It is known that dietary alterations can cause rapid shifts in weight, but few studies have examined how quickly diet can impact other physiological parameters, especially those related to cancer. A recent study in Nature Communications has identified that diet can have profound health effects in as little as two weeks. The researchers investigated the impact of dietary change on markers of colon health and correlated these changes with shifts in gut microbiome composition. Continue reading
As previously documented, a diet that balances omega-3 and omega-6 consumption seems to be optimal for human health. Today, omega-6 fats are prevalent in our diets because they are in many foods containing seed oils, such as corn and canola oil. To balance the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, many researchers have encouraged reducing seed oil consumption and increasing fish consumption. Wild salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and farmed salmon usually has an even higher omega-3 fatty acid content. However, salmon is also has high levels of dioxin, a carcinogen and endocrine disrupter. So, should salmon be included as a part of a healthy diet or avoided because of toxicity concerns? Continue reading
After a long winter trapped inside the house, anyone can appreciate the wonderful feeling of a day in the sun. The effect is not simply due to the fresh air and warm breeze. Vitamin D, synthesized in the skin from sun exposure, has been shown to decrease anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer. However, too much time in the sun can increase the risk of developing skin cancer. For those of you wondering how to strike the right balance, I’ll recap the current science on sunlight, vitamin D and health. Continue reading
While we have not yet cured cancer, we have amassed a great amount of knowledge of about how cancerous tumors operate. Hopefully, these new insights will lead to treatments in the future.
One very interesting finding is that tumors have stem cells just like normal human organs. Previously, we believed that cancer cells were all basically the same- cells growing out of control. We believed that any of these cells would be capable of producing a tumor when implanted into a compatible tissue. In the last decade, this idea has shifted and most scientists agree that there are “stem” cancer cells and “trans-differentiated” cancer cells. Continue reading
Part 2: The obstacles in the race to cure cancer
In the last hundred years, medical advances have allowed us to cure and even eradicate diseases such as small pox and polio. With all the time and money surging into the fight against cancer, why haven’t we cured it yet? Continue reading
Part 1: What is cancer?
This semester, I have been taking a Cancer Biology course. In this article, I’d like to share some of the things I have learned, review why cancer has been so hard to cure, and discuss the outlook for the future of cancer research.