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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 

HENRIK SORENSEN/GETTY IMAGES

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.

Cancer
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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FREAK YOURSELF OUT WITH NEW AT-HOME GENETIC TESTING KIT

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 

FREAK YOURSELF OUT WITH NEW AT-HOME GENETIC TESTING KIT

Courtesy of Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds 

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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

By TIFFANY O’CALLAGHAN, Courtesy of TIME 

© 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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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Fed's patience puts bulls in a hurry

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

U.S. stocks found support once again last week and rallied on strong volume. Of course, the main catalyst was the FOMC policy statement on Wednesday that maintained its dovish language with a pledge of considerable time before raising the fed funds rate and adding that it would be patient as it begins the process of normalizing monetary policy. The result was yet another classic V-bottom. Ho, ho, ho. Say hello to Santa Claus.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-ranked stocks from the top-rank...



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Zero Hedge

Former Airline CEO Claims US Military Shot Down MH370 Near Diego Garcia

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

A second senior airline industry source has revealed his belief that there is some sort of conspiracy behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. As The Herald Sun reports, Emirates president and CEO Sir Tim Clark made world headlines in October when he revealed his doubts about the fate of the missing plane, which disappeared early in the morning of March 8 this year. Now a second sen...



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Phil's Favorites

Chinese Banks Hemorrhaging Deposits, 1st Quarterly Drop Since 1999; Banks Offer iPhones, Even Cars for Large Deposits

Courtesy of Mish.

Chinese banks have experienced an outflow of deposits for the quarter for first time since 1999. Customers are attracted to trust funds and the stock market which has been on a tear, up 43% in the last six months.

In the first week of December, Chinese investors opened almost 600,000 stock-trading accounts, a 62 percent increase over the previous week, according to China Securities Depository and Clearing Co.

To compete for funds, Chinese banks offer anything from fresh vegetables for small deposits to a Mercedes A180 for deposits big enough and long enough. The effective yield on the Mercedes is approximately seven percent!

China Daily explains the setup in Lenders Look to Attract Deposits with Goodies.
Lenders in China, de...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David 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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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of December 22nd, 2014

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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Chart School

Have a Great Christmas and New Year! Small Caps - It's Over To You....

Courtesy of Declan.

I will be keeping posts to a minimum until the New Year. Friday finished with a bit of a high volume flourish, which added a nice gloss to Thursday's big gains.

The Russell 2000 managed to go one step further with a breakout. Watch this index over the coming days; if it can hold the move it will bring other indices with it. The Russell 2000 has under-performed (relatively) all year, and if bulls are to maintain a broader market rally into a sixth year then the Russell 2000 will have to do most of the leg work. As an important side note, the Russell 2000 turned net bullish technically. The flip-side is to watch for a 'bull trap', but even here, this might instead widen the recent trading range handle as major resistance lives at 1,210/15 not at 1,190.

...

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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

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

PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs!   The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down!  The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months.  What could go wrong?

Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.

Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies.  A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...



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Digital Currencies

Chart o' the Day: Don't "Invest" in Stupid Sh*t

Joshua commented on the QZ article I posted a couple days ago and perfectly summarized the take-home message into an Investing Lesson. 

Chart o’ the Day: Don’t “Invest” in Stupid Sh*t

Courtesy of 

The chart above comes from Matt Phillips at Quartz and is a good reminder of why you shouldn’t invest in s...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...



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Market Shadows

Official Moves in the Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio

By Ilene 

I officially bought 250 shares of EZCH at $18.76 and sold 300 shares of IGT at $17.09 in Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio yesterday (Fri. 11-21).

Click here for Thursday's post where I was thinking about buying EZCH. After further reading, I decided to add it to the virtual portfolio and to sell IGT and several other stocks, which we'll be saying goodbye to next week.

Notes

1. th...



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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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