Healthy Bits: August 2014

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Link between Calories and Breast Cancer

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University have discovered a link between restricting calorie intake and prevention of the spread of breast cancer. In an article published in “Breast Cancer Research and Treatment,” scientists describe the difference between two groups of mice, one fed a third the amount of food given to the other; both groups were infected with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). The researchers found that microbes known to increase the spread of TNBC were reduced with a combination of calorie restriction and radiation, leading to the possibility for new treatments.

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Proof of the Chemo-Brain

Does chemotherapy result in brain fog? A recent study conducted by a team of researchers led by Oana Linder of the University of Manchester confirmed previous speculations regarding a link between chemotherapy and decreased cognitive functioning. In at least the first year after treatment, half of the cancer patients surveyed scored similar to the bottom 10 percent of the population for spatial abilities, and a quarter performed similarly to those in the bottom 10 percent for long term-verbal memory. Lindner’s team is now analyzing other factors affected by chemotherapy, such as depression and exhaustion.

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Going the Distance with 6,000 Steps a Day

A recent study published in “Arthritis Care and Research” revealed that 6,000 steps may mean the difference between having osteoarthritis and staying healthy in old age. Osteoarthritis, which affects 14 percent of adults over 25 and a third of those over 65, is currently incurable. However, Boston University’s Daniel White and his team used Nike FitBit and Jawbone UP to track the activity of 2,000 adults ages 50 to 79. White found that 70 percent of the participants who walked less than 6,000 steps per day experienced knee impairments, while 70 percent of participants who walked above this amount did not. These findings suggest that 6,000 steps per day is a key threshold to maintaining bone and joint health.

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