Top Research

Top Research

Diabetes found to be linked to gum disease of irreversible nature

As per a 2003 study published in the Singapore Dental Journal, periodontal disease is common and it affects 40 per cent of adult diabetics in the moderately advanced stage. Studies have also established that people with diabetes are two to three times more likely to develop irreversible gum disease than people without. Gum disease may also have a significant effect on medical conditions such as aspiration pneumonia, infected heart valves, atherosclerosis, stroke and diabetes mellitus. As prevention is better than cure – therefore regular visits to the dentist and good habits such as flossing will help keep the condition at bay.

Cancer breakthrough: Nanoparticles possible to use to detect micro tumors

According to a recent research conducted at Rutgers University, a cutting edge nanotechnology was successfully used to spot minuscule, hard-to-detect cancerous tumors. The researchers now hope that it will be possible to successfully use this technique in humans in future. Currently, common means of detecting tumors are imaging techniques including computerized tomography, MRI scans, and biopsies. However, these methods are not quite successful to pick up on micrometastases, or micro tumors, that are too small to be detected. ‘Now we know the address of the cancer’

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A simple eye test can detect the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease

According to new reports, scientists from Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles have developed a new procedure to spot the retina of eye to determine early development of any deadly brain disease. The study suggested that accumulation of amyloid in retina is an early indication of the disease. At present there is no treatment available for the disease which kills nerve cells and results in dementia. Alzheimer’s society estimates that number of patients with this disease would rise to 1 million by 2025 and 2 million by 2050. Memory loss is the signature symptom of the disease.

Poor sense of smell can be an early indication of Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists at McGill University in Quebec have found a probable link between loss of smell to early indication of occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. The study was conducted at 300 people who were at risk of developing the disease. They were asked to identify strong scents like bubblegum, petrol, and lemon. The researchers observed that the participants who could not identify the smell were those who had the most biological indications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Gum disease may be associated to Alzheimer’s disease

A Taiwanese study recently found that people who suffer from gum disease are 70% more likely to get dementia. This was a retrospective cohort study which used data from National Health Insurance Program of Taiwan which covers 90% of the country’s residents. However the results of the study were significant but the increase was small (only 1 on 100 people developed dementia). The study gives a good reason to keep the teeth and gum healthy.

Sleep without dreams can be linked to risk of Alzheimer’s disease

According to a recent US study conducted on 321 people aged more than 60 years followed up over 12 years, lack of dreams while sleeping can be an indication of higher risk of developing Alzheimer. One percent decrease in rapid eye moment (REM) sleep resulted in 9% higher chance of developing the disease. The study also found that people who sleep more than 9 hr per night are at greater risk of developing dementia compared to those who sleep fewer hours.

A diabetic drug can slow down development of Parkinson disease

According to recent randomized clinical trial, a diabetic drug called exenatide has shown a great potential to show good effects in Parkinson disease. The study showed that GLP-1 inhibitor showed effects for several weeks even after discontinuing the medication. This drug has already shown neuroprotective effects in animal studies. The primary outcome of the study was MDS-UPDRS score. The findings of the study just got published in medical journal Lancet.

Drinking alcohol 3-4 times week can keep away from diabetes

Alcohol may be bad but according to recent findings, drinking moderate amount (3-4 times a week) can keep your health up and can save from diabetes. The study was conducted at National Institute of Public Health at University of Southern Denmark. It was conducted on 70551 people who had given the details of their drinking. Men consuming 14 drinks or more found to have 43% lower chance of developing diabetes. Heavy alcohol consumption is however related to more risk than the benefits.

Breakthrough: Fat metabolism plays important role in breast cancer occurrence

Though we know that great treatments have been developed over last years for breast cancer but relapse of the disease is still is big concern for healthcare researchers. But there is good news that a new study has found a new way to reduce the relapse rates in breast cancer. Researchers found that altered lipid metabolism in residual cells contribute to the relapse. The results are quite encouraging and were published in Journal of clinical investigation.

Breakthrough research: study got success in stopping fat-eating prostate cancer cells

According to a study conducted at University of Colorado Cancer Canter, combined treatment with CPT1A inhibitor with anti-androgen therapy increases the cancer sensitivity to enzalumide. This is a huge success for CRPC patient who don’t have many options after treatments. The drugs was found to be very effective and safe so clinical trials may be designed to further evaluate the drug.

Breakthrough research: a new drug can reverse vision loss caused by diabetes

As we k now that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness worldwide and there was not drug yet to reverse the damage. But here comes in new drug called Lucentis which has been recently approved by FDA and its first of this kind. Lucentis shot is given in white of the eye and the results can be seen as early as three days. Some of the side effects can include eye pain, eye irritation, and dry eyes.

A novel cell replacement therapy can cure diabetes

There is good news for diabetic patients; a novel tissue engineered islet transplant can cure the disease. Researchers from Diabetic Research Institute (DRI) at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have produced positive clinical results showing that engineered pancreatic islet cells can achieve insulin independence in type 1 diabetes.

Have penis cancer, new treatment lets you still have sex

Penis cancer affecting 500 people in UK is generally treated with surgery which leaves man with loss of sexual activity. But now there is hope for them with the new treatment discovered. The results of the study were presented ESTRO 36 conference. The treatment involved radiotherapy version called brachytherapy-which involves inserting radioactive wires in or near tumor. The results are quite promising.

Sunscreen can cause vitamin D deficiency

According to a research conducted at Touro University, use of sunscreen and disease causing malabsorption results in vitamin D deficiency and it causes more than 1 million cases of vitamin D deficiency worldwide. The study further says that use of sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher can decrease body’s vitamin D-3 production by 99%. Authors also suggest that consulting doctor before starting to use any supplement is a good approach. The results of the study were published in The Journal                 of the American Osteopathic Association.

A bra developed by a teenager that can detect breast cancer earns top prize

In Mexico, a cancer-detecting bra which was created by a teenager has won US$20,000 organized by Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. The inspiration behind this research was his mother’s fight against cancer. The bra was developed by the company Higia Technologies, comes with 200 biosensors that maps the breast cancer surface and monitors them for changes, shape and weight.

Coffee is the new weapon to protect from cancer occurrence

A recent study conducted in Italy on around 7000 men found that people who consumed more than 3 cups of coffee every day had 50% lower risk of developing prostate cancer. It further suggests that drink 8 oz. per cup and avoid sugar and cream or other additives. Temperature also plays important role and drinking warm coffee is better than hot. The study evaluated Italian coffee so results can be correlated to other types of coffees.

Chances of cancer are 2.5 times more in IVF kids

According to a study published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, children conceived through IVF technology have greater risk of developing cancer than the normal kids. The study was conducted in Israel and a strong association was observed in between IVF and cancer. As we know people are rushing for more such babies and now this is the time for such people to go and find out safety aspects of such procedures which can easily be found at Center for Bioethics and Culture.

Diabetes is on the rise in US Childs and experts don’t know why?

According to a new study published in New England Journal of Medicine, type 2 diabetes rate rose by 8.5% in Asian Americans age range 10-19 followed by 6.3% rise in blacks and 3.1% increase in Hispanics. Whites saw comparatively small rise up to 1%. NIH which funded the study is not clear about the reasons and causes. This is first ever study to find the diabetes occurrence in US.

Childhood cancer on the rise by 13%, study finds

According to latest WHO reports, childhood cancer has risen by 13% in last 20 years. Considering that the cancer is comparatively rare in child, it’s a very high increase observed. One of the main reasons is considered to be a better detection. But more data is required to confirm such findings. The findings of the study were just got published in Lancet Oncology. However survival has also increased from 79% to 89% in UK and from 83% to 88% in USA.


tr1Night job shifts can results in failure of diabetes treatment

As per the findings of a new research conducted in Hong Kong, those who have diabetes and frequently work in night shift would not get any benefits of the therapy. The study was conducted on 260 people and the results were published at Endocrine Society 99th Annual meeting. Authors suggested that the effects may be attributed to comparatively less sleep duration, higher intake of calories, higher BMI in such people. So, diabetic individuals who work in night shift and don’t have any option should pay special attention to the management of the disease.

Stem cell to endlessly supply blood in future

For decades, scientist has been trying to create blood cells in lab but could not succeed. But now some British researchers have developed a way to create blood cells from stem cells. The findings were recently published in Nature Communications. The research is a big step forward to scale up for the production of whole blood units. The findings can be a relief for those with rare blood groups.

Stem cells proven to be successful in treatment of erectile dysfunction

For the first time it has been shown in clinical study that erectile dysfunction can be treated with the use of stem cell therapy. Of the 21, 9 patients restored the erectile functions and were able to do normal intercourse. The results of the study were recently published in journal European Association of Urology and were presented in one conference happened in London.

High lactate level helps spread cancer to other body parts

According a new research conducted in US, lactate which is produced during glycolysis, causes acidic microenvironment outside the cells and supports spread of cancer cells. The findings puts metabolism again on the center of research since the focus has been shifted to genetics decades back. High level of lactate is produced during exercises and accumulates in muscles to cause the stiffness.

Diabetic drug Farxiga reduces the death rates in real world study

According to a real word study conducted by AstraZeneca, dapagliflozin a diabetic drug sharply reduces the deaths and hospitalization rates that occur in type 2 diabetic patients. The trial covered 6 countries – US, UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. It discovered that rate of hospitalization fell down by 39% and risk of health by 51%. Dapagliflozin was the first drug in its class and has 42% market share.

Blood test that can detect depression and schizophrenia just discovered

Reseachers from Yale have developed a procedure that uses blood and can measures the levels of hormones that differ in schizophrenia and depression patients even at the early development stages. The results were recently published in Experimental Physiology. As per the estimates 1% and 7% adults in US are affected with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in 2015.

Watching TV for more than three hrs increases the risk of diabetes in children

According to the findings of a new study, children aged 9-10 years who spends more than 3 hrs watching TV may be at great risk of developing diabetes. The study was published in journal of Archives of Disease in Childhood. In the study 1 (18%) in every 5 diabetic kid told that he spent more than 3 hrs everyday on TV. The study concludes that reducing time can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study was conducted in schools in London.

Cancer patients can reduce fatigue by doing exercise and avoiding drugs used for relief in fatigue

Recently scientist examined data from more than 110 studies including over 11000 patients and concluded that exercise and psychotherapy use reduces fatigue by 26-30%. Fatigue is commonly found in cancer patients and is further worsened by other cancer-related disease like depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance. Age, gender and cancer type does not have any effect over the effectiveness of exercise.

A new AIDS vaccine successful in cure of AIDS in 5 patients

Per a study recently published in New Scientist, taking vaccine developed by some Spain based researchers allowed HIV patients to stop taking antiretroviral medications that is a current treatment to suppress HIV. After 4 weeks of the treatment, virus became undetectable and the level never went above 2000 copies per milliliter. The study was conducted only in 13 patients and yet to be tested in large clinical trials.

Amino acids and vitamins are vital for stem cells

According to a recent research published in Stem Cell Reports, amino acids and vitamins play key role in stem cells. They play vital role in the genetic modifications which is the cause of various disease progressions. Vitamin C and amino acid L-Proline were found more important. This research does not only enhance the understanding of stem cell biology but also offers novel targets for new drug developments.

Fasting diet can help treat diabetes by regenerating the pancreas

According to a study conducted at University of southern California, a specific type of fasting diet can promote the growth of pancreatic cells which in turn can treat the diabetes (type 1, 2). The study was conducted on mice placed on such diet and which showed remarkable improvement in diabetes. This is due to the increased production of protein neurogenin-3 (Ngn3) which helps producing healthy beta cells.

Scientist gets success in growing pork in lab with stem cells

According to a study published in Journal Scientific Reports, scientist has successfully taken one step closer to developing animal-free meat. The cost of producing meatball is $1200 and the plan is to reduce it to affordable cost in coming 5-10 years. A new start up Memphis Meats is heavily working to make in possible. The best thing is that lab grown meat should bring end to animal deaths globally.

Calcium imbalance can cause Alzheimer’s disease

A new research conducted at Temple University in Philadelphia, shows that calcium imbalance plays a very important role in neuron-degeneration and can cause Alzheimer disease. The study was conducted in animals. The treatment paves a way to develop new treatments. The team is currently working to reverse the process of neuron-degeneration through stimulation of genes that controls sodium-calcium exchangers.

Salmonella which causes diarrhea can be used as a weapon against to flush out cancer cells

Per a study recently published in Science Translational Medicine, South Koran researchers reported that weaponized gut bacteria Salmonella typhimurium could be helpful to prevent human cancers from growing and spreading in mice. No evidence of side-effects also found. The study has been so far conducted in mice and yet to be evaluated in humans but researchers are quite encouraged by the data. In fact treatment of bladder cancer with Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin is already under development.

Rabies virus can help stop the brain cancer

One of the major hurdles in treatment of brain cancer is that cancer drugs can’t pass the blood brain barrier (BBB). However researchers from Sungkyunkwan University in Suwon, South Korea, have found a way to get around this problem. Rabies virus has a characteristic of climbing from infected muscle cells into the brain bypassing BBB. But now scientists have packaged cancer-fighting drugs into nanoparticles coated with parts of rabies virus surface proteins. The treatment has been successful in mice but needs development further.

Diabetes may be an early sign of presence of pancreatic cancer

According to a recent presentation to the European cancer congress in Amsterdam, 50% of the two pancreatic cancer patient groups were also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It has been known for some time that there exits some relationship between diabetes and pancreatic cancer, however this association of complex and not clearly understood.

Diabetes might be a warning of cancer presence, a study finds

In a recent study, scientist found that presence of diabetes can be a warning sign for the deadly cancers. A team of international scientist studied nearly a million type 2 diabetics in Italy and Belgium who had been told they had pancreatic cancer. They found that half of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the previous year. They were nearly at four times the risk of being diagnosed with the disease in the first three months of their diabetes treatment.

Depression and anxiety can greatly increase the risk of cancer related deaths

According to a finding published in British Medical Journal, people suffering from anxiety or depression are more likely to die from a range of cancers. The cancer type included bowel, prostate, and pancreatic cancer. The study was conducted on 163363 men and women who were free from cancer at the start of study, of whom 4353 went on to die from the disease.

Insecticides increases the risk of diabetes – be cautious

According to new studies published in journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, exposure to synthetic chemicals generally present in insecticides and garden products may put people of high risk of diabetes. Researchers from University at Buffalo in the US discovered that the insecticides bind to the receptors which causes various metabolic disease especially diabetes.

Can deafness be cured using stem cells? Treatment that can allow people to hear again may be ready in 10 years

Scientists believe they are ‘on the brink’ of a cure for hereditary deafness using stem cells. Researchers have grown new human ear hair cells, which can be used to replace faulty ones in sufferers of genetic deafness. They hope a treatment will be available within ten year. Human inner ear hair cells are found in the cochlea – the spiral part of the inner ear – and form a vital component of our ability to hear sound. If these ‘cochlea cells’ are genetically mutated, patients can be born with severe loss of hearing. Those born this way are currently treated with an artificial cochlear implant or ‘hearing aid’, which helps transfer sound to the patient’s hearing nerves. But now a team has engineered and grown stem cells that don’t carry any deafness mutation. More at:

Overemphasis on vitamin D may lead to unnecessary testing, too many pills

Doctors are warning about vitamin D again, and it’s not the “we need more” news you might expect. Instead, they say there are too much needless testing and too many people taking too many pills for a problem that few people truly have. The nutrient is crucial for strong bones and may play a role in other health conditions, though that is far less certain. Misunderstandings about the recommended amount of vitamin D have led to misinterpretation of blood tests and many people thinking they need more than they really do, some experts who helped set the levels write in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine. Correctly interpreted, less than 6 percent of Americans ages 1 to 70 are deficient, and only 13 percent are in danger of not getting enough. More at:

Bone gene may also boost human cognition

A gene that regulates bone growth and muscle metabolism in mammals may also help promote brain maturation, cognition and learning in humans, a new study has found. The research by Harvard Medical School in the US provides a dramatic illustration of evolutionary economising and creative gene retooling – mechanisms that contribute to the vast variability across species that share nearly identical set of genes yet differ profoundly in their physiology. The research shows that osteocrin – a gene found in the skeletal muscles of all mammals and well-known for its role in bone growth and muscle function – is completely turned off in rodent brains yet highly active in the brains of non-human primates and humans. More at:

Scientists identify protein linked to lung cancer

A team of South Korean medical scientists has identified a new protein that is linked to causing lung cancer. The team led by Chang-hwan Lee of the University of Ulsan College of Medicine discovered that the protein called USE1 was more frequently found in lung cancer patients after analysing their DNA. The centre piece of the research is that we discovered the core protein related to lung cancer,” said Lee.
“USE1 proteins are frequently over expressed in lung cancer, and missense mutations in USE1 prolong the half-life of the protein, promoting tumour formation,” according to the research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The discoveries can be further used for the development of novel drugs for lung cancer treatment, said South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning that funded the research. More at:

Hormone that controls maturation of fat cells discovered

Mature fat cells produce a hormone that regulates the differentiation of nearby stem cells in response to glucocorticoid hormones and high-fat diets, Stanford researchers have found. Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered a hormone that controls the first step in the maturation of fat cells. Its actions help explain how high-fat diets, stress and certain steroid medications cause obesity. The new findings were published Oct. 25 in Science Signaling. Around the body, fat depots contain many mature fat cells and small numbers of stem cells. These stem cells can differentiate into more fat cells, but until now, no one has known how the process was triggered. The new research shows that mature fat cells make a hormone called Adamts1 that toggles the switch controlling whether nearby stem cells differentiate and prepare to store fat. High-fat diets and glucocorticoid medications change Adamts1 production, telling nearby stem cells to begin maturing, the research found. More at:


More than 15 years ago, 17 babies were born after an experimental infertility treatment that gave them DNA from three people: Mom, Dad and an egg donor. Now researchers have checked up on how the babies are doing as teenagers. The preliminary verdict: The kids are all right. With no sign of unusual health problems and excellent grades in school at ages 13 to 18, these children are “doing well,” said embryologist Jacques Cohen of the Institute for Reproductive Medicine & Science at Saint Barnabas in Livingston, New Jersey, where the treatment was done. That includes Emma Foster, 17, of Red Bank, New Jersey. “I turned out normal,” Foster said in an interview Tuesday. A cheerleader since age 10, she is now looking at colleges and thinking of majoring in engineering. More at:

Strain of salmonella ‘infiltrates cancer cells and destroys them’

SALMONELLA is usually associated with an unpleasant bout of food poisoning – but could the bacterial infection actually be used to cure cancer?A new study reveals that a non-toxic strain of Salmonella can be used to control the spread of cancer. Experts at the Cancer Research Center and the University of Missouri believe that the bug could kill cancer cells without harming normal, healthy cells. One of the lead researchers, Dr Robert Kazmierczak, said: “Salmonella strains have a natural preference for infiltrating and replicating within the cancer cells of a tumour, making the bacteria an ideal candidate for bacteriotherapy. “Bacteriotherapy is the use of live bacteria as therapy to treat a medical condition, like cancer.” Put simply, the Salmonella infection could move into the cancer tumour, working to reduce the symptoms from the inside out. In order to test this theory, a strain of Salmonella was injected into mice who were suffering from prostate cancer. Encouragingly, in 20 per cent of cases, the size of the creatures’ tumours declined. More at:

Vitamin treatment unlocks door to stem cell therapies

Vitamins A and C could improve the conversion of adult cells into stem cells, opening the way to advances in biomedical treatments for human diseases, according to a New Zealand-led study released on Friday. The research team discovered that the two vitamins complemented each other in erasing “memory” associated with DNA, an important effect for improving technologies geared towards regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy, Xinhua news agency reported. Ordinary adult cells, such as those in the skin or blood, could be artificially coerced in a culture dish to resemble embryos only a few days old, said study co-author Tim Hore of the University of Otago. Since the 2006 discovery that reprogramming was possible, there had been much interest in using induced embryonic stem cells to cure human disease.  More at:

Scientists identify novel strategy to treat pancreatic cancer

Researchers have found that a protein called SLC6A14 is overexpressed by several fold in pancreatic tumors taken from patients and in cancerous pancreatic cells lines compared with normal pancreatic tissue or normal pancreatic cells. SLC6A14 transports amino acids into cells to help with cellular metabolism. A blocker of SLC6A14, called α-methyltryptophan, induced amino acid starvation in pancreatic cancer cells and reduced the growth and proliferation of these cells, both in laboratory dishes and in mice. “Finally, a novel strategy to treat pancreatic cancer: starve it to death!” said Dr. Yangzom Bhutia, senior author of the British Journal of Pharmacology study. “Pancreatic cancer recruits the transporter SLC6A14 to satisfy its increasing demands for amino acids; our studies show that if we block this transporter with a drug, we can effectively starve this cancer to death.” More at:

Tasmanian devil milk could help fight cancer, researchers hope

Milk from Tasmanian devils could be the new weapon in the war against superbugs – maybe even cancer – but obtaining it is best left to the experts. A Sydney University team that analysed properties in devil milk which can kill bacterial and fungal infections, including some superbugs which are notoriously resistant to antibiotics. The infection-fighting properties of antimicrobial peptides had been studied in animals before, however how they benefitted Tasmanian devils had remained, up until recently, “relatively unexplored”, the team noted. The researchers looked the devils’ fight against the contagious Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) which was estimated to have wiped out up to 80 per cent of the animals on the island state since it was first detected in 1996. More at:

High levels of cholesterol can lead to bone loss

 High cholesterol, which is a known factor for the decrease in heart health may harm more than our cardiovascular systems and lead to bone loss, say researchers including one of Indian-origin. The new research conducted using animal models suggests that high levels of cholesterol can trigger mitochondrial oxidative stress on cartilage cells — connective tissue — causing them to die. This may ultimately lead to the development of osteoarthritis — a type of arthritis that occurs when flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down, said Indira Prasadam, a researcher at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. More at:

Your increasing waist size may cause liver cancer

 Individuals with high body mass index (BMI), increased waist circumference, and Type 2 diabetes may be at an increased risk of developing liver cancer, a study has found. The findings showed that for every 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI, there was a 38 and 25 per cent increase in the risk for liver cancer in men and women, respectively. For every 5 cm increase in waist circumference, the increase in risk for liver cancer was 8 per cent. Participants with Type 2 diabetes mellitus were 2.61 times more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancer, and the risk increases with increase in BMI, the researchers said. More at:

Prostate Cancer Treatment Can Raise Dementia Risk

Reducing testosterone levels with androgen deprivation therapy, or A.D.T., is a common treatment for prostate cancer. But a new study has found that it more than doubles the risk of dementia. Previous studies have linked the hormone treatment to an increased risk of depression and Alzheimer’s disease. This new study considered all types of dementia. Researchers reviewed the medical records of 9,272 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1994 and 2013 and who had no previous diagnosis of dementia. They found that the absolute increased risk of dementia after five years was 7.9 percent among those who had been given hormone treatment compared with 3.5 percent among those who had not. Patients who had been receiving A.D.T. for a year or more had the highest increased risk. More at:

Novel target for diabetes drug identified as ion exchanger

Nagoya University-led researchers use nematode worms as a model to identify a new target of the type 2 diabetes drug metformin; ion exchanger protein NHX-5 and its related protein in fruit flies are potential metformin targets, suggesting the drug controls the cellular endocytic cycle. The most common type of diabetes, type 2, is characterized by insulin resistance and high blood glucose. Many patients are prescribed metformin, an anti-diabetic drug known to decrease hepatic glucose production and increase its uptake by muscle. Metformin also shows positive effects on other diseases such as polycystic ovary syndrome, nerve disorders, and some cancers. These versatile effects suggest that metformin could target multiple molecules, although details of its targets have remained unclear. A research team led by Nagoya University has now identified a novel potential target, a protein that mediates the exchange of sodium and hydrogen ions, using the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The study was reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. More at:

Research on common bacterium opens door to fighting gastric cancer

A common bacterium that more than half of people have in their gut can use hydrogen gas present in the gastrointestinal tract to inject a cancer-causing toxin into otherwise healthy cells, according to a recently published study led by University of Georgia researchers. The bacterium’s reliance on hydrogen presents a pathway to potential new treatment and preventive measures in fighting gastric cancers, which kill more than 700,000 people per year, said corresponding author Robert Maier, Georgia Research Alliance Ramsey Eminent Scholar of Microbial Physiology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Previous studies solidified the relationship between stomach ulcers and cancer and certain strains of Helicobacter pylori, a stomach-dwelling bacterium that causes 90 percent of all gastric cancers. Earlier research also found a link between a toxin known as CagA, or cytotoxin-associated gene A, and cancer formation, but the new study exposes how the bacterium uses hydrogen as an energy source to inject CagA into cells, resulting in gastric cancer, Maier said. More at:

Pancreatic cancer develops like a ‘big bang’: study

A new study provides insight into how pancreatic cancer develops and spreads, offering hope for better diagnosis and treatment. Many of the important changes that are thought to cause this disease happen “all at once,” like a “big bang,” according to researchers from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and University Health Network’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The current view is that pancreatic cancer develops gradually and sequentially but the findings published in Nature challenge this. The researchers hope that these findings could improve diagnosis and help predict how the disease will develop and when it will metastasize. “Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer and still one of the least understood,” said Dr. Steve Gallinger, one of the co-authors of the study. More at:

Headache Linked to Hypothyroidism

Patients with a headache disorder have a 21% increased risk of developing hypothyroidism, and the risk is even higher — 41% — in those with possible migraine, a new study has found. “Just like female sex and age are risk factors for hypothyroidism, one should also now consider headache disorder as a risk,” said study author Vincent T. Martin, MD, professor, medicine, and co-director, Headache and Facial Pain Program, Gardner Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Doctors might think about periodically screening patients with a headache disorder for the development of hypothyroidism and, if they uncover it, they should treat it, said Dr Martin. More at:

Low Thyroid Hormone Raises Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

People with prediabetes and low thyroid function were more than twice as likely to progress to full-blown type 2 diabetes compared to those with normal thyroid-hormone levels in a new study published September 30 in the journal BMC Medicine. For the study, researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands followed 8,492 adults, ages 54 to 74, for nearly eight years. At the start, 1,338 had prediabetes and 7,114 had normal blood sugar levels.  After 7.9 years, 798 had developed type 2 diabetes. Overall, low thyroid function—even in the low-normal range—increased risk for diabetes by 13%. But among those with prediabetes, the risk for progressing to type 2 diabetes ranged from 15% for those with normal thyroid function to 35% for those with signs of low function. Even “low normal” thyroid functioning increased risk. More at:

Gene injection to brain could halt Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease could be stopped in its tracks with an injection into the memory centres of the brain to boost a gene which clears out destructive sticky plaques, scientists believe. Four years ago, researchers discovered that a protein called PGC1 -alpha was vital for preventing the build-up of amyloid beta plaques, but people with Alzheimer’s disease do not produce sufficient amounts. Now scientists have shown it is possible to deliver a gene which produces the plaque-busting protein directly into the brain. Mice treated with the gene therapy at the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease did not develop any plaques and performed as well in memory tasks as healthy mice after four months. More at:

New Caffeine-Based Drugs May Prevent Parkinson’s Progression

Scientists have developed novel caffeine-based chemical compounds that show promise in preventing the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease attacks the nervous system, causing uncontrolled shakes, muscle stiffness, and slow, imprecise movement, chiefly in middle-aged and elderly people. It is caused by the loss of brain cells (neurons) that produce dopamine, an essential neurotransmitter that allows neurons to “talk” to each other. Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada focused on a protein called a-synuclein (AS), which is involved in dopamine regulation. In Parkinson’s sufferers, AS gets misfolded into a compact structure associated with the death of dopamine-producing neurons. AS appears to act like a prion disease. In prion diseases, one mis-folded protein triggers mis-folding in others, spreading like falling dominos. More at:

Biocon gears up to launch new drugs to treat diabetes, cancer

Biocon Ltd will launch new branded formulations of its own and introduce products licensed from others to treat diabetes and cancer in the coming months, a top official at the bio-pharmaceutical firm said. The company will also approach more doctors through field staff and use digital technologies to train doctors and bring awareness among patients. “The immediate priority that we have is to expand our franchise for the offerings we have,” Suresh Subramanian, head of branded formulations (India) business at Biocon said in an interview. Biocon is in talks with prospective partners for in-licensing novel molecules to strengthen its portfolio, Subramanian said. He did not name these companies. Biocon which markets human insulin and long acting insulin Glargine, ranks fourth with less than 10% market share in India. More at:

Alzheimer’s-linked protein can be cleared from mouse brains without ill effects

UT Southwestern researchers have removed a protein from the brains of mice with no harmful effects, suggesting that potential Alzheimer’s drugs targeting this protein could do so without affecting memory and learning. The protein, apolipoprotein E, or APOE, is related to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease: A variant of APOE, known as APOE4, can drive the accumulation of toxic plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. And while other studies have focused on removing the protein to treat Alzheimer’s, it was unknown whether APOE is essential for healthy brain function. APOE has multiple functions in the body, such as transporting cholesterol as well as the beta-amyloid that cluster together into plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. While the UT Southwestern team successfully cleared APOE from the brain without compromising memory or learning, removing it from other parts of the body raised cholesterol levels, which in turn blocked brain function, according to a statement. This confirms previous research that suggests cardiovascular health affects the brain. More at:

Some Good News on Ovarian Cancer

The death rate from ovarian cancer declined in the United States by 16 percent from 2002 to 2012, among the largest reductions in the world. The rate in the United States, 4.85 per 100,000, puts it roughly in the middle of a list of 47 countries whose rates and trends were described recently in a study in Annals of Oncology. The countries with the lowest ovarian cancer mortality rates are Brazil, Hong Kong and South Korea, and those with the highest are Lithuania, Ireland and Latvia. Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland have rates higher than the United States, as does the European Union as a whole. Still, all European countries except Bulgaria showed declines, and the rate in the European Union fell 9.9 percent over the period. More at:

Ultrasmall nanoparticles kill cancer cells in unusual way

Scientists are surprised to find that ultrasmall, fluorescent nanoparticles – originally developed to light up tumors for surgery – can also kill cancer cells by triggering a type of cell death that is not commonly observed. They report the discovery – and how they tested the nanoparticles in cell cultures and mice – in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. One of the lead investigators, Ulrich Wiesner, a professor of engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, says: “If you had to design a nanoparticle for killing cancer, this would be exactly the way you would do it.” Nanoparticles are tiny particles with at least one dimension no bigger than 100 nanometers. They have unusual properties compared with the same material on a larger scale, and scientists and engineers are applying them in many fields, including electronics and biomedicine. More at:

Dandelion root can kill 98 percent of cancer cells in 48 hours

Dandelion root is being studied for possible anti-cancer properties, but there’s absolutely no proof it kills “98 percent of cancer cells in 48 hours.” According to Dr. Carolyn Hamm from the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre in Ontario, Canada, dandelion root extract was the only thing that helped with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. This form of cancer typically affects older adults. John Di Carlo, who at the time was a 72-year old cancer patient at the hospital, was sent home to live out his final days after all efforts failed to treat his leukemia. He told CBC News that he was advised to drink dandelion root tea as a last ditch effort. Perhaps it should have been the first option offered in his treatment plan, as his cancer went into remission only four months later! His doctors attributed this to the dandelion tea that he drank. Recent studies have shown that dandelion root extract can work very quickly on cancer cells, as was evidenced in Di Carlo’s case. Within 48 hours of coming into contact with the extract, cancerous cells begin to disintegrate. The body happily replaces these with healthy new cells. More at:

Kidney cancer drug also attacks other cancers

From researching the chemical effects of hundreds of drugs on cell signaling pathways, a team of researchers has discovered that axitinib – a drug approved for the treatment of kidney cancer – can also attack other types of cancer via a different route. The study, led by researchers from the Department of Clinical Science at the University of Bergen in Norway, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and there is a comment on the discovery of the “useful off-target effect” in the journal Science Signaling. The discovery comes from a growing field of research called drug repurposing, which investigates whether drugs already approved to treat one disease or condition are effective and safe for treating other diseases. More at:

Anxious men twice as likely to die from cancer, research finds

Men who suffer from anxiety are more than twice as likely to die from cancer than those who do not, a major new study has found. A survey of nearly 16,000 people over 15 years found that the correlation held true regardless of other factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity, however the association was not shared by women. Scientists involved in the research have now called for doctors to treat anxiety as a major physiological health risk and “more than just a personality trait”. More at:

Nanoparticles called C dots show ability to induce cell death in tumors

Nanoparticles known as Cornell dots, or C dots, have shown great promise as a therapeutic tool in the detection and treatment of cancer. Now, the ultrasmall particles – developed more than a dozen years ago by Ulrich Wiesner, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Engineering – have shown they can do something even better: kill cancer cells without attaching a cytotoxic drug. A study led by Michelle Bradbury, director of intraoperative imaging at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and associate professor of radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Michael Overholtzer, cell biologist at MSKCC, in collaboration with Wiesner has thrown a surprising twist into the decadelong quest to bring C dots out of the lab and into use as a clinical therapy. Their paper, “Ultrasmall Nanoparticles Induce Ferroptosis of Nutrient-Deprived Cancer Cells and Suppress Tumor Growth,” was published Sept. 26 in Nature Nanotechnology. The work details how C dots, administered in large doses and with the tumors in a state of nutrient deprivation, trigger a type of cell death called ferroptosis. More at:

Nanoparticle drug cocktail could help treat lethal cancers

Cancer treatments that mobilize the body’s immune system to fight the disease have generated a lot of excitement in the past few years. One promising form of immunotherapy called checkpoint blockade has had some striking successes, but the therapy has almost no effect on some of the most lethal kinds of tumors. Now a group of scientists from the University of Chicago has developed a way to spur checkpoint blockade into more potent action. The therapy, reported in the Aug. 17 issue of Nature Communications, offers the hope of an effective treatment for intractable metastatic cancers, including those of the colon and lung. More at:

Iron nanoparticles make immune cells attack cancer

Stanford researchers accidentally discovered that iron nanoparticles invented for anemia treatment have another use: triggering the immune system’s ability to destroy tumor cells. Iron nanoparticles can activate the immune system to attack cancer cells, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The nanoparticles, which are commercially available as the injectable iron supplement ferumoxytol, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat iron deficiency anemia. The mouse study found that ferumoxytol prompts immune cells called tumor-associated macrophages to destroy cancer cells, suggesting that the nanoparticles could complement existing cancer treatments. The discovery, described in a paper published online Sept. 26 in Nature Nanotechnology, was made by accident while testing whether the nanoparticles could serve as Trojan horses by sneaking chemotherapy into tumors in mice. More at:

Nanoparticle injections may be future of osteoarthritis treatment

Osteoarthritis is a debilitating condition that affects at least 27 million people in the United States, and at least 12 percent of osteoarthritis cases stem from earlier injuries. Over-the-counter painkillers, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, help reduce pain but do not stop unrelenting cartilage destruction. Consequently, pain related to the condition only gets worse. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that they can inject nanoparticles into injured joints in mice and suppress inflammation immediately following an injury, reducing the destruction of cartilage. The findings are reported online Sept. 26 in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “I see a lot of patients with osteoarthritis, and there’s really no treatment,” said senior author Christine Pham, MD, an associate professor of medicine. “We try to treat their symptoms, but even when we inject steroids into an arthritic joint, the drug only remains for up to a few hours, and then it’s cleared. These nanoparticles remain in the joint longer and help prevent cartilage degeneration.” More at:

Research finds talc doesn’t cause cancer; juries disagree

Two lawsuits ended in jury verdicts worth $127 million. Two others were tossed out by a judge who said there wasn’t reliable evidence that the talc in Johnson & Johnson’s iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer. So who’s right? And is baby powder safe? Most research finds no link or a weak one between ovarian cancer and using baby powder for feminine hygiene, a practice generations of American mothers have passed on to their daughters. Most major health groups have declared talc harmless. Johnson & Johnson, whose baby powder dominates the market, says it’s perfectly safe. Yet some 2,000 women have sued, and lawyers are reviewing thousands of other potential cases, most generated by ads touting the two big verdicts. Meanwhile, another trial begins this week. More at:

Could ants be the solution to antibiotic crisis?

Scientists have pinpointed a promising new source of antibiotics: ants. They have found that some species – including leaf-cutter ants from the Amazon – use bacteria to defend their nests against invading fungi and microbes. Chemicals excreted by the bacteria as part of this fight have been shown to have particularly powerful antibiotic effects and researchers are now preparing to test them in animals to determine their potential as medicines for humans. Doctors say new antibiotics are urgently needed as superbug resistance to standard antimicrobial agents spreads. More than 700,000 people globally now die of drug-resistant infections each year, it is estimated – and some health officials say this figure could be even higher. Last week, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, speaking at the first general assembly meeting on drug-resistant bacteria, said antimicrobial resistance was now a fundamental threat to global health. More at:

Stem cell research could lead to treatment breakthroughs

Scientists have discovered a new way to replicate the regenerative power of stem cells in the lab, which could lead to powerful treatments for injuries and diseases. In a new paper published in the journal ACS Nano, Dr. Catherine Berry and Professor Matthew Dalby from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology, describe how they have been able create and control bundles of bone marrow stem cells that act as the stem cells do in the body, These bundles of cells are capable of healing injuries in lab-grown bone and cartilage models. Mesenchymal stem cells are produced naturally in the body and have the unique ability to develop, or ‘differentiate’, into many other different types of cells, such as bone, cartilage or fat cells. They have enormous potential for use in medicine but they are difficult to properly culture in the laboratory, because when stored outside of the body they spontaneously and randomly differentiate. More at:

Depression During Pregnancy Linked to Gestational Diabetes

Depression during and after pregnancy may be linked to gestational diabetes, a new government study found. Women in the study who reported feeling depressed early in pregnancy were more likely to develop gestational diabetes later in pregnancy compared with those who did not report depression early in pregnancy, according to the study, from researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The findings suggest that “depression and gestational diabetes may occur together,” Stefanie Hinkle, a population health researcher at the NICHD and the lead author of the study, said in a statement. More at:

Revolutionary drug ‘melts away cancer’

A new drug that ‘melts away cancer’ has been given fast-track approval in the United States. Developed in Melbourne, Australia, Venetoclax was developed to specifically target chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The drug showed a positive result in 80 per cent of clinical trials, with one in five patients finishing the programme completely cancer-free. More at:

Four-stranded DNA could help develop targeted treatments

Taking a closer look at four-stranded versions of DNA inside the genome of human cells, scientists have discovered some potential new avenues for targeted cancer treatments. They found that the quadruple helix structures occur in DNA regions that control genes, especially cancer genes. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, report their findings in the journal Nature Genetics. More at:

Bio-inspired insulin may act three times faster than current products

University of Utah researchers have found that the structure of an insulin molecule produced by predatory cone snails may be an improvement over current fast-acting therapeutic insulin. The finding suggests that the cone snail insulin, produced by the snails to stun their prey, could begin working in as few as five minutes, compared with 15 minutes for the fastest-acting insulin currently available. Biologist Helena Safavi, co-author on a paper describing the cone snail insulin published September 12 in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, says that studying complex venom cocktails can open doors to new drug discoveries. More at:

Lack of oxygen at a tumour’s core may develop cancer cells

NEW YORK: Tumour hardness and hypoxia — lack of oxygen at the tumour’s core — trigger a biological switch that causes cancer stem cells to develop, a recent study has found. This biological switch is critical to a tumour’s ability to invade other tissue — a process called metastasis. “Our study suggests that to combat cancer, we should be developing treatments that target the stiff, hypoxic regions of tumours. We were surprised to see just how important these two properties in the tumour micro-environment — stiffness and hypoxia — were for regulating cancer stem cells,” said Celeste Nelson, Professor at the Princeton University, in the US.  More at:

Diabetes: Key to faster-acting insulin found in snail venom

Researchers from Australia and the United States have discovered that the venom of Conus geographus contains a highly efficient natural protein – called Con-Ins G1 – that operates faster than human insulin. They also found that the protein is able to bind to human insulin receptors, suggesting it could work as a treatment for diabetes. The team reports the findings in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. More at:

Melanoma may be stoppable with drug that halts cancer cell proliferation

A drug already being tested in people as a treatment for cancer appears to show great promise in halting melanoma skin cancer. The drug – called pevonedistat – works in a way differently than intended and could also be effective against other cancers. So says a new study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville that was published in the journal EBioMedicine. Lead researcher Tarek Abbas, assistant professor of radiation oncology, says: “In fact, the drug is very effective on all melanomas, including those for which an effective therapeutic is lacking.” More at:

Decoded: How X-ray damages DNA, causes cancer

Scientists have, for the first time, found how X-rays and radioactive particles cause cancer in humans by damaging DNA, a finding that may lead to more effective treatments for tumours caused by radiation. Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK have been able to identify in human cancers two characteristic patterns of DNA damage caused by ionising radiation, such as gamma rays, X-rays and radioactive particles. These fingerprint patterns may now enable doctors to identify which tumours have been caused by radiation, and investigate if they should be treated differently. Previous work on cancer had shown that DNA damage often leaves a molecular fingerprint, known as a mutational signature, on the genome of a cancer cell. More at:

Gene therapy for sickle cell moves closer as scientists clear unexpected obstacle

Researchers have cleared the last scientific hurdle to a clinical trial of gene therapy to cure sickle cell disease, they reported on Tuesday, fueling hopes that they will begin enrolling patients early next year. But they dodged a bullet.

The new study, conducted in mice, addressed a sometimes calamitous risk in gene therapy: the difficulty of changing only one thing when tweaking the DNA of a cell. Past efforts to insert a healthy gene into patients with a defective version have led to such tragedies as a boy developing a rare form of leukemia, after a gene aimed at curing his immune-system disease inadvertently activated cancer-causing DNA. And knocking out a gene to eliminate its disease-causing effects can also KO unsuspected healthy functions. More at:

Gene-editing method shrinks cancer

Scientists have used a gene-editing tool to stunt tumour growth in mice. Crispr-Cas9 replaces harmful DNA with new code that kills cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones unharmed. Mice with the reprogrammed code developed tumours that were much smaller than cancers in mice that did not get this treatment.

Experts call the study, in Nature Methods, promising but add it would take many years to determine whether the technique could work in humans. Dr Weiren Huang, from the First Affiliated Hospital of Shenzhen University, in China, and colleagues used Crispr-Cas9 to reprogram a cell-signalling pathway that would normally feed tumour growth in mice. More at:

Cancer breakthrough: Scientists develop ‘smoke detector’ test that can spot disease before symptoms are noticeable

A simple blood test that can detect cancer before any symptoms are noticeable has been developed by researchers in a breakthrough that could save thousands of lives.

The scientists, who unveiled the test at the British Science Festivalin Swansea, compared the new test to a smoke detector, because it does not actually find cancer but changes to red blood cells that occur when cancer is present. Discovering cancer early is a key factor in successful treatment. If a tumour is caught in a single part of the body, there is a much better chance that it can be removed surgically. More at:

A new drug on the way to treat Alzheimer’s disease which shows promising results

A drug called aducanumab might remove the toxic proteins thought to trigger Alzheimer’s disease from the brain, suggests findings from a small clinical trial. he results, reported on 31 August in Nature, showed that aducanumab broke up amyloid-β proteins in patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The trial mainly tested the safety of the drug in people, and so the final word on whether aducanumab works to ameliorate the memory and cognitive losses associated with Alzheimer’s will have to wait until the completion of two larger phase III trials.  They are now in progress, and planned to run until at least 2020. More at:

In vitro fertilization (IVF) Not Linked to Breast Cancer Risk

Women who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) are not at increased risk of developing breast cancer, a Dutch study shows. The findings are consistent with those of previous research showing no significant association between assisted reproductive technology and breast cancer, including a recent study reported by Medscape Medical News from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine 2015 Annual Meeting. “This is good news, given that the data have been conflicting. This offers some peace of mind to providers and patients,” Mia Gaudet, PhD, director, Breast and Gynecological Cancer Research, American Cancer Society, told Medscape Medical News. Dr Gaudet was not involved in the study. More at:

Scientists Have Found How Cancer Spreads Through the Bloodstream

If you get cancer, it’s likely that the tumor itself won’t get you. The most common cause of cancer death is from the metastases that form when the initial tumor spreads, sending cancers cells out which grow elsewhere. These cells travel through your blood, like assassins crawling through the ductwork, but until now it’s not been known how they get in and out of your blood stream.

Researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute found that the cancer cells punch their way through the wall of a blood vessel to get in, but they do it in a sneaky way. There’s a particular cell in the blood vessel’s wall which has a molecule on its surface called the Death Receptor 6 (I kid you not). This is like the self-destruct mechanism inexplicably built into all sci-fi spaceships, and when triggered by the cancer cell, the countdown starts. The upshot is that the Death Receptor causes the blood-vessel cells to commit suicide, letting the cancer cell slip through into the bloodstream, from where it can travel to wreak havoc elsewhere. More at:

Melatonin may suppress breast cancer tumor growth

Based on a theory that the sleep-deprived culture of modern society puts women at higher risk for breast cancer, researchers found melatonin may be a way to control the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Melatonin decreased the number and size of cancer cells in lab experiments, suggesting deficiencies of the natural hormone contribute to the growth of breast cancer, according to a study published in the journal Genes and Cancer. The hormone melatonin is made by the brain at night and helps control the body’s sleep and wake cycles. And while sleep, or lack thereof, has been considered as playing a role in a range of diseases and adverse health conditions, few studies have confirmed this. More at:

Gallstone disease may increase heart disease risk

A history of gallstone disease may increase your risk of coronary heart disease, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Gallstone disease is one of the most common and costly gastrointestinal disorders in the United States. Gallstone disease and coronary heart disease have similar risk factors, including diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and poor diet. In a meta-analysis of seven studies consisting of a total of 842,553 participants and 51,123 cases of coronary heart disease, researchers analyzed the relationship between history of gallstones and the development of coronary heart disease. They found that a history of gallstone disease was linked with a 23 percent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease. “Our results suggest that patients with gallstone disease should be monitored closely based on a careful assessment of both gallstone and heart disease risk factors,” said Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., study senior author and professor of epidemiology at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. “Preventing gallstone disease may also benefit heart health.” More at:

Loophole for cancer cells found

Many cancers only become a mortal danger if they form metastases elsewhere in the body. Such secondary tumours are formed when individual cells break away from the main tumour and travel through the bloodstream to distant areas of the body. To do so, they have to pass through the walls of small blood vessels. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim and Goethe University Frankfurt have now shown that tumour cells kill specific cells in the vascular wall. This enables them to leave the vessels and establish metastases, a process facilitated by a molecule called DR6. More at:

Nanobots could be used for precision attacks on cancer, researchers say

MONTREAL — While chemotherapy can be effective against some cancers, the highly toxic drugs cause damage to healthy tissue and can be the source of significant, occasionally life-threatening side effects in patients — but researchers in Canada may have a solution to both problems. Nanorobots containing anti-cancer drugs are capable of taking a direct route through the bloodstream to attack tumors at their most vulnerable points, researchers at Polytechnique Montreal, the University of Montreal and McGill University report in a study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. More at:

Eye Color Determines Risk for Cancer

Clinical and epidemiological data have always pointed to eye cancer being more common among those individuals with light eye coloration and fair skin—however, the genetic mechanisms underlying disease development have been largely unknown. Now new research from investigators at The Ohio State University (OSU) and New York University (NYU) sheds light on specific inherited genetic differences for an increased risk of uveal melanoma, a rare cancer that arises from the pigment cells that determine eye color.  More at:

Low selenium levels linked to liver cancer risk? An interview with Dr David Hughes

Food provides us with a variety of substances we need to maintain life. These substances are essential nutrients and are classified as macronutrients (water, protein, fats, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Selenium is one of the micronutrient minerals that we need in small ‘trace’ amounts to make various important proteins, called selenoproteins, some of which help rid the body of dangerous free radicals that can damage our DNA. In humans, selenium is essential, particularly for the effective functioning of the immune system and in controlling oxidative processes linked to cancer development. Indeed, a growing body of evidence suggests that suboptimal intakes of selenium contribute to the development of several cancers and other major chronic diseases. More at:

Magnetic fields deliver cancer-killing bacteria to tumour’s heart

Delivering cancer drugs into the heart of tumours may have just got a bit simpler thanks to magnetically-guided bacteria.The Canada researchers working on the cancer-killing bacteria believe they could deliver higher doses of drugs to cancers than currently possible, while shielding the body from harmful side effects.

Tumours’ rapid growth and lack of ordered blood vessels often leaves them severely oxygen depleted. Unfortunately, this can raise the pressure in the tumour compared to the surrounding tissue, hindering the diffusion of chemotherapy drugs into the tumour: often only around 2% of the chemotherapy drugs make it into the cancer. One obvious solution would be to encase the drugs in an artificially-propelled carrier, but this has been plagued by difficulties. Sylvain Martel of McGill University in Canada and colleagues previously tried using magnetic fields to propel synthetic drug carriers in the bloodstream.‘The problem is that the force depends on the volume of magnetic material that you have,’ says Martel. ‘To get to the tumour you need something smaller than 2μm… The magnetic field you’d need would be beyond technology.’More at:

Novel Glucokinase Activator Shown Effective, Safe for Type 2 Diabetes

vTv Therapeutics announced positive topline results from the Phase 2b AGATA study of the glucokinase activator, TTP399, for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. AGATA (Add Glucokinase Activator to Target A1c) was a double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled, parallel group clinical trial evaluating TTP399 in 190 patients with Type 2 diabetes on a stable dose of metformin. The primary endpoint was change from baseline in HbA1c at 6 months. More at:

Discovery of key component of HIV yields new drug target

Scientists from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge and University College London have discovered an essential feature of HIV that the virus uses to infect cells whilst avoiding detection by the immune system. This discovery, published in Nature, presents a new drug target and the opportunity to re-evaluate existing treatments for HIV to improve their efficacy. More at:

Beyond CRISPR: A guide to the many other ways to edit a genome

The CRISPR–Cas9 tool enables scientists to alter genomes practically at will. Hailed as dramatically easier, cheaper and more versatile than previous technologies, it has blazed through labs around the world, finding new applications in medicine and basic research. But for all the devotion, CRISPR–Cas9 has its limitations. It is excellent at going to a particular location on the genome and cutting there, says bioengineer Prashant Mali at the University of California, San Diego. “But sometimes your application of interest demands a bit more.” The zeal with which researchers jumped on a possible new gene-editing system called NgAgoearlier this year reveals an undercurrent of frustration with CRISPR–Cas9 — and a drive to find alternatives. “It’s a reminder of how fragile every new technology is,” says George Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.   More at:

Dystrophin Protein May Be A Potential Treatment Target For Epilepsy

The hippocampal form of an essential muscle protein called dystrophin is found in higher levels in people with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), according to a new study published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. This could be the result of a compensatory mechanism – in response to too much excitation in the brain (hyperexcitation) – that tries to restore the inhibitory balance. Exploring the relationship between the different forms of dystrophin found in the central nervous system and hyperexcitation may highlight a new treatment target for epileptic seizures. The researchers, led by Dr Johan Vles, at Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, took biopsies from the brains of people with TLE and looked at the distribution of the dystrophin protein within them. They compared this to similar samples obtained from deceased donors who did not have epilepsy (controls). More at:

3BNC117 Suppresses HIV Rebound In Treatment Interruption

New findings suggest that an antibody called 3BNC117 can effectively delay the virus from rebounding in patients who temporarily suspended their anti-retroviral medications, currently the standard treatment for HIV. In recent years, great advances have been made to develop treatment options for HIV, and the disease can now be controlled with anti-retroviral drugs. But a cure remains elusive and current medications have limitations. The medications need to be taken daily, for life, and can cause long-term complications. More at:

Long-term bupropion use may be associated with reduced glaucoma risk

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey led researchers to conclude that extended bupropion use could be associated with a reduced risk of glaucoma, according to a study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. Participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) are interviewed regarding prescription medications taken in the month preceding the survey. Researchers included all patients older than 40 years who reported the use of bupropion for at least 1 year. Out of 453 participants who self-reported a diagnosis of glaucoma, 108 subjects reported the use of bupropion, of which 3.24% claimed self-reported glaucoma. In those who used bupropion for more than 1 year, self-reported glaucoma decreased compared with those not using bupropion or using it for less than a year, according to the study. More at:

Scientists discover 17 genetic variations that raise risk of depression

Scientists have discovered 17 separate genetic variations that increase the risk of a person developing depression.  The findings, which came from analyzing DNA data collected from more than 300,000 people, are the first genetics links to the disease found in people of European ancestry. The scientists say the research will contribute to a better understanding of the disease and could eventually lead to new treatments. They also hope it will reduce the stigma that can accompany depression. More at:

Common virus’ link to breast cancer investigated

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a member of the herpes virus family, is easily transmitted through oral transfer of saliva and by genital secretions. An incredible 90 percent of all humans on earth are thought to be infected by EBV. Most sexually active adults will pick up the virus at some point in their lives, and about half of all 5-year-olds have evidence of previous infection. Over the years, EBV has also been associated with a number of specific cancer types such as African Burkitt lymphoma (a cancer of the lymphatics), Hodgkin’s disease (a blood cancer), nasopharyngeal carcinoma (a rare head and neck cancer), gastric adenocarcinoma (a type of stomach cancer), and leiomyosarcoma (a smooth muscle tumor). Along with the cancers named above, a number of studies have glimpsed a relationship between EBV and breast cancer. Studies carried out in India, North Africa, China, and southern Europe have all noted a relationship. An estimated 200,000 malignancies are caused by EBV annually. More at:

Blood Biomarker Is Predictive of Risk for Colon Cancer Recurrence

 Genetic biomarkers from tumor DNA circulating in the bloodstream could indicate the risk for recurrence of colorectal cancer and the efficacy of chemotherapy after surgery. These results could advance the development of noninvasive tests for detection, surveillance, and treatment of cancer. “Prior studies, including ones from our group, have shown that this technique is sensitive enough to detect tumor DNA fragments in patients with advanced cancer,” explained Bert Vogelstein, MD, co-director of the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, and study leader. More at:

Researchers ‘solve’ key Zika virus protein structure

Researchers have revealed the molecular structure of a protein produced by the Zika virus that is thought to be involved in the virus’s reproduction and its interaction with a host’s immune system. The results provide scientists around the globe with new information about the NS1 protein’s role in Zika virus infections, and expands scientists’ understanding of the flavivirus family, which also includes dengue, West Nile and yellow fever. The study was led by the University of Michigan and done in collaboration with Purdue University.

“Having the structure of the full-length Zika NS1 provides new information that can help guide the design of a potential vaccine or antiviral drugs,” said senior author Janet Smith, director of the Center for Structural Biology at the U-M Life Sciences Institute, where her lab is located, and professor of biological chemistry at the U-M Medical School.More at:

Human brain mapped in unprecedented detail

Think of a spinning globe and the patchwork of countries it depicts: such maps help us to understand where we are, and that nations differ from one another. Now, neuroscientists have charted an equivalent map of the brain’s outermost layer — the cerebral cortex – subdividing each hemisphere’s mountain- and valley-like folds into 180 separate parcels. Ninety – seven of these areas have never previously been described, despite showing clear differences in structure, function and connectivity from their neighbours. The new brain map was recently published in Nature. Each discrete area on the map contains cells with similar structure, function and connectivity. But these areas differ from each other, just as different countries have well-defined borders and unique cultures, says David Van Essen, a neuroscientist at Washington University Medical School in St Louis, Missouri, who supervised the study. More at:

Global rate of new HIV infections hasn’t fallen in a decade

Deaths from HIV/AIDS have declined steadily around the world over the past decade — but the rate of new infections has stayed much the same, an analysis in The Lancet HIV shows. The number of new HIV infections peaked at 3.3 million in 1997, and dropped by an average of 2.7% each year to around 2.5 million in 2005. But the infection rate has stagnated since then. In 74 countries, including several in the Middle East, the rate has increased. The analysis is part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015, a systematic effort to map the distribution of an array of diseases, led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, Washington. More at:

Scientists in race to test CRISPR gene-editing technique on cancer

A novel gene-editing technique with potential to revolutionize cancer treatment has scientists in a race to test it on humans. As the scientific journal Nature announced last week: “Chinese scientists to pioneer first human CRISPR trial.” But wait. On the same page, there’s a link to another story from a month ago: “First CRISPR clinical trial gets green light from U.S. panel.” So who will be first in the race to use CRISPR in humans — the U.S. or China? And what are they using CRISPR to do? If you haven’t heard about CRISPR yet then all of this might seem under whelming. But for scientists like Jason Moffat, at the University of Toronto, it’s amazing news. More at:

Breastfeeding may reduce mother’s risk of diabetes: Study

Breastfeeding has the potential to reduce the long-term risk of developing Type 2 diabetes among women with gestational diabetes, and is a cost-effective intervention, says a study. The findings revealed that breastfeeding can alter the maternal metabolism to protect against diabetes. The metabolites in women who breastfed for more than three months differed significantly from those who had shorter lactation periods.“Longer periods of lactation are linked to a change in the production of phospholipids and to lower concentrations of branched-chain amino acids in the mothers’ blood plasma,” lead-author Daniela Much from Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen — a German recearch institute. More at:

Scientists “outsmart Mother Nature” to fight against deadly virus

Coxsackievirus B can be deadly, leading to heart disease and, in some cases, death. Now scientists at Colorado State University (CSU) have developed a method to combat the virus. Described as a “genetic poison pill,” the technique restricts the ability of the virus to replicate and can even cause it to self-destruct. The approach could one day lead to a vaccine against coxsackievirus B and similar viruses. This method also holds the potential for the development of vaccines against coxsackievirus B3 and other positive-sense RNA viruses, including poliovirus, dengue, Zika, as well as those linked to hand, foot and mouth disease and asthma in humans, and foot-and-mouth disease in animals. The method involves the introduction of an amino acid, a tryptophan, which reduces the polymerase’s ability to make mutations, which reduced its ability to replicate. Additionally, if the virus mutates to remove the change, it essentially self-destructs as it is then unable to replicate. More at:

New cancer drug “Keytruda” reduces advanced melanoma in almost 50 per cent of patients

Clinical trials have shown the drug Keytruda reduced or eliminated the disease in almost 50 per cent of patients with advanced melanoma. “Published results have shown that 55 per cent of patients on Keynote-006, which was the pivotal trial, were alive at two years. The drug essentially replaces chemotherapy and has been placed on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, which means if melanoma patients meet certain criteria, they will be treated for free. But the next step will be making it accessible for other cancer patients. The new could also be used to treat other cancers. More at:

Brain Trauma Linked to Parkinson’s, Not Alzheimer’s

A July JAMA Neurology paper reports that contrary to a number of well-publicized studies, a single previous head injury doesn’t predispose to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the scientists, led by Paul Crane, University of Washington, Seattle, and Eric Larson, Group Health Research Institute, also in Seattle, report that head injury increased risk for Parkinson’s-related disorders. “The paper calls into question the long-held belief that traumatic brain injury is a significant risk factor for AD,” said Robert Stern, Boston University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study. More at:

Breakthrough in heart AND cancer care after discovery of gene that INCREASES blood flow

THE discovery of a new gene which could vastly improve treatments for heart disease and some cancers has been hailed a major breakthrough by scientists. Researchers claim the chromosome could pave the way for the development of new treatments for heart disease, and certain cancers after they found the gene is responsible for blood vessel formation, known as angiogenesis. Experts found that when they turned off the gene, called Wars2, in rats and zebrafish, there was reduced blood vessel growth both in the heart and throughout the rest of the body. This confirmed to them the vital role of the Wars2 gene in blood vessel formation. The heart muscle relies on a constant supply of blood, to keep blood pumping around the body and coronary heart disease is just one of the illnesses where this supply is impeded, and the heart muscle has a reduced blood supply. Researchers say the discovery of the Wars2 will allow scientists to test new molecules to find ways of enhancing the effect of the gene to increase the blood supply to the heart. More at:

Breast cancer and ovarian cancer genes can be passed on by men to their children

Dr. Miriam Stoppard says most families don’t realize that the father’s side can raise their risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer.

The sister of a colleague has died from ovarian cancer. The whole family is devastated by their loss, but now they’ve suffered a double whammy. They’re reeling from the shock of learning that their beloved father had passed on a female gene which probably caused his daughter’s cancer. They, in common with most families, were under the impression that breast and ovarian cancer genes are handed down from one ­generation to the next via the female line. And they are – sometimes. Not only are that, these cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, besides causing breast cancer also implicated in ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer too. Men with either of the faulty genes have a one in 10 risk of developing breast cancer themselves and a 25% risk of prostate cancer. “It’s important to point out that half of women suffering with genetic breast cancer will have inherited it from their father,” says Gareth Ev ans, Professor of Medical Genetics and Cancer.More at:

New eye test could detect glaucoma YEARS earlier – saving millions from second leading cause of irreversible blindness

A new test could identify glaucoma four years earlier than current techniques. Scientists at UNSW Australia claim to have developed a new kind of light therapy that can show whether the eyes are beginning to deteriorate. It involves patients looking at small dots of light of specially chosen size and light intensity. An inability to see them indicates blind spots in the eye and early loss of peripheral vision. The disease, the leading causes of irreversible blindness after cataracts, has few early stage symptoms, meaning it is difficult to identify until too late. ‘Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness in the world, and in the early stages patients usually have no symptoms and are not aware they are developing permanent vision loss,’ says Director of the UNSW Centre for Eye Health Professor Michael Kalloniatis.

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Scientists closer to understanding why red hair genes increase skin cancer risk

Scientists are a step closer to understanding why people with the genes for red hair have a greater risk of developing the potentially deadly skin cancer melanoma. Research has revealed that patients with the genes for red hair have more mutations in their skin cancer than those without. Red hair, fair skin and sensitivity to the sun are down to variations in a gene called MC1R that affects the production of pigments, called melanins, in the skin. People with red hair have a different type of melanin than people who don’t have red hair – and the type of melanin that redheads have is less able to protect them from the sun.

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Bright light accelerates ageing in mice. Exposure to artificial light weakens rodents’ muscles and bones, but risks to people are less clear.

According to a research conducted by Elaine Lucassen, mice exposed to constant light experienced bone-density loss, skeletal-muscle weakness and inflammation; restoring their health was as simple as turning the lights off. Eliane works the night shift at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, beginning her day at 6 p.m. Yet her own research has shown that this schedule might cause her health problems. “It’s funny,” the medical resident says. “Here I am, spreading around that it’s actually unhealthy. But it needs to be done.” The findings are preliminary, but they suggest that people living in cities flooded with artificial light may face similar health risks. More at:

‘Ginger gene’ linked to skin cancer risk, study shows

An inherited “ginger gene” associated with red hair, pale skin and freckles is directly linked to the genetic risk of developing skin cancer, new evidence has shown for the first time. The MC1R gene variant can increase the risk of skin cancer by the equivalent of 21 extra years of sun exposure, say scientists. Red-haired people all have two copies of the variant, which causes a strong tendency to burn in the sun. But even a single copy of the variant, found in many people without red hair and freckles, increases the number of gene mutations associated with malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, research shows. More at:

BREAKTHROUGH RESEARCH: New study finds HIV positive people on drug course CAN have unprotected sex without passing on virus

Researchers from several British universities have spent several years monitoring 888 couples where “one of the partners was on effective treatment for HIV”. They monitored 548 heterosexual and 340 gay couples to find that HIV was not transmitted, as long as the partner carrying the virus was taking antiretroviral treatment. These drugs effectively reduce the activity of the virus, reducing the level of HIV within the body of the person taking them. More at:

Study shows new role for B-complex vitamins in promoting stem cell proliferation

Athens, Ga. – Folates can stimulate stem cell proliferation independently of their role as vitamins, according to a collaborative study from the University of Georgia and Tufts University, which used an in vitro culture and animal model system in their findings. Folates, whether supplemental B vitamins or natural folates found in food, are essential for the proper functioning of all cells in the body and are critical to prevent birth defects. The study, published July 11 in Developmental Cell, shows for the first time that an adult stem cell population is controlled by an external factor arising from outside the animal-bacterial folate. In this case, that animal was a small roundworm model organism known as Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Breakthrough treatment: FDA approves dissolvable stent for heart disease patients

FDA has recently approved of a dissolvable stent that can effectively be used in people with coronary diseases – currently affecting 15 million people in the United States. The device completely dissolves after two to three years leaving no trace compared to the metal stents that can pose complications over time. The stent, named the Abbott Absorb, is made of dissolving material that slowly dissolves over time. It will replace the current metal stents used to open a patient’s blocked artery but with the added benefit of leaving no metal behind in the patient especially those who require multiple stents at a time. Made up of polyactic acid, Absorb metabolizes after two to three years through the process of hydrolysis and disappears.

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Cytomegalovirus is a much greater global problem than Zika

A virus is killing hundreds of babies in the United States each year, and leaving thousands with debilitating birth defects, including abnormally small heads and brains. This is not the Zika virus. It is a common and much less exotic one: cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV infections in adults, children and infants are mostly asymptomatic and harmless, but the virus is much more dangerous — often lethal — to the fetus. Worldwide, around 1 in 100 to 500 babies are born with congenital CMV, and of the 10–20% who show symptoms, about 30% will die. Survivors often have liver, lung or spleen damage, or neurological problems including developmental disability or loss of hearing or sight. There is no vaccine, so precautions — hand washing and avoiding contact with children’s saliva and urine — are the only defence.

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Genetic test could spot future Alzheimer’s disease at 35 years old

A new genetic test could identify people who are most at risk of Alzheimer’s disease when they are just 35 years old. Scientists in the US are developing a way to predict which people are likely to develop dementia, decades before any of the symptoms emerge. Although there are currently no treatments for dementia, most drugs in development aim at slowing down symptoms so catching the disease early is crucial. People at most risk could also make lifestyle changes, such as exercising more regularly and eating more healthily. The test, developed by Massachusetts General Hospital, involves combining all the gene variants which are currently known to raise the risk of Alzheimer’s.

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New Biomarker For Parkinson’s Disease Found In Urine

NEW YORK:  Researchers have discovered that a protein in urine samples correlates with the presence and severity of Parkinson’s disease. The biomarker may act as a possible guide for future clinical treatments and a monitor of the efficacy of potential new Parkinson’s drugs in real time during treatment. “Nobody thought we’d be able to measure the activity of this huge protein called LRRK2 (pronounced lark two) in bio-fluids since it is usually found inside neurons in the brain,” said Andrew West, Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the US. For more than five years, urine and cerebral-spinal fluid samples from patients with Parkinson’s disease have been locked in freezers in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) National Repository.

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Hot-TeaVery Hot Drinks Are ‘Probable’ Cancer Trigger, Says WHO

In its latest report, the World Health Organization(WHO) reclassifies hot beverages, which include coffee, tea and mate, as probable cancer risk for people. The list of cancer-causing agents is long—and getting longer. Experts already tell us to avoid smoking, exposure to UV radiation from the sun and even air pollution because these can increase the risk of cancer. Now the World Health Organization says that hot drinks like coffee, tea and maté belong on that list too. The group’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), made up of 23 scientists from 10 countries, reviewed around 1,000 studies that investigated a connection between high-temperature beverages and their potential link to cancer. Based on the available evidence, they conclude that drinking very hot beverages, which they defined as anything above 149F (65C)—cooler than a cup of coffee from most take-out spots—is linked to higher risk of cancer of the esophagus.

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Povi is a tech toy that helps your child build emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to stay aware of your emotions – it’s the key to an even temperament. And this toy can help your child develop it. It’s called Povi, and it’s a plush toy that tells stories. But not just any stories – these are curated by psychologists, teachers, parents and other experts to help your child develop emotional intelligence. All the stories are based on real children’s experiences. The idea is your child can identify with the story, and that by discussing it with their parents, they can learn to monitor their emotions in a range of scenarios. Hopefully it’ll mean fewer tears when things don’t go their way. It should make it a lot easier to discuss things with your child, as it provides a jumping off point.

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Diabetes in teens affects grey matter volume, says study

Scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have found that type 2 diabetes can cause significant changes in the grey matter volume in regions of the brain associated with seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making and self-control. Researchers discovered that these teens have six regions with significantly less grey matter, and three with more. They found a relationship between less grey matter volume in the brain and the ability to pronounce and sound out unfamiliar words.

More at: DNA India

Spare the Meat, Skip the Type 2 Diabetes?

Eating a mainly plant-based diet — especially one with lots of healthy veggies, fruit and whole grains — may significantly lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests. “This study highlights that even moderate dietary changes in the direction of a healthful plant-based diet can play a significant role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes,” said study lead author Ambika Satija, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. “These findings provide further evidence to support current dietary recommendations for chronic disease prevention,” Satija added in a school news release. The study included information from more than 200,000 Americans. They all completed a series of questionnaires about their diet, lifestyle, medical history and current health. The information was collected over 20 years.

More at: WebMD