Health Bites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 10:14am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 10:14am

Bark of cork tree may fight pancreatic cancer

The bark of the Amur cork tree ( Phellodendron amurense), long used in traditional Chinese medicine, has been found to have potential to fight pancreatic cancer. In a study published in the journal Clinical Care Research, scientists from the University of Texas Health Science Centre show that cork tree extract blocks those pathways and inhibits the scarring that thwarts anti-cancer drugs. The extract also appears to suppress the enzyme that causes inflammation in the tumours. Pancreatic, liver and kidney tumours develop fibrosis - uncontrolled scarring around the tumour gland - and drugs cannot get into the cancer once fibrotic tissue forms.

Yoga can regulate stress during radiation therapy

For women with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy, yoga offers unique benefits beyond fighting fatigue, according to a study by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers found that while stretching counteracted fatigue, patients who participated in yoga exercises that incorporated breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques into their treatment plan experienced improved ability to engage in daily activities, better general health and better regulation of cortisol (stress hormone). Women who practise yoga are also better equipped to find meaning in the illness experience.

Binge drinking could harm older drinkers A study has found that among older moderate drinkers, those who binge drink have more than two times higher odds of 20-year mortality compared to regular moderate drinkers. The study, which will be published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, comprised 446 moderate-drinking adults (334 men, 112 women) aged 55 to 65, with 74 who binge drank and 372 who were regular moderate drinkers.