Health Highlights: July 1, 2008

In addition, Patil said deep-red varieties of watermelon also contain plenty of the antioxidant lycopene, which protects the heart, prostate and skin health, UPI reported.

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Dogs Can Detect Ovarian Cancer: Study

Specially trained dogs can use their noses to distinguish different types and grades of ovarian cancer, say researchers at the University Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden. Early stage and low-grade ovarian tumors emit the same scent as advanced ovarian tumors.

The researchers said their study shows ovarian cancer has an odor that's distinct from other gynecological malignancies such as cervical or endometrial cancers, United Press International reported.

The researchers said "we do not believe that dogs should be used in clinical practice, because they may be influenced during their work, leading to changes in the accuracy rates," but under controlled circumstances dogs "may be used in experiments to further explore this very interesting new property of malignancies."

The study was published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies.

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Experimental Alzheimer's Drug Ineffective

The experimental Alzheimer's drug Flurizan produced disappointing results in a late-stage clinical trial and development of the drug will be halted, Salt Lake City-based Myriad Genetics announced Monday.

Compared to a placebo, the drug didn't improve thinking ability by a statistically significant amount, nor did it improve patients' abilities to do daily activities, The New York Times reported.

The drug -- designed to prevent the buildup of toxic amyloid plaques in the brain believed to cause Alzheimer's -- was one of the first of its kind to reach late-stage testing. The failure of Flurizan may raise doubts about the role of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's and about other experimental drugs designed to combat the plaques.

Two such drugs are currently in late-stage testing, the Times reported.

A study published earlier this month in the journal Nature suggested that gamma-secretase modulators such as Flurizan showed potential for treating Alzheimer's. The study said these drugs reduce the production of long pieces of amyloid beta protein that stick together and form clumps, while increasing production of shorter amyloid beta that blocks longer amyloid beta from sticking together, HealthDay News reported.

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