Health Highlights: Feb. 13, 2008

"The relationship of these negative emotions to inflammatory markers is more complex and much stronger than depression or hostility individually," lead researcher Jesse Stewart, assistant professor of psychology, told the Times. "There are, of course, mental health reasons to treat depression and hostility. Now we know there is a physical health reason -- the link to cardiovascular diseases," he added.

The study is published in the February-March issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.


Research Shows How Breast Cancer Becomes Treatment-Resistant

Breast and ovarian cancers caused by a faulty BRCA2 gene often become resistant to standard drugs, and British scientists now believe they know why, the BBC News reported.

The findings could help doctors spot those patients who stand to benefit most from particular treatments, and also give insights into how medicines lose their effectiveness.

Reporting in the journal Nature, researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research in the United Kingdom, noted that healthy BRCA2 is actually a tumor suppressor. But a defective form of the gene renders cells incapable of fixing damaged DNA, which in turn encourages malignancy.

The new research was conducted with both breast and ovarian cancer cells. The research team found that after exposure to standard chemotherapy, some cells mutate back to the normal BRCA2 gene type. This allows the cells to overcome DNA damage but it does not neutralize the tumor. It does, however, neutralize the effectiveness of the cancer drugs, leading to drug resistance.

"The research deepens our understanding of why some breast cancer patients with a faulty BRCA2 gene may stop responding to treatment," Prof. Herbie Newell, executive director of translational research at Cancer Research UK, told the BBC. "This type of research is becoming increasingly important as we seek to tailor cancer therapies to individual patients," he said.


'Icy Hot' Heat Therapy Products Recalled for Burn Hazard

The maker of "Icy Hot" Heat Therapy products is recalling them nationwide after receiving reports of first-, second-, and third-degree burns among some users, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday in an announcement on its Web site.

Tennessee-based Chattem Inc. said all lots and sizes of the following products are affected:

  • Icy Hot Heat Therapy Air Activated Heat - Back
  • Icy Hot Heat Therapy Air Activated Heat - Arm, neck, and leg
  • Icy Hot Heat Therapy Air Activated Heat - Arm, neck and leg single consumer use samples included in cartons of 3-oz. Aspercreme Pain Relieving Cream.

The products were sold over the counter at food, drug, and mass merchandise stores nationwide. Consumers should stop using them immediately, discard them, or return them to the manufacturer for a full refund.

For more information, visit the FDA.

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