Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Study: Cell Phones Cause Changes in Brain Activity

While this study doesn’t prove a positive link, it supports my worry that one may eventually be found between cell phone usage and brain cancer. – Ilene 

By ALICE PARK, courtesy of TIME 


Do cell phones cause cancer? We’d all like to know, but unfortunately there’s no clear answer — yet. Now an intriguing new study takes a first step toward a possible answer, suggesting that holding your cell phone to your ear does have a measurable effect on the brain, even during cell-phone sessions of less than an hour.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (part of the National Institutes of Health), reports Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that a cell phone’s electromagnetic field can cause changes in brain activity. Specifically, she and her team found that the regions nearest to the antenna of closely held mobile devices showed higher rates of energy (or glucose) consumption.

Before you start to panic that all your cell-phone confessionals have set you up for some kind of brain tumor, remember this: higher rates of glucose metabolism in the brain can mean a number of things. Yes, tumor cells may gobble up more glucose to fuel their relentless growth, but healthy brain cells need constant replenishment too, to keep up the intricate network of messages and connections that help us think, eat, move and stay alive. Depending on what you’re doing, different areas of your brain will require more glucose — if you’re playing Scrabble, your language centers might demand more attention, while deep emotions such as grief or euphoria will cause neurons involved in the mood-regulating limbic system to consume more energy.


Researchers found that the brain regions closest to the active phone’s antenna showed the highest rates of glucose activity, and Volkow says the next step is to understand what that means. “Is this a temporary change that recovers every single time, or do chronic, long periods of exposure potentially have long-lasting effects? We need to know that,” she says.

The study is the first to look at glucose metabolism as a marker for the effect of a magnetic

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The Vitamin-D Debate: How Much is OK?

The Vitamin-D Debate: How Much is OK?

By Alice Park, courtesy of TIME 


Danny Kim for TIME

Spend a few minutes soaking up some rays and your body will start to pump out more vitamin D. Many health officials believe Americans are D-deficient, but in the age of sunblock and self-tanners, how many vitamin-D pills should we be popping? New guidelines for the optimal dietary dose are expected in the fall, and definitive studies on vitamin D’s effects on cancer, heart disease and cognition are ongoing. In the meantime, here’s where the science stands.

Vitamin D may prevent cancer by suppressing the cell growth and blood-vessel formation that feed tumors. At least that’s the idea, based on animal studies and analyses of human cells. But trials in which patients take vitamin D have not shown a consistent lowering of cancer risk.

One four-year trial of 1,200 postmenopausal women found a 77% lower risk of all cancers among those taking calcium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day than among those taking a placebo. A larger study, however, in which subjects took 400 IU of vitamin D — in the absence of an official daily recommended intake, that’s the "adequate" intake for adults ages 51 to 70 — did not show lower breast-cancer risk.

The data are strongest for colorectal cancer: subjects with higher blood levels of vitamin D were half as likely as those with lower levels to develop the disease. 

Heart Disease
Studies on animals and human-cell cultures indicate that vitamin D has a protective effect on the heart, controlling the release of stress hormones that lead to high blood pressure and inflammation.

Studies on human subjects confirm this link. In one trial, men whose blood work showed D levels below 30 nanograms per milliliter — the amount the Institute of Medicine says adults should aim for — were twice as likely to have a heart…
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I’m not likely to ruin my life and take this test, but can see the value. For example, small amounts of alcohol, particularly red wine, may lower the risk of heart disease while simultaneously increasing the risk for certain cancers. If a genetic test revealed a higher than normal risk for heart disease, but not cancer, maybe a glass of wine would be more enjoyable than if the test revealed the opposite results. Knowing one’s risk areas might be of use in financial planning as well.  

Benefit or not, I hope the package includes a lot of disclaimers such as "we are not responsible for the effects of any food or drinking binges in celebration of your low risk test results."  - Ilene 


Courtesy of Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds 

Attention hypochondriacs! If you are feeling the need to seriously freak yourself out, look no further than your local Walgreens store! Yup, starting Friday you can purchase an at-home test kit that allows people who, well, worry about these things (obsessively) to see if their DNA makes them more likely to develop one (or more!) of dozens of different health conditions. Breast cancer? Check. Heart disease? Check! Alzheimer’s disease? Can do! Just swab your cheek, pop it in the mail and within a week or so, your life will be completely ruined!

From The Chicago Tribune:

The product’s introduction raises immediate concerns among scientists, bio-ethicists and genetic counselors. They worry that consumers will misuse or misunderstand the results of a test so open to interpretation it is potentially meaningless, or frightening, especially without a full medical assessment.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration told the Tribune it is investigating the medical claims the product’s manufacturer, California-based Pathway Genomics, is making in marketing its genetic test, which hasn’t been approved by U.S. regulators.

Pathway officials say the company’s home genetic test meets federal regulations and doesn’t require FDA approval. “The tests conducted are not an in-vitro medical device and are not intended for use in diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or cure of disease. It does provide information that allows a person to learn about their health to make healthier lifestyle choices,” said Ed MacBean, Pathway’s vice president of product management. “If the FDA contacts us, we will discuss it and address any concerns they

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Cell social network reveals rogue cancer switches

Cell social network reveals rogue cancer switches

guys from government sachsCourtesy of New Scientist 

IN CERTAIN social circles, it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts. The same seems to be true of the gene switches that turn on cancer cells.

One way cells turn genes on and off is via small RNA molecules. In cancer, the usual pattern of microRNA production is disrupted…

Carlo Croce,… created a diagram of interacting miRNAs for normal body cells by connecting them according to which genes they target and the function of those genes, in a way similar to analyses of human social networks. Most miRNAs have limited effects, but it turns out that a few extend their influence in many directions – just as a few people in a social network seem to "know everybody".

When the researchers compared these networks for ordinary cells and for cells from 51 forms of cancer, they found that all the miRNAs of ordinary cells were connected in a single network…

What’s more, the highly connected "hub" miRNAs were often different for cancer cells (Genome Research, DOI: 10.1101/gr.098046.109). These unique hubs might represent key points of attack in cancer therapies, says Croce.

Whole Cancer Network article here.>>

Social network analogy: The Guys from Government Sachs and pic credit, NY Times 

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High doses of antioxidant supplements induce stem cell genetic abnormalities

This is interesting, and important if you’re taking lots of supplements thinking that the more antioxidants you take, the longer you’ll live. Research is providing plenty of evidence that it doesn’t work so simply, while supplements fail to act according to the logical prevailing theory. Here’s another piece. – Ilene  

High doses of antioxidant supplements induce stem cell genetic abnormalities

Spoonful of dietary supplements

Courtesy of David Granovsky, in SCIENCE & STEM CELLS 

High doses of antioxidant supplements induce stem cell genetic abnormalities

High doses of antioxidant nutritional supplements, such as vitamins C and E, can increase genetic abnormalities in cells, which may predispose supplement-takers to developing cancer, according to a new study from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

The study, led by Eduardo Marbán, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, was published online today in the medical journal Stem Cells. The study also will appear in the journal’s July printed edition.

Marbán and his team accidentally discovered the danger of excessive antioxidant doses while seeking a way to reduce the genetic abnormalities that occurred naturally when the scientists sought to multiply human cardiac stem cells.

Marbán stressed that the study’s finding applies only to excessive  and not to foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as milk, oranges, blueberries and peanuts. In recent years, multiple studies have touted the benefits of foods rich in antioxidants.

“Taking one multivitamin daily is fine, but a lot of people take way too much because they think if a little is good, a lot must be better,” said Marbán, who is also the Mark Siegel Family Professor at Cedars-Sinai. “That is just not the case. If you are taking 10 or 100 times the amount in a daily multivitamin, you may be predisposing your cells to developing cancer, therefore doing yourself more harm than good.”

In laboratories, stem cells are often grown in a Petri dish culture than is composed of 20 percent oxygen, whereas cells growing inside human tissue are exposed to just 3 to 5 percent oxygen. But Marbán’s team of researchers became frustrated because the higher concentration of oxygen in lab-grown stem cells resulted in 9 percent of the cells being rejected because of genetic abnormalities.

“We sought to counter that oxidation problem by adding high doses of antioxidants directly to
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Court rules against patenting human genes

Not having read the 152 page decision, I’m still happy with the outcome--if DNA is not patentable, then the argument that the "process of isolating genes makes them patentable" makes no sense. – Ilene 

Court rules against patenting human genes


© Michael Rosenfeld/Science Faction/Corbis

In a decision that could have broad ramifications for future genetic research and medical practice, United States District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet ruled Monday that patents on two genes linked to ovarian and breast cancer, BRCA-1 and BRCA-2, were invalid. The case brought by a group including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Public Patent Foundation at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York and several medical institutions and individual patients, argued that, because genes are products of nature, they cannot be patented, The New York Times reports. Sweet ultimately agreed with this argument, dismissing claims from Myriad Genetics, which holds the contested gene patents, that the process of isolating genes makes them patentable. (Drawing on a 1980 Supreme Court decision in favor of patents on living organisms, many expected the federal judge to rule in favor of the patent holder, the New York Times reports.) Yet, ultimately, Sweet found the patents to be in violation of a "law of nature," and openly condemned the argument that gene isolation should influence patentability, calling it "“a ‘lawyer’s trick’ that circumvents the prohibition on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies but which, in practice, reaches the same result.”

The ruling from the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York state, has two major implications. First, if it withstands appeal, "it should greatly widen access to BRCA testing in the US, where Myriad’s patent has inflated the cost," according to the Times of London. Currently, women have to pay Myriad Genetics some $3,000 in order to get tested for BRCA-1 or BRCA-2, NPR reports. In Europe, where patents on the two genes are either limited or shared with cancer research organizations, there is already wider access to the tests, according…
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Cancer Fears Plague America’s Shale Gas Revolution

Cancer Fears Plague America’s Shale Gas Revolution

Courtesy of Vincent Fernando at Clusterstock/Business Insider

Shale Gas Basins USA


While drilling techniques for natural gas from American shale formations continue to appear safe overall, many are questioning the reliability and objectivity of current environmental assessments.

Statements such as the following only cause confusion and distrust:

Dallas News: Nearly one-fourth of the sites monitored in North Texas’ Barnett Shale natural-gas region had levels of cancer-causing benzene in the air that could raise health concerns, state regulators said Wednesday.

They emphasized, however, that gas companies have fixed the worst emission problems and are working on less-serious sites where the state still wants benzene levels to come down.

"We don’t have a widespread air-quality issue, at least according to the data," said John Sadlier, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s deputy director for compliance and enforcement.

Mayor Calvin Tillman of the tiny Denton County town of Dish criticized the study for not including enough tests in residential areas or enough long-term sampling. The town commissioned its own monitoring last year that found extremely high benzene levels.

Surging Oil Industry Brings Opportunity To Rural California

"I don’t think they want to find anything in a populated area, and I think their sampling reflects that," Tillman said.

The shale gas drilling (and frakking) safety tests of today will have huge ramifications for tomorrow, given that current drilling only scratches the surface of the U.S.’s potential shale-derived natural gas reserves.

Still, given the major commitments in American shale gas made by Exxon (via its recent XTO acquisition) and France’s Total (via its Chesapeake tie-up), it seems highly likely that shale’s environmental concerns will eventually be managed. In the end there’s likely a way to extract the gas safely without too much added cost, if it already isn’t safe enough. Note Total just closed its $2.25 billion Chesapeake joint-venture deal. Regardless, Chesapeake shares are falling.

The author owns shares in Chesapeake Energy (CHK).


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Orphan Drugs Are Good! BioMarin Pharmaceuticals

Orphan Drugs Are Good! BioMarin Pharmaceuticals

Courtesy of Pharmboy

Sick child visited at

A rare disease, sometimes known as an orphan disease, is any disease that is not common. Typically, a rare disease has such a low prevalence in a population that a physician in a busy general practice would not expect to see more than one case a year. Most rare diseases are genetic--present throughout the person’s entire life, even if symptoms do not appear immediately. However, many rare diseases appear early in life, and about 30% of children with rare diseases die before reaching their fifth birthdays.

No single cutoff number has been agreed upon for which a disease is considered rare. A disease may be considered rare in one part of the world, or in a particular group of people, but still be common in another. In the United States of America, the Rare Disease Act of 2002 defines rare disease strictly according to prevalence, as any disease or condition that affects less than 200,000 persons in the United States, or about 1 in 1,500 people.

BioMarin’s (BMRN) core business and research is in enzyme replacement therapies for orphan diseases. They are the first company to provide therapeutics for mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I), by manufacturing Aldurazyme (commercialized by Genzyme Corporation). BioMarin is also the first company to provide therapeutics for Phenylketonuria (PKU)

As of 2005, BioMarin commercialized arylsulfatase B (Naglazyme) as an enzyme replacement therapy for the treatment of mucopolysaccharidosis VI (MPS VI), and in 2007 a drug version of tetrahydrobiopterin (Kuvan), the first medication-based intervention to treat phenylketonuria.

On 11/30/09, BioMarin announced that the FDA has granted orphan drug designation for 3,4-diaminopyridine (3,4-DAP), amifampridine phosphate, for the rare autoimmune disease Lambert Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS). 3,4-DAP has previously received orphan drug designation in the E.U. Also, in October 2009, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Evaluations Agency adopted a positive opinion recommending approval of amifampridine phosphate for LEMS. If approved by the European Commission, amifampridine phosphate will be the first approved treatment for LEMS, thereby conferring orphan drug protection and providing ten years of market exclusivity in Europe. BMRN expects to meet with the FDA in early 2010 to determine the necessary regulatory path for
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Centaur Value Fund Adds To Cognizant On FCPA News Dip

By Rupert Hargreaves. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Centaur Value Fund produced a return of -0.8% net to partners for September. Investors may have been disappointed with this performance but year-to-date the fund is up 8% gross and 7.5% net compared to 7.8% for the S&P 500. Over the longer term, the fund has whipped the index producing a gross total return of 466.1% (346.3% net) since inception (August 1, 2002) compared to the S&P 500’s total return of 217.5% over the same period.

Hedge Fund Letters To Investors

According to the fund’s letter, a copy of which has been reviewed by ValueWalk. reported a net market exposure of 50.3% at the end of September. The fund was 59% long at the end of the quarter, and 11.9% short. The t...

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Zero Hedge

Q3 GDP Jumps 2.9% On Rise In Inventory And Exports, Offset By Weak Consumption And Investment

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

For once it appears that the Atlanta Fed, with its 2.1% Q3 GDP nowcast was overly pessimistic - although perhaps the November 8 election may have had something to do with it - and moments ago the BEA reported that in the third quarter, US GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.9%  according to the first "advance" estimate released up more than double from the Q2 real GDP of 1.4%, and beating Wall Street consensus of a 2.6% rise in the quarter. The move higher was driven by a jump in inventory accumulation and exports, while consumption disappointed, as...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Amazon; Potential bearish reversal pattern, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Without a doubt, Amazon (AMZN) remains in an uptrend (higher highs and higher lows) over the past decade plus. Last nights earnings does NOT change this trend!

Below updates the pattern on Amazon and highlights that this week, it is could be creating a pattern it has seldom created, over the past 10-years.


As mentioned in the chart, a few t...

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Phil's Favorites

Cybersecurity's weakest link: humans


Cybersecurity's weakest link: humans

By Arun Vishwanath, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

There is a common thread that connects the hack into the sluicegate controllers of the Bowman Avenue dam in Rye, New York; the breach that compromised 20 million federal employee records at the Office of Personnel Management; and the recent spate of “ransomware” attacks that in three months this year ha...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

Investors are fleeing stock funds at the fastest pace in over 5 years (Business Insider)

Retail investors seem to have cooled on the stock market.

According to a note from Bespoke Investment Group, equity mutual funds have experienced their largest weekly outflows since August 2011.

Deutsche Bank's earnings call was the most brutally honest, angsty thing we've heard in a long time (Busines...

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Digital Currencies

Needham Raises Bitcoin Price Target To $848: Here's Why

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

With bitcoin breaking out of its recent trading range as Chinese buyers once again flock to the currency as the Yuan slides (as we predicted over a year ago they would), even Wall Street analysts are starting to pay attention, and in a recent report by Needham's Spencer Bogart, the analyst has raised his price...

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Members' Corner

Heil The Candidate?

Courtesy of Nattering Naybob.

Remember the 2016 Presidential Election is only thirteen days away. During this election campaign, both 2016 election candidates and the incumbent President, have been amongst other things, vilified as Hitler-esque.

Above Heil Hitlary! courtesy of LULZY T-Shirts

Above Heil Trump! image...

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Chart School

Tech Hold Breakout,.but S&P Wedge Bound

Courtesy of Declan.

It was a mixed day for indices. Large Caps remain bound by wedge support/resistance, but Tech broke upside yesterday from similar wedges and held those breakout today.

There was little change for the S&P over the last couple of days. The one technical change was the MACD trigger 'buy' as other technicals stayed on the bearish side.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq cleared wedge resistance yesterday, and was able to hang on to the breakout despite today's loss. It too enjoyed a MACD trigger 'buy', but had an On-Bal...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of October 24th,2016

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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Mapping The Market

The Most Overlooked Trait of Investing Success

Via Jean-Luc

Good article on investing success:

The Most Overlooked Trait of Investing Success

By Morgan Housel

There is a reason no Berkshire Hathaway investor chides Buffett when the company has a bad quarter. It’s because Buffett has so thoroughly convinced his investors that it’s pointless to try to navigate around 90-day intervals. He’s done that by writing incredibly lucid letters to investors for the last 50 years, communicating in easy-to-understand language at annual meetings, and speaking on TV in ways that someone with no investing experience can grasp.

Yes, Buffett runs an amazing investment company. But he also runs an amazing investor company. One of the most underappreciated part of his s...

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Epizyme - A Waiting Game

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer.  One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."

Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.  

Genetic components are the DNA sequences that are 'inherited.'  Some of these genes are stronger than others in their expression (e.g., eye color).  Yet, some genes turn on or off due to external factors (environmental), and it is und...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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PSW is more than just stock talk!


We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more! features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...

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