December 2007


It just took an untimely death of a good looking and well-loved singer to drive home the simple message to men about maintaining healthy prostate.

Dan Fogelberg, 56, one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the ’70s and ’80s, died peacefully last Sunday (16 December) in his home in Maine after battling advanced prostate cancer since being diagnosed in 2004

Dan Fogelberg in 1985Dan Fogelberg & wife Jean in 2003

As some media had put, his voice was indeed angelic, his music was powerful in its simplicity, his lyrics celebrated beauty and romance. I always remembered him for his songs “Longer” and “Leader of the Band” as they were both a one-time favourites in the karaoke pub that I used to hang out. I admired songwriters like him who can quickly capture an unusual encounter into a nice song and with an engaging storyline lyric. In his case, that work Same Old Lang Syne” turns into a top 10 hit in 1980 and it is still evergreen. For those who cannot remember this lyric, click here

It had been reported that in the United States, except lung cancer, prostate cancer is responsible for more male deaths than any other cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is least common among Asian men and most common among black men, with figures for white men in-between. Is these because the detection reporting is poorer in Asia or that Asian has traditional herbs such as “cat whiskers” that is reported to keep the urinary system cleaner and healthier?

Currently, there is no way to prevent the disease. There are indications men who drink and smoke have a higher chance of getting it in a virulent form. Most men will not experience any symptom while some men might experience symptoms like :-

  • A need to urinate frequently especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper highs

Since diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, he has been championing the anti-prostate cancer message via his website that:-

1. All men over 50 should get the so-called PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test and a DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) test every year. It just takes a few minutes.
2. For men with a family history of prostate cancer, they should start getting tested at age 40.
3. Go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation website to read up on how best to protect yourself and reduce your likelihood of contracting this terrible disease. There is a comprehensive guide Report to the Nation on Prostate Cancer: A Guide for Men and Their Families which you can read online. Upon a registration, you can download a PDF or get a free printed copy.

 

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The anti-inflammatory properties of tea extracts, especially that of green tea has been tested to reduce the duration of radiation-induced skin damage by up to 10 days in patients who received radiation treatment.

In a recent study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine, Frank Pajonk, from the University of California in Los Angeles, USA, and colleagues from the University of Freiburg, Germany also show that in human white blood cells in culture, green tea as having higher anti-inflammatory properties than black tea in reducing the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, TNFalpha and PGE2.

However, in mouse white blood cells, both black tea and green tea inhibit one major inflammatory pathway.

ScienceDaily (Dec. 9, 2007) — A team of scientists led by Dr. Radha Maheshwari, professor of Pathology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) and Rajesh Loganathan Thangapazham, a graduate student, have shown that green tea has antitumor effect in breast cancer cells.

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Cancer is a disease caused by the increased proliferation of cells which group and form a lump called tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Cells from malignant tumors break away from the original tumor and spread to other parts of the body growing and forming new tumors. They can invade, penetrate into blood and lymphatic vessels, circulate via the bloodstream and can grow in a normal organ or tissue anywhere in the body.

Unfortunately treatment options for metastasis are very limited and usually represent the end stage of the disease. Unlike malignant tumors, benign tumors do not invade and, with very rare exceptions, are not life threatening. Chemoprevention broadly implies the use of a chemical substance of either natural or synthetic origin, to prevent, hamper, arrest or reverse a disease. Phytochemicals are plant based non nutritive components with substantial medicinal properties.  

Dr. Maheshwari’s study observed that green tea can inhibit the invading capacity of these breast cancer cells and have also identified the mechanisms involved in death inducing and invasion inhibiting effects of green tea. Epidemiological studies also suggest that the risk of breast cancer is found to be less in Asian countries consuming green tea. These studies have greater clinical significance since the ability of these phytochemicals to activate anti-cancer program of tumor cells might determine the success of chemotherapy.

The recently concluded study will be published in the Journal of Cancer Biology and Therapy, December 2007, Volume 6, Issue 12. 

A study by Dr. Maheshwari that was published earlier this year in Cancer Letters showed that green tea is effective in delaying tumor incidence as well as in reducing the tumor burden. Green tea was found to inhibit growth of tumors as well as induce death of breast cancer cells.

Adapted from materials provided by Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

You can find anything in China.

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The recent flashes of news across China and many countries was the discovery of a “ultra-fat little emperor” in the city of Jiangcheng in northeastern China province of Jilin.

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What made that news was that the yet-to-be-named 8-months old baby shocked the doctors in the Jilin provincial hospital. This meaty boy got a brain that is larger than many people and has grown from a normal 3.3kg at birth to an unbelievable 18.8kg, twice the weight of a normal 8-month old baby. According to the Chinese pediatrician, it will take a 5-6 years old child to reach this weight.

Both the parents of this obese boy as well as his paternal and maternal grandparents are of thin build. His size and weight started to balloon by 2kg in the second month after birth and by 2.5kg in the 7th month.

Although they are very concerned about the unexplainable growth in the early month, they had resisted visiting the doctor as they are poor and each trip to the hospital will cost them a few thousands yuan (Chinese dollar). 

Finally, they had decided to see the pediatrician probably because his obesity is becoming unbearable to the people around him.  His mother has to breastfeed him 20 times a day because he gets hungry very fast and cries. He refused to drink powdered milk or porridge. Dressing or bathing him up requires 2 persons which stresses both the parents as well as grandparents. His mother can only carry him for about 5 minutes which she said is like a weight-lifting exercise.

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It is good that they finally seek medical attention as the weight is affecting his development.  At 78 centimeters tall, he cannot walk or even crawl and can only sit occasionally to play. Experts said that he is suffering from an obesity disorder syndrome and further test will be conducted.

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