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Health Buzz: Breast Cancer and Other Health News

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Breast Cancer Findings Implicate Alcohol; Vaccine Shows Promise

Even small amounts of alcohol may raise the risk of breast cancer, a new study finds. Women who had less than one drink per day were found to have a 7 percent increased risk of breast cancer compared with those who didn't drink. Those who drank one to two drinks had a 32 percent greater risk; those who drank three or more drinks had up to a 51 percent increased risk. A woman's risk was similar whether she drank beer, wine, or spirits, researchers reported. A second study looked into possible biological mechanisms that may account for a link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer and found that two genes--ADH1B and ADH1C--were linked with a doubling of breast cancer risk. The findings are interesting, but it's "too early for use in a clinical setting or to advance a public health message," Peter Shields, co-author of the genetics study and deputy director of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, told HealthDay.

A separate study found that a breast cancer vaccine significantly reduced the risk of recurrence for patients who have a high expression of the protein HER2-neu, which represents about a quarter of all cases and tends to be deadlier than other types of breast cancer. The vaccine prevented mortality in breast cancer patients with low or intermediate expression of HER2-neu. "We now have something we think works in the majority of women with breast cancer who are currently underserved," senior author George Peoples told HealthDay. "It's also very, very well -tolerated, like a flu shot." Still, the findings are preliminary, and it's not a sure thing that the vaccine will reach the market.

Cereal Recalled Over Salmonella Contamination

At least 23 people in 14 states have been diagnosed with salmonellosis, caused by salmonella bacteria found in Malt-O-Meal's recently recalled unsweetened Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat Cereals, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Malt-O-Meal voluntarily recalled these products in early April after routine testing found salmonella in a product produced in March.

Salmonellosis symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. The bacterial illness can be serious or even fatal in young children, the frail or elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. Anyone who has eaten any of these products and experienced symptoms should contact his or her doctor immediately. Malt-O-Meal's website has a full list of recalled products.

Obesity and Heart Transplant Success

Being obese doesn't seem to affect how well patients do after a heart transplant, researchers found in a new study. The study of 430 patients who had heart transplants at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia found no major differences in survival rates among lean, moderately, and extremely obese transplant recipients, WebMD reports. "Our results show BMI [body mass index] was not an independent risk factor for mortality in this study, and no level of BMI led to significantly worse survival," study author Abul Kashem told WebMD. "Obesity should not be a contraindication to transplantation."

Fruit Drinks or False Health Beverages?

Ask any nutritionist for some tips on a healthful diet, and the first or second thing out of her mouth will probably be, "Eat more fruits and vegetables." Beverage manufacturers know that, to consumers, fruit connotes health, which is why there are shelves and shelves of fruity drinks in your grocery store, deli, and even gym, Katherine Hobson reports. But as Consumer Reports writes in its May issue, the word fruit can be awfully misleading. The magazine goes through what you're likely to see on the label of fruit drinks, and some of it may be surprising: A fruit "cocktail" drink, for example, might contain as little as 5 percent juice (with the other 95 percent from water, added flavorings, and sweeteners).

Worried about your fruit juice consumption? Hobson explores an alternative to drinking fruit juice in the  On Fitness blog.

--January W. Payne

News sourced :

Recalled Malt-O-Meal Cereals Linked to Salmonella Outbreak


By MedHeadlines

The FDA has joined forces with Malt-O-Meal to identify the cause of contamination while state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working to identify other cases of the disease and to prevent further illness.

Anyone who purchased Malt-O-Meal’s unsweetened Puffed Rice and unsweetened Puffed Wheat Cereals with “Best If Used By” dates ranging from April 8, 2008, through March 18, 2009 (coded “APR0808″ and “MAR1809,” respectively), is urged to throw them away immediately. Retailers have been asked to remove any such products from their shelves.

Malt-O-Meal distributes cereal products nationwide under their own brand name but they also sell under private labels, too. Look for the same dates and codes on puffed wheat and puffed rice cereals bearing these private labels: Acme, America’s Choice, Food Club, Giant, Hannaford, Jewel, Laura Lynn, Pathmark, Shaw’s, ShopRite, Tops, and Weis Quality.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include any or all of the following: fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. If the bacteria enters the bloodstream, life-threatening infections can occur. Symptoms can be severe in healthy individuals but can quickly become fatal to infants and children, the elderly, and anyone with chronic health conditions and immune systems compromised for any reason.

Anyone who has eaten these cereals and has experienced any of these symptoms is urged to contact a healthcare practitioner and report the illness to local or state health authorities immediately.

News sourced :

Cancer Cure? 60 Minutes

Cancer-killing waves gain national attention
Native of region to talk on '60 Minutes'
Saturday, April 12, 2008
By David Templeton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
John Kanzius is going prime time with his promising invention for cancer treatment.

Leslie Stahl will interview the Washington County native, who invented a radiofrequency (RF) generator four years ago to treat cancer, and tell his story tomorrow on CBS Television's "60 Minutes."

"It has gone from a Western Pennsylvania story to a major international story with the '60 Minutes' piece," Mr. Kanzius said from his home in Sanibel Island, Fla.

Successful inventions often end up with more uses than baking soda, and that may be the case with the Kanzius RF generator.

When he developed it years ago, his sole intent was a cancer treatment that worked without side effects.

So far, so good.

Research on his invention is on a fast track at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The growing body of research proves his generator thermally kills cancer cells spiked with RF-reactive nanoparticles.

But last year, Mr. Kanzius discovered his RF generator also burns salt water. When Rustum Roy, a Penn State University water expert and chemist, saw it demonstrated on a YouTube video, he traveled to the laboratory that Mr. Kanzius uses in Erie to witness it firsthand.

Since then he and Mr. Kanzius have signed a cooperative agreement to study and develop the technology for commercial applications, including salt-water desalination, pollution cleanup and using RF to alter solids and metals.

Dr. Roy has shown that RF causes oxygen and hydrogen atoms to separate then reunite, creating a flame more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit and pure water. The RF generator is powered by electricity. The ratio of energy used vs. energy generated has yet to be determined.

"It's such an unbelievable fact -- so unbelievable that no one wants to believe it," Dr. Roy said. "It has one advantage -- an infinite and easy supply" of sea water.

Desalinating salt water while generating recoverable energy "is a tree-hugger's dream," he said. "This is a very major discovery in science."

These days Mr. Kanzius, 64, splits time between Erie and Sanibel Island, while undergoing chemotherapy for b-cell leukemia. He's raising money for the cancer research, has applied for about 50 patents and continues upgrading his inventions.

His story stands out because Mr. Kanzius is neither a doctor nor a college graduate. He holds only a technical degree from the former Allegheny Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. Before retiring, he owned Jet Broadcasting Inc. in Erie, which operated radio and television stations. He never pondered a cancer treatment until he was diagnosed with cancer and witnessed the ill effects chemotherapy and radiation therapy had on fellow patients.

While on chemo, he spent sleepless nights doing research, which eventually made a pile from floor to ceiling. His goal became to kill cancer with physics rather than medicine. Within months he'd built a prototype for his RF generator by using his wife Marianne's pie pans then tested it by injecting metallic particles into hot dogs and steaks. The RF cooked only the injected areas.

His ideas drew early interest from Dr. David A. Geller, co-director of the UPMC Liver Cancer Center, then Dr. Steven Curley, a liver cancer specialist at M.D. Anderson -- the No. 1 cancer research center in the world. They now are conducting research using Mr. Kanzius' equipment and general protocol.

The current hope is to use the Kanzius treatment on a wide range of cancers with added interest in applying the procedure to fungal, viral and bacterial infections.

For now, the goal is developing a means to tag RF-sensitive nanoparticles with antigens or proteins so they infiltrate only cancer cells. Once nanoparticles are inside cancer cells, RF can heat them to deadly temperatures in seconds or minutes without affecting healthy tissue.

Last May, Dr. Curley described the Kanzius project as "the most exciting new therapy for cancer" he's seen in his 20 years of research.

In February, Dr. Geller at UPMC presented a paper to a large group of surgeons at the Academic Surgical Congress in Los Angeles that showed that tumors under the skin can be destroyed with RF when injected with gold nanoparticles developed at Pitt. The research will be published in August in the journal Surgery.

"In looking back after three years of working on the radiowave research, I have more enthusiasm than ever, in part because the machine does generate heat, and gold nanoparticles are excellent enhancers to focus the RF," Dr. Geller said.

The ideal, he said, is to create nanoparticles that serve "as homing pigeons" to cancer.

"There's no question that momentum is growing and the ongoing press coverage, as well as '60 Minutes' coverage, makes me want to be enthusiastic without providing false hope," he said, suggesting that patients seek other forms of treatment in the meantime. "The goal is to move the cancer research forward as quickly as possible to find tomorrow's cure."

Mr. Kanzius describes his experience to date as "an amazing odyssey."

"The sooner it gets into human trials, the happier I'll be," he said.

David Templeton can be reached at or 412-263-1578.

News sourced :