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'Nearly Half of US Men Have Genital HPV Infections'

'Nearly half of American men have a genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, but a much smaller percentage have received the HPV vaccine, according to a new study. The results show that about 45 percent of U.S. men under age 60 have a genital HPV infection, which translates to about 35 million men, the researchers said. What's more, 25 percent of men were infected with so-called "high-risk" types of HPV, which, compared with low-risk types of HPV, are more strongly linked with cancer. Only about 11 percent of U.S. men had received the HPV vaccine, according to the study, published today (Jan. 19) in the journal JAMA Oncology. And surprisingly, the researchers found a high rate of HPV infection in older men. In fact, the highest rate of HPV infection seen in the study was among those ages 58 to 59 (the oldest age group in the study). This higher rate of HPV infection in older men contrasts with what's been seen in women: The HPV infection rate is lower in older in woman than in younger ones. [Men vs. Women: Our Key Physical Differences Explained] The "consistent, high infection rate among all age groups in men was very striking, because this was not expected," said Dr. Jasmine Han, who led study and is the chief of gynecologic oncology at the Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The study is the first to estimate the percentage of U.S. men that have a genital HPV infection. The researchers hope the findings will increase public awareness of the current low HPV vaccination rate and the high HPV prevalence rate, Han told Live Science. HPV-associated cancers in men are increasing, she noted. There is a very effective "vaccine that could eradicate HPV-associated cancers in both women and men, but the prevalence remains high despite the availability" of these vaccines, she said. The current vaccination age cutoff for men, 26, should be re-evaluated in light of the new findings showing a widespread high HPV prevalence rate among all age groups, Han said. HPV in men Human papillomaviruses are a group of more than 150 related viruses that infect different parts of the body. HPVs that infect the genital area can spread as sexually transmitted infections. Most infections go away on their own, but some can linger and lead to health problems, including genital warts and cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the past, efforts to prevent HPV infection focused mainly on women, because HPV infections can lead to cervical cancer. But in 2009, health officials approved the HPV vaccine for males, and the vaccine is now recommended for both females and males ages 11 to 26 years old. However, few studies have looked at the prevalence of genital HPV infection in men, or how many men receive the HPV vaccine. In the new study, researchers analyzed information from 1,868 men ages 18 to 59, who took part in a national health survey from 2013 to 2014. In addition to answering questions, the men in the study underwent a physical exam. As part of that exam, the participants swabbed their penises. The samples were then tested for DNA from nearly 40 different types of HPV. Men in the youngest age group, ages 18 to 22, had the lowest rate of infection, with about 29 percent of men in this group having an HPV infection. But the rate of HPV infection was higher, 46.5 percent, among men ages 23 to 27, and it reached 51 percent among men ages 28 to 32. Among men in their late 30s and early 40s, the rate of HPV infection was slightly lower, but among men ages 58 and 59, the rate was nearly 60 percent, the study found. In contrast, a 2011 study of HPV infections in women found that the rate of HPV infection was nearly 54 percent among 20- to 24-year-olds, but only 39 percent among 50- to 59-year-olds. Vaccinate older men? The finding of a lower rate of HPV infection in younger men compared with older ones may, in part, reflect the current recommendation to give the HPV vaccine to younger men. Among men ages 18 to 22 in the study, 22 percent had received the HPV vaccine. In addition, some studies suggest that men's immune systems don't respond as strongly to fight off HPV infections as women's systems do. What's more, people's immune systems decline with age, which may be why the older men in the study had accumulated a higher rate of infections than the younger group, Han speculated. Finally, some studies have found that men tend to have a similar number of new and recent sexual partners, regardless of their age, which provides continued opportunity for HPV infection throughout their lives, the researchers said. Because the study was conducted at a single point in time, it cannot determine why older men had higher rates of HPV infection, the researchers noted. The study also cannot determine the effect of the HPV vaccine on the risk of infection among different age groups. [5 Dangerous Vaccination Myths] Still, the researchers estimated that more than 25 million American men are eligible for the HPV vaccine, but haven't received it. HPV vaccination "may have a profound effect on the prevention of HPV-related cancers" in both men and women, because men serve as reservoirs for HPV infections for women and because HPV can also cause genital and oral cancers in men, the researchers said. Additional reporting by Karen Rowan.'

'Should You Try a Teatox for Weight Loss?'

'New year, new you – right? But if you're tempted to try teatoxing – or drinking teas that have been marketed for weight loss, detoxification and boosting energy, typically for 14 to 28 days – to achieve that "new you," listen up. Drinking tea isn't necessarily a bad thing In fact, tea contains natural plant compounds called flavonoids and catechin, which both function as powerful antioxidants. Research has also shown that drinking tea can aid in heart health, blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes and help improve cognitive function. Now, the bad news: There's no scientific evidence to support that teatoxing can help detoxify the body or help you lose weight. Popular teatoxing plans like Skinny Teatox, Skinny Mint, Lyfe Tea, Bootea and Fit Tea understand that. The teatoxing websites provide disclaimers, and advise followers to eat a healthy diet. They also mention that the tea may have a laxative effect, which means you need to stay close to a restroom while you're teatoxing. [See: 10 Weird Things That Can Make You Poop.] What's more, teatoxes often contain ingredients with potentially harmful side effects. Here's what you need to know about a few of them: 1. Garcinia Cambogia The hydroxycitric acid in the fruit supposedly decreases the number of new fat cells created by the body, helps with appetite control and limits the amount of weight you gain. However, according to the National Institute of Health, although garcinia cambogia seems to be fairly safe, it can cause side effects like headaches, nausea and issues in the upper respiratory tract, stomach and intestines. Further, some folks taking weight-loss supplements containing garcinia cambogia reportedly developed liver damage. It's tough to determine if that was due to taking a combination of ingredients found in weight loss supplements, or because of garcinia cambogia itself. [See: 8 Food Trends Nutrition Experts Pray Will Never Return.] 2. Guarana This plant is named for the Guarani tribe in the Amazon, which uses the plant's seeds to brew a beverage. Guarana is used as a stimulant, and is frequently added to energy and weight-loss supplements. It contains caffeine, which stimulates the nervous system, heart and muscles. It also contains theophylline and theobromine, which are natural chemicals similar to caffeine. Although guarana is touted as a weight-loss aid, the NIH says there's not enough evidence to make that claim. Further, guarana can be dangerous in people with health conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, glaucoma, osteoporosis and bleeding disorders. 3. Senna The leaves and fruit of the senna plant are used for medicinal purposes. It's FDA-approved as a nonprescriptive laxative; however, the NIH says there's not enough evidence to claim it can assist with weight loss. Senna is also potentially unsafe for people who take it for two or more weeks. It can also interact with medications like birth control, Coumadin and diuretics, and with herbs like horsetail and licorice. 4. Yerba Mate The leaves of this plant are used to make medicine. Again, there is not enough evidence to suggest it helps you lose weight, according to the NIH. It can potentially be unsafe when taken over a long period of time and can increase the risk of certain types of cancer (like bladder, kidney and mouth). Yerba mate is also potentially dangerous for people with certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, glaucoma, heart conditions, anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome. It also interacts with numerous drugs like antidepressants, medications for diabetes, contraceptive drugs and herbs and supplements like creatine, magnesium and calcium. [See: 7 Ways to Get Calcium Beyond Milk.] Although consuming foods and drinks "in moderation" is usually a good idea, that's just not the case for teatoxes. I recommended avoiding teatoxing altogether, since they contain potentially harmful ingredients, which can interact with many common medical conditions, medications, herbs and supplements. As for the claim that these teas detoxify your body, your organs, including your liver, skin and kidneys, naturally detoxify your body and they don't need any help. So, if you're planning on spending money on any teatox plan, do yourself a favor and save it instead. If you're dead set on doing a teatox, I recommend following it for as few days as possible and to consult with a doctor and registered dietitian to ensure that your health won't be in danger. How to Make Healthful Dietary Changes Last a Lifetime'

'Why the lights don't dim when we blink Blinking prompts eye muscles to keep our vision in line'

'Every few seconds, our eyelids automatically shutter and our eyeballs roll back in their sockets. So why doesn't blinking plunge us into intermittent darkness and light? New research led by the University of California, Berkeley, shows that the brain works extra hard to stabilize our vision despite our fluttering eyes. Scientists at UC Berkeley, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Université Paris Descartes and Dartmouth College have found that blinking does more than lubricate dry eyes and protect them from irritants. In a study published in today's online edition of the journal Current Biology, they found that when we blink, our brain repositions our eyeballs so we can stay focused on what we're viewing. When our eyeballs roll back in their sockets during a blink, they don't always return to the same spot when we reopen our eyes. This misalignment prompts the brain to activate the eye muscles to realign our vision, said study lead author Gerrit Maus, an assistant professor of psychology at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He launched the study as a postdoctoral fellow in UC Berkeley's Whitney Laboratory for Perception and Action. "Our eye muscles are quite sluggish and imprecise, so the brain needs to constantly adapt its motor signals to make sure our eyes are pointing where they're supposed to," Maus said. "Our findings suggest that the brain gauges the difference in what we see before and after a blink, and commands the eye muscles to make the needed corrections." From a big-picture perspective, if we didn't possess this powerful oculomotor mechanism, particularly when blinking, our surroundings would appear shadowy, erratic and jittery, researchers said. "We perceive coherence and not transient blindness because the brain connects the dots for us," said study co-author David Whitney, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley. "Our brains do a lot of prediction to compensate for how we move around in the world," said co-author Patrick Cavanagh, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College. "It's like a steadicam of the mind." A dozen healthy young adults participated in what Maus jokingly called "the most boring experiment ever." Study participants sat in a dark room for long periods staring at a dot on a screen while infrared cameras tracked their eye movements and eye blinks in real time. Every time they blinked, the dot was moved one centimeter to the right. While participants failed to notice the subtle shift, the brain's oculomotor system registered the movement and learned to reposition the line of vision squarely on the dot. After 30 or so blink-synchronized dot movements, participants' eyes adjusted during each blink and shifted automatically to the spot where they predicted the dot to be. "Even though participants did not consciously register that the dot had moved, their brains did, and adjusted with the corrective eye movement," Maus said. "These findings add to our understanding of how the brain constantly adapts to changes, commanding our muscles to correct for errors in our bodies' own hardware." In addition to Maus, Whitney and Cavanagh, co-authors of the study are Marianne Duyck, Matteo Lisi and Therese Collins of the Université Paris Descartes.'

'Estrogen regulates the brain's fear response, protecting against PTSD'

'Estrogen plays an important and well-known role in the sexual growth and development of a woman. New research suggests that its additional role could be protecting the female brain from trauma.An existing body of research seems to suggest that women are more prone to developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than men, despite the fact that they tend to experience fewer traumatic events than males. A new study - performed by researchers from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, in collaboration with Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts - indicates that the sex hormone estrogen might play a critical role in PTSD development. The study's first author is Stephanie Maddox, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard's McLean Hospital. Apart from estrogen's well-known part in the sexual maturation of the female body and its critical role in reproduction and pregnancy, some studies - such as those referenced by Maddox and team - have inventoried further physiological effects of the hormone. For instance, different levels of estrogen have been associated with differences in the brain's response to stress via the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. According to other studies, women who had experienced trauma seemed to have more trauma-related flashback episodes in the mid-luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. The mid-luteal phase occurs roughly a week after ovulation, a time when the female body produces more progesterone and less estrogen. Based on this existing research, Maddox and team hypothesized that individual variations in the brain's response to estrogen levels could affect fear regulation and contribute to PTSD risk in women. Studying the link between estrogen levels and psychological trauma The researchers therefore set out to investigate how estrogen changes gene activity in the brain, and the findings were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. Maddox and team examined blood samples from 278 females enrolled in the Grady Trauma Project (GTP). The GTP is a large-scale study that investigates the role of genetic and environmental factors in the development of PTSD among low-income, African-American females. Maddox and team approached GTP women of both childbearing age and menopausal age who had been exposed to violence and abuse, and asked them if they were willing to participate in their study, which consisted of blood tests and an interview. At childbearing age, women's levels of estrogen go up and down depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle, whereas menopausal and postmenopausal women have lower levels of estrogen. The researchers collected the blood in EDTA and Tempus tubes - used for DNA and RNA extraction, respectively. They then assessed DNA methylation, which is an epigenetic mechanism that modifies the DNA in a way that suggests that some genes are "turned off." Estrogen protects against PTSD The researchers found that the levels of serum estradiol - a form of estrogen - were associated with DNA methylation across the genome. Alicia Smith Ph.D. - co-author of the study, and associate professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine - explains what led to the discovery of a single gene that is associated with the brain's fear response, which was found to be affected by estrogen levels. "We knew that estrogen affects the activity of many genes throughout the genome," says Smith, "but if you look at the estrogen-modulated sites that are also associated with PTSD, just one pops out." The site she refers to is in HDAC4, a gene that encodes histone deacetylase 4 and is known to be involved in learning, long-term memory formation, and behavior. The study found that methylation of the HDAC4 gene was higher in PTSD patients than in controls, and also that higher methylation correlated with lower estradiol levels. These results were also linked to the women's response to fear. Researchers also examined brain functionality using brain imaging techniques. They found that higher HDAC4 gene variation predicted an overexpression of conditioned fear. Women with HDAC4 gene variation displayed higher resting-state connectivity between the amygdala and the cingulate cortex of the brain. These two brain areas are involved in fear memory formation. Finally, the researchers performed experiments in mice to see if their findings would replicate in rodents. The mice experiments revealed that when estrogen levels were low, the HDAC4 gene expression was higher, but the same regulation was not present when estrogen levels were high. The HDAC4 was activated when the mice were fear learning, but only when estrogen levels were low. This suggests that estrogen can protect against the formation of PTSD. The authors add that in addition to its role in modulating the fear response, previous studies have also suggested that estrogen alters pain perception. Smith also notes that their findings suggest that estrogen could be used as a preventive treatment for PTSD. Learn how sleep could help to reduce PTSD symptoms. Written by Ana Sandoiu'

'Spread of triple-negative breast cancer could be halted with existing drug'

'aclass of drugs already approved for the treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer may also have the potential to halt the spread of hard-to-treat, triple-negative breast cancer, a new study finds.Published in the journal Nature Communications, the study reveals that drugs that block an enzyme pathway called CDK 4/6 - known as CDK 4/6 inhibitors - prevented the spread of triple-negative breast cancer in a number of models. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. In 2017, approximately 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S., and around 40,610 women will die from the disease. Estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) breast cancer is the most common form of breast cancer, whereby the breast cancer cells contain receptors for the hormone estrogen. When these receptors receive signals from the hormone, this can promote cancer cell growth. Similarly, in progesterone receptor-positive (PR-positive) breast cancer, cancer cells contain receptors for the hormone progesterone that can promote cancer cell growth, while in HER2-positive breast cancer, the cells possess too many receptors for the HER2 gene, which can exacerbate the disease. Thankfully, there are a number of hormonal therapies and other medications that can target estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 receptors in order to treat breast cancer, and CDK 4/6 inhibitors fall into this category. This class of drugs has been approved for the treatment of ER- and HER2-positive breast cancers. Now, study co-author Dr. Matthew Goetz, leader of the Women's Cancer Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues suggest that CDK 4/6 inhibitors may also be effective for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. CDK 4/6 inhibitors reduced triple-negative breast cancer metastasis Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for around 10-20 percent of breast cancers. In triple-negative breast cancer, cancer cells are absent of estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 receptors. As such, the cancer does not respond to therapies that target these receptors, making it more difficult to treat. According to Dr. Goetz and colleagues, previous research has shown that CDK 4/6 inhibitors are ineffective in reducing the growth of cancer cells in triple-negative breast cancer. While the new study confirmed these findings, the team found that CDK 4/6 inhibitors may be effective for halting the spread of cancer cells to other areas of the body - otherwise known as cancer metastasis - in triple-negative breast cancer. The researchers came to their findings by testing CDK 4/6 inhibitors in a number of triple-negative breast cancer models, including "patient-derived xenografts," which are immunodeficient mouse models implanted with human tumor tissue. The team found that while CDK 4/6 inhibitors did not halt the growth of triple-negative breast cancer cells, the drugs significantly reduced the spread of cancer cells to distant organs by targeting a protein called SNAIL, which is known to promote cancer metastasis. According to the researchers, their study results indicate that CDK 4/6 inhibitors may be beneficial for patients with triple-negative breast cancer.'

'Kids' Use of Artificial Sweeteners Spiked in Recent Years'

'FRIDAY, Jan. 13, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Use of artificial sugar by American children and adults has soared in recent years -- and the news isn't all that sweet, a new study suggests. Consumption of foods and beverages with low-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin rose 200 percent among children between 1999 and 2012. Their use rose 54 percent among adults, researchers said. "Just 8.7 percent of kids reported consuming low-calorie sweeteners in 1999, and thirteen years later that number had risen to 25.1 percent," said study author Allison Sylvetsky, of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Some were as young as 2 years old, she and her colleagues noted. "Kids aren't alone in this trend. More adults also are taking in low-calorie sweeteners in diet soft drinks and in a variety of foods and snack items," Sylvetsky, an assistant professor of exercise and nutrition sciences, said in a university news release. Sylvetsky's team used data from nearly 17,000 men, women and children included in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey from 2009 to 2012. They compared the findings to 1999-2008 survey results. In 2012, about 1 in 4 children and more than 41 percent of adults said they used products with low-calorie sweeteners, the researchers found. "The findings are important, especially for children, because some studies suggest a link between low-calorie sweeteners and obesity, diabetes and other health issues," Sylvetsky added. Some studies have suggested that consuming products with low-calorie sweeteners can help with weight loss, while other studies have shown that consuming these products may lead to weight gain. This may be because intensely sweet foods can trigger cravings for more, or because people who drink a diet soda think they've avoided enough calories to have second helpings, Sylvetsky suggested. She said most parents and many experts don't believe it's a good idea for kids to consume lots of foods or beverages with chemically made sugar substitutes. For overall health, Sylvetsky suggested a diet with plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains and limited added sugars. "Drink water instead of soda. Sweeten a serving of plain yogurt with a little fruit," said Sylvetsky. "And don't forget an apple or another piece of fresh fruit is a great snack for both kids and adults." The study was published Jan. 10 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. More information The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on non-sugar sweeteners. Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.'

'Just 20 minutes of exercise enough to reduce inflammation, study finds'

'w research adds to the long list of health benefits brought by regular physical activity. As little as 20 minutes of exercise could have anti-inflammatory effects, according to a new study. [legs of a runner] A new study suggests that 20 minutes of exercise is enough to reduce the body's inflammatory response. The long-term health benefits of physical exercise are numerous; they include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, improving metabolism and weight control, as well as generally strengthening the heart, muscles, and bones. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, a regular dose of physical activity also lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. New research, published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, investigates the benefits of 20-minute exercise sessions on the body's immune system. Researchers from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine - led by Suzi Hong, Ph.D., from the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health - hypothesized that exercise would improve the body's anti-inflammatory response by activating the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system helps to increase heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. Physical exercise activates this system to help the body keep up. During this time, the body releases hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine into the bloodstream, which activate the adrenergic receptors of immune cells. Analyzing the body's immune response to exercise More specifically, the researchers tested the hypothesis that a single 20-minute session of exercise would be enough to trigger sympathoadrenergic activation, which, in turn, would suppress the production of monocytic cytokines. Monocytes are a type of white blood cell, or immune cell, that help to fight off bacteria and infections. Cytokines are a type of protein that help other cells to become so-called effector cells, which, in turn, kill off cancerous or infected cells. TNF is one of these cytokines. TNF can induce cell differentiation and proliferation, but also cell death, including cancerous ones. TNF also has pro-inflammatory properties, which help the body to bring its inflammatory cells to the site of the injury, creating an immunological response. Inflammation is a necessary part of the body's immune response, but too much inflammation can lead to disease. Chronic inflammation may contribute to diabetes, obesity, celiac disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. To test their hypothesis, the researchers asked 47 participants to walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes at an intensity rate adjusted to suit each individual's fitness level. Hong and team took blood samples from the participants both before and immediately after the exercise sessions. As little as 20 minutes of exercise reduces inflammation The results revealed that a 20-minute session of moderate exercise can have anti-inflammatory effects. The study confirmed the researchers' hypothesis. Exercise did seem to produce an anti-inflammatory cellular response, which could be seen in the reduction of the cytokine TNF. "Our study found one session of about 20 minutes of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a 5 percent decrease in the number of stimulated immune cells producing TNF," says Hong. Although the anti-inflammatory benefits of physical activity are already known to researchers, Hong explains, this study explains the process in more detail. "Knowing what sets regulatory mechanisms of inflammatory proteins in motion may contribute to developing new therapies for the overwhelming number of individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions, including nearly 25 million Americans who suffer from autoimmune diseases," Hong adds. The lead author also highlights the importance of this study for people with reduced strength or mobility who are under the impression that physical exercise needs to be extremely intense in order to be effective. "Our study shows a workout session does not actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects. Twenty minutes to half an hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient. Feeling like a workout needs to be at a peak exertion level for a long duration can intimidate those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases and could greatly benefit from physical activity." Suzi Hong Learn why weekend exercise may be just as good as being active every day. Written by Ana Sandoiu '

'Boy with autism is visually impaired dad's new running guide'

'Ultrarunner Jason Romero is legally blind, suffering from a degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa that gives him tunnel vision. He describes it like looking through tubes roughly the diameter of a quarter. The conditions causes Romero particular challenges as a runner. At night or on unfamiliar terrain while training or competing in one of his latest endurance feats—which have included the Badwater 135, Leadville Trail 100, and a trans-America run earlier this year (the first visually impaired athlete to do so)—he uses a guide. Typically, it's a buddy or someone familiar with the terrain. Recently though, Romero has found a new person to fill the role: his 15-year-old son, Sage. “Sage and I will go out for training runs and he will be the eyes of the operation,” Romero told Runner’s World by phone. “I can’t see the walk signs at intersections, so he will stop me when we can’t go or let me know there is a curb coming up.” The partnership started four months ago on a scorching summer day at Northfield High School in Denver, Colorado. Romero wanted Sage, who was born with autism, to get invovled with an afterschool activity to meet and socialize with his peers as a new freshman. Romero asked Northfield's cross-country coach, Patrick Thornton, if Sage could help at practice as the team’s manager. Sage had always loved sports, and he even played with the flag football team in middle school, so Thornton happily allowed Sage to help out. On the first day of practice, Thornton handed Sage a clipboard with a sheet of names to take attendance before the dozens of wiry teenagers loped off on a warmup lap. Romero attended the practice with Sage, who dutifully crossed each name off and watched the throng of runners start on the one-third-mile loop around the building. But shortly after they took off, Sage threw the clipboard down and ran to catch up. The 46-year-old father of three was shocked. “I remember thinking in that moment, ‘Well, I guess he is going to be an athlete,’” Romero said . It was the first time Sage had shown any interest in running. Romero, who can navigate during the day with his limited vision, ran to catch up to Sage during the short loop. Sage’s face was red, and he was breathing heavily. But he finished the lap, and Sage became an official member of the team. In order to teach his son pacing and hydration, Romero started running with Sage during practices. Sage would warn about unexpected obstacles like poles and curbs, grabbing his dad’s arm before a collision. “After two weeks, he was able to run and walk a couple miles,” Romero said. Sage then competed in his first cross-country meet, a 5K, with his dad by his side. The duo finished in last, but they were greeted by his coach and the entire Northfield Cross Country high school team. “Everyone was just ecstatic,” Romero said. Over the past four months, up to four times a week, Romero and Sage would run together. Romero said the time alone has helped him get closer to his son. During longer runs up to five miles, Sage will replay scenes from his favorite movies like Aladdin and Toy Story in his head. He’ll mutter the lines and laugh when he remembers a funny scene. When the training gets tough, he will say to himself “oh boy,” and trudge forward. After a month and a half of consistent mileage, the duo went for a run on a trail near their house. It was an out-and-back loop, and Romero asked Sage to let him know when he wanted to turn around. They made it 4.5 miles before Sage was ready to head home. The nine-mile run convinced Romero that Sage could run a half marathon. He asked his son if he wanted to do the Rock ’n’ Roll Denver Half in October. Sage readily agreed. The morning of the race, the duo was given permission to start early with other disabled athletes because Sage typically gets distressed around crowds. But before the gun sounded, he told Romero he wanted to start in the corral. They finished in 3:19:15. “Near mile 13 Sage started dancing when he heard a band, then before the finish line he took off and dusted me,” Romero said. He said he’s seen a dramatic change in his son since they started running together. For one thing, Sage is more confident. “I have heard him say, ‘Oh dad, I am really proud,’” Romero said. “That is just amazing, I have never heard him say that before.” Romero and Sage are training through the winter for next year’s cross-country season, but they have bigger plans on the horizon. Romero hopes they will run a marathon together before Sage graduates high school. “For me just as a person, it is so inspiring to see what Sage is doing,” Romero said. “But as his father, I am so proud I am practically bouncing out of my skin.” This article originally appeared on'


'A study partly funded by UK charity Worldwide Cancer Research and headed by Professor Salvador Aznar Benitah, at the Institute for Research in Barcelona (IRB) have identified for the first time a specific protein called CD36 on cancer cells which have the ability to metastasize (spread). CD36, found in the cell membranes of tumour cells, is responsible for taking up fatty acids. This unique CD36 activity and dependence on fatty acids distinguishes metastasis-initiating cells from other tumour cells. The work was published today in the leading scientific journal Nature.Cancer is most deadly when it has begun to spread as successful treatment is much more difficult. Scientists around the globe are therefore trying to understand how the process occurs and develop new ways to stop it. Professor Benitah’s team found CD36 was present on metastatic cancer cells from patients with a range of different tumours including oral tumours, melanoma skin cancer, ovarian, bladder, lung and breast cancer. To confirm its essential role in cancer spread, they added CD36 to non-metastatic cancer cells which then caused the cells to become metastatic. “Although we have not yet tested this in all tumour types, we can state that CD36 is a general marker of metastatic cells, the first I know of that is generally specific to metastasis,” says Professor Benitah, Head of the Stem Cell and Cancer Lab at IRB Barcelona. We expect this study to have a big impact on the scientific community and to further advances in metastasis research, and we hope to be able to validate the potential of CD36 as an anti-metastasis treatment. Things like this don’t happen every day.” The researchers next looked at the role of fat intake on cancer spread. They provided mice with a high fat diet then injected them with a type of human oral cancer. The high fat diet caused 50% more mice to have larger and more frequent metastases. They went on to test a specific saturated fatty acid called palmitic acid - a major component of animal and vegetable fats and present at high levels in palm oil which is used in many house hold products from peanut butter and processed food to toothpaste. The researchers treated human oral tumours with palmitic acid for two days then injected them into mice fed a standard diet. The team observed that all the mice with CD36 developed cancer spread compared to only half when not treated with palmitic acid. “In mice inoculated with human tumour cells, there appears to be a direct link between fat intake and an increase in metastatic potential through CD36. More studies are needed to unravel this intriguing relationship, above all because industrialised countries are registering an alarming increase in the consumption of saturated fats and sugar,” warns Professor Benitah. “Fat is necessary for the function of the body, but uncontrolled intake can have an effect on health, as already shown for some tumours such as colon cancer, and in metastasis, as we demonstrate here.” Using mice with human oral cancer, the researchers were next able to show that blocking CD36 completely prevented metastasis. In mice with cancer cells that had already metastasised, CD36 blocking antibodies led to the complete removal of metastases in 20% of the mice, whilst in the others it caused a dramatic reduction of 80-90% of metastases and reduced the size. Importantly, this was all achieved with no serious side effects. The researchers are now developing new antibody-based therapeutics against CD36 that could potentially be suitable to treat a range of cancers in patients in the future. Dr Lara Bennett, Science Communications Manager at Worldwide Cancer Research said: “We have been supporting Professor Benitah’s work for a number of years and it is fantastic to now see these truly game-changing results. If the team are able to go on to develop this antibody into a treatment for humans it could save thousands of lives every year.”'

'5 Mood-Boosting Foods to Get You Through the Dark Days Ahead'

'Let's face it: It really stinks when it's pitch black at 5 p.m. The darkness can take a toll on your mood and outlook on life. Even my kids have started to complain about the total darkness that falls on my neighborhood. They don't want to go outside for a walk or to the park in the early evening – something they do regularly when the days are longer. These longer winter nights can lead to depression, a loss of energy and a lack of interest in usual activities. In some cases, these feelings are actually a medical condition called seasonal affective disorder, which affects 25 million Americans, mostly women. It usually begins between the ages of 20 and 30, though symptoms – such as increased appetite, stress, carb cravings, weight gain and excessive sleepiness related to a change of seasons – may appear earlier in life. Other symptoms can include irritability, sexual problems and a desire to avoid social settings. [See: Seasonal Affective Disorder: 8 Ways to Feel Better.] There are several theories about what causes SAD, including a reduction of serotonin – a chemical in the body that, when low, is associated with depression – due to a decrease of sunlight. A second theory is that the production of a sleep-related hormone, called melatonin, is increased when people are exposed to more darkness. A change in melatonin can affect mood and sleep patterns, including your circadian rhythm, or your natural sleep-wake cycle. If you think you might have SAD, see a mental health professional, who might prescribe talk or light therapy, antidepressants or work with you to develop better coping skills. Whether you have the disorder or not, there are ways to boost your mood when winter gets you down – starting with adding these five foods into your healthy eating plan: 1. Chocolate If you find chocolate helps you cope with stress, there's research to back you up. Is that good news, or is that good news? One study conducted at the Nestle Research Center in Switzerland, for example, examined the effects of chocolate on 30 healthy adults for two weeks. Each person ate 40 grams (or 1.4 ounces) of dark chocolate, half in the afternoon and half at night. Researchers found that there was a reduced level of stress-related hormones (like cortisol) in all the participants, including folks who did not record they were stressed at the beginning of the study. 2. Lean Beef Lean beef like top round is a top source of the amino acid tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin, which can help boost your mood. Other leans cuts of beef to choose from that also contain tryptophan include eye round, sirloin tip, top round and boneless strip steak. If beef isn't your thing, you can also choose from a variety of tryptophan-filled foods including yogurt, nuts, soy, lamb, pork and turkey. 3. Spinach The B-vitamin folate affects neurotransmitters that influence mood. Increasing foods high in folate, like spinach, may help stabilize mood by reducing anxiety and depression. Other foods that are high in folate include lentils, asparagus, collard greens, okra and fortified cereals. [See: 10 Ways to Break a Bad Mood.] 4. Milk With less time to frolic in the sun during those long winter nights, it's important to pay specific attention to taking in enough vitamin D through your diet. Studies have found an association between low levels of vitamin D and seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D, which works together with calcium, also helps keep bones healthy and strong. Other foods that provide vitamin D include cod liver oil, egg yolks, canned tuna, fortified orange juice and fortified cereal. You can also have your doctor test your blood for vitamin D levels. If you are falling short, your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist may recommend a vitamin D supplement. 5. Fatty Fish Salmon, tuna and sardines are fatty fish high in omega-3 fat, an essential fatty acid that must be obtained by eating food or taking a supplement. Omega-3 fat helps regulate brain chemicals, including dopamine, which the brain releases in response to pleasurable experiences like having sex, and serotonin. [See: 13 Best Fish: High in Omega-3s – and Environmentally-Friendly.] Of course, food isn't the only way to help you feel better this winter. Exercise can also help improve brain function and depression. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends exercising at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If this seems too much for you, then start small with a short walk or window shopping at your local mall, and build your way up. Enrolloing in Zumba, barre, Pilates, boxing or other fun classes can help shake up your routine and also can be a fun way to spend an hour exercising. Spring will be here before you know it. '

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