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Archive Health News: March 2009
  Back to 2009 Archives
  Total News For This Month: 16 records

   Fish oil may alleviate cancer
  - The New Straits Times, March31, 2009


Fish oil may protect men against potentially deadly aggressive prostate cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish such as herring, salmon and mackerel, may help to prevent prostate cancer by combating inflammation, researchers from the University of California wrote in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.  They say a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids could reduce the risk of developing the disease by about 60 per cent.  It will also reverse the effect of an inherited gene which is known to increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.  Omega-3 intake has also been found to have a major impact on the effect of a hazardous variant of the COX-2 gene, which promotes inflammation and is known to be linked to prostate cancer.  Inflammation, which is an inappropriate immune system response, can be affected by diet, bacterial and viral infection, as well as genetic make-up.


   Music and visual neglect
  - The New Straits Times, March 31, 2009


Music may help restore sight to those recovering from a stroke.  Stroke survivors can suffer impaired visual awareness called visual neglect which is caused by stroke-related damage in brain areas that integrate vision, attention and vision.

Researchers at Imperial College London said patients with visual neglect lose awareness  of objects in the opposite side of space in relation to the site of the brain injury.  For example, if the stroke is on the right side of the brain, patients lose awareness of visual information thatís to their left.  This occurs even though thereís no damage to the brain area associated with sight, according to the study.  Their findings suggest that positive emotions triggered by listening to pleasant music may result in more efficient signaling in the brain.  In turn, this may improve the patientís awareness by giving the brain more resources to process stimuli.


   Study suggests soy curbs breast cancer risk
  - The New Sunday Times, March 29, 2009


Women who regularly ate soy as children have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, a study of Asian-American women suggests.  Researchers found that among nearly 1,600 Asian-Americans with or without breast cancer, higher soy intake throughout life was associated with a lower risk of the disease.  But the strongest effect was seen with childhood soy intake.  Regular soy consumption in adulthood was linked to a 25 per cent reduction in breast cancer.

It is still not clear why diets high in soy have been linked to a lower breast cancer risk.  Some researchers suspect that estrogen-like soy compound called isoflavones may offer some breast cancer protection. It has been suggested that soy isoflavones block the action of estrogen, promote the destruction of abnormal cells and reduce inflammation in the body.


   The D factor in heart disease
  - The Sun, March 24, 2009


Teens with lower levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes and are significantly more likely to have high blood pressure and blood sugar, a recent study reported.  Those with the lowest level of vitamin D were four times more likely to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of heart disease and diabetes risk factors including elevated waist circumference, high blood pressure, and low levels of good cholesterol.

The body produces vitamin D in response to exposure to the sun and it can also be found in a number of foods such as fortified milk, fish and eggs.  Vitamin D aids in maintaining strong bones through absorption of calcium and also helps maintain blood levels of phosphorus and calcium.  It is a fat-soluble vitamin and low levels are common among those who are overweight or have abdominal obesity.


   Early autism indication
  - The Sun, March 24, 2009


A lack of interest in other people by a young child could be an early indication of autism, according to a German medical association.  Generally, children begin to babble or use signs to communicate with others by 12 months.  If, by 18 months of age, a child has not spoken, or at 30 months, the child has not constructed two-word sentences, parents should have their child checked for autism.  A check-up is also advisable when a child begins losing verbal skills.

There is currently no cure for autism, but individual therapy can help many children make good progress if the condition is detected early.


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