LE: Life Extension Update 2000.10.20

From: Technotranscendence (neptune@mars.superlink.net)
Date: Fri Oct 20 2000 - 20:50:53 MDT

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UPDATE EXCLUSIVE: Optical mammography may make surgical biopsies obsolete;
WHAT'S HOT: Older oral contraceptives up breast cancer risk; PROTOCOL:
Cancer radiation; FEATURED PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK: Taurine capsules, Sports
Ginseng; LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2000: New data on the dangers of
hormone replacement therapy


As part of our ongoing acknowledgement of the month of October as breast
cancer awareness month, Life Extension Update presents further
breakthroughs in the field of breast cancer diagnosis and theory.

Optical mammography may make surgical biopsies obsolete

A hand held laser device is in the works that can locate breast tumors and
determine whether or not they are malignant. Currently, when a mammogram
and ultrasound indicate suspicious tissue, a woman must undergo a
sometimes painful needle biopsy, and, if the results indicate it, a costly
surgical biopsy, which is also painful,involves outpatient
hospitalization, and leaves a scar. Worse than this, however, is that
surgeons may fail to remove the intended tissue because of the difficulty
in pinpointing the location of suspicious areas shown on mammograms,
forcing the patient to endure more waiting and further biopsy.

Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California, Irvine, is
currently testing a noninvasive, hand-held laser as part of a study of the
ability of the drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene to prevent cancer. The
laser uses near-infrared light to map the optical signature of breast
tissue. The new device is similar to transluminators developed twenty
years ago, but much more effective. The earlier devices did not have the
sensitivity required to calculate absorption and scattering of light. The
device uses the idea that light travels differently through malignant
tissue than it does normal tissue, and this difference is analyzed by a
computer. The latest device is so sensitive that it can detect monthly and
lifetime hormonal changes in breast tissue.

Jerome Spanier, PhD, Claremont Graduate University Senior Fellow and
Director, and developer of the device's mathematical support system
commented, "The laser probe itself is exquisitely sensitive to subtle
tissue changes and our mathematical algorithm contributes to a deeper
understanding of how the normal tissue and the cancerous tissue differ."

Product developer, Bruce Tromberg, PhD, Beckman Laser Institute Laser
Microbeam and Medical Program Director Fellow and Director, is currently
measuring tamoxifen and raloxifene's effectiveness with the device, which
is not yet approved for widespread use. He stated, "We are pushing it to
the next level. It is an emerging technology."

Older oral contraceptives up breast cancer risk

In a study published in the October 11 issue of the Journal of the
American Medical Association, researchers discovered that the use of oral
contraceptives before 1975 significantly increased the risk of breast
cancer in the sisters and daughters of 246 women diagnosed with breast
cancer between 1944 and 1952. In an effort to determine whether the
association between the use of oral contraceptives and breast cancer is
influenced by a family history of the disease, researchers conducted a
telephone survey of 394 sister and daughters, 3002 granddaughters and
nieces, and 2754 women who married into the families of the original 246
breast cancer patients.

The researchers conclude with the recommendation that first-degree
relatives of breast cancer patients who have used oral contraceptives be
particularly vigilant concerning breast cancer screening.

Cancer radiation

Radiation therapy is given to about 60% of all cancer patients, but may
inflict tremendous tissue damage to healthy cells. Radiotherapy can also
cause secondary cancers after the primary cancer has been treated, leading
to secondary diseases such as pneumonitis and radiation fibrosis.
Radiation therapy is associated with both acute and late disease
conditions that affect a patient's nutritional status.

Radiation therapy relies on the local destruction of cancer cells through
ionizing radiation that disrupts cellular DNA. Radiation therapy can be
externally or internally originated, high or low dose, and delivered with
computer-assisted accuracy to the site of the tumor. Brachytherapy, or
interstitial radiation therapy, places the source of radiation directly
into the tumor as implanted "seeds."

The amino acid taurine is severely depleted when people undergo radiation
therapy. The March 1992 issue of the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition suggested a possible therapeutic effect of taurine
supplementation relative to radiation therapy. Supplementation with 2000
mg a day of taurine is, therefore, recommended to people undergoing cancer
radiation therapy.

In animal studies, when ginseng was administered along with radiation
therapies, a far greater percentage of the animals survived in the
ginseng-supplemented group, compared with the group administered radiation
without ginseng. Cancer patients should consider taking 2 to 4 capsules
daily of Sports Ginseng by Nature's Herbs, which combines Korean and
Siberian ginseng.


Taurine capsules

Taurine is one the most abundant amino acids found in the body. It is
found throughout the excitable tissues of the central nervous system,
where it is thought to have a regulating influence. Because of this,
taurine supplements have been found to control epileptic seizures, motor
tics and facial twitches.

L-taurine is an amino acid in which many individuals are deficient.
L-taurine has recently been reported to prevent cataracts and certain
forms of heart disease. Cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy
become taurine deficient.

Sports Ginseng

Sports Ginseng is the highest quality and most effective form of ginseng
for athletes who train and compete at peak levels, and for active men and
women of all ages in search of good health and vibrant energy. Sports
Ginseng is standardized at the preferred concentration of naturally
balanced active and co-active constituents, including ginsenosides,
panaxosides and eleutherosides, while retaining and enhancing all the
whole root synergistic benefits which are so significant in natural herbs.
Sports Ginseng provides the ginseng in its properly balanced ratios of the
different ginsenoside groups including Rg and Rb.

Korean (panax) ginseng is renowned worldwide for helping to promote good
health, endurance and vitality. It has been a staple of Oriental medicine
for 5,000 years and is respected for its invigorating value. Siberian
(Eleutherococcus) ginseng is also one of the world's favorite and most
honored herbs. Recent scientific research suggests that it helps promote
better health, well-being and greater levels of physical performance.
Siberian ginseng is approved for institutional use in the former Soviet
Union and is regularly consumed by Olympic athletes, resulting in improved

New data on the dangers of hormone replacement therapy

Data on the risks of prescription hormones is stacking up at the same time
that the benefits are becoming increasingly questionable. Drugs such as
Premarin cause cancer with or without added progestins. Adding progestins
simply moves the cancer to another organ.

A new study from the University of Toronto is the latest to show that
prescription estrogen greatly increases the risk of endometrial cancer.
The first studies on the high risk of endometrial cancer and synthetic
estrogen were published in 1975. Subsequently it was proven that risk
could be reduced if progestins were added. That strategy has been proven
to increase the risk of breast cancer-in some cases, double it.

One of the things that has recently emerged from breast cancer/drug
studies is that the combination of estrogen and progestins dramatically
increases breast density. This may confound the results of mammograms. Yet
women who do take drug hormones may have reduced mortality because they
are more likely to get a mammogram and have early detection since they are
seeing a physician on a regular basis. The answer, of course, is for women
to see a doctor regularly whether or not they're taking prescription

Please email me if you have any questions or comments about this or other
issues of Life Extension Update, or on other life extension topics.

Until next week, stay healthy!

For longer life,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Update
Life Extension Foundation

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