Suicide More Common in Cancer Patients

SOY FORMULA DOESN'T REDUCE INFANT ALLERGIES The few quality studies available on soy formula and allergies show that soy does not reduce food allergies in infants and children. According to the authors from Westmead Hospital in Australia, soy formulas were developed in the hope that they would spare children the increased risk of food allergies that comes from early exposure to cow's milk, but the review finds that soy does not provide this benefit. Published in The Cochrane Library, the review supports previous findings that exclusive breast-feeding until a child is at least 6 months old is associated with a lower risk of food allergies.

SUICIDE MORE COMMON in CANCER PATIENTS A new study by Canadian researchers examined 1.3 million cancer cases and found that, while suicide was still rare, cancer patients were more than twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population. The suicide rate among cancer patients was 24 suicides for every 100,000 patients, compared to a rate of 10.6 suicides per 100,000 people in the general population. Researchers say oncologists need to be aware of the potential suicide risk among cancer patients. This study was published in the most recent issue of the Annals of Oncology.

CANCER STEM CELLS RESIST CHEMOTHERAPY Cancerous brain tumors very often recur after chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and Duke University researchers believe they may have uncovered a reason why. Cancer stem cells are more protected from chemotherapy, so they are less likely to be killed off during treatment. The lingering cancer stem cells then make more copies of themselves and the tumor reappears. In the new study published in the journal Nature, scientists find that brain tumor cancer cells have more ability to repair damaged DNA, which makes them less vulnerable to radiation and chemotherapy.

TESTOSTERONE NO FOUNTAIN of YOUTH The hormones DHEA and testosterone do not improve health, ability, or quality of life in elderly men or women, finds a new two-year study from the Mayo Clinic. The seniors who were randomly assigned to take DHEA or testosterone did not improve their body composition, muscle strength, or other health measures compared to seniors who were taking a placebo. However, as long as DHEA remains unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and people believe hormones help fight aging, sales of DHEA will likely still flourish. These findings were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

STAT is a brief look at the latest medical research and is compiled by Joanna Schaffhausen, who holds a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. She works in the ABC News Medical Unit, evaluating medical studies, abstracts and news releases.