Monthly Archives: August 2013

CT scans raising cancer risk!!!





Each year more than four million CT scans are performed on children, and they are increasing the risk for future cancer, a new study suggests.

Researcher writing online last month in JAMA Pediatrics counted the number of CT scans performed on children under 15 from 1966 to 2010 in seven American healthcare systems and calculated the average dose of radiation delivered to the head, abdomen, chest or spine.

There was wide variability, but the scientists found that up to a quarter of children with a single abdominal scan received 20 millisieverts or higher. (The average dose for a chest x-ray is 0.1 millisievert). The researchers estimate that one year’s CT scanning in the United States would produce 4,879 future cancers in children under 15- a small but significant increase.

The researchers calculate that if the highest doses- those in the top one-quarter- could be reduced to match the average dose, future cancers would be reduced by 43 per cent.


A study, in the July issue of The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, examined 23 children four to six years old who had been diagnosed with depression and 31 of their healthy peers. Researchers used well –validated tests to diagnose depression. They also eliminated from the study children with neurological disorders, those with autism or developmental delays, and those who had been born prematurely. None of the subjects were taking antidepressants.

The children underwent MRI brain scans while viewing pictures of happy, sad, fearful or neutral faces. The researchers found that right amygdala and right thalamus activity was significantly greater in the depressed children that in the others, a finding that has also been observed in depressed adolescents and adults.

“We found something in the brain that is aligned with the idea of neurobiological models of depression- which parts of the brain are involved and how they interact,” said the lead author, Michael S. Gaffrey, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis. “We can begin to use this information in conjunction with other information- symptoms, other biological markers- to identify and eventually prevent and treat this disorder.”


Researchers studied between 35,811 patients hospitalized for appendicitis in 12 Canadian cities between 2004 and 2008. They used air pollution data from monitors in each city to calculate daily maximum concentrations of ozone, a normal component of the earth’s upper atmosphere that becomes a danger when concentrated at ground level.

High ozone levels were associated with an increased number of hospitalizations for appendicitis and were even more strongly associated with cases of burst appendix. For each 16 parts per billion increase in ozone concentration the scientists found an 11 to 22 per cent increase in ruptured appendix cases. The study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives.


Neha Choudhary

Ethnic link in cancer death rates

Source – daily nation – Wednesday October 31, 2012

The high death rate from breast cancer in the country has been linked to race in a study investigating how the genetic make-up of Kenyan woman contributes to the disease.

In findings presented on Sunday in the US, researchers for the first time compared the genetic profile of Kenyan women who have had breast cancer with samples from black American women and reported to have found interesting similarities.

So far statistics have shown that white women are most likely to develop breast cancer compared to black Americans, but the latter have a 20 per cent higher death rate.

This means that more white women are most likely to respond well to treatment and have higher survival rates.

According to the Nairobi Cancer Registry, women affect by breast cancer in Kenya are relatively younger than those in developed countries.

“Although cases remain relatively low in comparison to developed countries, breast cancer deaths in Kenya are much higher mainly because of late diagnosis,” Dr Ann Korir of the cancer registry says. For years, says the new study, poverty, ignorance, fewer and late testing, and lack of healthcare were believed to be responsible for these differences.

“Now more specific research is showing that differences in ethnic biology may be the key to understanding why breast cancer incidence and rates of deaths differ.”

According to one of the researchers, Dr Lisa Baumbach-Reardon, this knowledge may lead to new preventive measures and treatment.

“Understanding significant ethnic-specific differences will help us to better understand how and why breast cancer differs across different ethnicities and will ultimately help us to translate this knowledge into clinical practice,” Dr Baumbach-Reardon says.

According to the statement distributed by the science public relations firm Newswise, 47 breast cancer samples had been collected from the Nairobi Cancer Registry and compared with others from the University of Miami in the US.

After analysis the researchers confirmed that 29 of the Kenyan cases were very similar to the presentation of African-American women with breast cancer in the United States.

According to the American Cancer Society, when discovered, African American breast cancers tend to respond poorly to treatment than those of white women.


The situation in Kenya

  • Cancer is the third-highest cause of death.
  • Cancer causes seven percent of total national deaths every year.
  • About 28,000 cases are reported each year with over 22,000 deaths.
  • Over 60 per cent of those affected are below of 70 years.
  • The risk of getting cancer before the age of 75 years is 14 per cent.
  • The risk of dying of cancer is estimated at 12 per cent.
  • Leading cancers in women affect the breast, esophagus and cervix.
  • In men, esophagus and prostate cancers are the most common.
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