Monthly Archives: January 2010

Will Odors Help Us Find Cancer Early?

Bow-wow or squeak-squeak?


When it comes to “sniffing” out cancer, it looks like you may have a choice.


New medical research suggests that dogs and mice may just give us the clue to finding cancer early.


An article in the current issue of the online medical journal PLoS One describes the research of a group of scientists in Philadelphia that trained mice to smell the urine of other mice to determine which mice had lung cancer.


And the experiment was a success: the “smeller” mice were able to tell which of the other mice had lung cancer with a fairly high degree of success.  Unfortunately, their success was limited to later stage cancers and the very early stage lung cancers were missed.


In the next step of the experiment, the researchers did laboratory studies to look at what are called “volatile compounds” in the urine by analyzing the urine samples on a specialized machine that can identify small quantities of chemicals.


(Volatile compounds are substances that can exist in a liquid and gas phase.  So, while they may be contained in urine, once passed out of the body they move into a … Continue reading →

Maybe It’s Time To Ban The Tan

Now that the tanning industry has had its nosed bloodied by the Federal Trade Commission, maybe it’s time for the Food and Drug Administration to step up to the plate.


That’s the question that is looming large for many interested in the issue of tanning bed risk, and the upcoming FDA meeting on March 25 where further restrictions on tanning beds are going to be considered.


From my point of view, and based on my personal/family experience, action can’t come soon enough.


This is clearly not a new topic.


Several years ago, the World Health Organization published a detailed, comprehensive report on the risks of tanning beds.  They concluded they were bad for your health, and recommended that youth under the age of 18 should be banned from using them.


Fast forward to this past July, and you have the International Agency for Research in Cancer—better known as IARC—issuing a statement that tanning beds are in fact a Class I carcinogen, on the same page and same line as tobacco.


In other words, just like tobacco, here is a product that when used as intended has a considerable chance of causing you … Continue reading →

Weight Loss And Health: Incentives, Not Punishment

Ah, yes…Happy New Year (even if we are already half way into this new month.  My, how time flies)!!!


And with the New Year come new or repurposed resolutions, many of which are years old.  Among those resolutions—you guessed it—are losing weight, getting (more) exercise, and trying to once again try to stay healthy.


This New Year brings with it a new twist on the old resolution gambit, and that is how health care reform may—read that “may”—impact your focus on losing those long neglected pounds by penalizing you if you don’t succeed. 


But maybe we should put aside the politics, and concentrate on innovative ways to “get into the game,” as is now happening in my hometown of Thomasville in southwest Georgia.


First, the thing about weight loss:


Every year we try to lose it, and every year we usually gain it back, maybe even with a few “bonus” pounds.  I’m not going to go into that discussion again, having done it many times in the past.


However, I will say that I am just like a lot of you.  Every year I make the pledge, usually … Continue reading →