Smoking Is Major Factor in Alzheimer’s Disease

qsStory at-a-glance 

Approximately 7.7 million new cases of dementia are identified every year, amounting to one new case diagnosed every four seconds

A recent WHO report Continue reading

Dementia Protection without the Side Effects

I’d never fault anyone for doing everything they thought necessary to ward off dementia. If you’ve ever watched a loved one struggle with this debilitating condition, you know what a heartbreak it can be.

But, if like me, you believe that the first rule of medicine should still be, “Do no harm,” Continue reading

Even More Benefits Found in Green Tea

Green tea is known for its ability to protect against tumor growth and fight high cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease. In the latest health news, green tea has been found to have yet another feather in its health preventative cap: researchers say that the tea is an excellent remedy for the good health of your teeth and mouth.

Israeli researchers investigated green tea’s polyphenol antioxidants and their ability to benefit oral health. Don’t like the dentist? Hate when you get a cavity and the dentist gets the drill out? Well, green tea could have the ability to protect against bacterial-induced dental cavities, according to the research team.

The polyphenols in green tea also possess antiviral properties, which could help protect Continue reading

Can Vitamin A Actually Battle Cancer?

Vitamin A could help prevent breast cancer. Over a five-year study, retinoids were able to reduce the risk of second breast cancer in premenopausal women. They were given a synthetic vitamin A, called “fenretinide,” at a dose of 200 milligrams (mg) a day. The nutrient may also help protect the liver from cancer. Synthetic vitamin A, acyclic retinoid, prevented the development of a second liver cancer and improved survival in a Japanese report.

It was thought that vitamin A could help prevent lung cancer, the world’s most fatal tumor. But it may in fact be the opposite. Most clinical studies failed to show that vitamin A protected against lung cancer. Then, Continue reading

Eating Greens Reduce the Risk Of Oral Cancer

Eating green leafy vegetables “significantly lowers the risk” of oral cancer among women who smoke, a recent study has revealed.

The research showed for every one serving of green leafy vegetables, the risk of oral cancer for current women smokers is reduced compared to those who have given up or never smoked.

Whilst larger studies are required to examine for a moderate reduction in risk, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter,  Continue reading

Medicare Expands Coverage To Help Smokers Quit

They’ve lived with the health warnings about smoking for much of their lives and doubtless seen the ill effects on friends, relatives and even themselves, yet about 4.5 million older people in the U.S. keep on lighting up. Medicare is finally catching up to most private insurers by providing counseling for anyone on the program who’s trying to kick the habit.

Dr. Barry Straube, Medicare’s chief medical officer, says it’s never too late to quit, even for lifelong smokers.

“The elderly can respond to smoking cessation counseling even if they have been smoking for 30 years or more,” says Straube. “We do know we can see a reduction in the death rate and complications from smoking-related illnesses.” Not only cancer, heart disease and lung problems, which can kill, but also gastric reflux, osteoporosis and other ailments that undermine quality of life.

Smoking-related illnesses cost Medicare tens of billions a year. Straube cites a two-decade estimate of $800 billion, from 1995 through 2015.

Medicare already covers drugs used to help smokers quit, as well as counseling for those who have developed a smoking-related illness. But starting immediately, the program will expand the benefit to cover up to eight counseling sessions a year for people who want to quit.

Next year, such counseling will be free, under a provision in President Barack Obama’s health care law that eliminates co-payments for preventive services.

Older smokers often don’t get as much attention from doctors as do younger ones. “They just figure, ‘Well, it’s too late,'” said Straube, that the damage is already done. That may start to change now.

About one in 10 seniors smoke, compared with one in five people among the U.S. population as a whole. It turns out that smokers age 65 and older present a medical paradox.

Many started when it was fashionable to light up. They are more likely than younger smokers to be seriously hooked on nicotine and less likely to attempt quitting. But research shows that their odds of success are greater if they do try to give up the habit.

Older smokers who receive counseling are significantly more likely to quit than those who only get standard medical care. One study of elderly heart attack patients found that those who got counseling to help quit smoking were more likely to be alive five years later.

It’s unclear why older people who try to quit have better luck than younger smokers.

Some experts think it’s because older smokers are more motivated, perhaps from having seen a loved one die of cancer or heart disease, or by recognizing how the cigarette habit has left its mark in their own bodies, anything from wrinklier skin to shortness of breath.

Straube has his own theory: “They’re under less stress,” he said. “They are not working anymore, and they have more time.”

Medicare’s new smoking cessation benefit will also be available to younger people who are covered by the program because of a disability. About 1 million of them are smokers.

Nicotine Binding, Breast Cancer Linked

A researcher in Taipei says nicotine may play a role in promoting breast cancer.

 Yuan-Soon Ho of the Taipei Medical University and colleagues looked at how nicotine acts on the molecular level.

 They find human breast cancer cells consistently produced the alpha 9 subunit of the nicotine acetylcholine receptor — known to promote smoking addiction — and that expression was higher in advanced-stage breast cancer compared with early-stage cancer.

 The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests nicotine binding to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor may also directly promote the development of breast cancer.

 Ho and colleagues studied nicotinic acetylcholine receptor cancer cells by looking at 276 breast tumor samples from anonymous donors to the Taipei Medical University Hospital.

 “These results imply that receptor-mediated carcinogenic signals play a decisive role in biological functions related to human breast cancer development,” the researchers say in a statement.