The QM News Roundup

Recent Medical Headlines of Interest to QM Followers.

Love Hormone StudiedQM-news-love

Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone” and is found in quantity in both partner-partner relationships and parent-child ones. The hormone is actually produced by the hypothalamus. Researchers at University of Birmingham, in England, have been studying it and have concluded that its effects are quite similar to alcohol. Now really folks, didn’t we already know that? Oxytocin is apparently available as a supplement. So can you now buy love?

Killer T-cells attacking cancer

This is an absolutely fascinating video from the University of Cambridge. They captured an immune system T-cells going after a cancerous cell. The T-cell, depicted in green, appears to be “frisking” the cancer cell. We have killer T-cells constantly on patrol for both cancer and microbes. It is reassuring to see how busy they appear to be.

Adult Onset Diabetes On the Rise

A JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Assoc.) study now has that 35% of all Americans and 50% of those over 60 have metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is effectively a diabetic or pre-diabetic condition. To call this an epidemic would be putting it mildly. Crisis is the right word.  Tragically, for most people, this is a curable disease: cut sugar and starch completely till cured. Well…for a lifetime really.

Coffee – We May Be Throwing Out The Best Part

QM-news-coffeeWe recently posted on the remarkable health benefits of coffee. It may turn out that the grounds are even more beneficial. Researchers from the University of Navarra, Spain, report that the various antioxidants thought to be beneficial in coffee are found in significantly greater abundance in the grounds.  Of course, it was European strength brew that they tested, and, as is well known, such coffee will float a horseshoe. Are coffee grounds on their way to becoming a condiment? (Careful with the ‘antioxidant’ enthusiasm.)

Better Chemotherapy—Possible Breakthrough

Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for many cancers. Chemotherapy essentially poisons and kills the tumor cells. However, it poisons normal tissue as well, damaging them, but they usually recover, though not always fully. So chemo works by being more toxic to cancer cells than to normal cells. The ideal chemo, of course, would be one that went after the tumors, but left everything else alone. We don’t have this yet, but researchers at the University of Waterloo, in Canada are reporting a significant step toward that. From their press release: “It can kill the cancer cell and protect the normal cell,” said Prof. Qing-Bin Lu,  “We feel this is quite exciting.” Not only are healthy cells protected, but the molecules identified by Lu and his Waterloo team are not toxic, avoiding the terrible side-effects of cancer drugs used today. Things are very preliminary at this point, testing being done on cultured tumors and rodents, but the results so far are very promising.

Educating the Immune System to Prevent Allergies

Researchers at the University of Montreal, have developed a molecule that “teaches” the immune system to avoid allergies. We wouldn’t touch this with a 10-foot pole. Why?QM-news-allergy

The immune system is extremely complex and is our first line of defense against invading pathogens and cancer. This is NOT an area that should be meddled with. The reasons for allergies are unknown, but they may well be necessary to keep up a healthy immune system. Perhaps they keep the immune system trained or something like that.

Several decades ago, some doctors successfully treated some isolated island people that were riddled with parasites. On returning 20 years later, they were pleased to note that no one any longer harbored these unwanted guests, but noticed that the people now had a lot of allergies that they hadn’t had before.

Until it is known why we have allergies, it’s best to leave them alone or treat them symptomatically.  We do not know what other effects the researcher’s “teaching molecule” might have on the immune system, and given its importance, it’s simply not worth the risk.

When the immune system clearly has it wrong, as in AIDS or rheumatoid arthritis, it’s a different story.

  1 comment for “The QM News Roundup

  1. Helene
    May 31, 2015 at 4:47 am

    Dear Dr Mike,

    Thankyou for reminder about coffee grounds.
    Only now realised the alternative uses.

    Firstly, I’ll spread them in my garden! (Why didn’t I save the used beans earlier!);
    Then I will try to use it as skin exfoliant (not sure yet, but will try);
    I also like the idea of using coffee grounds as colouring ingredient – how easy – just mix with hot water! Could be interesting “new brown” lingerie.

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