Lab Report

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 April, 2013, 9:46am

Cancer treatment best served cold

Radiologists have safely killed cancerous tumours that have spread to the lungs using cryoablation, using a small needle-like probe with an icy tip to kill cancer cells. The instrument, with a tip cooled with gas to as low as minus 100 degrees Celsius, is guided to cancerous tumours via a nick in the skin. The resulting halo of ice crystals destroys cancer by interrupting its cellular function, protecting healthy lung tissues nearby. In one study, after killing a total of 36 tumours in 22 patients, it was found to be 100 per cent effective three months on. Six months after, however, complete tumour destruction was found in 23 per cent of the patients.


Apples, pears and kidney disease

People with "apple-shaped" bodies - when fat is concentrated mostly in the abdominal area - are more likely than the "pear-shaped" to develop kidney disease. The reason, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, is because the apple-shaped tend to have an elevated blood pressure in the kidneys - even if the person is healthy and has normal blood pressure. Previous studies have shown this can be treated with drugs or by restricting the intake of salt.


Pills and ills Most family doctors receive little or no information about the harmful effects of medicines when visited by pharmaceutical representatives, yet the doctors say they are likely to start prescribing these drugs anyway. This is according to a study published last week in the Journal of General Internal Medicine involving physicians in Canada, the United States and France. It was found that in 59 per cent of the promotions, sales representatives failed to provide any information to the doctors about common or serious side effects, or the type of patients who should not use the medicine.