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Blood test can detect lung cancer

Scientist have revealed that a protein called isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH1) is available at high levels in lung cancers and can be detected in the blood, making it a noninvasive diagnostic marker for lung cancers.

Jie He, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Laboratory of Thoracic Surgery at the Peking Union Medical College and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing said that they have identified IDH1 as an effective plasma biomarker with high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of NSCLC, especially lung adenocarcinoma.

He and colleagues found that IDH1 could be detected in the blood of lung cancer patients with 76 percent sensitivity and 77 percent specificity.

When they used a mathematical model to combine the detection of IDH1 with the detection of existing markers CEA, Cyfra21-1, and CA125, the sensitivity increased to 86 percent.
He and colleagues used blood samples collected from 943 patients with NSCLC and 479 healthy controls, enrolled between 2007 and 2011 in the Cancer Institute and Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

Using methods called ELISA and ECL, they measured the levels of IDH1, CEA, Cyfra21-1, and CA125 in the participants’ blood.

The researchers then divided the samples into a training set and a test set to validate the detection efficiency of IDH1. They found the data obtained from the test set were as good as those from the training set, demonstrating the robustness of IDH1 as a biomarker for lung cancer diagnosis. The median IDH1 levels in patients with two types of lung cancer, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, were 2.7-fold and 2.2-fold higher, respectively, compared with healthy controls.

Why fizzy drinks numb drinkers’ sense of sweetness

Carbonation, which is an essential component of popular soft drinks, alters the brain’s perception of sweetness and makes it difficult for it to determine the difference between sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Study author, Rosario Cuomo, associate professor, gastroenterology, department of clinical medicine and surgery, ‘Federico II’ University, Naples, Italy, said that this study proves that the right combination of carbonation and artificial sweeteners can leave the sweet taste of diet drinks indistinguishable from normal drinks.

She said that tricking the brain about the type of sweet could be advantageous to weight loss - it facilitates the consumption of low-calorie drinks because their taste is perceived as pleasant as the sugary, calorie-laden drink.

The study identifies, however, that there is a downside to this effect; the combination of carbonation and sugar may stimulate increased sugar and food consumption since the brain perceives less sugar intake and energy balance is impaired. This interpretation might better explain the prevalence of eating disorders, metabolic diseases and obesity among diet-soda drinkers.

 Investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging to monitor changes in regional brain activity in response to naturally or artificially sweetened carbonated beverages.

Eating fish, nuts can help boost school kids’ academic scores

 A new study has found that kids who have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids are “significantly” more likely to score better on reading and memory tests and had fewer behavioral problems.

The Oxford University study of 500 children indicates that it may help to add foods like salmon and walnuts to the table that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential building blocks for a healthy brain.

After taking blood samples from the children between the ages of seven and nine, scientists found that levels of omega-3 fatty acids “significantly predicted” their ability to concentrate, and learn, the New York Daily News reported.

Presented at a conference in London last week, the study found that higher levels of omega-3, particularly the long-chain form of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), were associated with better reading and memory and fewer behavioral problems among the children examined.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to play an important role in the brain’s structure and cognitive function, in addition to heart health and the immune system.

Dietary sources of omega-3 include fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna as well as flaxseed oil and walnuts.

The study is published in the journal PLOS One.

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