Emily Chau

Have We Found A Vaccine For Breast Cancer?

June 2, 2010 at 11:36 am , by

It’s not October yet, but Melina Kanakaredes (CSI: NY) wants you to “Think Pink” right now. The actress recently designed three shirts for Hanes to support their efforts with Susan G. Komen for the Cure , and now you can too! (Check out my interview with her above.)

Hanes—the same folks who provide race day t-shirts for the Komen walks—has a cool tool that allows you to make your own breast cancer awareness shirts. The apparel company has also pledged to make a $500,000 contribution to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Series.

In fact, we might already be one step closer to beating breast cancer. Everyone’s been buzzing about the promise of a new breast cancer vaccine. Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic tested a preventive vaccine on mice that were susceptible to cancer, and it had a 100 percent success rate. All of the vaccinated mice remained tumor-free, while all of the controls developed breast cancer. A vaccine for women might not be that far off—human trials may begin as early as next year.

Want to hear more good news about cancer?

Indoor Tanning is Toxic, Too

May 28, 2010 at 11:08 am , by

Not convinced that indoor tanning is dangerous? Better take a look at the findings of this brand-new, large-scale study in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that people who’ve tanned indoors are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma (the most deadly form of skin cancer) than those who’ve stayed away from tanning beds. Their findings add to mounting evidence that there’s nothing pretty about indoor tanning.

Want to learn more about skin cancer, tanning and its risks? Check out the first article in our three-part series on skin cancer.

Previous research demonstrated a weak link between tanning beds and melanoma. But this study establishes a much firmer association, supporting what many dermatologists have long suspected: Indoor tanning, regardless of what type of device used, increases your risk for melanoma. In fact, using high-speed/high-intensity devices doubles your risk; high-pressure devices can quadruple it. Moreover, the more you use tanning beds (whether measured in hours, sessions or years), the greater your risk. The FDA is so concerned, it’s considering a ban on their use among teens.

So are tanning beds worse than sun exposure? It’s unclear, but you can burn from both. “The real take-home message is that UV radiation, regardless of its source, is harmful,” says lead researcher DeAnn Lazovich, Ph.D.

Not convinced that pale is beautiful? Try our favorite sun-less tanners.

Photo courtesy Evil Erin

Are Long Hours At Work Killing You? Maybe.

May 13, 2010 at 3:15 pm , by

work stressThe upside to working overtime: time and a half (if you’re lucky) and a few nice words from your boss (also if you’re lucky).

The downside (besides having to stay at work): increased risk for coronary heart disease.

People who work more than 10 hours a day are at a 60 percent greater risk for heart attack, angina and other heart-related conditions, compared with those who log in seven-hour days, according to a  new study in the European Heart Journal. One explanation for this association: type-A personalities—folks who tend to be anxious, competitive and tense—are the ones who are more likely to spend the extra hours behind the desk.

The study looked at over 4,000 men and 1,700 women, with an average follow-up of 11 years. While men were more likely to report working overtime, we’d be willing to speculate that the women felt the stress more acutely. Yes, men are pitching in, but women still tend to have more responsibility in the home. So the next time you’re thinking of spending a late night at the office, ask yourself if you really need to stay or if you can finish the task in the morning—your heart might thank you for it.

Photo courtesy: stuartpilbrow

Categories: Health | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Vaccine News You Need To Know

April 19, 2010 at 10:19 am , by

The Health Ladies are trying something new today: a vlog. I talked with with Stan Block,  M.D., professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the University of Louisville Medical School, and Paralympian Nick Springer about menigococcal disease, a scary illness that primarily attacks kids and teens. In all likelihood it’s the same disease that turned Helen Keller deaf and blind. However, in the grand scheme of things, she may have had it easy.

A bacterial infection of your brain and spinal cord, meningococcal disease can attack suddenly and leave you paralyzed or amputated—even dead. Of the approximately half a million people who contract the disease each year about 1 in 7 die. But numbers just tell half the story. Since I conducted this interview over the phone, it was only after I watched this video that I saw felt the full impact of just how devastating meningococcal disease can be.

Luckily, there’s a vaccine that can prevent your kids from getting this disease.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends teens (ages 11-18) get vaccinated—the earlier the better. It’s especially important for your child to receive the vaccine before going off to college as dorm living can increase her chance of contracting the disease. While some doctors routinely will administer the vaccine at your child’s 11-12 year old check-up, it’s always good to be proactive. Currently there are two vaccines available for teens: Menactra and Menveo.

The Smarter Way to Talk to Your Doc

March 25, 2010 at 10:49 am , by

TTTC Photo

He just won’t listen. I don’t understand him. He never hears me out. Sound familiar? I’m not talking about your relationship with your husband. I’m talking about the one with your doctor.

You get an average of 20 minutes of face-time with your physician. That seems like barely enough time to get all your body parts checked out, let alone discuss any health questions you might have. The good news: you don’t have to wait for health care reform to take effect to make over your relationship with your doc. LHJ talked to actress Andie MacDowell and Richard Carmona, M.D., president of Canyon Ranch Institute and the 17th Surgeon General of the United States, about how you can get the most out of your doctor’s visit.
Read more

Looking For Animal Odd Couples

March 24, 2010 at 2:20 pm , by

animal pictour_thisIs your dog best friends with your cat?  Did your cat become a surrogate mom to a litter of ’possums? Opposites attract, even in the animal kingdom.

LHJ wants to hear about your pet’s unlikely best friend.  Wow us with your pet’s unusual pairing for a chance to be featured in the magazine!

Send your stories and a photo to emily.chau@meredith.com.

Photo courtesy pictour_this

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Your Cube Is Your Castle: Make Over Your Workplace

March 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm , by

cubeYou make over your wardrobe. You make over your workout. So why not make over your workplace? After all, if you’re like me, you probably spend a good part of your waking hours chained to a desk. Try these easy steps to make your 9-to-5 a little happier and healthier.

1.  Upgrade your paper cup for a BPA-free water bottle. They’re eco-friendly, chic and, of course, help you stay hydrated during the day. (If you feel draggy and tired, that can be a sign of dehydration. Water can perk you up!)

2.  Get thee some hand sanitizer! (And Clorox wipes): Flu season may be ending, but germs are still lurking. One of the worst offenders? Your desk. Office desks harbor almost 400 times more bacteria than a public toilet, according to Arizona researchers. While toilets are typically cleaned regularly, we wipe down our desks less often. Eating at your desk doesn’t help much either. Keep alcohol wipes handy for cleaning your mouse, keyboard and phone.

3.  Add a little green. Keeping a plant in your cube can brighten your mood more than having a window office, say researchers at Texas State University. They keep your air cleaner, too. Houseplants may help lower indoor ozone levels (laser printers can emit the stuff) up to 33 percent faster than if you didn’t go green, according to a study from Pennsylvania State University. The likely explanation: Plants break down toxins and add surface area, both of which speed up the breakdown of ozone. Too much ozone can damage your heart and lungs, so try cheap, easy-to-grow houseplants such as snake plant, spider plant and golden pothos.

4.  Keep a pair of free weights handy and pump up your downtime, literally. A couple of reps can help clear your mind when you’re trying to tackle a problem or get over writer’s block. An added bonus: Resistance training blasts fat, boosts your metabolism and builds stronger bones. Try one of these exercises.

5.  Stock up on healthy snacks, like almonds or these 90 Calorie Fiber One bars. When the afternoon slump hits, step away from the vending machine and reach for some real fuel.

Photo courtesy of Chris Blakeley

Categories: Health | Tags: , , | 1 Comment