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Selenium Intake Reduces Bladder Cancer Risk

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Study shows that  selenium intake is associated with decreased risk of bladder cancer.

Selenium is an essential micronutrient found in about 25 proteins. Most of these so-called selenoproteins are enzymes with antioxidant properties.

The main dietary sources of selenium are plant foods grown in selenium-rich soils and animals who graze on such plants.

According to Eurekalert:

“The researchers noted a significant protective effect of selenium, mainly among women, which they believe may result from gender-specific differences in the mineral’s accumulation and excretion in women.”

Resources:
Eurekalert August 31, 2010
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention August 31, 2010

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How Light Sensors in Eye Work

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Neuro-scientists have unravelled how newly discovered light sensors in the eye detect light and communicate with the brain.
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These light sensors are a small number of nerve cells in the retina that contain melanopsin molecules.

Unlike conventional light-sensing cells in the retina-rods and cones, melanopsin-containing cells are not used for seeing images.

Instead, they monitor light levels to adjust the body’s clock and control constriction of the pupils in the eye, among other functions.

“These melanopsin-containing cells are the only other known photoreceptor besides rods and cones in mammals, and the question is, how do they work,” said Michael Do, a postdoctoral fellow in neuro-science at Johns Hopkins.

“We want to understand some fundamental information, like their sensitivity to light and their communication to the brain,” he informed.

Using mice, the team first tested the light sensitivity of these cells by flashing light at the cells and recording the electrical current generated by one cell.

They found that these cells are very insensitive to light, in contrast to rods, which are very sensitive and therefore enable us to see in dim light at night, for example.

According to Do, the melanopsin-containing cells are less sensitive than cones, which are responsible for our vision in daylight.

“The next question was, what makes them so insensitive to light? Perhaps each photon they capture elicits a tiny electrical signal. Then there would have to be bright light-giving lots of captured photons for a signal large enough to influence the brain. Another possibility is that these cells capture photons poorly,” said Do.

To figure this out, the team flashed dim light at the cells. The light was so dim that, on average, only a single melanopsin molecule in each cell was activated by capturing a photon.

They found that each activated melanopsin molecule triggered a large electrical signal. Moreover, to their surprise, the cell transmits this single-photon signal all the way to the brain, said a Johns Hopkins release.

Yet the large signal generated by these cells seemed incongruous with their need for such bright light. “We thought maybe they need so much light because each cell might also contain very few melanopsin molecules, decreasing their ability to capture photons,” said King-Wai Yau, a professor of neuroscience at Hopkins.

When they did the calculations, the research team found that melanopsin molecules are 5,000 times sparser than other light-capturing molecules used for image-forming vision.

“It appears that these cells capture very little light. However, once captured, the light is very effective in producing a signal large enough to go straight to the brain,” said Yau.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Broccoli Sprouts Curb Bladder Cancer

Broccoli has always been known to fight cancer. Now, a new study has found that eating concentrated extract of freeze dried broccoli sprouts may curb the development of bladder tumours.

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4-5 days. These healthy sprouts contain a high percentage of sulforaphane, a compound proven to inhibit the development of cancer. Though not bitter, these sprouts do possess “a little zing” that adds flavor to salads.

.Click to see

Dr. Yuesheng Zhang, PhD, lead researcher and professor of oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, said the study carried out in an animal model provides strong evidence that eating vegetables is beneficial in bladder cancer prevention.

The team led by Zhang tested the ability of the concentrate to prevent bladder tumours in five groups of rats.

The first was a control group, while the second group was given only the broccoli extract to test for safety. The remaining three groups were given a chemical, N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl) nitrosamine (BBN) in drinking water, which induces bladder cancer.

Out of the three two were given the broccoli extract in diet, two weeks before the carcinogenic chemical was delivered.

The findings revealed that the control group and the group given only the extract developed no tumours, and there was no toxicity from the extract in the rats.

They found that nearly 96 per cent of animals given only BBN developed an average of almost two tumours each of varying sizes.

And about 74 per cent of animals given a low dose of the extract developed cancer, and the number of tumours per rat was 1.39. The group given the high dose of extract had even fewer tumours.

Though animals that had the most protection against development of bladder cancer were given high doses of the extract, Zhang said humans at increased risk for this cancer likely do not need to eat huge amounts of broccoli sprouts in order to derive protective benefits.

The report will appear in the March 1 issue of Cancer Research , a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Click to leanr more aboutBROCCOLI: THE CROWN JEWEL OF NUTRITION”.

Sources: The Times Of India

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