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Nov 26, 2013

Healthy Lifestyle and Prostate Cancer Prevention for Men

It’s not the first time we've been told that living a healthy lifestyle is beneficial.

It’s not the first time we've been told that living a healthy lifestyle is beneficial. Acknowledging this statement is certainly true, yet what is the extent of it? Current cancer research tells us just that and gives us new hope in cancer prevention.


In a new Study titled “Healthy Habits Linked to Longer Telomeres in Prostate Cancer”, directed by the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, the association between a healthy lifestyle and chromosome length was explored. This study notes on previous findings that the length of telomeres, or protein complexes at the end of chromosomes, are linked to later cancer onset when a healthy lifestyle is implemented.


For this Study a cohort of 35 men with biopsy-proven, low risk prostate cancer, were opted into a lifestyle program. This program consisted of a diet low in fat and refined carbohydrates and high in whole fruits and vegetables; exercised aerobically for at least 30 minutes 6 days each week; engaged in stress management programs; and took part in a 1-hour weekly support group. Over a 5 year span, these men experienced a lengthening in telomeres, and consequently, an improvement in chromosome and overall health.


Results not only concluded an improvement in the intervention groups’ telomeres, but in the control group who were solely monitored for 5 years, in contrast, concluded with an overall shortening in telomeres.


As results are encouraging, further research into the correlation between lifestyle and health will continue to broaden the understanding of the extent of benefits our society may incur.

Nov 25, 2013

Soy Consumption and Cancer Prevention

Eating soy could both prevent and alter the disease course of lung cancer in women.

One component of cancer recovery is lifestyle- and that includes diet. According to a study conducted in China, women that consume soy before a lung cancer diagnosis may be positively affected. This longitudinal study observed increased mortality rates (81%) among the women in the 10th percentile of soy consumption compared to their peers. As the 50th percentile had the lowest mortality rates, the 90th percentile of soy consumption, in contrast, had an 11 % increase in mortality rates. This suggests a moderate consumption of plant derived soy foods is optimal for mortality prevention in women.

This experiment controlled for stages of cancer development and tumor size. It also included an sum of individual’s daily soy intake from soy foods such as tofu, soy sprouts, fresh green soy beans, soy milk, and other soy products. A mean intake of 18.0 g/day for soy food and 8.8 g/day for soy protein was concluded. The average age of when women’s cancer diagnosis occurred was 66.3 y/o. The author notes that soy intake had not correlation with patient characteristics such as age at diagnosis, smoking, obesity, family history of lung cancer, tumor stage, treatment regimens, or time between baseline dietary assessment and disease diagnosis.

What makes plant-derived soy to be beneficial is the estrogen content in soy foods. On a molecular level, estrogen is produced naturally by the female body as a sex hormone. When plant-derived soy is consumed, it acts as a selective binding agent to this. Consequently, this research suggests that eating soy could both prevent lung cancer among women along with alter the disease course during treatment.

For more information on this study please visit:

J Clin Oncol. Published online March 25, 2013. Abstract

Earliest Sign of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Infants

“A new glimpse on Autism” - Warren Jones, PhD, director of research

This study investigates the association between eye contact and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the earliest of developmental stages.

New research on ASD suggests that the earliest signs of ASD can be seen in infants as early as 2 months of age. Researchers from the Marcus Autism Center with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia, and Emory University School of Medicine enrolled 110 infants enrolled into two groups; one group consisting of those with a family history of ASD and the other group being the first case. The study followed the participants from birth to age 3. Observations of infants subsequently diagnosed with ASD suggested that eye contact began to decline compared to a typical developmental progression between 2 months to 6 months of age.

Due to this compelling study there is new hope in identifying ASD in the first few months of life.

For more information on this study please visit: 
published online November 6 in Nature

Nov 22, 2013

Probiotics Benefit Digestive Health

Thanks to new research titled “Probiotics in the Management of Lower Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Clinical Practice”, we can get more insight into just how much Probiotics benefit our bodies. This Literature Review covers the subject of the gut microbiota playing an important role in gastrointestinal problems. Using such evidence it provides clinicians with an evidence based international guide on the management of lower gastrointestinal problems and their symptoms.


What makes this so useful is firstly, the reliability of the material being based on 37 studies, along with the use-ability, as each study receives a grade rating for study control and quality of results.


Here is a snippet of the main results;


Statements with 100% agreement and 'high' evidence levels indicated that:

(i) Specific Probiotics help reduce overall symptom burden and abdominal pain in some IBS patients

(ii) In patients receiving antibiotics eradication therapy, specified Probiotics are helpful as adjuvants (a substance that enhances the body's immune response to an antigen) to prevent/reduce the duration/intensity of AAD

(iii) Probiotics have favorable safety in patients in primary care. Items with 70–100% agreement and 'moderate' evidence

(iv) Specific Probiotics help relieve overall symptom burden in some patients with diarrhea-predominant IBS, and reduce bloating/distension and improve bowel movement frequency/consistency in some IBS patients

(v) With some Probiotics, improved symptoms have led to improvement in quality of life.”


Although statements cannot be generalized between different Probiotics, conclusions do however suggest that specified Probiotics do benefit the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anti-biotic associated diarrhea, and selecting the correct Probiotics can provide additional benefits for individuals with lower intestinal issues.

Nov 20, 2013

Some Antibiotics and Calcium Channel Blockers Should Not Be Taken Together

New electronic prescription programs may prevent harmful drug interactions potentially lowering health care costs and mortality rates.

A recent study by the London Health Sciences Centre and the University of Western Ontario suggested that as more pharmaceuticals are being produced, the awareness that doctors have with drug-drug interactions has lowered. This has been a rising concern for The American Society for Nephrology at medical facilities administering both the antibiotic clarithromycin with antihypertensive calcium-channel blockers to patients.

This study indicates that over 50% of patients prescribed the antibiotic were already taking a calcium-channel blocker- a very alarming number. A warning from the US Food and Drug Administration states that "serious adverse reactions have been reported in patients taking clarithromycin concomitantly with CYP3A4 substrates, which includes hypotension with calcium-channel blockers metabolized by CYP3A4 (such as verapamil, amlodipine, diltiazem)."

It may be that doctors and pharmacists are unaware of the potentially hazardous outcome of mixing these two prescriptions or underestimate the risks. The good news is like this interaction and like many others, it is preventable. Thanks to new
technology, electronic prescription programs are being implemented that log a patient's current medications, dosages, and medical info, along with information of drug-drug interaction risks- and can prompt the application user of these. This technology can be accessible on computers and mobile phones making it more versatile than ever.

For the full article visit

Antibiotic and Calcium-Channel Blocker a Fatal Combination

Kidney Week 2013: The American Society of Nephrology 46th Annual Meeting. Abstract SA-PO031. Presented November 9, 2013.

Nov 14, 2013

10 Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday & (Not Gain Extra Pounds From All That Fruit Cake!)

As the Holidays are approaching quickly, full of family, friends, and delicious goodies readily available- here are a few thing to keep in mind before grabbing for that 3rd piece of fruit cake! 

Did you know? 

The average person gains 7 lbs between Thanksgiving and New Years

1. Do Not Stop Exercising. We all need at least 1 hour of exercise 5x a week to maintain our weight. Plan a group exercise event before eating the big Thanksgiving dinner such as snowshoeing, skiing, or hiking etc.

2. When Drinking Alcohol, Do So in Moderation. Wine contains fewer calories than beer.
Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks 2-3x a week. Alcohol contains empty calories 
and a lot of sugar which can cause inflammation and has been associated with an increase risk of 
breast cancer.

3. Watch Your Portion Sizes. Appetizers may not ber very filling and can contain a lot
of calories, especially if they are creamy. Healthy appetizers can include goat cheese and
rice crackers, olives, hummus, pates, baked corn ships with salsa and guacamole, veggies with
a yogurt based dip, baked kale chips, veggie chips etc. Be careful with your cheese and nut
intake since these foods tend to have a lot of calories.

4. Drink at Least 8-10 Glasses of Water a Day to Stay Hydrated.  Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and can cause us to eat more.

5. Bake Healthy Desserts by putting one fourth the amount of sugar in the recipe or
substituting a natural sweetener such as agave, stevia, honey, apple juice, or 100% maple syrup.

6. Eat in a Relaxed Atmosphere and Chew Your Food Thoroughly. When under 
stress many people eat quickly without even realizing what their eating thus do not get full.  
Each bite should be chewed twenty times for proper absorption and digestion.

7. If You Splurge One Night Then the Next Day Exercise and Eat a Little Less such 
as soups and salads. Veggies tend to be low in calories, for soups stick with chicken and
veggies, chili’s or other vegetable soups. Creamy soups and salad dressing are loaded with calories.

8. Create a Healthy Thanksgiving Theme etc.  Healthy should not be boring.  Have 
your guests bring a healthy appetizer, main dish or dessert.  

9. Use Fresh Spices for Flavorings instead of heavy cream sauces.

10. Try to Relax and Not Get Too Stressed.  People tend to eat more in stressful situations.  So remember to breathe.


Nov 11, 2013

Black Cohosh Adulteration

Black Cohosh Adulteration
 Actaea        racemosa  

The root of Black Cohosh has grown increasingly well known for its medicinal benefits over the past 200 years.  In more recent years, the Department of Biological Sciences and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and numerous worldwide universities have continued to publish a large amount of literature on this subject. So what is it that intrigues them about this botanical? -The answer, though not so simple, is quite fascinating and offers positive medical future outlooks.

Black Cohosh Root comes in the forms of whole, chopped, semi-whole, dry powder, and liquid extract. Using these forms they are then formulated into pharmaceutical supplements that benefit the treatment of menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, heart palpations, nervousness, irritability, sleep disturbances, tinnitus, vertigo, excessive perspiration, depression, premenstrual discomfort, and painful menstruation.
So, Black Cohosh is unquestionably good for women’s health. What else can we expect from this wonder plant? Historically, Black Cohosh has been used for nervous system health and as an antispasmodic, but while the uses span over various medicinal uses, due to a process called adulteration, these benefits may be subsided. Adulteration is the process of mixing additional inferior ingredients into a pure mixture. A great example of this is adding water to dilute wine and lower the price.

Understanding adulteration and the setbacks of this process of adulteration raises concerns for the supplements being made by such a pure and beneficial herb. Not only does variation occur within purity of the extract, it also occurs in the source itself. The reliability of a foreign source of Black Cohosh is of concern since multiple plant types can be translated from Mandarin into English as Black Cohosh. When much of the material arrives in bulk quantities in forms such as chopped or powdered, identifying the true make-up to be pure Black Cohosh may need lab testing.

What we can understand from this is the true makeup of a supplement containing what is labeled as Black Cohosh, just may be its closely named counterpart. For a buyer, seeing a product that can be labeled Black Cohosh yet is a third of the price, may be tempting, which in-turn provides little incentive to suppliers to seek out reliable supply sources, which offer a high base price parallel to a non-adulterated substance.

The good news is that there is scientific botanical identification tools used that can identify a product’s level of purity. This offers the opportunity for companies to provide authentic materials to use in supplements, which in turn avoid misrepresentation to a product in a supplement that will not provide the intended benefits, and also avoid potential harm. When buying supplements, base decisions on not only the benefits of the product, but also the reliability of the company supplying it and Caveat emptor!

Foster, S. (2013). Exploring the Pheripatetic Maze of Black Cohosh Adulteration, A Review of the Nomenclature, Distribution, Chemistry, Market Status, Analytical Methods, and Safety Concerns of this Popular Herb. The Journal of the American Botanical Council, 98, 32-51.