Sandalwood Odor Could Be a Treatment for Leukemia

Olfactory receptors are not limited to your nose. You have them all over your body, including your blood. Now, synthetic sandalwood has been shown to promote cell death in cancer cells for patients with a certain kind of leukemia. This could open the door for a whole new kind of treatment.

Source: Sandalwood Odor Could Be a Treatment for Leukemia

It’s been known to cause cell death in my nose, too 😉

It’s extremely specific to that one type of cancer, which is understandable – cancer really is just a catch-all for unregulated cell growth.  Different locations have different responses to therapy.

How A Notorious Chemical Weapon Led To The Invention Of Chemotherapy

Mustard gas was, and is, one of the most terrifying weapons of war. It made people break out in blisters, and killed them slowly over weeks. It also inspired one of the first effective forms of cancer therapy. Here’s how.

Source: How A Notorious Chemical Weapon Led To The Invention Of Chemotherapy

Knowing is half the battle.  The other half is violence 😉

This Sticker Automatically Injects Meds When a Chemo Patient Can’t

Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) is administered to patients the day after chemotherapy to boost the production of white blood cells that help fight infection. Now a new product from Amgen, the manufacturer of Neulasta, will allow clinicians to stick a patch to a patient’s skin right after chemo that will deliver the full dose of the medication a day later.

Source: Neulasta On-body Injector Makes Sure Drug Administered Following Chemo

Basically, this stick-on injector that allows chemotherapy patients to automatically receive the necessary injection while they’re comfortably recovering at home. It also means there are less patients filling a clinic’s waiting room who are just there for a simple shot.

There’s no more details to know if this could be used for other medications.  I can’t see it being used for blood thinner related medications, because an INR test is required in order to adjust the blood thinner accordingly (Heparin, warfarin/coumadin).

Regular Coffee Consumption Contributes to DNA Integrity

Coffee consumption has been reported to decrease oxidative damage in peripheral white blood cells (WBC). However, effects on the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks, a well established marker of health risk, have not been specifically reported yet. We analyzed the impact of consuming a dark roast coffee blend on the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks.

Source: Consumption of a dark roast coffee decreases the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks: a randomized controlled trial.

Your DNA gets damaged in a variety of ways, and when your DNA repair mechanisms can’t fix it or don’t fix it correctly – you get mutations and improper protein function (because your cell is accessing corrupted data). This can lead to constantly active growth signals or inactive anti-growth signals, both of which will lead to cancer. On the flip side, DNA can be mutated into overall lack of function, which leads to cellular aging – effectively organism aging.

What they did in this experiment was measure in peripheral white blood cells for a single type of DNA damage, the strand break.  As the name implies, a strand break is when one or both strands of a molecule of DNA break apart. This is a nasty type of damage – a double strand break can cause chromosomal translocations, which is where two different chunks of broken DNA are put together to potentially result in improper genetic function. For example, the “always active” switch of a tumor suppressor gene may be fused to a gene coding for a protein that promotes cell proliferation, which will promote cancer. If a single strand break occurs, improper repair of the strand can lead to new mutation on its own.

The study findings indicate that those who drank 750 ml (~3 cups) of coffee per day experienced 27% fewer strand breaks in white blood cells than those who only drank water, controlling for diet and body weight.  Why did they look at white blood cells?  Leukemia, literally meaning “white blood,” is cancer of the white blood cells.

Would decaffeinated coffee has the same effects?

According to this study, that caffeine is not the significant DNA damage-preventing chemical in coffee. But that’s only one study.  Still…

Death before decaf... or medium roast

…or medium roast

Current evidence suggests that coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of liver, kidney, and to a lesser extent, pre-menopausal breast and colorectal cancers, while it is unrelated to prostate, pancreas and ovary cancers. Coffee drinking may still help reduce death due to liver cancer.  But they aren’t quite sure what the reason for coffee being good – it’s not solely caffeine, so they’re wondering if it’s a combination of caffeine and other things in coffee.

Coffee just runs right through me

That’d be me after 3 cups

Sports Massage Doesn’t Flush Toxins, but May Help You Recover

There is good reason massage therapists are part of an elite runner’s entourage. And why the lines for a postrace massage seemingly extend for miles. A rubdown—even a deep, intense one—feels great. Runners report that massages help lessen muscle tension and improve range of motion, while also making them feel relaxed and rewarded for their hard efforts.

Yet despite massage’s popularity and positive reputation, there’s been little scientific evidence to support why athletes feel so good when they hop off the table. “It can be hard to merge basic science with alternative medicine,” says Justin Crane, Ph.D., a McMaster University researcher who conducted some of the first objective studies on massage in 2012. Practitioners say massage relieves muscle soreness, promotes circulation, flushes toxins and lactic acid from the body, and eases joint strain—claims supported by centuries of anecdotal evidence from China, Sweden, and around the globe. But science hadn’t confirmed just what massage actually achieves—until now. Recent research has sorted out what’s true and what’s not.

Source: The Pros and Cons of Massages for Runners

Massage do not flush lactic acid, or other “toxins” from your muscles. Lactic acid is produced during exercise, and though you might associate it with a burning feeling during hard work – it’s not a problem, isn’t responsible for next-day soreness, and doesn’t need help to be removed from the muscles.  Plenty of studies show that massage has no effect on blood flow to the muscles.

Massage does help to relax muscles, though, which can help to relieve tight muscles. The same action can break up adhesions, a type of scar tissue that sometimes forms in muscle.  Massage promotes recovery.