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Cancer.org – A new study from American Cancer Society researchers finds use of 30 tablets per month (or more) of acetaminophen for at least five years was associated with an estimated 38 percent lower risk of prostate cancer. The study appears in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention and is one of only two studies of prostate cancer to date that have examined the association with acetaminophen use that was both long-term and regular.

Use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), particularly long-term use, has been associated with modestly reduced risk of prostate cancer in some previous epidemiologic studies. Acetaminophen, a commonly used pain-reliever (one brand name is Tylenol), is not traditionally considered an NSAID but can have anti-inflammatory effects.

For the current study, researchers led by Eric Jacobs, Ph.D., American Cancer Society epidemiologist, examined the association between acetaminophen use and prostate cancer incidence among 78,485 men in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. Information on acetaminophen use was obtained from a questionnaire completed at study enrollment in 1992 and updated using follow-up questionnaires in 1997 and every two years thereafter.

During follow-up from 1992 through 2007, there were 8,092 incident prostate cancer cases identified. Current regular use of acetaminophen (> 30 pills per month) for 5 years or more was associated with lower risk of overall prostate cancer (RR = 0.62, 95 percent CI 0.44-0.87) as well as lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer (RR = 0.49, 95 percent CI 0.27-0.88). Current regular use of < 5 years duration was not associated with prostate cancer risk.

“While the results of this observational study suggest that long-term regular acetaminophen use may be associated with lower prostate cancer risk, our findings require replication by other studies, and do not justify use of acetaminophen to prevent prostate cancer. Acetaminophen is considered relatively safe when used at recommended doses but unintentional acetaminophen overdose is an important cause of acute liver failure.” said Dr. Jacobs. “Still, results of this study could lead to further research on acetaminophen that might provide biological insights about the process of prostate cancer development and how this process could be slowed.”

Reference: “A Large Cohort Study of Long-term Acetaminophen Use and Prostate Cancer Incidence,” Eric J Jacobs, et al. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev May 17, 2011 cebp.0210.2011; Published OnlineFirst May 17, 2011; doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-0210

UCSF.edu – A study of 1,455 U.S. men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer has found a link between brisk walking and lowered risk of prostate cancer progression, according to scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and the Harvard School of Public Health.

The scientists found that men who walked briskly – at least three miles per hour – for at least three hours per week after diagnosis were nearly 60 percent less likely to develop biochemical markers of cancer recurrence or need a second round of treatment for prostate cancer.

“The important point was the intensity of the activity – the walking had to be brisk for men to experience a benefit,” said Erin Richman, ScD, a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF who is the first author on the study, published recently in the journal Cancer Research. “Our results provide men with prostate cancer something they can do to improve their prognosis.”

An earlier study, published earlier this year by UCSF’s June Chan, ScD, and collaborators at the Harvard School of Public Health, showed that physical activity after diagnosis could reduce disease-related mortality in a distinct population of men with prostate cancer. The new study complements this finding, as it was the first to focus on the effect of physical activity after diagnosis on early indications of disease progression, such as a rise in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood levels.

“Our work suggests that vigorous physical activity or brisk walking can have a benefit at the earlier stages of the disease,” said Chan, the Steven and Christine Burd-Safeway Distinguished Professor at UCSF and senior author of both studies.

Common form of cancer among men

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer among men in the United States, and more than 217,000 U.S. men are diagnosed with the disease every year according to the National Cancer Institute. Last year alone 32,050 men died from the disease.

Vigorous exercise and brisk walking have been consistently shown to have significant benefits on cardiovascular health, diabetes, and many other diseases. Previous studies have also shown the benefit of regular physical activity for disease outcomes in breast and colon cancer, but this is one of the first studies to demonstrate such a benefit for men with prostate cancer.

The participants in this study were selected were a subset of a larger group of 14,000 men with prostate cancer who are enrolled in a long-term, nationwide prostate cancer registry study known as the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE™), led by Peter Carroll, MD, MPH, who is the chair of the Urology Department at UCSF and an author of the study.

A particular strength of this study is the focus on early recurrence of prostate cancer, which occurs before men may experience painful symptoms of prostate cancer metastases, a frequent cause for men of decreasing their usual physical activity. Additionally, the researchers reported that the benefit of physical activity was independent of the participants’ age at diagnosis, type of treatment and clinical features of their disease at diagnosis.

Asked whether she would recommend walking for all men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer, Dr. Chan said yes – but emphasized that the walking must be brisk.

“Our results suggest that it is important to engage in exercise that gets your heart rate up a little bit,” she advised.

The results of the study can be found in the article, “Physical activity after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression: data from the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor,” and funded in part through a National Institutes of Health training grant.

Recently in PLoS Medicine, Anoop Shah of University College London and colleagues report that, in people with stable coronary disease, there were threshold hemoglobin values below which mortality increased in a graded, continuous fashion. As well as a systematic review and statistical analysis of previous studies, the researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of patients from a prospective observational cohort.

Their findings suggest that there are borderline low hemoglobin levels that are associated with increased risk of mortality in patients with angina or myocardial infarction, and, though limited by the observational nature of its results, the study supports the rationale for conducting future randomized controlled trials to assess whether hemoglobin levels are causal and whether clinicians should intervene to increase hemoglobin levels, for example by oral iron supplementation.

The authors say that “Irrespective of a possible causal, reversible relationship between haemoglobin concentration and mortality, further research is warranted to assess what incremental prognostic value haemoglobin might offer in risk stratifying patients with stable coronary disease” (Courtesy of EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS).

Reference: Shah AD, et al. (2011) Threshold Haemoglobin Levels and the Prognosis of Stable Coronary Disease: Two New Cohorts and a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS Med 8(5): e1000439. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000439

The risk of developing heart failure was lower for post-menopausal women who frequently ate baked fish or broiled fish, but higher for those who ate more fried fish, in a study reported in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

In a large-scale analysis, women who ate the most baked/broiled fish (five or more servings/week) had a 30 percent lower risk of heart failure compared to women who seldom ate it (less than one serving/month).

Previous research has found that fatty acids (omega-3) in fish – EPA, DHA and ALA – may lower risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing inflammation, resisting oxidative stress and improving blood pressure, cardiac and blood vessel function.

This study showed that they type of fish and cooking method may affect heart failure risk. The researchers found that dark fish (salmon, mackerel and bluefish) were associated with a significantly greater risk reduction than either tuna or white fish (sole, snapper and cod).

In a similar analysis, eating fried fish was associated with increased heart failure risk. Even one serving a week was associated with a 48 percent higher heart failure risk.

“Not all fish are equal, and how you prepare it really matters,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., senior author of the study. “When you fry fish, you not only lose a lot of the benefits, you likely add some things related to the cooking process that are harmful.”

Other research has shown that frying increases the trans fatty acid (TFA) content of foods, which is associated with increasing risk for heart disease. In this study, however, the researchers did not find an association between TFA and heart failure risk.

Lloyd-Jones and his team examined self-reported dietary data from 84,493 postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. They then divided study participants based on the frequency and type of fish consumption. Two groups of fish intake were defined: baked/broiled fish or fried fish. The baked/broiled fish group consisted of canned tuna, tuna salad, tuna casserole, white fish (broiled or baked), dark fish (broiled or baked) and shellfish (not fried). The fried fish group consisted of fried fish, fish sandwich and fried shellfish.

They conducted their analysis based on data from 1991 through August 2008. During an average follow-up of 10 years, 1,858 cases of heart failure occurred.

Most participants (85 percent) were Caucasian, 7 percent African-American and 3 percent Hispanic. Their average age was 63 at baseline.

Participants whose diets included more baked/broiled fish tended to be healthier and younger than their counterparts who ate fried fish. They were more physically active and fit, more educated and less likely to smoke, have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease (irregular heartbeat and coronary artery disease). Furthermore, their diets contained more fruits and vegetables, less unhealthy, saturated and trans fatty acids and more beneficial fatty acids, which are found in fish and in non-marine foods such as nuts, seeds and certain vegetable oils. Consumption of fried fish was associated with higher body mass index (a weight-to-height ratio), higher energy intakes (calories) and lower fiber consumption. Consumption of other fried foods besides fish was adjusted in the analysis.

While previous studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids to a decrease in some types of heart disease, their precise relationship to heart failure risk was unclear. Researchers sought to clarify the connection between fish and heart failure risk in postmenopausal women.

“Baking or broiling fish and eating it frequently seem to be part of a dietary pattern that is very beneficial for a number of things,” said Lloyd-Jones, associate professor, preventive cardiologist and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “In this case, we demonstrated that it’s associated with heart failure prevention. This suggests that fish is a very good source of lean protein that we ought to be increasing as a proportion of our diet and decreasing foods that contain less healthy saturated and trans fats.”

The results of this study are consistent with previous findings in studies of older American and Swedish populations, he said, “but the new study adds the interesting results on darker fish. They also suggest that baked/broiled fish is associated with reduced risk of heart failure through mechanisms other than reducing risk for a heart attack, a precursor to heart failure in some people.”

The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish (particularly fatty fish) per week. Each serving is 3.5 oz. cooked, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish.

In the United States, heart failure affects about 5.7 million people. Although the heart continues to function in this disease, it’s unable to pump blood efficiently enough to meet the body’s needs. Heart failure has many different causes, including smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, overweight, lack of physical activity and poor diet. Heart failure is often treatable with lifestyle changes, medicine or surgery (Courtesy of EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS).

A modest reduction in consumption of carbohydrate foods may promote deep belly fat loss, even with little or no change in weight, a new study finds. Results of the low-carb diet study were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston.

When paired with weight loss, consumption of a moderately reduced carbohydrate diet can help achieve a reduction of total body fat, according to principal author Barbara Gower, PhD, a professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“These changes could help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, stroke and coronary artery disease,” Gower said, noting that excess visceral fat, or intra-abdominal fat, raises the risk of these diseases.

Gower and her colleagues conducted the low-carb study, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, in 69 overweight but healthy men and women. Subjects received food for two consecutive eight-week periods: first a weight maintenance intervention, and then a weight loss intervention, which cut the number of calories that each person ate by 1,000 each day.

Subjects received either a standard lower-fat diet or a diet with a modest reduction in carbohydrates, or “carbs,” but slightly higher in fat than the standard diet. The moderately carb-restricted diet contained foods that had a relatively low glycemic index, a measure of the extent to which the food raises blood glucose levels. This diet consisted of 43 percent calories from carbohydrates and 39 percent calories from fat, whereas the standard diet contained 55 percent of calories from carbohydrates and 27 percent from fat. Protein made up the other 18 percent of each diet.

At the beginning and end of each study phase, the researchers measured the subjects’ fat deep inside the abdomen and their total body fat using computed tomography (CT) and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans.

After the weight maintenance phase, subjects who consumed the moderately carb-restricted diet had 11 percent less deep abdominal fat than those who ate the standard diet. However, when the researchers analyzed results by race, they found it was exclusive to whites. Whites have more deep abdominal fat than Blacks even when matched for body weight or percent body fat, and may benefit from loss of this metabolically harmful depot, Gower said.

During the weight loss phase, subjects on both diets lost weight. However, the moderately carb-restricted diet promoted a 4 percent greater loss of total body fat, Gower said. “For individuals willing to go on a weight-loss diet, a modest reduction in carbohydrate-containing foods may help them preferentially lose fat, rather than lean tissue,” she said. “The moderately reduced carbohydrate diet allows a variety of foods to meet personal preferences” (Courtesy of Eurekalert.org).

New research suggests an effective post-workout recovery drink may already be in your refrigerator: lowfat chocolate milk. Grabbing lowfat chocolate milk after a tough workout helped give both trained and amateur athletes a post-exercise training advantage, according to three new studies presented at the American College of Sports Medicine and published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research this month. Athletes in the studies who had a post-exercise lowfat chocolate milk – with the right mix of carbs and high-quality protein – had improved training times, better body composition (more muscle, less fat) and were in better shape than their peers who drank typical sports beverages with carbohydrates only.

In three related studies, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin compared the recovery benefits of drinking lowfat chocolate milk after exercise to a carbohydrate beverage with the same calories (similar to a typical sports drink) and calorie-free beverages. The new research linked drinking lowfat chocolate milk after strenuous exercise to:

Improved Performance: Following an exhausting ride, trained cyclists had significantly more power and rode faster, shaving about six minutes, on average, from their ride time when they recovered with lowfat chocolate milk compared to a carbohydrate sports drink and calorie-free beverage. The 10 cyclists rode for 90 minutes at a moderate intensity followed by 10 minutes of high intensity intervals. During a four-hour recovery period, they drank one of the three recovery beverages immediately and two hours later before heading on a second 40 kilometer ride. (1)

Quicker Exercise Adaptation: Compared to the other recovery drinks, chocolate milk drinkers had twice the improvement in V02max – a measure of aerobic fitness and adaptation – after a 4.5 week cycling regimen that included intense exercise five days a week, followed by one of the three recovery beverages. The study included 32 healthy but untrained male and female cyclists.(2)

Better Body Composition (More Muscle, Less Fat): Chocolate milk drinkers gained more muscle and lost more fat during training, with a 3 pound lean muscle advantage at the end of the 4.5 weeks compared to athletes who grabbed a carbohydrate drink. The 32 healthy but untrained male and female cyclists rode for one hour, five days a week and drank one of the three recovery beverages immediately following and one hour post-exercise. (3)

“Collectively, our research suggests that lowfat chocolate milk – easily accessible for most athletes – can improve performance and aid training for trained and amateur athletes faced with tough routines,” said John L. Ivy, Ph.D, lead researcher on the University of Texas at Austin studies. “We may need more research to understand the exact mechanisms, but there’s something that chocolate milk naturally has that likely gives it the post-exercise advantage.”

Experts agree the two-hour window after exercise is an important, yet often neglected, part of fitness routine. After strenuous exercise, this post-workout recovery period is critical for active people at all fitness levels to help make the most of a workout and stay in top shape for the next workout (Courtesy of Eurekalert.org).

Sources:

1. Ferguson-Stegall L, et al. Postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation improves subsequent exercise performance and intracellular signaling for protein synthesis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011;25:1210-1224.

2. Ferguson-Stegall L, et al. Aerobic exercise training adaptations are increased by post-exercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation [Abstract]. In: American College of Sports Medicine 58th Annual Meeting; 2011 May 31-Jun 4; Denver, CO. Poster nr D-29.

3. McCleave EL, Ferguson-Stegall L, et al. Effects of aerobic training and nutritional supplementation on body composition, immune cells and inflammatory markers [Abstract]. IN: American College of Sports Medicine 58th Annual Meeting; 2011 May 31-Jun 4; Denver, CO. Poster nr C-24.