White House focuses on microbiome, the trillions of microbes that link to cancer risk

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The bacteria and other microbes living inside us will soon get a much closer look, with the White House announcing a major new initiative today that promises to speed up our understanding of how the trillions of microorganisms play a role in diseases, such as cancer.

The National Microbiome Initiative is a collaboration of government and private industry and it has a broad aim to understand the microorganism communities on Earth and beyond. These communities include bacteria, viruses and fungi. As part of the Initiative the government pledged to support more than $121 million over the next couple years to research. That includes everything from investigating microbes’ role in land, sea, and space. It also involves looking at microbes in animals, including us humans.

1214977_sA lot of the microbiome research already involves human health. Largely ignored until recently, scientists now know that our skin, mouth, gut and almost every part of our body is teeming with microbes that we depend upon for good health. Whether these microbes outnumber human cells ten to one or they’re about even, we know there are trillions of them. And that they are important. Read more… “White House focuses on microbiome, the trillions of microbes that link to cancer risk”

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    Daily weight check, small calorie cuts, more activity can help young adults prevent weight gain

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    Losing weight is hard. Keeping it off is harder. It’s definitely doable — we’ve written about successes here — but wouldn’t it be great if young adults could prevent gaining too much weight in the first place? A new multi-year study suggests that with daily weigh-ins and a few small changes, you can.

    The study is among a growing area of research looking at ways to prevent weight gain, and it’s one of the largest randomized controlled studies on the topic to date. Previous research cited in the study suggests that young adults gain about 1.5 pounds per year. Over a couple decades, that adds up. And with two-thirds of US adults now overweight or obese, the research carries important potential for slowing the obesity epidemic. That, in turn, will play a role in cancer prevention. AICR research shows that carrying too much body fat is a cause of 11 cancers, including postmenopausal breast, ovarian and advanced prostate.

    This study built upon prior research about how knowing and tracking your own weight can help with weight control.

    Study researchers split almost 600 young men and women into one of three groups: two interventions and a comparison. Ages ranged from 18 to 35 and about half were overweight. Read more… “Daily weight check, small calorie cuts, more activity can help young adults prevent weight gain”

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      Aspirin and Cancer Prevention: An Update

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      There are several recognized ways that you can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, but is taking aspirin one of them? This week the US Preventive Services Task Force released their recommendations on aspirin, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer – a final take on their draft recommendations released last year.

      After a review of the research, the task force recommends that 50 to 59 year olds who have a 10 percent or greater 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease and have no risk for bleeding take a low-dose of aspirin. For these individuals, they conclude, taking aspirin  five to ten years can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer. Here, they graded the evidence a B, meaning that there is high to moderate certainty of a net benefit.

      If you are between ages 60 to 69, taking aspirin should be an individual decision depending on  preferences and discussion with a health care professional, they write.

      Last year we wrote about their draft recommendations, noting that AICR’s focus is on how diet, nutrition, physical activity and weight links to cancer risk, so we have no position on aspirin use and risk.Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.01.09 AMWhatever your decision on aspirin, you should also know there is clear evidence that several healthy habits and a healthy weight link to lower risk. Many of these steps also reduce risk for heart disease.

      Eating plenty of foods with fiber, limiting red meat and avoiding processed meats, exercising and staying a healthy weight all link to lower risk. AICR estimate that these lifestyle factors could prevent one of every two colorectal cancer cases every year.

      Here are AICR’s key findings and the report on colorectal cancer.

      Read more… “Aspirin and Cancer Prevention: An Update”

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