Increasing Stress May Up Cancer Risk: Motivation to Move

Stressed out about your stress levels? Sometimes it’s a vicious cycle. Deadlines, bills, global warming…it seems there is a laundry list of things to feel stressed about.

The bad news: Now there’s evidence that stress can increase your risk of cancer.

In a study published in the April 16 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mice that were restrained (a huge stressor) and then exposed to radiation developed more tumors than unrestrained mice that were exposed to radiation. The researchers found that a class of hormones called glucocorticoids was elevated in the restrained (stressed) mice. Glucocorticoids suppress  p53—a key protein that plays an important role in the prevention of tumors.

Here’s the abstract for the study.

The good news: There’s a “drug” for stress—exercise! Continue reading

Quercetin: Hidden Treasure in Your Latkes

One of my favorite winter dishes is featured in Holiday Recipes from AICR’s Test Kitchen: Low Fat Latkes.

When served with applesauce, the three key ingredients in this dish—potatoes, onions, and apples—each contain large quantities of a phytochemical called quercetin. 

Quercetin is classified as a flavonoid.  Lab studies suggest quercetin may offer protection from many chronic diseases such as cancer.

In a well-cited 1997 study, scientists gave volunteers apples and onions and then measured the amount of quercetin in their blood and urine. The nine volunteers ate apples, had their urine/blood checked and then five days later repeated the process with the onions. Continue reading

Screening for Toxins at Lightspeed

We know a lot about how people can reduce their risk of cancer with diet and other lifestyle choices, but the role of environmental toxins in cancer risk is still an area of concern. (Last week, the EPA released a major report on breast cancer’s links to environmental links.)

In a collaborative effort between the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Food and Drug Administration, the NIH has unveiled a new tool for identifying possible toxins: a robot.

Although he doesn’t have quite the flair of C-3PO of Star Wars fame, the new robot—Tox21—is playing in a much more important role. Continue reading