Better sleep predicts longer survival time for women with advanced breast cancer

A new study reports that sleep efficiency, a ratio of time asleep to time spent in bed, is predictive of survival time for women with advanced breast cancer.

Results show that higher sleep efficiency was significantly associated with lower mortality over the ensuing six years, an effect that remained after adjusting for baseline prognostic factors such as age, estrogen receptor status and treatments received. Mean survival was 68.9 months for efficient sleepers compared with 33.2 months for participants with poor sleep efficiency. Further analysis found that a 10 percent increase in sleep efficiency reduced the estimated hazard of subsequent mortality by 32 percent. There was no association between sleep duration and survival.

Sleep behavior disorder linked to brain disease

Researchers at the University of Toronto say a sleep disorder that causes people to act out their dreams is the best current predictor of brain diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

"Rapid-eye-movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is not just a precursor but also a critical warning sign of neurodegeneration that can lead to brain disease," says associate professor and lead author Dr. John Peever. "In fact, as many as 80 to 90 per cent of people with RBD will develop a brain disease".

As the name suggests, the disturbance occurs during the rapid-eye-movement (REM) stage of sleep and causes people to act out their dreams, often resulting in injury to themselves and/or bed partner. In healthy brains, muscles are temporarily paralyzed during sleep to prevent this from happening.

Several forms of vitamin E protect against memory disorders, study says

Elderly people with high serum vitamin E levels are less likely to suffer from memory disorders than their peers with lower levels, according to a study published recently in Experimental Gerontology. According to the researchers, various forms of vitamin E seem to play a role in memory processes. The study was carried out in cooperation between the University of Eastern Finland, the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, Karolinska Institute, and the University of Perugia.

Studies investigating the link between vitamin E and memory disorders have usually focused on a single form of vitamin E, namely α-tocopherol, which is also used in vitamin E supplements. However, vitamin E exists in eight different natural forms, tocopherols and tocotrienols, all of which have antioxidant properties.

Cancer Cases Could Rise in 20 Years

Scientists at the World Health Organization have called for immediate action to combat a ‘tidal wave of cancer’ that will sweep the globe in the next 20 years.

The number of new cancer cases worldwide will rise by 70 per cent from 14.1 million in 2012 to 24 million in 2035, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said in their latest World Cancer Report.

The future global burden of cancer will increasingly shift to poorer countries, WHO said, but it added that half of all world cancers are now preventable with existing medical knowledge and expertise.

Annual deaths from cancer will almost double in the same time period from 8.2 million to 14.6 million.

One of the report’s editors, Doctor Bernard Stewart from the University of New South Wales in Australia, said that modifications to human behavior, such as reducing alcohol consumption, would play a “crucial role in combating the tidal wave of cancer which we see coming across the world”.

“In relation to alcohol, for example, we’re all aware of the acute effects, whether it’s car accidents or assaults,” he said. “But there’s a burden of disease that’s not talked about because it’s simply not recognized, specifically involving cancer.

Less developed countries will see an increase in cancer incidence – the number of new cases per year – of 44 per cent in the next decade, whereas in richer countries, incidence rates will only increase by 20 per cent.

The inequalities are largely down to varying levels of access to both cancer treatments and preventative healthcare – such as screening programs and vaccines for cancers caused by infections like the human papilloma virus (HPV). However, the gap between countries will widen as people in less developed nations increasingly adopt “industrialized lifestyles” – smoking and drinking more, and eating more highly processed food.

Dr Christopher Wild, director of IARC and co-editor of the World Cancer Report 2014 said it was clear the world would never “treat its way out of cancer” and emphasized the role that prevention should play in years to come.

Smoking is responsible for around 20 per cent of all cancers globally and lung cancers are the most common form of cancer in the world, accounting for 13 per cent of all cases and 19 per cent of all cancer deaths.

Source: Reuters

B.N

Music therapy may help depression

Music therapy can be used to improve treatment of depression, at least in the short term, say researchers in Finland.

The technique used non-verbal communication to help patients express their emotions.

A study on 79 people, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, showed a greater improvement than in patients receiving standard therapy.

British experts said music may engage people in ways that words cannot.

Music therapists are used, including by the NHS, to help children who struggle to communicate. Playing instruments and singing with a trained music therapist is supposed to help children express themselves.

Initial improvement

In this study, all patients with depression received the standard practice of counselling and appropriate medication. Thirty three of them were also given 20 sessions with a trained music therapist, which involved things such as drumming.

After three months, patients receiving music therapy showed a greater improvement in scores of anxiety and depression than the other set of patients.

However, there was no statistical improvement after six months.

Professor Christian Gold, from the University of Jyväskylä, said: "Our trial has shown that music therapy, when added to standard care helps people to improve their levels of depression and anxiety."

"Music therapy has specific qualities that allow people to express themselves and interact in a non-verbal way - even in situations when they cannot find the words to describe their inner experiences.

Dr Mike Crawford, who specialises in mental health services at Imperial College London, said in a journal editorial: "The results suggest that it can improve the mood and general functioning of people with depression.

"Music-making is social, pleasurable and meaningful. It has been argued that music making engages people in ways that words may simply not be able to.

Source : BBC

N.H.Khider