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Acupuncture lowers blood pressure, coffee fights colon cancer

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 August, 2015, 12:04am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 August, 2015, 12:04am

Coffee may improve survival in colon cancer patients

Here's another reason to enjoy your daily cup of java - or four: regular consumption of caffeinated coffee may help prevent the return of colon cancer after treatment and improve the chances of a cure, according to a new study from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Nearly 1,000 patients, all treated with surgery and chemotherapy for stage 3 colon cancer, had the greatest benefit from consuming four or more cups of coffee a day (about 460 milligrams of caffeine), according to the study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. These patients were 42 per cent less likely to have their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers, and were 33 per cent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause. Two to three cups of coffee per day had a more modest benefit, while little protection was associated with one cup or less. Stage 3 colon cancer patients have about a 35 per cent chance of recurrence. The researchers hypothesise that caffeine consumption increases the body's sensitivity to insulin so less is needed, which, in turn, may help reduce inflammation - a risk factor for diabetes and cancer.

Pregnancy: the long and short of it

Shorter mothers have shorter pregnancies, smaller babies and higher risk for a preterm birth, finds new research by the March of Dimes, a US non-profit organisation. Investigators at looked at 3,485 Nordic women and their babies, and found that maternal height, which is determined by genetic factors, helped shape the fetal environment, influencing the length of pregnancy and frequency of prematurity. In contrast, birth length and birth weight are mainly influenced by transmitted genes. Babies who survive an early birth can face serious and lifelong health issues, including breathing problems, jaundice, loss of vision, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays. Primary investigator Dr Louis Muglia says: "The explanation for why this happens is unclear but could depend not only on unknown genes but also on a woman's lifetime of nutrition and her environment."

Headaches increase after school holidays

Headaches increase in children in autumn, a trend that may be due to stress from going back to school, and changes in routines and sleep, finds a new study from Nationwide Children's Hospital in the US. Researchers analysed about 1,300 emergency department visits from 2010 to 2014. The two most common types of primary headaches seen by physicians are tension headaches and migraines. While migraines are less common in children, they are far more painful and are generally associated with nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Tension headaches tend to feel more like tightening around the head, and children can continue with their normal day despite the discomfort. The researchers say headaches can often be prevented by eating three meals a day, getting enough sleep at night without napping during the day, drinking enough liquids, and working to remove the stresses in a child's day.

Acupuncture treatment benefits hypertension

Acupuncture therapy lowers blood pressure in hypertensive patients, reducing stroke and heart disease risks, according to new research from the University of California, Irvine. In the study, 65 hypertensive patients who were not on hypertension medication were randomly split into two groups. All subjects were treated with electroacupuncture - which employs low-intensity electrical stimulation - at different acupoints on the body. In one group of 33 receiving electroacupuncture on both sides of the inner wrists and slightly below each knee, there was a noticeable drop in blood pressure rates in 70 per cent of participants - an average of 6 to 8 mmHg for systolic blood pressure (the high number) and 4 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure (the low number). These improvements persisted for six weeks. In the other group who received electroacupuncture at other acupoints along the forearm and lower leg, no consequential blood pressure changes were found.