CANCER WATCH MARCH 2009
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DIET AND LIFESTYLE
Higher blood sugar, lower survival – true for any cancer?
A strong association between Hyperglycaemia and lowered survival in patients with newly diagnosed Glioblastomas has been discovered. Reporting in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Jan 12 2009, the lead researchers from John Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore concluded that the higher the blood sugar the lower the chances of survival.
Taking 191 patients between 1999 and 2004, they divided these new patients into quartiles depending upon their blood sugar levels. Mean survival time declined from 14.5 months to 9.1 months between the lowest blood sugar quartile, and the highest.
This research took place before Temozolomide usage became a standard practice. And the results were obtained after controlling for glucocorticoid dose and other co-founders.
(Ed: But the conclusions go way beyond a Brain Tumour study. The researchers noted that hyperglycaemia was associated with poorer outcomes in many diseases. Thus this finding could well be true for other cancers. It should also warn Hospital Dieticians to heed the advice we, at CANCERactive, have been giving for a number of years: Cancer patients should avoid sugar-rich diets.)
Oestrogen could also cause cancer through genetic mutations.
Research studies in the USA and the UK, all covered previously in icon, have shown that taking the pill or the oestrogen only form of HRT can increase risks of breast cancer by about 26 per cent. Taking mixed synthetic oestrogen and progesten HRT can double the risk of breast cancer. Taking HRT over a number of years also increases risks of other cancers like colon cancer.
Oestrogen has long been known to ‘fuel the fire’ of cancer and synthetic oestrogen may even be worse.
Now researchers for Cancer Research UK based at Clare Hall, Hertfordshire have shown that oestrogen triggers the production of an enzyme called AID. At low levels this actually helps immune systems adapt to fight off infections. However at higher levels these adaptations become mutations in the DNA. This is not the first time oestrogen has been shown to trigger cancer causing genetic changes. (Journal of Experimental Medicine; Jan 2009)
Dr Leslie Walker of CRUK said that, ‘ This link is particularly pertinent to women receiving increased amounts of oestrogen for prolonged periods, during HRT for instance.’
In recent years, a number of chemicals that, once in the body, can mimic the action of oestrogen have been shown to cause genetic damage.
(Ed: Readers should be clear that many cancers have been linked to oestrogen, not just the obvious female ones like breast and endometrial cancer. Some cancers like prostate, testicular, colon, brain tumours and even some lung cancers have been linked in research to higher levels of the human, or synthetic hormone, or its chemical mimics. It is quite remarkable that the EU looks at bans and ‘dose restrictions’ on natural vitamins when the synthetic ones might be linked to a 10 per cent increase in cancer risk, yet does absolutely nothing when month in month out yet more research is produced on the clear links between HRT and cancer. Shouldn’t Cancer research UK be calling for a ban on this dangerous synthetic supplement if their spokesperson is so concerned? It beggars belief, frankly.)
And HRT in trouble again
HRT may cause the brains of postmenopausal women to shrink, according to a study conducted by researchers from Wake Forest University and published in the journal Neurology.
"Our findings suggest that hormone therapy in older post-menopausal women has a negative effect on brain structures important in maintaining normal memory functioning," lead researcher Susan Resnick said.
She noted that the therapy might not be the cause of the shrinkage, however, but might have rather exacerbated pre-existing problems.
"This negative effect was most pronounced in women who already may have had some memory problems before using hormone therapy," she said, "suggesting that the therapy may have accelerated a neurodegenerative disease process that had already begun."
Researchers have hypothesised that the therapy – already known to increase the risk of major strokes – might also increase the risk of smaller, "silent" strokes, thus leading to a gradual death of brain tissue. The current study found no such increase in the risk of silent strokes, however. (www.naturalnews.com)
Colon cancer – possible role of stem cells
In December Nature scientists in Scotland and Cardiff, working with researchers in the Netherlands now believe that stem cells are at the root of bowel cancer.
Dr Owen Sansom from the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research and his colleagues carried out a neat experiment to show that bowel stem cells could ‘go rogue’ and fuel cancers.
As with stomach cancer, due to everyday wear and tear, the cells that line our bowels are constantly being replaced. New cells are produced from stem cells deep within cavities (crypts) in the bowel wall, in a complex biological ‘production line’. This process is tightly controlled – too few new cells would lead to the bowel lining breaking down. But over-production of cells can lead to cancer.
In their experiments, Sansom and his team used genetic engineering techniques to ‘knock out’ the activity of a crucial gene called APC in healthy bowel stem cells in the small bowel of mice. They discovered that tumours developed within a few days, which aggressively spread within a few weeks.
Next, the scientists knocked out APC in normal bowel lining cells, and found that tumours also developed, but much less readily or frequently than those from the stem cells.
The results suggest that the stem cells are much more likely to give rise to cancer that the lining cells. The scientists also found that the stem cell-derived cancers produced ‘bulk’ cancer cells similar to bowel lining cells, supporting ‘the classic cancer stem cell’ concept according to Cancer Research UK.
Regular readers may remember that we carried American research from Wang et al concluding that stem cells were at the root of stomach cancer, and that ‘the theory books would all have to be torn up’ with his discovery back in November 2004. He called it ‘revolutionary thinking’. Perhaps CRUK are referring to Dr William Beard who came up with the stem cell theory of cancer in 1906. He said then that stem cells under the influence of oestrogen did not behave normally and could divide rapidly as cancers. He also said that pancreatic enzymes could stop this action. I wonder if CRUK scientists are working on this aspect of ‘the classic cancer stem cell concept’.
Suddenly one size doesn’t fit all
As anyone who reads icon will know, we have long advocated that there are many ways you can develop cancer, and many stages it could be at in your body (from pre-cancerous cells, through tumour development, to metastasis etc. And so we believe your cancer is as individual as you are.
Now CRUK have joined the club, although confining their comments to saying that ‘cancer is due to faulty genes – this is usually a combination of genetic variations inherited from our parents, topped with the random mistakes that happen during a lifetime’s wear and tear. But the distinct signature of gene faults in an individual tumour also affects how the disease responds to treatment.’
The CRUK press release adds ‘Increasingly, scientists and doctors are working together to make “personalised medicine” a reality, as it becomes clear that all cancers are not the same. The idea is that a patient will get a treatment tailored to the genetic makeup of their cancer, which is more likely to work than a “one size fits all” standard treatment.
For example, in the case of breast cancer, the disease can be broken down into several different sub-types, depending on the genes that are active within a tumour. And each subtype may require a slightly different treatment approach.
Now, Cancer Research UK scientists from Edinburgh have announced that a genetic test (already used in breast cancer diagnosis) can predict whether an individual patient will benefit from certain chemotherapy drugs or not.
Professor John Bartlett and his team in Edinburgh were searching for genetic ‘markers’ that could help to identify women with breast cancer who would benefit from anthracycline drugs, such as the commonly used epirubicin.
While these drugs are very effective in some women, they can cause unpleasant side effects, and this has limited its use. So identifying people who won’t get any benefit from it would be a good thing. Sure enough they have found a gene marker and a test will be available in 2 years or so.
(Ed: And now for the other 100+ chemo drugs.)
Aspirin cuts stomach cancer risk
ASPIRIN users could be 36 per cent less likely to get a type of stomach cancer, according to a study published by Dr Christian Abnet, based at the National Cancer Institute in America, in the British Journal of Cancer.
In a study of over 300,000 people, the researchers found that people who had taken aspirin at least once in the previous year were significantly less likely to get non-cardia gastric cancer – cancer of the middle or lower parts of the stomach.
There was also a 32 per cent reduction for the same type of stomach cancer in people who used other types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – or NSAIDs.
In contrast to results of previous studies, the researchers found that aspirin does not protect against oesophageal cancer and cardia gastric cancer, which is cancer of the top of the stomach.
Taking aspirin regularly has been found to cut the risk of bowel cancer, but it is not currently recommended because side effects could include bleeding within the abdomen.
The figures were calculated from a study of more than 311,000 people in America and an analysis of 17 published studies on the topic.
Brain Tumours – starting to see the signs of cure?
In a ground breaking paper (http://virtualtrials.com/pdf/TreatmentGBM2009.pdf) top American brain tumour expert Dr Henry Friedman (a man who rang me back personally, when I contacted his hospital about Catherine), along with Professor James Powell and Dr David Reardon, express concerns that with the advent of Temozolomide, everything else has fallen by the wayside. Standard glioblastoma treatment is surgery, followed by radiotherapy and Temozolomide, followed by Temozolomide. The aim seems to be an accepted life extension, not an aim to cure. The authors state that it is ‘absolutely ludicrous to believe that any malignancy, particularly one as aggressive as GBM, can be cured with single-agent chemotherapy’. (Ed: All Doctors and all patients should read this!)
Furthermore they state (as we have been repeatedly telling you) that Temozolomide should not be universally used – that a protein O6 - alkylguanine DNA alkyltransferase has been clinically proven to predict effectiveness. Again every GBM patient should demand the test. Predictions are that only 25 per cent of patients will respond, giving false hope to the 75 per cent, raised profits to the makers of Temozolomide, and an increased and wasted bill to the NHS.
The article states that there are other options already that deliver and that ‘Patients with GBM are not universally incurable, with an ever-increasing, albeit small, fraction of patients who survive the disease’.
Every person with a brain tumour should include this article in their background reading.
Chemotherapy boosts survival rates for Pancreatic Cancer
At least, so says Cancer Research UK in their press release. ‘The use of chemotherapy following surgery reduces the risk of death from operable pancreatic cancer by around 30 per cent’, says research published in the British Journal of Cancer in Jan 2009.
Pancreatic cancer is the tenth most common cancer. Nearly 7,600 people are diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year. But, survival rates remain a major concern – only around two or three per cent of patients survive for more than five years.
The new research, funded by Cancer Research UK, shows that patients who had surgery and chemotherapy with a drug called 5FU alongside folinic acid, had a five year survival rate of 24 per cent. This was compared to 14 per cent for those who only had surgery.
The researchers used the results of three clinical trials undertaken by The European Study Group for Pancreatic Cancer (ESPAC) to compare data of over 450 patients.
Professor John Neoptolemos, lead researcher based at the University of Liverpool, said: “Pancreatic cancer continues to be one of the hardest cancers to treat and has very low survival rates”.
Kate Law, director of clinical trials at Cancer Research UK, said: “In the past it has been unclear what the best way to treat pancreatic cancer is. But, these results reinforce previous trial findings and show undoubtedly that chemotherapy after surgery offers the best hope for patients who have operable pancreatic cancer.
(Ed: On this web site you will find several articles about Dr Nicholas Gonzalez, a New York Doctor, who uses 130 or so supplements and dietary aids after metabolic typing of the patient. He has been part of a full clinical trial on patients with Pancreatic cancer monitored by the FDA, where his diet therapy beat a control group of patients taking chemotherapies. Readers should at least view his work on pancreatic and other cancers.)
Gene changes control oesophageal cancer risk
According to MD Anderson, variations in a common gene pathway may affect the risk of oesophageal cancer, a cancer that is becoming more common.
Scientists from M. D. Anderson have conducted the first study to look at the link between genes related to microRNAs (miRNAs) and oesophageal cancer. They published their results in the November issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association of Cancer Research.
Cancer of the oesophagus ranks sixth in cancer-related deaths worldwide, and the number of cases is increasing. Major risk factors for oesophageal cancer include tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking and reflux disease. The high incidence of these risk factors in the general population and the rare occurrence of the disease gave researchers a clue there might be a genetic connection.
"This research showed not only that a single gene contributes to the risk of oesophageal cancer but more important, that the joint effect of several genetic elements can increase risk," says the study´s first author, Yuanqing Ye, Ph.D., instructor in the Department of Epidemiology at M. D. Anderson.
Skin cancer patients at higher risk later of another cancer
It is hardly new news - we covered it over 5 years ago. But now Cancer Research UK have published a study in the British Journal of Cancer adding some numbers. According to a study using data from the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry between 1993 and 2002, the chance of people developing a new primary cancer after they had developed non-melanoma skin cancer was increased by up to 57 per cent – and the risk was much higher in those who had had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) than those who had basal cell carcinoma (BCC). The subsequent risk of developing a new primary cancer after melanoma was more than double.
Also, people who had been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer were almost two-fold more likely to go on to develop melanoma and had an increased risk of smoking-related cancers.
Professor Liam Murray, a study author based at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “This study confirms that people with a diagnosis of skin cancer have an increased future risk of developing another type of cancer, especially one of the other types of skin cancer or a smoking related cancer – and for those with melanoma the risk may be more than double that of the rest of the population.
Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of health information, said: “We know that lifestyle factors such as excessive UV exposure, smoking, being overweight and drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of cancer”.
(Ed: It’s your fault – again! But it’s not as simple as all that. For example, research from The University of Mexico has actually shown people with the greatest sun exposure get fewer cancers, probably due to vitamin D production by the sun on your body. Several research studies covered previously in icon have shown a link between skin cancers and oestrogen. For example a woman on the pill is twice as likely to get skin cancer as her identical sister not on the pill. Some sun creams contain oestrogen-like chemicals (PABA has been banned in Japan and Sweden) causing localised oestrogen concentrations and possibly heightening risk. The NCI in America has long confirmed oestrogen as a driver of cancer. So it could cause the first skin cancer, and then bring on another. All the more reason to understand that cancer is a whole body disease, and needs a whole body solution even if your cancer is supposedly a ‘minor’ skin cancer.)
DIET AND LIFESTYLE
Prostate cancer reduced by the Rainbow Diet
A new research review (Molecular Nutrition and Food Research Volume 53, Issue 2) by urology experts Allison Hodge, MD, and Catherine Itsiopoulos, MD, outlines a host of evidence that associates a reduced risk of prostate cancer with the traditional Mediterranean diet built around a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fish and herbs. A low intake of red meat and cows dairy, a good dose of sun, an outdoor life, wine and a colourful life. In fact everything I told you about in my book, ‘The Rainbow Diet – and how it can help you beat cancer’.
Now, vitamin D’s action against cancer becomes clearer
Research published in the Journal of Cell Biology November 17, 2008; 183(4):697-710 studies the way vitamin D´s genome and non-genome effects use one simultaneous pathway and integrate to regulate cell physiology.
The research used colon cancer cells, and showed that vitamin D can adjust almost everything in the cell from its genetic messaging to its cytoskeleton. It can switch genes on and off, and it can reduce cell division, and it can ‘calm’ the colon cells so that they settle rather than spread. One pathway seems to control everything.
Stage III Clinical Trial results on a concentrated form of vitamin D are due shortly.
A second study - a meta-analysis of 18 randomised controlled trials in Alternative Medicine Review, March 2008 - has found that vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces mortality from all causes.
Vitamin D´s final metabolic products target more than 200 human genes in a wide variety of tissues. One concern is that vitamin D deficiency is on the increase as people work indoors and misguided advice warns people to stay out of the sun.
The report recommends treating patients with vitamin D supplements, especially those patients with cancers. If you are not getting your daily dose of sunshine, you should seriously think about vitamin D3 supplementation. We have a lot of up-to-date research information on this web site.
Cancer Prevention – half can be avoided
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, if Governments just promoted healthy foods and exercise just over one third of cancers would be prevented (http://www.wcrf-uk.org).
The research presented showed that exercise and healthy food can prevent 36 per cent of lung cancers, 39 per cent of breast and pancreatic cancers, over 60 per cent of mouth cancers, 25 per cent of kidney cancers and 45 per cent of colorectal cancers.
Of course, if you take icon regularly, you could prevent even more. We have told you how avoiding EMF’s, mammograms, dairy, chemical hormones, pesticides, certain chemicals in the home and toiletries and personal care products, taking melatonin, selenium, fish oils and vitamin D can all add to this prevention figure further. Oh and there’s a lot more easy to do things too. In every issue.
Can aubergine extract cure skin cancers?
According to Dr William Douglas’ Daily Dose, researchers from the Royal London Hospital conducted a double blind, placebo controlled study using an extract from aubergines (called BEC5). Doctors treated both invasive and non-invasive non-melanoma skin cancers and concluded, "In our view and experience, BEC5 is...safe and effective...it is a cost-effective treatment for both primary and secondary skin cancer."
Even more importantly, follow-up research on patients who used BEC5 shows once their cancer went away, it did not recur. Microscopic analysis consistently shows death of all cancer cells. And better still BEC5 does not kill any healthy human cells.
Cruciferous vegetables shown to ‘work’ at the cellular level
Preventing cancers like breast and prostate by increasing your intake of cruciferous vegetables (for example, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage) has been known for a while.
Now a group of scientists have published ‘how’ they do it in December 2008’s edition of Carcinogenesis. (29; 12; 2360-8)
Leslie Wilson, professor of biochemistry and pharmacology, and Mary Ann Jordan, professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, in UCLA Santa Barbara have now shown how the healing power of these vegetables works at the cellular level.
"These vegetables contain compounds called isothiocyanates, which we believe to be responsible for the cancer-preventive and anti-carcinogenic activities in these vegetables. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts have the highest amount of the isothiocyanates.
The paper focuses on the anti-cancer activity of one of these compounds, called sulforaphane. It has already been shown to reduce the incidence and rate of chemically induced mammary tumours in animals and it inhibits the growth of cultured human breast cancer cells, leading to cell death," according to this new research.
(Ed: Of course you could have read all about it in my book, The Rainbow Diet – and how it can help you beat cancer, which came out last summer!)
FDA finally clears Stevia for general use
As we have told you previously, new research clearing this natural leaf, no-calorie sweetener plus a determined soft drinks industry has led to the approval now of stevia for use as a sweetening food supplement. The FDA´s decision applies only to a highly purified form of stevia known as rebaudioside A
But that is just in America – the UK is behind the line again.
The FDA faxed approval letters to Cargill Inc. and Merisant Co.´s Whole Earth Sweetener unit, which are teaming up with Coke and Pepsi, respectively, to market the sweetener. (Click here to find out about Stevia; Click here to buy the Natural selection ‘Product of Choice’)
Grapeseed extract kills cancer cells
In laboratory studies conducted by the University of Kentucky (Clinical Cancer Research), found that leukaemia cancer cells exposed to grapeseed extract (GSE) were rapidly killed through a process of cell suicide known as "apoptosis."
76 per cent of the leukaemia cells committed suicide within 24 hours thanks to the ability of GSE to activate a protein called JNK, which regulates apoptosis.
The researchers concluded that the GSE helped the cells systems recognise in some way that the cell was ‘flawed’. Although this is not the first time such an effect has been noted, the study will next need to be replicated in humans before any real conclusions can be made.
An apple a day keeps breast cancer away
Dr Rui Hai Liu, Cornell associate professor of food science and a member of Cornell´s Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, has shown yet again that apples fight cancer. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry)
Dr. Liu found fresh apple extracts significantly inhibited the size of mammary tumours in rats and the more extracts they gave, the better the outcome.
A highly malignant type of breast cancer called an adenocarcinoma developed in 81 percent in the control animals. However, it developed only in 57 per cent, 50 per cent and 23 per cent of the animals that received a diet supplemented by low, middle and high doses of apple extracts (the equivalent of one, three and six apples a day in humans), respectively, during a 6 month study.
Dr. Liu also announced a variety of new phenolic compounds he has discovered in apple peelings that also have "potent antioxidant and anti-proliferative activities" on tumours. Some appear to have a great effect at modifying cell cycles and controlling inflammation. We have covered research on polyphenols before – for example German research that shows casein in cow’s milk binds to them in tea and prevents their benefits. They are more than antioxidants and more than free radical neutralisers. They seem to have many heart protective and anti-cancer benefits are we are really only just starting to learn about these natural compounds. (http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories)
HER-2 Breast cancer and olive oil
Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain and the Catalonian Institute of Oncology (ICO) in Girona have discovered that the phenolic compounds in extra virgin olive oil appear to be a significant weapon against breast cancer. (BMC Cancer).
The researchers showed how phenolic compounds directly extracted from extra virgin olive oil were effective against both HER2-positive and HER2-negative breast cancers cells, in vitro experiments. The research, conducted by Javier A. Menendez, coordinator of the Translational Research Unit of the ICO and doctors Alberto Fernandez Gutierrez and Antonio Segura Carretero, confirms that polyphenols (especially those known as secoiridoids and lignans) found in extra virgin olive oil not only inhibited the activity of cancer-promoting HER-2 proteins but also promoted its degradation.
icon contributor to advise Obama
US President Barack Obama has turned to regular icon contributor Eileen O’Connor to help the fight against cancer. (Jan 29 2009, Birmingham Mail)
Eileen O’Connor, as a founder member of the Radiation Research Trust, has led the battle against the relentless growth of mobile phone masts and the associated EMF technology for the past seven years. The Radiation Trust lobbies Governments and urges a precautionary principle, just as we do at CANCERactive.
And now the US President’s cancer panel, set up by Obama to research the possible links with both nuclear and electro-magnetic radiation, has asked Eileen for her views on the issue. The trust has supported widespread research into the possible dangers of mobile and wireless radiation and campaigns for the technology to be made safer.
Eileen said : “Obama’s panel has launched an information gathering exercise and I was invited to provide evidence. While I am not building up my hopes, I am delighted the issue is being taken seriously by the President."
President Obama recently said science is about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. “It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient and I welcome this approach.”
The evidence gathered by the panel will be considered in drawing up advice to the new President on measures needed to be taken to improve the health of Americans. Any steps taken are likely to be considered around the world.
Eileen first suspected a link between mobile phone masts and cancer when the arrival of a mast in her home village of Wishaw, near Sutton Coldfield coincided with a cluster of cancer cases, including her own.
The campaign hit the headlines in 2003 when the mast was pulled down in the middle of the night and residents blockaded the site to stop it being replaced. We covered her story in icon, and you can read it on our web site.
Mouthwash cancer dangers – especially for drinkers and smokers
In a major study conducted by researchers from the Australia´s University of Melbourne and University of Queensland School of Dentistry, the use of mouthwashes containing alcohol as an ingredient can significantly increase the risk of cancers of the mouth, head and neck.
"We see people with oral cancer who have no other risk factors than the use of (mouthwash containing alcohol), so what we´ve done is review all the evidence," said lead researcher Michael McCullough, chair of the Australian Dental Association´s therapeutics committee. They followed mouthwash use amongst 3,210 people and compared it with rates of mouth, head and neck cancers.
The researchers found that those who used an alcohol-containing mouthwash at least once per day had a significantly increased risk of cancer, independent of other risk factors such as smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages.
However, where people also drank alcohol regularly, there was a 500 per cent increase over drinkers who did not use mouthwash. For smokers who used mouthwash there was a 900 per cent increase over smokers who didn’t use one of these mouthwashes.
"Since this article, further evidence has come out," McCullough added. "We believe there should be warnings. If it was a facial cream that had the effect of reducing acne but had a four to fivefold increased risk of skin cancer, no one would be recommending it."
Statin drugs may damage brain function
We have expressed our concerns over statins before. There have been possible links to cancer, refuted and countered. Then there are issues like muscle wastage, the lowering of Coenzyme Q10 levels and so on. In Eurekalert (Jan 26th 2009) there is a study quoting over 900 research papers concluding they are dangerous! Also worrying was a report that statins stick around for up to 5 years after you have taken them.
There is also a flaw in the widespread medical view that we all seem to need them and that our cholesterol levels are too high. Statins reduce cholesterol. But some cholesterol is good for you (HDL) while other forms are bad (LDL). Next, there is little or no research about what levels are dangerous in the body. A year or so ago, levels of cholesterol deemed safe, were lowered, almost arbitrarily. So more people were prescribed statins.
But cholesterol is an important substance in the body. You make it, because it is important. It is a myth that if you eat lots of cholesterol you will have high blood cholesterol. Firstly, it is too large a molecule to pass across the gut wall. Secondly, it can be re-formed from a host of smaller molecules – including those derived from sugars. This reformation may well have genetic influences, but clinical trials have shown it can be influenced by certain beneficial bacteria, which make short chain esters that block it. Then there is the role of fish oils, flaxseed and omega 3 in the reduction of levels. Garlic also has a positive effect, and so on.
You make cholesterol, even if you are thin and on a low fat diet. For example, under the skin it responds to sunlight to produce vitamin D, now being thought to be a great preventer of cancer. But your brain needs cholesterol too. And yet again your brain reassembles it from constituent ingredients.
Now in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Shin and colleagues from Iowa State University tested the activity of the neurotransmitter-release processes of brain cells without cholesterol present to see how well they functioned. Then cholesterol was placed in the system and the scientists measured the transmitter function again. Having cholesterol present saw a five fold increase in neurotransmitter function.
"Our study shows there is a direct link between cholesterol and the neurotransmitter release. We know exactly the molecular mechanics of what happens in the cells. Cholesterol changes the shape of the protein to stimulate thinking and memory," Dr. Shin said in the press statement. "If you try to lower the cholesterol by taking medicine that is attacking the machinery of cholesterol synthesis in the liver that medicine goes to the brain too. And then it reduces the synthesis of cholesterol which is necessary in the brain."
HPV vaccine withdrawn in Spain
No one can have failed to notice the massive PR campaign in the Western World to get girls (and boys) vaccinated, ‘against HPV and cervical cancer’.
Now Spanish Health Authorities have withdrawn a batch (NH52670) of almost 76,000 doses of the Merck brand Gardasil from the market after two girls who had just been vaccinated were hospitalised. (AFP, February 10). In the UK the vaccine used is from GSK.
To date, just in the USA, over 10,000 adverse reactions, including 29 deaths, have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in relation to Gardasil.
Merck, which manufactures Gardasil, has said it expects sales this year to be lower than expected. However, now it has filed for FDA approval for use with adolescent males, even though no long-term research is available on its benefits or safety.
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