Dairy products in childhood help prevent colon cancer in adults

When children drink milk and eat dairy products, they can significantly reduce the risk of colorectal cancer when they are adults.

By
June 26, 2011 05:33
milkshake

milkshake 311. (photo credit: Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT)

Eating dairy products is recommended not only for Shavuot: they are healthful year round, especially for teenagers, as a connection has been found between calcium consumption and cancer prevention. The Israel Cancer Association (ICA) has adopted recommendations of the American Cancer Society (ACS), which recently said that when children drink milk and eat dairy products, they can significantly reduce the risk of colorectal cancer when they are adults.

Because dairy foods are so popular in New Zealand, where there are many sleep and cows, the island’s government financed a large, ongoing study of residents born between 1937 and 1962, and examined the prevalence of colorectal cancer. Researchers compared 562 adults who contracted a tumor with a control group of 571 who were healthy. The two groups were asked whether they drank milk daily as children (their schools participated in a state program that provided children up to 18 with free milk). The milk was found to offer real protection against the cancer.

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Another study, this from Italy, found that consuming yogurt for 12 years during childhood also was beneficial in reducing the risk of colon cancer.

Of course, there is no need to stop consuming milk and milk products as adults, as they – along with calcium sources such as sardines and green leafy vegetables – are also a major factor in reducing the danger of osteoporosis.

PUBLIC CORD BLOOD BANK REGULATIONS
The Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee recently approved regulations for the establishment of a public umbilical cord blood bank. The committee thus set down rules by which cord blood workers will be trained; the blood will be collected after women give birth and donate the contents of their newborns’ umbilical cords (which are usually discarded); the procedure is supervised; and research is conducted.

Some women pay to have their cord blood preserved in the event that their baby may someday need the blood to treat cancer, but it is a potential use, as medical research must still be done. There are a few public blood banks, but the new regulations will make standards uniform.

Public cord blood banks will serve those who need it, rather than keeping it for the children of the people who pay for freezing in private banks. The state, through the Health Ministry, has agreed to finance the freezing and storage of 1,000 units of blood a year at a cost of hundreds of thousands of shekels.

Committee chairman MK Haim Katz said it will authorize regulations that control the functioning of private cord blood banks as well. But since it took two years for the ministry to prepare the legal work, “I demand that it establish regulations for private banks without delay for the good of the public and its health.”

QUEUING UP ONLINE
Waiting for medical care in community health fund and private urgent care clinics can be tense, as people are naturally worried about getting help as quickly as possible. For years, the private chain of urgent care clinics of TEREM (in Jerusalem’s Romema and Arnona quarters, Ma’aleh Adumim, Modi’in and Beit Shemesh) have offered estimated waiting times inside the clinics themselves. Now, TEREM has established a website at www.terem.com to inform customers in real time how long the queues are in all branches. This is very important, especially after Shabbat and holidays, when the demand for service is considerably higher than on an average day or night. In addition, everyone who has been treated will be able to view his medical file, along with X-ray images and test results by entering personal identification.

GENE MUTATIONS & ASBESTOS
Wild mice living in Nahariya, where heavy industry has resulted in a high concentration of asbestos-contaminated dust, have a higher level of genetic mutations in their body cells compared to those in regions where asbestos levels are lower. This has been shown in a new study carried out by Dr. Rachel Ben-Shlomo and Dr. Uri Shanas of the University of Haifa’s biology department. “This study clearly indicates a link between the higher levels of asbestos in the environment and the frequency of genetic somatic mutations in the mammals,” the scientists said.

Earlier asbestos studies have already shown that the thin fibers, which penetrate the body by inhalation or by eating food contaminated with the material, cause not only certain cancers but also mutations in DNA. It is also known that asbestos only decomposes over many years. Health Ministry data show a rise in the number of cancer patients resulting from exposure to asbestos in the Western Galilee. Thus the researchers looked for genetic mutations in Nahariya’s mouse population, because a new generation is born every three months.

It could be assumed for the study that dozens of generations of this sample population in Nahariya had been exposed to the fibers.

Two groups of mice were collected – one living close to a Nahariya factory manufacturing asbestos-based products between 1952 and 1997, and the other living about 50 kilometers away, where no known asbestos pollutants are found.

Samples were taken from both groups, and six sites in the DNA were examined for genetic differences. The results indicated differences between the groups’ DNA, and that the Nahariya-based mice had higher levels of genetic somatic mutations. “These findings teach us that the pollutive, mutagenic asbestos increases somatic mutational frequency, which can in turn heighten the chances of developing cancerous growths,” the researchers concluded.

AMERICANS PRAY FOR HEALTH
Americans said in opinion polls that they were praying more after the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, but in the decade since then, the rate has declined. However, perhaps as their medical system declined, praying about health issues increased dramatically among US adults over the past three decades, rising 36 percent between 1999 and 2007, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association’s journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Researchers analyzed data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 1999, 2002 and 2007 National Health Interview Surveys, primarily focusing on comparisons of results between the 2002 and 2007 surveys, which included 24,000 to 45,000 adult participants.

“People continued to use informal and private spiritual practices such as prayer,” said lead author Dr, Amy Wachholtz of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. People who suffered a decline in health, as well as those with improved health, reported more prayer, suggesting that individuals who experience a progressive disease or an acute health change are more likely to pray to cope with the changing circumstances.

While prayers about health increased across all groups, from 43 percent in 2002 to 49% in 2007, the data indicated that people with the highest incomes were 15% less likely to pray than those with the lowest incomes, and people who exercise regularly were 25% less likely to pray those who didn’t. A significantly greater proportion of women pray, compared to men.


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