Wednesday, Nov 25th

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Key to blood clotting discovered

Scientists have discovered a molecular mechanism that is key to regulating the way blood clots.

The team from Harvard University, writing in the journal Science, said the finding could help treat people who have blood-clotting disorders.


Immune therapies finally working against cancer

First there was surgery, then chemotherapy and radiation. Now, doctors have overcome 30 years of false starts and found success with a fourth way to fight cancer: using the body's natural defender, the immune system.

The approach is called a cancer vaccine, although it treats the disease rather than prevents it.


New Warning on Hormone Replacement

Hormone therapy taken by women to counter the effects of menopause can increase the risk of dying from lung cancer, researchers reported here on Saturday.

The findings represent the latest black mark against a therapy already being used much more sparingly than it once was. But researchers said the new data should serve as a caution to women who did continue to take hormones not to smoke.


Revealed: the best protection against cancer

Boosting levels of vitamin D could cut the incidence of breast cancer by a quarter, bowel cancer by a third and it should be offered to the population as part of a public health drive, scientists say.

The finding is based on a review of 2,750 research studies involving vitamin D, sometimes called "bottled sunshine", which show that taking daily supplements of the vitamin could do more for cancer prevention than a library full of lifestyle advice.


MOBILE phones DO increase the risk of brain cancer, scientists claimed yesterday.

The chances of developing a malignant tumour are "significantly increased" for people who use a mobile for ten years.

The shock finding is the result of the biggest ever study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation.

Scientists found a type of brain tumour called glioma is more likely in long-term mobile users.


Routine aspirin benefits queried

Low-dose aspirin should not routinely be used to prevent heart attacks and strokes, contrary to official guidance, say UK researchers.

Analysis of date from over 100,000 clinical trial participants found the risk of harm largely cancelled out the benefits of taking the drug.


Multivitamins linked to younger ‘biological age’: Study

The cells of multivitamin users may have a younger biological age than cells from non-users, according to new research from the US.

Researchers led by Honglei Chen, MD, PhD from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences looked at the length of telomeres, DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes that shorten as cells replicate and age.

The ageing and lifespan of normal, healthy cells are linked to the so-called telomerase shortening mechanism, which limits cells to a fixed number of divisions. During cell replication, the telomeres function by ensuring the cell's chromosomes do not fuse with each other or rearrange, which can lead to cancer. Elizabeth Blackburn, a telomere pioneer at the University of California San Francisco, likened telomeres to the ends of shoelaces, without which the lace would unravel.

With each replication the telomeres shorten, and when the telomeres are totally consumed, the cells are destroyed (apoptosis). Previous studies have also reported that telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative stress.

Dr Chen and his co-workers noted that telomere length may therefore be a marker of biological ageing, and that multivitamins may beneficially affect telomere length via modulation of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

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