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Parsley may fight against breast cancer

Parsley and celery, usually used as a decorative accent to a scrumptious meal, can stop certain breast cancer tumor cells from multiplying and growing. Salman Hyder, University of Missouri, exposed rats with a certain type of breast cancer to apigenin, a common compound found in parsley, celery, apples, oranges, nuts and other plant products.

The rats that were exposed to the apigenin developed fewer tumors and experienced significant delays in tumor formation compared to those rats that were not exposed to apigenin. Hyder believes this finding could impact women who are taking certain hormone replacement therapies (HRT).

“Certain synthetic hormones used in HRT accelerate breast tumor development. In our study, we exposed the rats to one of the chemicals used in the most common HRTs — a progestin called medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) — which also happens to be the same synthetic hormone that accelerates breast tumor development.”

Hyder also found that the compound reduced the overall number of tumors. However, while apigenin did delay tumor growth, it did not stop the initial formation of cancer cells within the breast. Hyder said researchers have not identified a apigenin dosage for humans yet.

“However, it appears that keeping a minimal level of apigenin in the bloodstream is important to delay the onset of breast cancer that progresses in response to progestins such as MPA,” Hyder said.

Oncolytic virus can cure pancreatic cancer

A new study has uncovered the potential of oncolytic viruses in killing cancer stem cells, particularly in the case of the fatal pancreatic cancer. Oncolytic viruses are naturally occurring viruses that have been genetically engineered to be safe and express tracking genes, as a possible therapy against pancreatic cancer stem cells.

Researchers have found that oncolytic virus quickly infects and kills cancer stem cells, paving the way for treatment of tumours that are resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation.

It has emerged that cancer stem cells are thought to cause disease recurrence and metastasis, even after therapy and oncolytic viruses may offer a new treatment strategy.
“What we learned is that oncolytic viruses have been engineered to selectively target cancer cells and have a low toxicity profile in animal studies,” said Joyce Wong, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

“Targeting the cancer stem cell may enhance our ability to eradicate tumours and prevent future recurrence of disease,” he added.

More US docs referring patients to seek yoga

A new Harvard study has revealed that more American doctors are putting away their prescription pads and asking their patients to seek yoga and meditation. They are especially referring patients for whom conventional medicines have failed.

The study found that more than 6.3 million Americans use mind-body therapies, including meditation, based on a referral from their physicians. That compares with 34.8 million who seek these therapies out themselves without doctor’s orders.

Interestingly, the study found that those who were referred to mind-body therapies by their doctors tended to be sicker and used the health-care system more than people who sought the therapies themselves.

“It makes us wonder whether referring patients for these therapies earlier in the treatment process could lead to less use of the health-care system, and possibly, better outcomes for these patients,” said Aditi Nerurkar, Harvard Medical School.

Painkillers may be risky for heart attack patients

A new study has warned that even short-term use of some painkillers like ibuprofen could be dangerous for people who’ve had a heart attack.

Researchers analysed the duration of prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) treatment and cardiovascular risk in a nationwide Danish cohort of patients with prior heart attack.

They found the use of NSAIDs was associated with a 45 per cent increased risk of death or recurrent heart attack within as little as one week of treatment, and a 55 per cent increased risk if treatment extended to three months.

In the current study, researchers undertook the first time-to-event analysis of a nationwide group and investigated if the duration of prescription NSAID treatment influenced the cardiovascular risk among heart patients. Among 83,697 heart attack survivors (average age 68; 63 per cent men), 42.3 per cent had a least one prescription for an NSAID.

The most common NSAIDs prescribed were ibuprofen (23 per cent) and diclofenac (13.4 per cent).

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