Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Six cups of coffee a day 'can slash prostate cancer risk'

According to one study. Other studies find differently. They also think below that coffee feminizes you!

What they probably found was that hard-driving middle class men drink more coffee and that middle class men are also healthier generally

Drinking cup after cup of coffee could more than halve the odds of developing a deadly prostate tumour, research suggests. A 20-year study of almost 50,000 men found those who drank at least six cups a day were 20 per cent less likely to get prostate cancer than those who never touched the stuff.

Strikingly, they were 60 per cent less likely than the non-coffee drinkers to die of the disease. Those who like to restrict their caffeine intake will be glad to know the study found decaffeinated coffee to be just as effective.

The research is significant because prostate cancer, the most common cancer among British men, affects 37,000 a year and kills more than 10,000.

However, the Harvard University researchers say that non-coffee drinkers shouldn’t change their habits based on this study alone.

The American team compared the coffee intake of men quizzed about their diets every four years between 1986 and 2006 with their medical records. Two-thirds of those taking part drank at least one cup of coffee a day and 5 per cent got through at least six, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports. Some 5,035 of the 47,911 men developed prostate cancer, with 642 of the tumours classed as lethal, meaning the men died from the disease or were expected to.

Even relatively small amounts of coffee – one to three cups per day – lowered the risk of lethal prostate cancer by 30 per cent. And bigger amounts had a bigger effect.

Importantly, the link cannot be explained away by the coffee drinkers having healthier lifestyles. In fact, they were more likely to smoke and did less exercise.

Caffeine is credited with a host of health benefits, including cutting the odds of asthma, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

But in this case, the researchers believe that other plant chemicals in coffee are behind the benefits. They think compounds such as anti-oxidants may cut the odds of prostate cancer and reduce the likelihood of deadly tumours by altering levels of sex hormones, regulating blood sugar levels and cutting inflammation.

‘An association between coffee and lower risk of advanced prostate cancer is biologically plausible,’ they reported.

Kathryn Wilson, the study’s lead author, said: ‘If our findings are validated, coffee could represent one modifiable factor that may lower the risk of developing the most harmful form of prostate cancer.’ But British experts said other studies had failed to find that coffee protected against prostate cancer.

Dr Helen Rippon, head of research management at the Prostate Cancer Charity, said: ‘It is important to remember that studying diet is difficult because you are not studying a standardised product – coffee can be prepared in many different ways from many different varieties of bean.

‘That is why it is so important that studies like this are repeated by others, to see if the result stands up in other groups of men.

‘Although this study is a welcome addition to our knowledge, it is far from definitive and we would not recommend men who are not already habitual coffee drinkers to become so in the hope of preventing prostate cancer.’

She pointed out that heavy caffeine intake is associated with other health problems.


Scientists find “master switch” to controlling human fat

Not those pesky genes again!

Scientists have found that a gene linked to diabetes and cholesterol is a "master switch" that controls other genes found in fat in the body, and say it should help in the search for treatments for obesity-related diseases.

In a study published in the journal Nature Genetics, the British researchers said that since fat plays an important role in peoples' susceptibility to metabolic diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes, the regulating gene could be target for drugs to treat such illnesses.

"This is the first major study that shows how small changes in one master regulator gene can cause a cascade of other metabolic effects in other genes," said Tim Spector of King's College London, who led the study.

More than half a billion people, or one in 10 adults worldwide, are obese and the numbers have doubled since the 1980s as the obesity epidemic has spilled over from wealthy into poorer nations.

In the United States, obesity-related diseases already account for nearly 10 percent of medical spending -- an estimated $147 billion a year.

Type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to poor diet and lack of exercise, is also reaching epidemic levels worldwide as rates of obesity rise.

Scientists have already identified a gene called KLF14 as being linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels, but until now they did know what role it played.

Spector's team analyzed more than 20,000 genes in fat samples taken from under the skin of 800 British female twin volunteers. They found a link between the KLF14 gene and the levels of many other distant genes found in fat tissue, showing that KLF14 acts as a master switch to control these genes.

They then confirmed their findings in 600 fat samples from a separate group of people from Iceland.

In a report of their study, the researchers explained that other genes found to be controlled by KLF14 are linked to a range of metabolic traits, including body mass index, obesity, cholesterol, insulin and glucose levels.

"KLF14 seems to act as a master switch controlling processes that connect changes in the behavior of subcutaneous fat to disturbances in muscle and liver that contribute to diabetes and other conditions," said Mark McCarthy from Britain's Oxford University, who also worked on the study.

"We are working understand these processes and how we can use this information to improve treatment of these conditions."


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