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Attention

Stress Linked to Cancer

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Scientists have discovered that everyday emotional stress is a trigger for the growth of tumors. Any sort of trauma, emotional or physical, can act as a "pathway" between cancerous mutations, bringing them together in a potentially deadly mix.

The findings seem to show for the first time that the conditions for developing the disease can be affected by your emotional environment, including everyday work and family stress.

Until now, scientists believed more than one cancer-causing mutation needed to take place in a single cell in order for tumors to grow.

But researchers showed that mutations can promote cancer even when they are located in different cells, because stress opens up "pathways" between them.

Sources:

The Telegraph January 14, 2010

Nature January 13, 2010

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Bad Guys

Nearly 17,000 Chemicals Remain Corporate Secrets - Even the EPA Doesn't Know What They Are

The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires that manufacturers of products containing potentially toxic chemicals disclose their ingredients to the federal government, however a loophole in the requirement allows manufacturers to arbitrarily withhold information that they deem sensitive to their business. As a result, over 17,000 product chemicals remain secret not only from the public but from government officials.

Each year, over 700 new chemicals are introduced by manufacturers, many of which do not get disclosed either to the public or to government agencies. About 95 percent of new chemical notices submitted to the government request some kind of secrecy. Critics allege that manufacturers are exploiting the original intent of TSCA, abusing it to hide sensitive information about ingredients that are likely toxic and may otherwise get banned.

For the first time in many years, Congress is addressing the issue of disclosure abuse with promises of reforming the regulatory provisions. Consumer and environmental groups, in conjunction with many government officials, are demanding that all ingredient information be made public with no exceptions.

Magnify

Magnesium Found to Boost Learning and Memory

Magnesium, as NaturalNews has reported through the years, is an essential nutrient that benefits health in many important ways. For example, research has shown it helps to prevent heart disease, slashes the risk of cerebral palsy, and can even treat age-related hearing loss. Now a study by Chinese scientists, published in the in the January 28th issue of the journal Neuron, shows magnesium could have a powerful impact on the brain, too -- and boost learning and memory.

In a statement to the media, the researchers noted that diet can affect cognitive capacity. Because learning and memory tend to decline with age and disease, they decided to search for dietary factors that could prevent these changes by having a positive influence on the sites of communication between brain cells (neurons) called synapses. Professor Guosong Liu, Director of the Center for Learning and Memory at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, led the new study to see whether supplementing the diet with magnesium could boost brain power in this way.

The results suggest increasing magnesium intake could be a successful, drug-free way to improve brain function. It also supports the idea that too-low levels of magnesium could result in increased deterioration of memory in aging humans.

Bulb

Trace of Thought Is Found in 'Vegetative' Patient

He emerged from the car accident alive but alone, there and not there: a young man whose eyes opened yet whose brain seemed shut down. For five years he lay mute and immobile beneath a diagnosis - "vegetative state" - that all but ruled out the possibility of thought, much less recovery.

But in recent months at a clinic in Liège, Belgium, the patient, now 29, showed traces of brain activity in response to commands from doctors. Now, according to a new report, he has begun to communicate: in response to simple questions, like "Do you have any brothers?," he showed distinct traces of activity on a brain imaging machine that represented either "yes" or "no."

Experts said Wednesday that the finding could alter the way some severe head injuries were diagnosed - and could raise troubling ethical questions about whether to consult severely disabled patients on their care.

The new report, posted online by The New England Journal of Medicine, does not suggest that most apparently unresponsive patients can communicate or are likely to recover. The hidden ability displayed by the young accident victim is rare, the study suggested.

Ambulance

President Obama And The Congress Must Take Action On Cancer Prevention

President Obama has pledged to reform the national health care system. Central to this, as the President has stressed, is containing the spiraling costs of health care -- costs which are soaring at about six percent each year. Most experts agree that this is not possible without any plan to prevent Americans from getting cancer in the first place. This year, 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with cancer. Of them, 562,000 people, over 1,500 every day, will die.

The cancer epidemic now strikes as many as one in three Americans and takes the life of one in four. After nearly 40 years of losing the war against cancer, a war that President Nixon declared in December 1971, we are taking grossly inadequate action to protect us from this menace.

Based on recent estimates by the National Institutes of Health, the total costs of cancer are $219 billion a year. The annual costs to taxpayers of diagnosis and treatment amount to $89 billion; the annual costs of premature death are conservatively estimated at $112 billion; and the annual costs due to lost productivity are conservatively estimated at $18 billion. And these are the quantifiable, inflationary costs. The human costs surely are of far greater magnitude.

Magnify

SIDS Linked to Low Levels of Serotonin

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© iStockphoto/Don Bayley
Model of a human brain, with the cerebellum, medulla and brain stem visible at lower left.
The brains of infants who die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) produce low levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that conveys messages between cells and plays a vital role in regulating breathing, heart rate, and sleep, reported researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.

SIDS is the death of an infant before his or her first birthday that cannot be explained after a complete autopsy, an investigation of the scene and circumstances of the death, and a review of the medical history of the infant and of his or her family. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, SIDS is the third leading cause of infant death, claiming more than 2,300 lives in 2006.

The researchers theorize that this newly discovered serotonin abnormality may reduce infants' capacity to respond to breathing challenges, such as low oxygen levels or high levels of carbon dioxide. These high levels may result from re-breathing exhaled carbon dioxide that accumulates in bedding while sleeping face down. The findings appear in the Feb. 3 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Magnify

Scientists Discover Alterations in Brain's Reward System Related to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Until now, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was related to alterations in the brain affecting attention and cognitive processes. Researchers at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital have now discovered anomalies in the brain's reward system related to the neural circuits of motivation and gratification. In children with ADHD, the degree of motivation when carrying out an activity is related to the immediacy with which the objectives of the activity are met. This would explain why their attention and hyperactivity levels differ depending on the tasks being carried out.

Susanna Carmona, researcher at the Cognitive Neuroscience Unit of the UAB Department of Psychiatry and Legal Medicine (URNC-IAPS-Hospital del Mar), has worked in collaboration with clinical researchers of the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital on the first research which relates the structure of the brain's reward system, the ventral striatum, with clinical symptoms in children suffering from ADHD.

Models describing the origin of ADHD tend to emphasise the relevance of attention processes and of the cognitive functions which guide our mental processes in achieving proposed objectives. Nevertheless, recent research has focused on neural gratification/pleasure circuits, which can be found in what is known as the brain's reward system, with the nucleus accumbens as the central part of this system.

Arrow Down

Study Suggests Obesity May Delay Boys' Puberty

Reasons For Maturity Delay Unclear, Implications May Be Far-Reaching

Researchers may have found yet another reason not to let boys become obese -- it could delay their puberty.

A study following over 400 boys shows that those who are obese are twice as likely as their normal-weight counterparts not to have started puberty by the age of 11 and a half. While previous studies in girls had shown the opposite phenomenon -- girls who are obese tend to hit puberty earlier than their normal-weight counterparts -- it seems obesity may cause a maturity delay in boys, a situation with unknown and possibly far-reaching effects.

"With the epidemic of childhood obesity, there's concern this is going to have a negative effect on growth and development," said Dr. Joyce Lee, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Michigan and the study's lead author.

Laptop

'Internet addiction' linked to depression, says study

There is a strong link between heavy internet use and depression, UK psychologists have said.

The study, reported in the journal Psychopathology, found 1.2% of people surveyed were "internet addicts", and many of these were depressed.

The Leeds University team stressed they could not say one necessarily caused the other, and that most internet users did not suffer mental health problems.

Attention

Human Placenta Cells Die After BPA Exposure

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© cewil/flicker
Exposure to very low concentrations of the plasticizer bisphenol A (BPA) causes cellular damage and death in cultured human placenta cells, researchers report. The doses used for this study are similar to blood levels found in pregnant women. A particularly worrying finding is that effects were most pronounced at the lowest - rather than the highest - concentrations of BPA indicating that placental development could be particularly sensitive to BPA exposure. Damage to the placenta can induce a range of adverse pregnancy outcomes including premature birth, preeclampsia or even pregnancy loss. It is not known if exposure to BPA is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes in humans.