Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Selfish reason to donate blood

Compelling evidence that iron may affect your health, depending on your genes. Simplest way to remedy is to donate blood.

Iron Is the New Cholesterol

Elevated iron is at the center of a web of disease stretching from cancer to diabetes.

By Clayton Dalton | December 20, 2018 | Nautilus

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January 1, 2019 Posted by | health, nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stress, evolution and cancer

Interesting theory — stress speeds up evolution.  Full article: Does Stress Speed Up Evolution?

Implication for cancer is in the last few paragraphs; here is the excerpt:

…Austin says his experiments suggest that putting too much stress on cancer cells by hitting them with high doses of cancer drugs could accelerate their evolution to develop drug resistance. “We give the patients as much as they can tolerate, guaranteeing the emergence of resistant cancer cells,” he says, adding that the current aggressive approach to cancer treatment has largely failed.

Instead, he is culturing cancer cells on his death galaxy to find the right low-dosing and timing of cancer drugs that keep the cancer cells from spreading without killing them—hopefully delaying the evolution of resistance as long as possible.

At least in an ovarian cancer model in mice, the approach seems to work. In 2009, Robert Gatenby, a radiologist at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, and his colleagues reported that interrupting, or down-adjusting, therapy as long as the tumor volume didn’t increase prolonged survival in these mice compared with the standard aggressive regimen. “If you give them standard high-dose therapy, the tumor can almost completely go away and then come back very rapidly and be resistant,” Gatenby says. “If you use an adaptive approach, we can consistently get control of the tumor.” Gatenby is now testing the approach in a 40-patient open clinical trial in patients with late-stage prostate cancer….

April 23, 2016 Posted by | evolution, health | , , | 1 Comment

A run a day keeps the tumour at bay

One more reason to work up a sweat, if there aren’t enough already.

A run a day keeps the tumour at bay

Exercise protects against cancer. Researchers now understand why

Feb 27th 2016 | The Economist

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April 7, 2016 Posted by | fitness, health | , , | Leave a comment

Why you should cut down on red meat

It turns out red meat contains a substance (Neu5Gc) that our immune system doesn’t like, accelerating the development of cancer. So eat a small amount for its nutritional benefits, but not too much.  And if you are battling cancer, skip red meat.

Red Meat Increases Cancer Risk Because of Toxic Immune Response

By Carl Engelking | January 2, 2015 | Discover magazine

Consumption of red meat has long been linked to the development of certain types of cancer. Now scientists believe they’ve found the culprit behind red meat’s carcinogenic effects.

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September 12, 2015 Posted by | health, nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Cancer: The mysterious miracle cases inspiring doctors

Doctors are trying to figure out the mystery of why some cancers go into remissions without seemingly any treatment.  One possibility is the patient’s own immune system destroying the cancer cells.  The article below describes what they found on this subject so far.

The main lesson I got from this was that having a fever may be helpful in destroying cancer cells — so no more antipyretics for me when I get sick. You know, just as a prevention, in case some cancer cells are starting to form somewhere in my body.  Fever is also supposed to reduce the reproduction rate of the bugs that made you sick in the first place, so it helps you recover faster too. And lesson number two: get those vaccinations and booster shots!

From BBC Future:

Cancer: The mysterious miracle cases inspiring doctors

David Robson | 6 March 2015 | BBC Future

A few patients have made rare and unexpected recoveries leaving doctors scratching their heads, says David Robson. Can these cases provide vital clues for tackling cancer?

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March 13, 2015 Posted by | health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy living vs. cancer

It seems that healthy living can not only help prevent cancer, but may also help fight it.  From The Economist print edition, Jun 19th 2008:


Better than cure

Healthy living switches off genes that promote cancer

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September 16, 2009 Posted by | diet, health, nutrition | , | Leave a comment