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Body weight is directly associated with mortality from cancer, according to a study carried out in the U.S. Researchers at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta found that increased body weight is not only related to specific cancers but also to death rates for all cancers combined. The team examined a population of more than 900,000 U.S. adults (around half men and half women) who were free of cancer at enrollment in 1982. and looked at the relation between body mass index at baseline and the risk of death from all cancers and from cancers at individual sites, while controlling for other risk factors. In the 16 years of follow-up there were 57,145 deaths from cancer. The heaviest members of the cohort (those with a body-mass index of at least 40) had death rates from all cancers combined that were 52% higher for men and 62% higher for women when compared to people of normal weight.

--New England Journal of Medicine, April;348:1625-1638.

"Germany's federal cabinet approved a proposed law that would cut in half the number of drugs covered by the massive public health and insurance system. The proposed law had been under consideration since 2000 and is strongly opposed by Germany's drug industry. It will now be sent to the Bundestag, or Lower House of Parliament, for debate. Bundestag approval is likely as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's SPD/Greens coalition holds a majority. Currently, German public health insurance covers most of the cost of nearly 40,000 prescription and over-the-counter medicines sold in Germany's pharmacies, including herbal medicines. Only a few medicines have been placed on a so-called 'negative list' that excludes them from being covered by public health insurance. The new law will do away with the negative list and replace it with a 'positive list' of medicines covered by public health insurance, cutting the number of covered medicines in half."

--Ned Stafford, Reuters.com, 4/10/03

"An ordinary cup of tea may be a powerful infection fighter, a recent study suggests. Researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they have found in tea a chemical that boosts the body's defense fivefold against disease. They said the chemical primes immune system cells to attack bacteria, viruses and fungi and could, perhaps, be turned into a disease-fighting drug someday... In the study, [Dr. Jack F.] Bukowski and his co-authors isolated from ordinary black tea a substance called L-theanine. He said the substance is found as well in green and oolong tea, which also are processed from traditional tea tree leaves... After four weeks, they took more blood from the tea drinkers and then exposed that blood to E-coli bacteria Bukowski said the immune cells in the specimens secreted five times more interferon than did blood cells from the same subjects before the weeks of tea drinking. Blood tests and bacteria challenges showed there was no change in the interferon levels of the coffee drinkers, he said."

--Paul Recer, AP Science Writer, yahoanews.com, 4/22/03

Japanese scientists have discovered a new vitamin that plays an important role in fertility in mice and may have a similar function in humans... A research team led by Takafumi Kato confirmed that pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), a substance discovered in 1979, can be categorized as a vitamin. Mice deprived of PQQ suffer reduced fertility and roughened fur, the Tokyo-based Institute of Physical and Chemical Research said in a news release. Vitamins that have an important effect on mice usually act in the same way in humans, Kato said...PQQ is the first new vitamin to be discovered since 1948, the institute said. Vitamins are defined as organic substances needed in small quantities for health and growth. They must be obtained from food as they cannot be produced by the body. The best source of PQQ discovered so far is "natto," a pungent Japanese dish of fermented soybeans. Other foods rich in the substance include parsley, green tea, green peppers, kiwi fruit and papaya...PQQ is not generally included in multiv itamin tablets available on the market, the release said. There are 13 other types of vitamins already known, and PQQ is believed to belong to the vitamin B group.

--msnbc.com, Reuters, 4/24/03

Researchers in the U.K. are to explore the health benefits of homeopathy and alternative medicine as part of a [pounds]1.3 million program being funded by the British government. The research will focus on the role of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of cancer, asthma, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome... It is thought that evidence gained from the scheme will also inform future clinical practice within complementary and alternative medicine and demonstrate when and where these approaches may be used to their best advantage, either as stand-alone therapies or in a complementary role to mainstream medicine.

--Nutraingredients.com, 4/23/03
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Title Annotation:Body weight is directly associated with mortality from cancer, according to researchers
Publication:Nutraceuticals World
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2003
Words:818
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