The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care

Fresh research to help us live longer.

Earlier this month, we posted about Be Careful with Supplements. Nonetheless, some supplements may be valuable in cancer care. One of them seems to be Vitamin D.

A recent study by researchers at Michigan State found that:

“Vitamin D, if taken for at least three years, could help cancer patients live longer, say researchers. New findings suggest that the vitamin carries significant benefits other than just contributing to healthy bones. A paper on the work was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.”

“‘Vitamin D had a significant effect on lowering the risk of death among those with cancer, but unfortunately it didn’t show any proof that it could protect against getting cancer,’ says Tarek Haykal, a lead author of the study and an internal medicine resident physician at Michigan State University and Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.”

“Researchers looked at data related to disease prevention from more than 79,000 patients in multiple studies that randomly compared the use of vitamin D to a placebo over at least a three-year period. Haykal and his team zeroed in on any information that involved cancer incidence and mortality. ‘The difference in the mortality rate between the vitamin D and placebo groups was statistically significant enough that it showed just how important it might be among the cancer population,’ Haykal says. While these findings show promise, Haykal cautions that the exact amount of the vitamin to take and what levels are needed in the blood are still unknown. He also says that it’s unclear how much longer vitamin D extends lifespan and why it has this result.”

Click on the image to read the full paper.

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care
 

Understanding Cognitive Aging

Further research on how we age.

Last week, we had a post on How Old Do YOU feel? “The study considered 92 diseases and conditions in 195 countries and territories.”

Let’s continue with that topic. In new research by Lee Ryan, et al., the authors discussed “Applying Precision Medicine to the Field of Cognitive Aging” in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience:

“The current ‘one size fits all’ approach to our cognitive aging population is not adequate to close the gap between cognitive health span and lifespan. In this review article, we present a novel model for understanding, preventing, and treating age-related cognitive impairment (ARCI) based on concepts borrowed from precision medicine. We will discuss how multiple risk factors can be classified into risk categories because of their interrelatedness in real life, the genetic variants that increase sensitivity to, or ameliorate, risk for ARCI, and the brain drivers or common mechanisms mediating brain aging. Rather than providing a definitive model of risk for ARCI and cognitive decline, the Precision Aging model is meant as a starting point to guide future research. To that end, after briefly discussing key risk categories, genetic risks, and brain drivers, we conclude with a discussion of steps that must be taken to move the field forward.”

Click the image to access the full article.

Understanding Cognitive Aging
 

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

How healthy are Americans?

How healthy are those living in the United States? We know that our rank worldwide is not great. But, we must further measure our health to learn more. Hence, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It is conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS, which) is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

First, look at these relevant posts:

 

NCHS’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

On a regular basis, the NCHS conducts a national survey on our health. Click here to access the program Web site. And click the image to read about the longitudinal nature of survey results.

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

This brief video shows an overview of the program.

Finally, click on the image below to access data relating to the health issues shown. 

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
 

How Old Do YOU feel?

To answer, think about the new age 65.

For me, this is really a two-part question. At age 70, I feel great both psychologically and mentally. I perceive myself as much younger than I am. On the other, how I feel physically is another story. The key for me is not to let my physical ailments overpower my psychological wellbeing. So, how old do YOU feel?

With the above in mind, consider the highlights of a very interesting article by Robert Roy Britt for Medium:

“By 2050, the percentage of the elderly is expected to double globally compared to today. As people live longer and an ever-higher percentage of the population is beyond their retirement years. This according to the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, conventional measures of longevity don’t reflect the quality of extended time on this Earth.”

“A new study looked at aging, health, and mortality by analyzing at what age people in a country actually feel like 65-year-olds, as defined by experiencing the health problems of the average 65-year old globally. The study considered 92 diseases and conditions in 195 countries and territories. The results are a window into both longevity and health status, revealing how well people age, or how poorly, the researchers report  in the journal Lancet Public Health.”

“The findings ‘show that increased life expectancy at older ages can either be an opportunity or a threat to the overall welfare of populations, depending on the aging-related health problems the population experiences regardless of chronological age.’ said Dr. Angela Y. Chang, lead author of the study from the Center for Health Trends and Forecasts at the University of Washington.”

In this study, the United States did not fare so well. For the top 10 countries cited in the chart below, people were all in their mid-70s before feeling 65. The U.S. ranked 54 at 68.5. Certainly, that is food for thought.

How Old Do YOU feel?
 

Do YOU Agree with This Scary Finding?

Does your appointment time matter?

Although doctors are human, like other service providers, we hope that they are always on top of their game. Especially when they see us!!! But new research offers some scary insights. Do YOU believe these insights?

As reported in an article in the JAMA Network Open, authored by Esther Y. HsiangShivan J. MehtaDylan S. Small; et al.:

Question: “Are breast and colorectal cancer screening rates associated with the time of day a patient visits the primary care clinician?”

Findings:  “In this quality improvement study analysis of 33 primary care practices including 19,254 patients eligible for breast cancer screening and 33, 468 patients eligible for colorectal cancer screening, both clinician ordering and patient completion of cancer screening tests decreased as the time of day progressed.”

Meaning:  Patients with primary care clinic appointment times later in the day were less likely to be ordered for and receive guideline recommended cancer screening.”

As summed up in a Futurity.org article on this study:

“Examining data from 2014 through 2016 across 33 Pennsylvania and New Jersey primary care practices, the researchers found that ordering rates had far-reaching effects.”

“Among eligible patients, primary care doctors ordered breast cancer screening more often for patients seen in the 8 A.M (64 percent) as compared to those with appointments at 5 P.M. (48 percent). Similarly, doctors ordered colon cancer screening tests more frequently for 8 A.M patients (37 percent) compared to those coming in later in the day (23 percent).

“When looking at the entire sample eligible for screenings at these practices, the researchers tracked whether the patients completed a screening within a year of their appointment. The data showed that the downward trend associated with the timing of the appointments carried over. Breast cancer screening — which included mammograms—stood at a 33 percent one-year completion rate for the entire eligible population who had their appointment in the 8 A.M. hour. But for those who had clinic visits at 5 P.M. or later, just 18 percent completed screenings. For colorectal cancer, 28 percent of the patients with appointments in the 8 A.M. hour completed screenings such as colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, and fecal occult blood tests. That number dropped to 18 percent for patients who saw the doctor at 5 P.M. or later”.

Click the image to read the full research article.

Do YOU Agree with This Scary Finding?

 

Medicinal Plants as a Cancer-Fighting Tool

Bring Asian research insights to the rest of the world.

Did you know? Certain plants may help us fight cancer. Read on!!

According a report by the National University of Singapore:

“Researchers found the effects in leaves of the bandicoot berry (Leea indica), South African leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), and simpleleaf chastetree (Vitex trifolia). Three other medicinal plants also demonstrated anti-cancer properties. ‘Medicinal plants have been used for the treatment of diverse ailments since ancient times, but their anti-cancer properties have not been well studied,’ says Koh Hwee Ling, associate professor from the National University of Singapore’s pharmacy department. ‘Our findings provide new scientific evidence for the use of traditional herbs for cancer treatment, and pave the way for the development of new therapeutic agents.’ The findings, which appear in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, highlight the importance of conserving these indigenous plants as resources for drug discovery and understanding these natural resources.”

“The experiments involved preparing extracts of fresh, healthy and mature leaves of the seven plants, and testing the extracts with the cell lines of seven different types of cancers—breast, cervical, colon, leukemia, liver, ovarian, and uterine. The team opted to examine leaves as they can regrow without harming the plants—making it a sustainable choice, unlike using the bark or roots. The experiments involved preparing extracts of fresh, healthy and mature leaves of the seven plants, and testing the extracts with the cell lines of seven different types of cancers — breast, cervical, colon, leukemia, liver, ovarian, and uterine. The team opted to examine leaves as they can regrow without harming the plants — making it a sustainable choice, unlike using the bark or roots.”

Click the image to read more.

Medicinal Plants as a Cancer-Fighting Tool
Out of the leaf extracts of the seven plants researchers tested, they found the sabah snake grass (bottom right) had weak effects or no effect against almost all the cell lines they tested. (Credit: NUS)

 

Happy Father’s Day — Be Well!

We love you dads!

Father’s Day is a special time for many of us. I lost my father Joseph and father-in-law Murray quite a while ago. But this is when I think of them the most. It is also special for me because I always get to celebrate with my wife Linda and daughters Jennifer and Stacey, and their spouses Phil and Adam. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

My wish on this day is for all of us, including you dear readers, to be as well as you can for as long you can.

And remember …..

Happy Father's Day -- Be Well!
from https://i1.wp.com/momydady.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/love-u-dad-quotes.png

 

Happy Father’s Day — Be Well!

Did you know that this past week was National Men’s Health Week? As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes:

“National Men’s Health Week is observed each year leading up to Father’s Day. This week is a reminder for men to take steps to be healthier. But they don’t have to do it alone! Whether it’s your husband, partner, dad, brother, son, or friend you can help support the health and safety of the men in your life.”

Here’s how:

“You can support the men in your life by having healthy habits yourself and by making healthy choices. Eat healthy and include a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Regular physical activity has many benefits. It can help control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers, and can improve your mental health and mood. Find fun ways to be active together. Set an example by choosing not to smoke and encourage the men in your life to quit smoking.  Help the men in your life recognize and reduce stress. Learn ways to manage stress including finding support, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.”

“Encourage men to see a doctor or health professional for regular checkups and to learn about their family health history. Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a heart attack. Know the signs of a heart attack and if you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack call 911 immediately.”

Depression is one of the leading causes of disease or injury worldwide for both men and women. Learn to recognize the signs and how to help the men in your life. Signs of depression include persistent sadness, grumpiness, feelings of hopelessness, tiredness and decreased energy, and thoughts of suicide.”

Happy Father's Day -- Be Well!