Laughter Is Good Medicine

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Anthropological research suggests laughter and humor are genetically built-in, and that humor, historically, has functioned as “a social glue.” The critical laughter trigger for most people is not necessarily a joke or funny movie, but rather another person
  • Laughter is contagious. The sound of laughter triggers regions in the premotor cortical region of your brain, which is involved in moving your facial muscles to correspond with sound
  • While children laugh on average 300 times a day, adults laugh only 17 times a day on average. Suggestions for how to get more laughter in your life are included
  • In one study, even after adjusting for confounding factors, the prevalence of heart diseases among those who rarely or never laughed was 21% higher, and the ratio of stroke 60% higher, than among those who laughed every day
  • Benefits of laughter have been reported in geriatrics, critical and general patient care, rehabilitation, home care, hospice care, oncology, psychiatry, rheumatology, palliative care and terminal care

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A Top Hospital Opens Up to Chinese Herbs as Medicines

Evidence is lacking that herbs are effective Continue reading

Cancer Care Rationing Begins in America as Cancer Clinics Turn Away Thousands of Medicare Patients

seqFederal sequestration measures that came into effect on April 1 are making it impossible for many cancer clinics across the country to administer conventional care to patients, and particularly to those on Medicare. Consequently, thousands of cancer patients with taxpayer-funded insurance coverage are being turned away, according to reports, Continue reading

Are Researchers Hiding the Truth on Breast Cancer Treatment?

Breast cancer: Those words have the ability to send a chill up your spine unlike any other two words in the English language.

It’s rare to meet a person whose life hasn’t been touched in some way by this terrible disease. According to the American Cancer Society, one out of every eight American women Continue reading

When a Promising Cancer Treatment Was Destroyed

As stories of innovative cancer treatments have spread over the years, they’ve been distorted numerous times. We end up with either unalloyed praise or across-the-board denial.

“Treatment X was curing people like crazy.” Continue reading

Epigenetics Spontaneous Remission from Diseases Is Now Possible

The spontaneous remission from disease (including cancer) is now possible through the science of epigenetic.

A new field of science called Epigenetics has changed the way we think about our genes. The prefix “epi” literally means “above”, as in above the genes, in the same way that epidermis means the layer above the skin.

Ever since Darwin released his scientific literature titled “On the Origin of Species” 150 years ago, science and medicine have been grounded in the belief Continue reading

Organic Nanoparticle Created that Uses Sound and Heat to Locate and Treat Tumors

A team of scientists from Princess Margaret Hospital have created an organic nanoparticle that is completely non-toxic, biodegradable and nimble in the way it uses light and heat to treat cancer and deliver drugs. (A nanoparticle is a minute molecule with novel properties).

The findings, published online in Nature Materials (DOI: 10.1038/NMAT2986) are significant because unlike other nanoparticles, the new nanoparticle has a unique and versatile structure that could potentially change the way tumors are treated, says principal investigator Dr. Gang Zheng, Senior Scientist, Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI), Princess Margaret Hospital at University Health Network.

Dr. Zheng says: “In the lab, we combined two naturally occurring molecules (chlorophyll and lipid)  Continue reading

Scientist Discover Cell of Origin for Childhood Muscle Cancer

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital have defined the cell of origin for a kind of cancer called sarcoma. In a study published as the Featured Article in the journal Cancer Cell, they report that childhood and adult sarcomas are linked in their biology, mutations and the cells from which these tumors first start. These findings may lead to non-chemotherapy medicines that can inhibit “molecular targets” such as growth factor receptors, thereby stopping or eradicating the disease.

Childhood muscle cancer, or rhabdomyo sarcoma, is a condition that when spread throughout the body has a low survival rate – just 20 percent to 40 percent. In adults with soft tissue sarcomas, survival can be even lower. Now, for the first time, the researchers have shown from where these tumors arise and what drives them to grow and spread.

“A commonly held belief is that cancers should be cut out, burned out or killed. There is a fourth option – to have cancer cells choose to become normal cells, in this case muscle cells,” said Charles Keller, M.D., principal investigator of the study, leader of Pediatric Cancer Biology Program in the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and a member of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the Oregon Stem Cell Center at OHSU.

“At least for a subset of patients, possibly the ones with hereditary cancer, one approach suggested by our research might be to administer drugs that muscle cancers to convert into non-cancerous muscle fibers. This is a minority opinion, but one held by a small group of careful scientists throughout the United States and abroad,” said Keller.

The survival rate for childhood muscle cancer that has spread has remained unchanged for more than 40 years. It has reached the point that increasing the intensity of chemotherapy, radiation or surgery is no longer having any improved effect, Keller explained. He and colleagues have taken a novel approach in the laboratory as well as in new clinical trials, using non-chemotherapy medicines to inhibit “molecular targets” such as growth factor receptors.

Suman Malempati, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics (hematology/oncology) and director of the Oncology Developmental Therapeutics Program at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, is the lead on a national clinical trial of one such growth factor inhibitor. This is the Children’s Oncology Group’s first trial incorporating a molecularly targeted drug into a clinical trial for childhood muscle cancer and was funded by CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a nationwide network of hospitals, doctors and leading scientists that develop new treatments for childhood cancer.

This type of therapy tailored to a cancer’s mutation was first pioneered at OHSU by Brian J. Druker, M.D., director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and recipient of the 2009 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, commonly referred to as America’s Nobel Prize. Druker and colleagues developed Gleevec, the first genetically targeted, non-chemotherapy pill for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) that left healthy cells unharmed and converted this fatal cancer into a manageable chronic condition.

Patients Experience Faster Recuperation With Healing Touch

Greenwich Hospital surgical, labor and delivery, and oncology patients are among those who have received a healing boost through a form of energy therapy known as Healing Touch.

The hospital, known for its reputation of service excellence, is among a growing number of medical facilities utilizing Healing Touch, which is a gentle, noninvasive therapy shown to facilitate the relaxation response to enhance the healing process. Research shows that, in addition to inducing a deep sense of calm and relaxation, Healing Touch helps to reduce pain, decrease anxiety, promote sleep and improve an overall sense of well-being.

Healing Touch trained volunteers, gently place their hands on or above a person’s “energy centers” of the body. The patient is fully clothed. The goal is to strengthen the body’s ability to heal itself by restoring balance and harmony to the body’s energy system.

Energy healing therapy involves the channeling of healing energy through the hands of a practitioner into the patient’s body to restore normal energy balance and, therefore, health, as described by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Greenwich Hospital offers Healing Touch to inpatients. The service is also provided by Greenwich Hospital’s Center for Integrative Medicine in Cos Cob, Connecticut. Certified practitioners from the Center are also available to offer Healing Touch in a patient’s home, in corporations and in schools.