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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Men with prostate cancer at higher colon cancer risk: study

And this is one more thing that men should be watching out for.

WASHINGTON - Men who have prostate cancer have a higher risk of developing colon cancer than men who do not have prostate cancer, US researchers said on Tuesday.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo (UB) in New York state found in a study of more than 2,000 men that patients diagnosed with prostate cancer had significantly more abnormal colon polyps, known as adenomas, and advanced adenomas than men without prostate cancer.

Most colon cancers begin as adenomas, the researchers said as they presented the findings of their study at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in San Antonio, Texas.

"Our study is the first to show that men with prostate cancer are at increased risk of developing colon cancer," said report author Ognian Pomakov, an assistant professor at UB's department of medicine.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, only behind lung cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States.

The researchers reviewed the patient records, colonoscopy reports and pathology reports, as well as data on the prevalence of adenomas, advanced adenomas, cancerous adenomas and their location within the colon, in 2,011 men who had colonoscopies at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Buffalo.

When the researchers compared the colonoscopy results from 188 men diagnosed with prostate cancer with the rest of the patients, they found that the prostate cancer patients had significantly higher prevalence of abnormal polyps and advanced adenomas compared to the rest of the study sample.

Forty-eight per cent of prostate cancer patients had adenomas, compared to 30.8 per cent of the men without prostate cancer. More than 15 per cent of
prostate cancer patients had advanced adenomas compared to 10 per cent of the men without prostate cancer.

Pomakov stressed the importance of men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer having routine screening for colon cancer and called for larger studies to be done to determine if screening for colorectal cancer should begin earlier for prostate cancer patients than the currently recommended age of 50.

- CNA/al

From; source article is below:
Men with prostate cancer at higher colon cancer risk: study

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About menopause: Scientists move closer to early menopause test

Would you like to have babies even in old age? This may be a sign of hope...

LONDON: New research into the genetics of early menopause may lead to a simple test that could allow women to make decisions sooner about having children, according to a British study published on Monday.

One in 20 women starts the menopause before the age of 46 - which can affect chances of conceiving as early as a decade beforehand.

The study, by scientists from the University of Exeter and the Institute of Cancer Research, found that four genes working in combination appear to significantly raise the risk of early menopause.

The findings could eventually help identify women at greater risk, allowing them to make earlier decisions about starting a family.

Menopause usually occurs when the number of remaining eggs in the ovary falls below around 1,000. But the factors which determine how quickly the egg reserve depletes are less well understood.

The research, published in Human Molecular Genetics, looked at 2,000 women who had experienced early menopause and a similar number who had entered the menopause at the normal age.

It found that the presence of each of the four genes appeared to have some influence on the timing of the menopause. When more than one of the genes was found in the woman's DNA, the effect was even more pronounced.

"It is estimated that a woman's ability to conceive decreases on average 10 years before she starts the menopause," said Dr Anna Murray, who led the research.

"Therefore, those who are destined to have an early menopause and delay childbearing until their 30s are more likely to have problems conceiving.

"These findings are the first stage in developing an easy and relatively inexpensive genetic test which could help the one in 20 women who may be affected."

Susan Seenan of Britain's Infertility Network, which supports women who are infertile as early as their twenties as a result of early menopause, welcomed the findings.

"It's early days yet, but we would welcome any research that may help women to plan ahead and make earlier decisions about having children," she said.

- AFP/de

From; source article is below:
Scientists move closer to early menopause test

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

IVF births result in taller children: NZ study

If this is all true, would you be utilizing IVF to get taller kids? Just like that?

WELLINGTON : Children born using in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) are likely to be taller than their naturally conceived counterparts, New Zealand researchers have found.

The study by Auckland University's Liggins Institute found IVF children conceived from fresh, rather than frozen, embryos were about 2.6 centimetres (1.02 inches) taller than non-IVF children by the age of six.

The research, which examined about 200 children, found the height difference was statistically significant, even after adjusting for variables such as the parents' height.

Liggins Institiute director Wayne Cutfield said the phenomenon was most striking in girls.

"At this stage, we don't know what the catalyst for that is," he told Radio NZ on Thursday.

Cutfield said appeared IVF children from fresh embyros had a different hormone profile to regular children, which could promote growth.

This could be caused by the drugs mothers took to induce ovulation during the conception process or by the culture medium the embryos were developed in for 36 hours before being transferred to the womb, he said.

Cutfield said another possibility was that medical workers simply picked the largest, most developed embryos because they were most likely to survive the IVF process.

He said the study showed the need for more research into children born through IVF, which has assisted in up to four million births globally over the past 32 years.

"There's been remarkable little research done on IVF children," he said.

"There's been several studies that have looked at intelligence and cognitive function that havent shown any differences with IVF. This is the first study that's looked very precisely at growth resultation and metabolism."

Cutfield was sceptical about previous studies suggesting IVF children were more prone to conditions such as asthma and arthritis, saying the finding could be explained by other factors.

"Within the IVF cohort, children are more likely to be born particularly small at birth, they are more likely to be born premature, there are more likely to be twins and triplets," he said.

"They're all groups of children who are likely to have greater health problems and you need to be able to adjust for that."

British scientist Bob Edwards, whose pioneering work made possible the birth of the first IVF baby Louise Brown in 1978, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine this month.


From; source article is below:
IVF births result in taller children: NZ study

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Social heritage, a soulful search

Painting by Singapore artist Cheong Soo Pieng ...Image via WikipediaI am not a Singaporean, but seeing the same issues and problems one way or another besetting this nation where I currenlty reside, I would be very interested to see how things will be in a couple of decades more - if I live to see how different things will be by then.

An article already highlighting the cries and anguish of this nation's history being 'unknown', both to locals and foreigners, it being absent from the web - this medium of information passing being specifically identified - I would restrain myself from saying anything else, not adding or subtracting.

For what do I know after all?

by Dr Faith Leong

A bus ride downtown in Singapore reveals a very sleek and polished look of buildings, shop windows and modern landscaping. It reveals the quantum leap Singapore has made as a developed nation.

We have arrived through the painstaking yet visionary policies of the founding leaders. With Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew well in his 80s, two generations of capable leaders are passing on their baton to younger members of the society.

The question is whether our education and social enculturation have developed capable Singaporeans who are visionary, prudent and ethically staunch to bring Singapore to greater heights in the midst of global challenges. A nation that reacts to the times, but which is not proactive, is in danger of being swallowed up by a tsunami.

Lately, the nation is saddened at the passing of Madam Kwa Geok Choo. We see in her a life well-lived and worthy of emulation. We should tap on the wisdom of the leaders who remain with us. There have been published interviews, books about MM Lee and his contributions to Singapore. But what percentage of the general public is aware of these?

My interest in the enculturation of our social heritage was spurred by an exhibition at the National Library on the late Senior Minister S Rajaratnam. Through the display, I got to know his role as a visionary writer and thinker in the founding decades of Singapore.

Of equal importance is the contribution of the late Dr Goh Keng Swee, who passed away this year. How much documentation has been done on the thoughts, principles and values of those who had been instrumental in shaping Singapore into what it is today?

The passing on of worthy figures without recording their legacy allows a notable era and its spirit to be swallowed up in eternal silence.

With the recent passing on of Senior Minister of State Balaji Sadasivan, obituaries, a blog and letters by Members of Parliament were posted in the Voices section of Today. These memoirs act to perpetuate in social memory the admirable qualities of the late Dr Balaji for a future generation to emulate. These actions also help to shape the national consciousness of Singaporeans. But shall we speak of these noteworthy people only when they are gone? It would be more helpful if their spirit and mind are tapped when they are still alive.

Singapore is fortunate that we have not undergone a cultural revolution. But as a migrant society with a survival mentality (mainly economical), we have developed into a narrow-minded society.

Economic prosperity has been the focus of the nation and her members for a long time. The driving force is to stay afloat in a highly-competitive world. Sad to say, the alleged $12 million fraud of two ex-employees of the Singapore Land Authority may be seen as an extreme example of how wrongly-directed material pursuit could have developed.

A recent report in Today ("Singapore's rich skip art for fast cars, diamond watches") reflects that "the millionaires in our midst prefer to splurge on fast cars, diamond encrusted watches and drink, rather than on paintings".

Using "paintings" as a figure for "soulful expression", we see Singaporeans lacking an engagement with meaning, values and thinking that expresses itself through a medium. If the public had complained about Phua Chu Kang (though it was an admirable attempt to reflect on life in Singapore), then some capable ones in our midst should take up the responsibility of growing the soul of the society in another admirable way.

"Soulful" interviews and artistic portrayals are examples of how the heritage of a society can be perpetuated. An example would be an extensive interview by New York Times with MM Lee (Today, Sept 13). In it, MM Lee responds very honestly to the difficult questions posed on life and nation-building.

Recently I saw the paintings of Cheong Soo Pieng at the National Art Gallery. The paintings were not what impressed me the most, rather the life behind the person who produced them. Stories of those who had made a mark speak of Singapore's heritage. I would not have known of this Singaporean painter, nor about the late S Rajaratnam, had I not visited the exhibitions.

Telling stories takes time, and so do listening to them, but in a narrative-starved society that is ever so busy, there is nothing more needful than the things that would spur us to think more deeply about life and civilisation, and of the wisdom and tenacity which our forefathers had exhibited.

In this way, if a tsunami strikes again, we would collectively be rooted and strong enough to withstand it.

From TODAY, Voices - Friday, 08-Oct-2010
Social heritage, a soulful search

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