Tuesday December 12, 2017

Whole-brain radiation technique to treat brain cancer causes memory loss: Study

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Washington: The widely used whole-brain radiation technique to treat brain cancer is not an effective strategy and results in more memory loss than treating patients with radiotherapy alone, study says.

First used in 1954, whole-brain radiation has long been a standard strategy for brain metastases (cancer cells that have spread to the brain from primary tumours in other organs in the body).

“The potential benefits of whole brain radiation therapy are far outweighed by the detriments of the therapy itself,” Paul Brown, professor of radiation oncology at the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Centre was quoted as saying in a Wall Street Journal report.

For the study, patients were assigned to either radiosurgery followed by whole-brain radiation or radiosurgery alone.

The research involved 213 patients, who had one to three small tumours or metastases in the brain.

Patients treated with both approaches performed significantly worse three months later on tests involving cognitive abilities.

Median overall survival was 7.5 months for those receiving both treatments and 10.7 months for those on radiosurgery alone.

Both whole-brain radiation and recurrent metastases are “bad for the brain.”

Lung cancer is the most common malignancy to spread to the brain, followed by breast cancer and melanoma.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on May 31. (IANS)

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Melatonin May Help Treat Blood Cancers like Leukemia and Lymphoma, Claims a New Research

The researchers have noted that the anti-cancer actions of melatonin will be helpful in facilitating clinical applications and basic research

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Melatonin produced by a gland in the brain can help treat blood cancers
Melatonin may help treat blood cancers. Pixabay
  • Researchers have discovered that Melatonin may help treat blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma 
  • Melatonin’s involvement in regulation of circadian rhythms may help in coordination and synchronization of internal body functions 
  • Anti-cancer actions of melatonin are expected to be helpful in facilitating basic research 

Washington D.C. [USA], September 3, 2017: Researchers have discovered that blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma may be treated with a hormone produced by a small gland in the brain.

Melatonin, a hormone produced by a small gland in the brain may be able to treat blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, according to the researchers.

The findings suggest that melatonin performs a number of tasks such as boosting the immune response against cancer cells, inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and even protecting the healthy cells from chemotherapy’s toxic effects.

Melatonin’s involvement in regulation of circadian rhythms may help in the coordination and synchronization of internal body functions. The timings of he melatonin treatment may be grave in regard to their anti-cancer effects.

Senior author Yang Yang hopes that this information would prove helpful in the design of studies concerned with the therapeutic efficiency of melatonin in blood cancers.

Also read: Arthritis drug could cure blood cancer: Researchers

The researchers have noted that the anti-cancer actions of melatonin will be helpful in facilitating clinical applications and basic research.

The study has appeared in British Journal of Pharmacology.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Omentum: ‘Policeman of Abdomen’ is an Important Organ to be studied

The Omentum is the least familiar organ to the scientists as well as to the public.

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An Obese man. The omentum is like an apron shaped sheet of fat stretching from the liver. Wikimedia
  • The omentum is a large sheet of fat stretching protecting the stomach, intestines and the liver
  • The research published in the Journal ‘Trends in Immunology’ highlights that the immune organ is actually a nursery for cancer cells
  • Also called the ‘Policeman of Abdomen’, the omentum is central to our body’s immune system

June 06, 2017: 

What is the Omentum?

The omentum is like an apron shaped sheet of fat stretching from the liver, intestines to the stomach. White patches that are known as ‘milky spots’ cover the surface of the omentum. The milky spots gather information from cells, antigens, and bacteria in order to deduce what really is going on. Accordingly, the omentum decides what immune reaction is required by the abdomen. It fights against infections and toxins.

The Good Part:

The omentum is a doctor within your body. It takes reports of the status of your abdomen well-being and acts accordingly. Scientists believe that omentum may have answers on how to stop the rapid growth of aggressive tumors in the human body. The organ is now under scrutiny as most of the things about the omentum are still unknown.

Also Read: Gene Therapy: Scientists may have found a way to “turn off” asthma

The Bad Part: 

The omentum sometimes provides tolerance and not immunity to the tumor cells. Thus cancer cells are pushed towards the milky spots and they stick there. Cancer cells sometimes prompt a tolerant response from the omentum. Scientists fear that this fact of the omentum makes it a nursery for the breeding ground of more cancer cells. As the study says, omentum “sometimes makes wrong decisions”.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Population Control for both China and India can be better achieved by Empowering Women, says acclaimed Journalist

Chinese and Indian societies, both of which are patriarchal, must realise that marriage and giving birth to babies (preferably male) is not the sole purpose of women

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Population (representational Image), Pixabay

Jaipur, Jan 27, 2017: Population control, a vital goal for both China and India, can be better achieved by empowering women instead of coercive methods like Beijing’s “one-child” drive, says acclaimed journalist Mei Fong who has extensively studied the policy and its deleterious demographic and economic effects.

“Chinese and Indian societies, both of which are patriarchal, must realise that marriage and giving birth to babies (preferably male) is not the sole purpose of women, nor desirable early.

“Allowing women choice as to their education, jobs and methods of contraception is more viable for controlling population, rather than forced and ‘quick-fix’ methods like sterilisation, abortions and quotas,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning Malayasian Chinese-American journalist told IANS in an interview.

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Fong, who covered China for the Wall Street Journal and has authored “One Child: The Past and Future of China’s Most Radical Experiment” (One World/Pan Macmillan, 2016), listed the several severe and unwelcome outcomes of the policy, begun in 1979 as China under Deng Xiaoping tried to accelerate economically.

“It has led to a severe gender imbalance… there are many ‘villages of bachelors’ across China, there is lack of care for the elderly, and a falling birth rate, which will impact on the workforce China needs to remain a low-cost global manufacturing hub,” said Fong, who addressed a session at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2017.

Then the “Little Emperors”, or boys who were born under the policy — with Chinese no less keen than Indians on a male child — have a different mindset, she said. “They have received so much adoration… this can stifle innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Their parents, keen to get them a good match, have got them apartments to increase their attraction, leading to an artificial high in urban estate prices throughout China, she added.

On the other hand, though the lesser number of women are eagerly sought after, this has not made a difference in their status.

“The laws of economics do not work in a patriarchal system… women are more valuable, but not valued. They have been commodified and this fuels sex trafficking.”

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Though Chinese authorities had relaxed the policy as her book was getting ready in 2015 and now had a two-children norm, “women’s fertility was not a tap that could be turned off and on” and it was going to take long for the adverse effects to be mitigated, Fong told IANS.

It has led to a “strange role reversal” where the Chinese are going to America for babies, since it has better medical facilities and allows surrogate parenting.

She also cited the traumatic and bizarre circumstances that she had come across while researching the book, including a woman who was one of the “population police” reporting illicit pregnancies and involved in almost 1,500 forcible abortions including third in late stages of pregnancy, but herself having only a daughter and needing to adopt a son.

“This woman now lives abroad in hiding and her favourite pastime is giving candy to children,” she said.

She also recounted the case of a Chinese company once making furniture but now not finding it viable and switching to making full-size sex dolls. “They ship them out in coffin-like boxes… it is creepy,” she said.

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Fong also told IANS that there were many other “explosive stories” of traumatic experiences of the one-child policy, which she faulted as being based on a “faulty mindset” of all men deciding a policy for women, and going on so long without a course correction.

“They thought women’s fertility was a machine that could be speeded up or down… whether more humane policies, though taking a little longer, but less coercive, would have achieved the same purpose with lesser side-effects,” she said, adding the worst is that is that it was not the policy, but relaxing of socialist controls, that led to China’s economic boom.

“Government social policies can work. The problem is when fast results are sought,” said Fong. (IANS)