Tag Archives: biomarkers

Total Body Fat Vs. Belly Fat in Breast Cancer Risk

I came across this very interesting study through a Medical News Today article (link below). The paper manuscript itself is free, but comes across as a little difficult to read on the downloadable PDF version , because of the way it appears to be output by the journal. However, it is always good to be able to access the full paper, and not simply the summary.

The premise

Among several risk factors, body fat is a breast cancer risk. There apparently have been contentions about where specific biomarkers that indicate breast cancer are produced, with some previous studies. This study has shown that overall weight loss is more beneficial in terms of breast cancer biomarker production reduction, rather than focusing on belly fat alone.

The current study

The current study is limited to post-menopausal women. Conducted in the Netherlands, 243 overweight women were recruited. They lost 5 – 6kg over a period of 16 weeks. A set of biomarkers, indicative of sex hormones, leptin and inflammation were compared before and after the weight loss. The fat changes themselves were measured using X-ray and MRI scans.

The latter appears to be important. The MNT article includes a statement that this study is different than previous ones that used waist measurements. I can see this being quite an important difference. X-rays and MRI scans definitely appear to be more fastidious methods of assessing fat changes, specific to a body region.

Results

Increased belly fat, according to Dr. Evelyn Monninkhof, the lead in the study indicates, increases the risk for several chronic diseases, independent of total body fat. She indicates however, that sex hormones, are more affected by total body fat and not just localized fat, as concluded from the study.

She also points that their next steps is to look at how to reduce levels of total fat and abdominal fat. This said, it appears that women, especially those postmenopausal and those approaching menopause can benefit from exercise and nutritional changes that lead to total fat loss, and hopefully, abdominal fat loss along the way. It is always important to contact licensed medical and/or nutritional professionals when considering exercise and/or dietary changes.

References:

  1. The MNT Article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/317498.php
  2. The Endocrinology Paper: http://erc.endocrinology-journals.org/content/early/2017/05/16/ERC-16-0490.abstract?sid=9f3c9977-0e81-4583-bdf5-07b3f182f911
  3. Image Courtesy, Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-with-umbrella-on-beach-247304/

Interesting MIT Research on Ovarian Cancer Detection

The teal ribbon, pictured above, is used to represent the Fight Against Ovarian Cancer

I am back to my favorite Qmed today. They led me to a neat article on MIT News.

Ovarian cancer, while rare, still affects a number of women. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI – link below), approximately 1.3 % of women will be diagnosed to cancer during their lifetime, and in 2014, they approximated that 222,060 women were living with Ovarian Cancer in the United States.

In addition, as detailed both in the Qmed Article and MIT News (links below), Ovarian Cancer detection is challenging, and usually detection doesn’t occur well after the disease has reached a certain size.

Consequently, this represents an important challenge in healthcare, and with the support of some much needed funding and the investment of great scientific minds, MIT might have used synthetic biomarkers, that, if transferred successfully from the current mouse models to humans, can shave diagnostics time by about 5 months! And five months, can definitely mean a lot for disease detection, treatment and/or management.

Read more about synthetic biomarkers, the challenges with Ovarian Cancer detection, and other interesting information through the links below.

References: 

  1. The Qmed Article: http://www.qmed.com/mpmn/medtechpulse/better-way-find-ovarian-cancer?cid=nl.x.qmed02.edt.aud.qmed.20170503
  2. The MIT News Article: http://news.mit.edu/2017/new-technology-detect-tiny-ovarian-tumors-0410
  3. Some NCI stats on Ovarian Cancer: https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/ovary.html