Sunday, June 26, 2011

Being married can boost your chances of beating cancer, say scientists

All that this proves, I suspect, is that people in poor health are less likely to get married. Good to see that the authors have thought of that

A study by Penn State College of Medicine and Brigham Young University in the U.S. revealed that sufferers who were married had a 14 per cent lower risk of death. The bonus of having a spouse was shown to be equally beneficial to men and women.

The survey also noted that married patients with the condition were more likely to be diagnosed early in the disease's development and often opted for more aggressive forms of treatment.

Scientists are unsure how a marriage license can help sufferers, but speculate that spouses act as an important informal caregiver and supporter, boosting how the disease is managed.

'Controlling for the stage that the cancer was detected is key. Without that, it's hard to know whether the analysis is just picking up a diagnosis effect,' Sven Wilson, a study co-author and professor at Brigham Young University, said.

'Having a spouse helps you kind of pinpoint problems and get them treated more quickly. You can think of a spouse as kind of an informal nurse or caregiver.'

The study did not look at whether the married people were already healthier than single people. According to the report, healthy people may be more likely to get or stay married.


Hormone link in cold cure

A CURE for the common cold is one step closer following an important discovery by researchers at the University of Queensland. And the secret to getting rid of those nasty bugs could be in female hormones.

Scientists at the UQ School of Medicine at Princess Alexandra Hospital have made an important discovery about how the immune system reacts to rhinoviruses the most common type of virus to cause colds.

"What turned up unexpectedly was this big gender difference," team leader Professor John Upham said. "Women make a much stronger immune response to the virus than men do, but only below the age of 50. "Over that age, the difference between men and women goes away which suggests it is not a gender thing but a hormonal thing."

The differences disappear after menopause, so the virus is probably regulated by sex hormones - oestrogen or progesterone. Prof Upham said the results were crucially important for finding new ways of combating rhinoviruses.

"While these viruses are just a nuisance in healthy people, they can make people with asthma or other chronic lung diseases very unwell and (see them) end up in hospital," Prof Upham said.

As yet, the researchers haven't identified exactly which hormone it is but that will be essential in the development of a vaccine.

"That vaccine will specifically target people with asthma because they are the ones who end up in hospital," he said.

"Knowing the difference between men and women is really important as we examine people with asthma. "We can now work out why women with asthma don't receive the beneficial effects of the hormones."

The research was funded by the Asthma Foundation of Queensland and the National Health and Medical Research Council.


No comments: