen (Tylenol).

 

Plums and Peaches can Fight Breast Cancer

A recent study by Texas A & M University found that prunes and peaches can combat breast cancer. The researchers and Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos and David Byrne found that extracts of commercially available varieties of peaches and plums kill cancer cells without harming normal cells.

The scientists were able to identify two phenolic compounds in plums and peaches Rich Splendor Black Lady that attack cancer cells. Plums and peaches contain high amounts of phenolic compounds in fruits that affect the aroma, flavor and color.

The goal of the study was to evaluate the removal of the cancer activity in peach varieties with yellow flesh and red pulp of plum varieties and identify phenolic fractions with potential chemotherapeutic properties in these fruits. Both peach and plum extracts effectively inhibited the growth of estrogen independent MDA-MB-435, breast cancer cells without affecting normal cells.

These results are preliminary and the study was conducted in laboratory rats.

 

On yer bike! London 2012 battles couch potatoes.doc

LONDON (AP) — Having sprinted, jumped and thrown, and then having collected their medals, the athletes who compete in the Olympic Stadium next summer would be wise to do a Forrest Gump and keep on running.

Because just a few hundred yards (meters) south of the arena, little more than a javelin throw away from the 80,000 spectators, is a historical and technological marvel of London that no Olympic visitor should miss: a merrily sludging river of raw sewage.

About 1 million tons per day of the stuff, from hundreds of thousands of toilets and storm drains across North London, flowing right there in huge tunnels under your feet. Sniff the air — aahhh! — and, with the right wind, the eggy odor will make your nose crinkle.

Granted, the Northern Outfall Sewer isn't the most aesthetic of London's sights. But it is among the most fascinating. It was hurriedly but thoughtfully built with 318 million bricks after the "Great Stink" of 1858, when the sewage-polluted River Thames grew so putrid in hot weather as to make London unbearable.

In Parliament, the curtains were soaked with chemicals to try to ward off the noxious stench and there was even talk of it decamping from the capital entirely. A measure of the severity of the stink was the rapidity with which lawmakers acted to solve it. Engineer Joseph Bazalgette was quickly commissioned to build a sewage network that would help purify the Thames. He did such a good job that his system still forms the basis for London's sewers a century and a half later.

Thanks, in part, to the 2012 games, this stupendous feat of Victorian engineering and other landmarks that speak to London's rich history but which are off the tourist trail are now easier to explore and to see — if, as Olympic organizers hope, you travel by bike or on foot.

Which you should. Having meat-packed myself into sweaty London Underground trains that risk being even more crowded next summer and, now, having lately explored some of the newly renovated sections of London's ever-expanding network of cycle paths, I'd recommend two wheels everytime. And not merely for that feeling of wind through your hair.

A sorry truism of the Olympic Games and other sporting extravaganzas is that they are performances by extremely fit and healthy people for spectators who are often very unfit, unhealthy and overweight. Newham, home to the Olympic Park, and neighboring Barking have the lowest physical activity rates of any London boroughs, with only 14-15 percent of adults doing sport or strenuous exercise three times a week for at least 30 minutes each time.

London is hoping its Olympics help to change some of this. Organizers are encouraging spectators to walk and cycle to events by making it easier for them to do so. The idea is that people get the walking-cycling bug and keep it long after the Olympics have moved on. To be green, London wants all spectators to leave their cars at home. The vast majority will travel on London public transport, which carries 12 million travelers on a normal day but will be even busier at games-time. Olympic planners expect at least 4 percent will cycle and walk and are aiming for more, not least to ease strain on trains.

Walking and cycling paths leading to venues have been spruced up and connected up. There's a lovely one, for example, that runs the length of the west side of the Olympic Park, beside a very pleasant canal with ducks and houseboats. The path has a fresh gravel top and, at one point, dips under four massive metal pipes that form part of Bazalgette's sewer system. There's a plaque there with his name and the construction date: 1862-63.

Olympic organizers say more than 25 million pounds (€28 million;$40 million) has been spent upgrading cycling and walking routes to all venues.

You see far more of a city by bike. London's transport authority offers free cycle maps; I picked up a bunch at Euston station before I explored.

One canal path took me from the Olympic Park south to Limehouse Basin on the Thames in 30 minutes of easy riding. From there, it was another absorbing cycle along quaint and mostly empty backstreets to the Tower of London that was thick with tourists.

The cycle maps show that, aside from occasional breaks here and there where cyclists would need to travel on roads, another path along Grand Union Canal, then Regent's Canal and finally Hertford Union Canal to the Olympic Park snakes right across North London. I rode the last few miles (kilometers) of this picturesque route, past brick houses with lush lawns abutting the canal.

The city's cycle hire scheme is also being expanded from central London eastward closer to the Olympic Park. Anyone aged 14 and over and with the right brand of credit card (not all cards are accepted) can take one of the 6,000 bicycles from any of 400 hire points.

They could be a smart way to explore Hyde Park that will host triathlon and marathon swimming next summer. There also are hire points around Lord's Cricket Ground that will host archery and Horse Guards Parade where there'll be beach volleyball. The bikes could also suit Londoners or any visitor simply trying to move around the Olympic-congested city.

"By 2012, we'll be able to invite the entire world to join London's cycling revolution," Mayor Boris Johnson declared last November.

Organizers say cyclists won't be allowed to take bikes into the Olympic Park but there will be free and secure parking at all venues.

Lobbying groups welcome London's cycling and walking improvements but would like even more and say the city still lags behind cycle-friendly Amsterdam or Copenhagen. But cyclists also say the city is much safer to ride around than it used to be and that the 2005 terror attacks on public transport and London's tax on vehicles that drive in the city center have prompted more people to ride bikes.

In its own modest way, the Olympics could help that trend. Watching Olympic sport and getting fitter at the same time: how's that for an idea?

"This our chance to sort out some of the lazy cultures we've got into," says the appropriately named Jim Walker, who chairs a group advising Olympic organizers how to encourage more "active travel" at games-time.

"It will be an opportunity for us to get it right for 16 days and, as a legacy for London, to flow much better afterward."

Genomic Test Helps Personalized Treatment in Breast Cancer Patients

 

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that affects each woman differently and makes it respond differently to the therapy they received. This situation has led to investigate science personalized treatments to optimize results and reduce adverse events such as hair loss, high risk of infection, diarrhea, loss of appetite and malaise.

A breakthrough in the test genomic medicine 'Oncotype DX', which examines 21 genes of the tumor in patients with breast cancer stages I and II, enabling oncologists, surgeons and pathologists to determine the best treatment for the patient and the likelihood of a recurrence of their breast cancer ten years.

Effective treatment

Breast cancer has different factors that are evaluated by specialists in each case to decide their treatment such as: patient age, tumor size, histological grade, if a woman is premenopausal or postmenopausal, the clinical stage of disease – early or late, and if there is metastasis, among others.

With 'Oncotype DX' doctors can also learn about the aggressiveness of the tumor in the early stages of the disease. This tool allows them to determine a prescription for stronger treatments such as chemotherapy or alone can be treated with hormone therapy, thereby reducing adverse events.

Thus, says Dr. Cortes, achieves several benefits to the patient as having a personalized, cost reduction, improved quality of life and a better survival. For health care benefits are in savings from reduced use of resources and materials for medical healing and win the battle against breast cancer.

About 'Oncotype DX'

It is the first genomic diagnostic test for type of breast cancer. In the United States has existed since 2004 for breast cancer patients with receptor-positive, node-negative and positive, representing more than 50 percent of all cases diagnosed each year and is the only accepted by the U.S. NCCN and ASCO guidelines.

In the U.S., one of the advantages of 'Oncotype DX' is that a large percentage of cases are reimbursed at public and private sectors.

 

Fast and Fresh Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini are so plentiful right now that farmers' markets and neighborhood gardeners are practically giving them away. For the best zucchinis, choose smaller vegetables up to the size of a large banana; bigger ones can be tougher and less sweet. Store them in a plastic bag on a shelf in the fridge for about 4 days. More than delicious, zucchini is a disease-fighting food. It contains lutein, a compound that may protect your eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration.

Try these delicious, healthy zucchini recipes!

Zucchini Tarts

Heat oven to 425?F. Cut 1 refrigerated pie dough into four 4" circles. Transfer to oiled baking sheet.

Spread each with 2 tsp goat cheese and 1/2 tsp olive tapenade. Top with 5 thin rounds zucchini and 6 slices cherry tomato.

Bake until golden, 10-12 min.

NUTRITION (per serving) 153 cal, 3 g pro, 14 g carb, 1 g fiber, 10 g fat, 4.5 g sat fat, 187 mg sodium

Zucchini-Wrapped Salmon

Heat oven to 425?F. Sprinkle 2 tsp fresh thyme over four 6 oz salmon fillets and wrap each with 5 very thin lengthwise slices zucchini.

Bake on oiled baking sheet until cooked through, 10-12 min.

NUTRITION (per serving) 379 cal, 37 g pro, 5 g carb, 1 g fiber, 23.5 g fat, 5.5 g sat fat, 258 mg sodium

Grilled Greek Chicken & Zucchini

Combine 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano, 2 tsp minced garlic, and 1 tsp olive oil.

Add 1 lb thin-sliced chicken breast and marinate 15 min. Toss 2 lb sliced zucchini with 1 tsp olive oil.

Grill both, turning, until zucchini is golden and chicken is cooked, 7-8 min.

NUTRITION (per serving) 196 cal, 27 g pro, 9 g carb, 2 g fiber, 6 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 150 mg sodium

Zucchini Coins

Toss 1 lb sliced zucchini rounds with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Arrange on foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Broil 6" from heat, turning, until golden, 8 min.

NUTRITION (per serving) 50 cal, 1 g pro, 4 g carb, 1 g fiber, 3.5 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 155 mg sodium

Grilled Zucchini With Crispy Crumbs

Mix 1/2 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs with 2 Tbsp chopped pecans, 1 tsp minced garlic, and 1/8 tsp salt and toast in pan with 1 tsp olive oil until golden, 4 min.

Halve 3/4 lb sm zucchini lengthwise and grill until tender, 8 min.

Top with crumbs.

NUTRITION (per serving) 66 cal, 2 g pro, 6 g carb, 2 g fiber, 4 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 112 mg sodium

Mini Zucchini-Dill Pancakes

Toss 1/2 lb grated zucchini with 1/2 tsp salt in colander. Let sit 20 min.

Squeeze all excess liquid from zucchini.

Toss zucchini with 2 Tbsp flour, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan, and 1 lg egg white.

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in nonstick pan over medium heat. Drop 8 (1 Tbsp) portions of zucchini mixture into pan and cook, turning, until golden brown, 4 min.

Divide 2 oz smoked salmon, 4 tsp sour cream, and 1 tsp dill among pancakes.

NUTRITION (per serving: 2 pancakes) 112 cal, 11 g pro, 5 g carb, 0.5 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 337 mg sodium

Spicy Pork With Zucchini Ribbons

Toss 3/4 lb thinly sliced pork tenderloin with 1 tsp each cumin, olive oil, and adobo sauce. Heat 2 tsp oil in nonstick pan over medium-high heat.

Saute pork, turning, until cooked, 4 min. Transfer to plate.

Add 1 tsp oil and 3/4 lb very thin lengthwise sliced zucchini. Cook, stirring, 1 min. Add 1 Tbsp lime juice and salt to taste. Serve with pork.

NUTRITION (per serving) 173 cal, 19 g pro, 3 g carb, 1 g fiber, 9.5 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 309 mg sodium

 

FAA shutdown complicated by debt negotiations

WASHINGTON (AP) — The struggle to reach a debt deal is hindering efforts to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, which dragged into its fifth day Wednesday in a partisan standoff between the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., hasn't taken steps to force a vote on a bill that's necessary to restore the agency's operating authority in part because he doesn't want to tie up the Senate in what could be a time-consuming fight, a leadership aide said. Reid wants to keep the Senate's agenda clear for a quick vote if negotiators settle on a debt deal, said the aide, who asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

Democrats also aren't hurrying to force passage of an FAA bill because they expect House Republicans to reject it, the aide said.

The FAA's operating authority expired at midnight on Friday, forcing the furlough of nearly 4,000 employees. Stop-work orders have been issued for more than 150 airport construction projects across the country. About $2.5 billion in grants are being held up because employees who process them have been furloughed.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate committee that oversees the FAA, blamed a single air carrier — Delta Air Lines — for the shutdown. He said House Republicans were doing Delta's bidding when they sent the Senate a bill last week to extend FAA's operating authority that they knew Democrats would reject because it contained a provision eliminating $16.5 million in air subsidies to rural communities.

The underlying issue, Rockefeller said in a speech to the Senate, is a GOP effort to get Democrats to accept a labor provision in a long-term funding bill for the FAA that primarily benefits Delta. The bill was passed by the House in April. The Senate passed its own funding bill in February without the labor provision.

The labor provision would overturn a National Mediation Board rule approved last year that allows airline and railroad employees to form a union by a simple majority of those voting. Under the old rule, workers who didn't vote were treated as "no" votes.

Republicans complain that the new rule reverses 75 years of precedent to favor labor unions. Democrats and union officials say the change puts airline and railroad elections under the same democratic rules required for unionizing all other companies.

The White House warned in March that President Barack Obama might veto the bill does not include the new rule.

Delta is the only major carrier that is primarily nonunion.

"I wish I understood why the policy objections of one company — Delta Air Lines — mattered so much to so few and also mattered so much more than the livelihood of thousands of American workers who have been or will shortly be furloughed," Rockefeller said.

Delta spokeswoman Gina Laughlin declined to comment directly on Rockefeller's charge.

"Delta appreciates the service of Senator Rockefeller and remains hopeful that he can lead the Senate to work out its differences with the House and reach agreement on a long-term FAA reauthorization," Laughlin said in an email.

Justin Harclerode, a spokesman for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said that "while it's true the House is interested in ensuring a balanced unionization process, as well as concluding negotiations on the other unresolved issues in the long-term FAA bill, the claim that Republicans are simply doing the bidding of one entity is simply untrue."

Boost Brain Power 24 Hours a Day.doc

We all know what we're supposed to do to keep our bodies healthy, limber, and long-lasting. But how do you start treating your brain better--so it works at its best today and will keep working at its best tomorrow?

Unlike diets--in which you can see that you've lost either weight or inches--brain boosting is a tougher thing to track. Although there has been an explosion in brain research over the past decade, much of the work has been done on the elderly, and a lot of the findings show intriguing levels of correlation but, in fact, fall short of actual cause and effect. And the only true examination of your brain comes when you don't really need it anymore--at autopsy.

Scientists' original goal was to prevent both structural and functional changes. Now researchers are trying to understand why some people have what is called cognitive reserve, which is the ability to maintain most or all normal brain function even after negative changes--such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or decreased memory--occur.

So, even if you have a strong family history of mental decline in later years, what you do or don't do--right now--could make all the difference in keeping your brain in top condition. Follow our guide for an easy tune-up.

 

Aspirin Helps After a Breast Cancer

Taking aspirin regularly after a cancer may reduce the chance of dying or having a relapse of the disease, said Dr. Michelle Holmes of Harvard Medical School, who led the study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This conclusion was reached after a study of more than 4 000 women, those taking aspirin, which is often prescribed to prevent heart attack, had a 50 percent lower risk of dying from breast cancer and the tumor expand.

"This is the first study found that aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of spread of cancer death in women who were treated at an early stage breast cancer . If these results are confirmed in other clinical trials , aspirin could be another tool simple, inexpensive and relatively safe for women with breast cancer live longer and healthier lives, "Holmes said in a statement.

Other drugs in the same class as aspirin also helped reduce the risks. These medications, called nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, naproxen, but not acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol. However, there were insufficient data on these drugs to get a clear answer.

Investigators said they are unsure of how aspirin and other NSAIDs can affect tumors but could be down the inflammation. Other studies have shown that aspirin and ibuprofen can reduce the risk of colon cancer, for example.

Aspirin has relatively benign side effects compared with chemotherapy drugs for cancer and may also prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Holmes's team stressed that patients should not take aspirin while undergoing radiation or chemotherapy because the risk of side effects occur. In addition, aspirin can cause stomach bleeding, so it should not be taken without medical supervision.