WHAT'S THE BUZZ

Turmeric root cuts breast cancer risk

Curcumin, a popular Indian spice derived from the turmeric root, can help reduce cancer risk among postmenopausal women exposed to hormone replacement therapy, according to University of Missouri researchers.

Studies conducted in the past have suggested that a combined oestrogen and progestin hormone replacement therapy increases postmenopausal women’s risk of developing progestin-accelerated breast tumours.

“The results of our study show that women could potentially take curcumin to protect themselves from developing progestin-accelerated tumours,” said Salman Hyder.

The study conducted using animal model showed that curcumin delayed the first appearance, decreased incidence and reduced multiplicity of progestin-accelerated tumours.

Curcumin also prevented the appearance of gross morphological abnormalities in the mammary glands.

“Curcumin and other potential anti-angiogenic compounds should be tested further as dietary chemopreventive agents in women already exposed to hormone replacement therapy containing estrogen and progestin in an effort to decrease or delay the risk of breast cancer associated with combined hormone replacement therapy,” Hyder said.


Loud music lovers will only heed experts’ advice
Loud music lovers would turn down the volume or use ear protection if told to do so by a health care expert, suggests a new Vanderbilt study carried out along with MTV.com shows.

Roland Eavey conducted the research in 2007 while working at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard.

Eavey’s study, a follow-up to his groundbreaking 2002 MTV survey, discovered the media as the most informative source in guiding about risk of permanent hearing loss.

‘Intentional Exposure to Loud Music: The 2nd MTV.com Survey’ found that the health care community was the least likely source, despite respondents saying they would change behaviour if an expert warned them to the problem. Eavey said: “Since our last study we have learned that enough people still are not yet aware, but that more are becoming aware, especially through the help of the media”.

“We have learned that the audience does use public health behaviours like sunscreen, designated drivers and seatbelts and that the health care community is the least likely source of informing patients about hearing loss, so we have an excellent opportunity to start educating patients.”

TV screens may be recycled for medical purposes
University of York scientists say that it is possible to recycle waste material from discarded televisions to make them useful for medical purposes.

The researchers say that they have found a way to recover the chemical compound polyvinyl-alcohol (PVA) from television screens, and transform it into a substance which could be suitable for use in tissue scaffolds which help parts of the body regenerate.
They reckon that it could also be used in pills and dressings that are designed to deliver drugs to particular parts of the body.

Professor James Clark, director of the York Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence and one of the author’s of the research, said: “With 2.5 billion liquid crystal displays already reaching the end of their life, and LCD televisions proving hugely popular with consumers, that is a huge amount of potential waste to manage.”

He added: “It is important that we find ways of recycling as many elements of LCDs as possible so we don’t simply have to resort to burying and burning them.”
Describing their technique in an article published the journal ‘Green Chemistry’, the researchers have revealed that they heat recovered material in water in a microwave, and then wash it in ethanol to produce ‘expanded PVA’.

Plastic chemical may cause fertility defects in adults
A new study on mice has revealed that exposure to chemical bisphenol A (BPA), commonly found in plastic household items like plastic cans and bottles, can cause fertility defects in adults.

University of Illinois scientists have found that chronic exposure to low doses of BPA can impair the growth and function of adult reproductive cells.

Jodi Flaws, who led the study with Jackye Peretz, said that a healthy, mature follicle, called an antral follicle, includes a single egg cell surrounded by layers of cells and fluid that support the egg and produce steroid hormones. “These are the only follicles that are capable of ovulating and so if they don’t grow properly they’re not going to ovulate and there could be fertility issues,” she said.

“These follicles also make sex steroid hormones, and so if they don’t grow properly you’re not going to get proper amounts of these hormones.”

“Such hormones are essential for reproduction but they’re also required for healthy bones, a healthy heart and a healthy mood,” she added.

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