Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Tomatoes could ease night-times for prostate patients by relieving pressure on the bladder
Too few details provided to check these claims
Tomatoes have already been credited with a host of health benefits – and now another one can be added to the list. Lycopene, the antioxidant which makes tomatoes red, has been found to reduce age-related enlargement of the prostate and thereby pressure on the bladder.
The revelation will bring comfort to those men troubled by the need to visit the toilet frequently, especially at night.
Tomatoes – packed with vitamins, natural anti-inflammatories and other goodies – have been previously identified as helping to combat cardiovascular disease, stroke and prostate cancer.
The latest benefit emerged from research in Queensland, Australia. A three-month study was carried out into the effect of lycopene in combination with other natural compounds.
A total of 57 men aged 40 to 80 were given pills containing active ingredients or identical dummy tablets. They were not told which ones they were taking.
Researchers found that the number of night-time visits to the toilet was cut by more than a third and overall bladder function was substantially improved.
Meanwhile, evidence has been growing about the benefits of a recently launched British supplement called Ateronon containing an artificial version of lycopene.
Research presented by Cambridge University at the prestigious American Heart Association showed it had a unique effect in improving blood vessel flexibility and reducing hardening of the arteries.
Ian Wilkinson, director of the university’s clinical trials unit, is confident that similar benefits will be gained in reducing the risk of prostate cancer and slowing the disease in men already diagnosed.
‘Ateronon could be more beneficial than natural lycopene because it is more easily absorbed by the body,’ Mr Wilkinson said. ‘We are designing a trial to prove that.’
Luis Vitetta, also a director at the university, said lycopene has a similar chemical structure to finasteride, the main drug used to treat benign enlargement of the prostate. ‘That may be the reason for the effect,’ he said.
A second newly-published study in Chicago has shown beneficial proteins in prostate cells were boosted when exposed to lycopene.
Project leader Richard van Breemen said a long-term study was needed on lycopene as it took time to have an effect.
Medical breakthrough for MS sufferers
In a breakthrough discovery, researchers have discovered a treatment capable of reducing the debilitating autoimmune response that occurs in people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS).
When patients are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, their bodies begin to attack the protein myelin, which insulates the body’s spinal cord, brain and optic nerves. As a result, MS patients experience symptoms such as numbness in their limbs, paralysis and sometimes blindness.
However, during a phase one clinical trial of a new treatment for MS patients, researchers were able to curtail the body’s attacks on myelin by 50 to 75 percent, while sustaining the functionality of the rest of the immune system.
Current treatments for MS seek to lessen the body’s autoimmune response to myelin, but this often results in decreased effectiveness of the entire immune system.
“Most therapies for autoimmune diseases employ approaches broadly called immunosuppressors – they knock down immune response without specificity,” study co-author Stephen Miller, professor of microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com.
“People can become highly susceptible to everyday infections and develop higher rates of cancer.”
Miller and his colleagues sought a more targeted ‘tolerance’ treatment that would leave the greater immune system intact while knocking out only the autoimmune response to myelin.
“In MS, the idea is to target autoreactive T-cells directed against myelin…which would (reduce) disease progression, but wouldn’t make patient susceptible to higher rates of infection,” Miller said.
In a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, a small group of MS patients were treated intravenously with an infusion of their own white blood cells, which had been engineered to carry billions of myelin antigens. Researchers hoped the cells would teach the body to stop attacking myelin.
Miller and his team needed to determine if the treatment, which was based on 30 years of previous research, could be safely applied in humans – and they were pleased to discover it could be.
“It was safe to infuse as many as 3 billion autologous cells that we collected and manipulated back into the same patient and didn’t trigger exacerbations,” Miller said. “Most patients didn’t show any increased signs of disease during the six-month follow up.”
Furthermore, the treatment did not seem to impede the larger immune system. Researchers tested this by analyzing whether or not each patient continued to retain their immunity to tetanus, for which all of the patients had previously been vaccinated.
“Among four patients receiving the highest doses (of autologous cells), immune response to myelin antigens had diminished or gone away - but tetanus had not gone away,” Miller said.
This indicated that the immune system’s ability to fight other diseases after the procedure remained intact.
Though researchers caution that the study was too small to draw any significant conclusions, they are optimistic about the outcomes of larger studies and the ability of this treatment to help halt the progress of MS – particularly among recently-diagnosed patients.
“The idea is that if we’re able to intervene early enough in disease process, we can stop the autoimmune destruction and (the patient) will have little or no clinical deficit as result of earlier attacks before being diagnosed,” Miller said.
Researchers hope to receive funding to begin a phase two trial soon.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:19 AM