May 8

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM THE JOHN HOPKINS INSTITUTE

One of the more important messages here is that your cancer, even with treatment, is never all gone. *News from John Hopkins* *AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRY (TRY THE KEYWORD) AND ELIMINATE CANCER, JOHN HOPKINS IS FINALLY   STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS ANALTERNATIVE WAY .*

*Cancer Update from John Hopkins:*   
*1.Every person has cancer cells in the body.These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests  are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.*2.Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person's lifetime. 3.When the person's immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying  and forming tumors.*4.When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional  deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and  lifestyle factors. *5. To  overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and  including supplements will strengthen the immune system.*6.Chemotherapy involves poisoning the  rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the  bone marrow,  gastro-intestinal tract etc, and can cause  organ damage, like liver,  kidneys, heart, lungs etc. *7.Radiation while destroying cancer  cells also burns, scars and  damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.*8.Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often > > reduce tumor size. However  prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction. *9.When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the  immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can  succumb to various kinds of infections and complications. *10.Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. *Sugar can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites. *11. An effective way to  battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the  foods it needs to multiply.  > > CANCER CELLS FEED  ON: > >  *a.Sugar is a cancer-feeder.  By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer  cells. Sugar substitutes like Nutrasweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be  Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has  a chemical added to make it white in colour. Better alternative is  Bragg's aminos or sea salt. *b.Milk causes the body to produce mucus especially in the gastro-intestinal tract.  Cancer feeds on mucus .By cutting off milk and substituting  with unsweetened soya milk cancer cells are being starved.  *c.Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. *A meat-based diet is acidic **and it is best to eat fish, and a  little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all  harmful,especially to people with cancer.  *d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole  grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an  alkaline environment. *
 *About 20% can be from  cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes  that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15  minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live  enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice  (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw   vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F  
 (40 degrees C). *
  **Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine.
 Green tea is a better  alternative and has cancer-fighting properties. 
 Water-
 best to drink  purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in  tap water. Distilled   water is acidic, avoid it. *
 *12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and  requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines become putrified and leads to more toxic buildup. *
   *13. ** Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body's killer  cells to destroy the cancer cells. *
*14. ** Some  supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Florssence,Essiac,  anti-oxidants, vitamins,minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body's own  killer cells to destroy cancer cells.*
Other supplements like  vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the  body's normal method of disposing of   damaged, unwanted, or unneeded  cells.*
  *15. **   **Cancer is a disease of the  mind,body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the  cancer warrior be a survivor. *
  *Anger, un forgiveness and  bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn  to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.  *
 *16. **Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment.
 Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get  more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells. *
  *PLEASE READ  ON*
  *1. No plastic containers in micro.** *
  *2. No  water bottles in freezer.*
 *3. No plastic wrap in microwave.**  *
 Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in its newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army  Medical Center as well. Dioxin chemicals causes cancer, especially  breast cancer. *
 *Dioxins are highly poisonous to the  cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in  them as this releases dioxins from the plastic. Recently, Dr. Edward  Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital was on a TV  program to explain this   health hazard.*He talked about dioxins  and how bad they are for us. He said that we should  not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies  to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high  heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the  cells of the body. *Instead, he recommends using glass, such as  CorningWare, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food.  *
  *You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such  things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed  from the containerand heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you  don't know what is inthe paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass,  CorningWare, etc. He reminded us that a while ago some   of the fast food  restaurants move away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin  problem is one of the reasons. *Also, he pointed out  that plastic wrap,such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over  foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat  causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap   and  drip into the food. Cover food with a paper toweL Instead.   *This is an  article that should be sent to anyone   important in your life

May 8

Sugar Shock...how simple carbs can derail your life!

A Review of Sugar Shock by Connie Bennett

by Patty Donovan 

(NewsTarget) SUGAR SHOCK! How Sweets and Simple Carbs Can Derail Your Life, written by journalist Connie Bennett with Stephen Sinatra MD, is not just another low-carb diet book. In the book, Ms. Bennett explains the addictive nature of sugar and discusses the profound effects this can have on your health. She uses sometimes humorous, sometimes scary anecdotes of how sugar affected her own life to get the point across, but follows these up with scientific explanations that most lay people can understand and quotes from numerous scientists, doctors and other experts. To a person hearing about the evils of sugar for the first time, SUGAR SHOCK! can be frightening but is a real eye-opener. It should make anyone think twice before grabbing that cup of fancy coffee loaded with sugar or the early-afternoon candy bar and soda for a so-called "pick me up".

A self described "sugar-shrew", Ms. Bennett tells you what her life was like with sugar and about the revelations which led her to kick the sugar habit. A journalist by trade, Connie Bennett began investigating sugar after being diagnosed with "reactive hypoglycemia," or low blood sugar, a condition in which the blood sugar rises rapidly after ingestion of simple sugars, then plummets just as rapidly a short time later. In the first chapter, Ms Bennett is able to tie a huge number of seemingly unrelated symptoms to what she has termed "SUGAR SHOCK". She lists 44 debilitating emotional and physical effects of sugar ranging from mood swings and temper tantrums to thoughts of suicide. She also includes such physical symptoms as heart palpitations, fatigue, loss of coordination and fainting. I think the list is something everyone should read and remember. Ms. Bennett describes herself as a "crabby, cantankerous shrew" who had spent years alienating herself from family and friends. She was able to "cure" all 44 symptoms simply by eliminating sugars and refined carbohydrates from her diet.

SUGAR SHOCK! successfully ties in the increase in obesity and Type 2 diabetes to the increased intake of refinedcarbohydrates. She talks about all refined sugars, not just sucrose and makes a good case against high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which may be the most harmful of all sugars. SUGAR SHOCK! even explores the effect of sugar and refined carbohydrates on aging. One interesting connection made in this book is that farm subsidies have kept the price of a few commodities, especially corn and soybeans, artificially low while prices for high quality fruits and vegetables have steadily increased. This has led to a surge in products that are extremely cheap to produce, most notably, foods and drinks sweetened with HFCS. These products contribute nothing but harmful elements to our diet yet provide manufacturers with their greatest profits.

Are all carbohydrates evil? SUGAR SHOCK! can be alarming to a person coming across this information for the first time. Although the hazards of refined carbohydrates are very well stated and explored, I don't think enough emphasis is put on healthy carbohydrates and their function in the diet. Yes, she mentions whole grains etc, but the overall tone of the book is that carbohydrates are evil. Ms. Bennett's points about "good" carbs, which are essential to good health, tend to get lost in the midst of the sugar blasting. I don't want you to think that Ms. Bennett advocates cutting out all carbs, because she most certainly does not and she does give appropriate information about which carbohydrates you should switch to. I'm just afraid, that to a first time reader, these points may be lost. Possibly an entire chapter dedicated to only healthy carbs would be helpful. I also found the book a little disjointed. Ms. Bennett would start to talk about something, then say "more on this in Chapter...". Again, for the first time reader and especially for somebody being exposed to this information for the first time, it can be a little disconcerting. I would also like to have seen a recipe section included. Maybe Ms. Bennett will follow up with a cookbook incorporating the principles in Sugar Shock!.

Ms. Bennett concludes the book with a section for parents, a question and answer section on how to get off sugar, her own success strategies and an afterword with stories showing "signs of promise". In a world in which we are constantly bombarded with sugar-filled foods and drinks, this book serves as a great reminder that these foods should NOT form the basis of our diet. Next time you have a craving for a soda or candy bar, read SUGAR SHOCK!and pass it on to your friends and family. If you are new to this information, after reading it the first time, go back and read it again. The book contains lots of wonderful information not just on sugar, but on trans-fats, artificial sweeteners and other harmful elements of most peoples' diets. Some of this information may get overlooked during the first reading but is information you should really know. Bottom line, I would say that SUGAR SHOCK! is a must read for consumers of the Standard American Diet (SAD).

About the author

Patty is a recent convert to health through "whole foods" nutrition and alternative medicine. In April 2007, she was told to go back on morphine, get in a wheelchair and "learn to live with it". Since that time, she has spent countless hours researching nutrtion and alternative health. She comes to News Target with a unique perspective in this area after working in pharmacy and teaching pharmacology for 15 years, followed by 15 years as an RN. In less than 6 months of following this lifestyle, she has lost 50lbs, stopped over 20 prescription drugs and no longer has several "diseases".

May 8

Support Ron Paul's Health Freedom Protection Act

Tell Your Congressmen and Women to Co Sponsor the Health Freedom Protection Act, H.R. 2117

The FDA is on a rampage against dietary supplements. Preventing reasonable and factual health claims, the FDA is using its immense power to fuel the pharmaceutical profit picture at the expense of the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. The rights of Americans to learn about natural products through truthful, science-based health claims is routinely stifled to the detriment of health and health freedom in the United States.

This bill shifts the burden of proof onto the FDA whenever the agency wants to deny the public the benefit of health claims information about Dietary Supplements.

H. R. 2117 allows reasonable health claims, with proper disclosure language, "unless the Secretary determines that -- `(i) there is no scientific evidence that supports the claim; and `(ii) the claim is inherently misleading and incapable of being rendered non misleading through the addition of a disclaimer." Thus, even "a scintilla" of scientific evidence would allow the making of claims that Dietary Supplements may be of benefit to individuals. The requirements of the bill are consistent with the law that already governs the agency's position, announced in 2004, "FDA intends to apply a standard for substantiating claims for dietary supplements that is consistent with the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) standard for dietary supplements and other health related products of 'competent and reliable scientific evidence'."

Current FDA policy, in violation of US Case Law, is to deny truthful claims which do not relate to either structure or function. All other truthful health claims are currently forbidden by the FDA. This bill would greatly enhance public access to truthful and
not misleading health information, in keeping with the US Supreme Court's dictum in Thompson v. Western States Medical Centers and presents a clear opportunity to enhance legal
protections for Dietary Supplements and natural remedies.

Urge your Congressmen/women to press for passage of H. R. 2117 and to introduce sister legislation into the Senate. This Health over-regulation of safe food substances to what should properly be considered their main task, protecting people from dangerous drugs and medical devices.

Please use this opportunity to encourage your Representatives to work with other congresspeople to join as cosponsors and your Senators to introduce sister legislation and get behind the Health Freedom Protection Act.


Yours in health and freedom,

Dr. Rima

Rima E. Laibow, MD

Medical Director

May 8

STRESS LETS BAD CELLS TAKE CHARGE

The adrenal glands, which sit on the kidneys, produce epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. The body uses this hormone like a power tool at times of stress, but when stress is prolonged, the adrenals continue to pump out the hormone and levels remain elevated. Wondering how the excess epinephrine affects cancer cells, and by what process, researchers exposed breast and prostate cancer cells to the hormone in the lab. What's supposed to happen in the body, normally, is that a protein with the peculiar name of "BAD" helps trigger naturally occurring cell death, called apoptosis -- but when epinephrine comes into contact with BAD, as the researchers discovered, it activates enzymes that inactivate BAD and the cells continue to grow.

This might be one way high stress connects to cancer... unchecked by BAD, the cancerous cells continue on their destructive path. This discovery could help explain a previous Canadian study's finding that men who had taken beta blocker drugs for hypertension for at least four years had an 18% lower risk of developing prostate cancer... since beta blockers block the effects of epinephrine. Also, even more recently, another study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, demonstrated that in patients with metastatic breast cancer, stressful or traumatic life events reduced the "median disease-free interval" to 30 months from 62.

INSIGHTS FROM THE RESEARCH TEAM

George Kulik, PhD, was one of the study's lead authors. When I called him he told me that not all types of cancer cells respond this way to stress hormones, so one priority is identifying which ones do. One reason past studies on stress and cancer have not been able to show a relationship could be because not all cancers are shown to react to epinephrine and Dr. Kulik suspects only 5% to 10% may be affected by the hormone. Dr. Kulik explained that in a large population study, these would be "washed out" in the overall findings. But once researchers know which cancer cells respond, they will have the opportunity to study them more closely. 

WHAT CAUSES WHAT? 

In some ways it almost seems like a bad joke -- a cancer diagnosis is highly stressful for anyone to have and obviously a time that stress hormones are likely to soar. It's not known whether epinephrine has an impact on the development of cancerous cells but, according to Dr. Kulik, the presence of stress hormones might interfere with cancer care because treatment is designed to trigger apoptosis of the diseased cells. Dr. Kulik and his colleagues are now working to learn more about the impact of stress hormones on individual patients, which he says will be aided by the fact that it is already possible to identify the level of stress hormones people have. 

His team has now moved from experiments in the lab to doing them with mice. However, there is no reason to wait to develop better awareness of personal stress levels and to build an arsenal of tools to handle stress more successfully. Immediate responses to the acute stress of, say, receiving disappointing news or being anxious about a big event should include deep breathing, quiet music and other practices that are instantly soothing. For longer-term stress, such as day-to-day parenting challenges, a difficult job situation, or, for that matter, a cancer diagnosis, it is useful to develop stress management skills, which may include meditation, self-hypnosis, exercise and other techniques that calm the mind and the body. You can learn these in formal classes frequently found at community centers, YMCAs and the like, but there are also many books and CDs that are extremely helpful in practicing these techniques at home. Since stress has certainly been linked to other diseases as well, you can't lose by focusing on managing your stress. 


Source(s): 

George Kulik, PhD, assistant professor of cancer biology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

May 8

DIET AND CANCER

Broccoli sprouts, cabbage, ginkgo biloba and garlic appear to have a role in preventing a variety of cancers, researchers report. 

The research, which focuses on chemical interactions between compounds found in foods and the body's cells and DNA, suggests the addition of these foods to the diet can confer health benefits, the researchers said. 

The findings were to be presented Monday at the American Association for Cancer Research's meeting, in Baltimore. 

In the first study, Akinori Yanaka and colleagues from the University of Tsukuba in Japan found that in 20 people, a diet rich in broccoli sprouts significantly reduced Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. H. pylori, a bacterium, is a cause of gastritis -- inflammation of the stomach lining -- and is a major factor in peptic ulcer and stomach cancer, the researchers said. 

"Even though we were unable to eradicate H. pylori, to be able suppress it and relieve the accompanying gastritis by means as simple as eating more broccoli sprouts is good news for the many people who are infected," Yanaka said in a prepared statement. 

Sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli sprouts, appears to be the active cancer-fighting agent. Sulforaphane apparently helps cells defend against oxidants, the highly reactive and toxic molecules that damage DNA and kill cells and potentially lead to cancer, the researchers noted. 

Another study with broccoli sprouts found that when an extract from the sprouts was applied to the skin of hairless mice, it counteracted carcinogenic responses to ultraviolet light exposure, a cause of skin cancer. 

"Just when we stopped exposing the mice to UV light, we started applying broccoli sprout extract," said Albena T. Dinkova-Kostova, a postgraduate fellow at Johns Hopkins University. "We found that only 50 percent of mice treated with the extract developed tumors, compared with 100 percent of the mice not treated with the extract," she said. 

"The topical application of this extract could be developed to be a potential agent against UV light-induced skin cancer," she added. 

Dinkova-Kostova's team is studying whether ingesting broccoli sprouts for the sulforaphane might also work in protecting mice from getting skin cancer. Her hope is to see if either ingested or topical sulforaphane can protect people from skin cancer. "This strategy is probably worthwhile to be developed for protection in humans," she said. 

In the third study, researchers suggest that cabbage and sauerkraut may protect women from breast cancer. 

Data collected from the U.S. component of the Polish Women's Health Study showed an association between eating cabbage and sauerkraut and a lower risk of breast cancer. The effect seemed to be highest among women who eat high amounts starting in adolescence and continue to do so throughout adulthood. The most protective effect appeared to come from raw or briefly cooked cabbage, the researchers said. 

"The observed pattern of risk reduction indicates that the breakdown products of glucosinolates in cabbage may affect both the initiation phase of carcinogenesis -- by decreasing the amount of DNA damage and cell mutation -- and the promotion phase -- by blocking the processes that inhibit programmed cell death and stimulate unregulated cell growth," lead researcher Dorothy Rybaczyk-Pathak, a professor of epidemiology at the University of New Mexico, said in a prepared statement. 

In the fourth study, researchers from Brigham and Woman's Hospital in Boston found that ginkgo biloba appears to lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer. 

"There are herbal supplements used in the treatment of cancer, although there is not much scientific evidence to support their use," said lead researcher Bin Ye. "Our study looked at ginkgo use in women with and without cancer. 

"We found in a population-based study that 4.2 percent of cancer-free women reported taking ginkgo biloba regularly," Ye said. "However, only 1.6 percent of women with ovarian cancer reported taking ginkgo regularly." 

In laboratory studies, the researchers found that compounds in ginkgo biloba -- ginkgolide A and B -- were the most active components contributing to this protective effect. "We found that the proliferation rates in certain types of cancer cells was inhibited by 80 percent," Ye said. 

"This combination of population and laboratory studies suggests that ginkgo biloba may have value for the prevention of cancer," Ye said. 

In the final study, researchers found that garlic may help ward off carcinogens produced by meat cooked at high temperatures. Cooking meats and eggs at high temperatures releases a chemical called PhIP, which may be a carcinogen. 

Studies have shown that breast cancer is higher among women who eat large amounts of meat, although fat and caloric intake and hormone exposure may contribute to this increased risk, the researchers reported. 

However, diallyl sulfide (DAS), a flavor component of garlic, appears to inhibit the effects of PhIP that can cause DNA damage or transform substances in the body into carcinogens. 

"We treated human breast epithelial cells with equal amounts of PhIP and DAS separately, and the two together, for periods ranging from three to 24 hours," Ronald D. Thomas, associate professor of basic sciences at Florida A&M University, said in a statement. "PhIP induced expression of the cancer-causing enzyme at every stage, up to 40-fold, while DAS completely inhibited the PhIP enzyme from becoming carcinogenic," he said. 

"The finding demonstrates for the first time that DAS triggers a gene alteration in PhIP that may play a significant role in preventing cancer, notably breast cancer, induced by PhIP in well-done meats," the researchers reported. 

All of these findings come on the heels of a sixth study, reported in last week's issue of The Lancet, that found that people with a genetic susceptibility to lung cancer could cut their risk for the disease by eating vegetables from the cabbage family. 

"We found protective effects with at least weekly consumption of cruciferous vegetables," said lead researcher Paul Brennan of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. 

One expert said the results of the six studies are interesting. And while it may be some time before they have any practical applications for people, that should not stop us from adding more vegetables and fruits to our diet. 

"An extensive body of epidemiologic evidence suggests consistently, if not decisively, that generous consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced cancer risk," said Dr. David L. Katz, an associate professor of public health and director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. 

Further study should provide "a clearer picture both of what foods reduce cancer risk, and how," Katz said. "Understanding in each of these areas will lead to new insights in the other. A refined ability to use diet in the prevention of cancer will ensue." 

"That is an exciting prospect," he added. "But excitement about what may come should not distract from what is already in hand. Even with gaps in our knowledge, the case for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption to promote health and prevent disease -- cancer included -- is compelling and strong."

May 8

Breast Cancer and Alcohol Use

Breast Cancer and Alcohol Use

A moderate link exists between alcohol use and breast cancerrisk. Pooled findings from many large studies indicate that women who have one or more alcoholic drinks a day are 40% more likely to develop breast cancer than women who don't drink at all. The Nurses' Health Study found that drinking as little as half a drink a day increased a woman's breast cancer risk by 30%.
breastcancer BC0404-3 alcohol
 

Scientists still don't know how alcohol increases breast cancer risk, but they think there are three possible mechanisms. One is that alcohol can raise the amount of estrogen in the blood, and anything that increases long-term exposure to estrogen can increase breast cancer risk. Another is that alcohol somehow makes breast cells more vulnerable to carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents, possibly by making breast cells more porous and accessible to a carcinogen or by inhibiting the body's capacity to neutralize carcinogens. Still another possibility is that alcohol interferes with the body's ability to use folate, a vitamin that has been linked to cancer prevention. The Nurses' Health Study and others have found that women who drink and also take extra folate have a lower risk for breast cancer than other women who drink. Reducing alcohol consumption is one of the few steps you can take to lower your breast cancer risk.


Posted 2/7/2008 8:47:00 AM

February 7, 2008

Legacy of Deficits will Constrain Bush's Successor

Soaring Costs 
Threaten to Impose 
A Harsh Reality
By MICHAEL M. PHILLIPS and JOHN D. MCKINNON
February 6, 2008;

WASHINGTON -- George W. Bush took office in 2001 with budget surpluses projected to stretch years into the future. But it's almost certain that when he returns to Texas next year, the president will leave behind a trail of deficits and debt that will sharply constrain his successor.

On Monday, the president will unveil a $3 trillion-plus budget request for his final year, which is likely to show a deficit of more than $400 billion. New details of the budget emerged yesterday, with officials saying the White House plans to keep a lid on nonsecurity discretionary spending. It wants to cut about $200 billion from the government's medical programs for seniors and the poor. (See related story.)

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The longer-term picture is darker. Despite his efforts, Mr. Bush failed to work out a deal with Congress to tackle the spiraling costs of government health and retirement programs. The next president, if he or she serves two terms, could find the U.S. government so deeply in hock that it would face losing its Triple-A credit rating, something that has never happened since Moody's Investors Service began grading U.S. securities in 1917.

As a result, the ambitions of Mr. Bush's successor to cut taxes, institute universal health care or aid troubled homeowners might have to give way to the reality of soaring costs for Social Security, the Medicare program for the elderly and the Medicaid program for the poor.

"We kicked this can down the road about as long as it can be," Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said at a hearing this week. "It will absolutely bedevil the next administration."

Republicans, in particular those to the right of the president on fiscal matters, are vocal in criticizing the increases in spending that Congress and President Bush have carried out over the last seven years. Sen. John McCain, the leading Republican presidential contender, told reporters recently that while history hasn't made a final judgment on President Bush, it will "judge him harshly on the spending point of view."

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The president's critics say his failings are twofold: He has squandered surpluses that could have helped pay down the $5 trillion federal debt. And he has let two terms pass without persuading Congress to take action that would preserve the government's social programs. According to the Concord Coalition, a fiscal watchdog group, the shortfall in Social Security and Medicare through 2080 will total $72.3 trillion, a number that dwarfs the impact of Mr. Bush's spending and tax cuts.

Mr. Bush's defenders say he did the best he could in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, and that he has recently tightened up on spending. The budget deficit in fiscal 2004 measured 3.6% of gross domestic product; last year it narrowed to 1.2% of GDP, low by historical standards. The deficit is expected to rise to 2.5% of GDP, or about $350 billion, this fiscal year, assuming Congress passes an expected economic-stimulus package.

"You could say, 'Gee, he inherited surpluses and now we have a deficit,'" said Rob Portman, the former head of the White House budget office under Mr. Bush. "On the other hand, you could say he inherited a recession" in 2001. Mr. Portman called the country's fiscal health "relatively strong" and said the president has left a solid base for "the next president and the next Congress to deal with the real problem, which is the unsustainable growth in mandatory spending."

In his State of the Union address this week, Mr. Bush signaled he wasn't going to use his last year trying to revamp entitlement programs. Instead, he called on lawmakers to "offer your proposals and come up with a bipartisan solution."

When Mr. Bush took the oath of office in 2001, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected $5.6 trillion in federal budget surpluses through 2011. Through most of his tenure, the president managed to have his guns, butter and tax cuts without creating enormous budget deficits, at least as measured by their share of GDP. One reason was a surprise increase in federal tax receipts from corporations over the last couple of years. Now those revenues have flattened out and the economy is teetering on the edge of recession.

Mr. Bush and Congress, meanwhile, increased federal spending by 25% between 2001 and 2007, adjusted for inflation, according to Brian Riedl of the conservative Heritage Foundation. By Sept. 30, the U.S. will have spent almost $800 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A new Medicare prescription-drug benefit for seniors costs almost $80 billion a year. Mr. Bush's signature tax cuts, in 2001 and 2003, sapped tax receipts and sliced the projected budget surplus by about $1.7 trillion through 2011, according to the CBO.

Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw, a former Bush economic adviser says the seniors' drug program was "a step in the wrong direction from the standpoint of fiscal imbalance."

Phill Swagel, assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy, says the president has had a "pro-growth agenda" and "tried to take the right steps" on long-term fiscal problems, albeit with limited success.

Mr. Bush came into office in 2001 vowing to save Social Security from financial ruin. "My opponent completely ignores the long-term problems of Social Security," he said of Democratic nominee Al Gore during a New Mexico campaign stop in the waning days of the 2000 campaign. Eventually, the retirement bills for baby boomers would come due, he warned. "And our children and grandchildren will pay them with massive new taxes."

In 2005, Mr. Bush tried to tackle Social Security, on the theory that it should be easier to fix than Medicare. The latter is more expensive, and salvaging it would require the government to find a way to stem rising medical costs.

Mr. Bush approached the subject from a free-market point of view, calling on Congress to divert some of the Social Security payroll tax into individual investment accounts. Many Democrats and seniors saw it as an attempt to kill the program rather than fix it.

"The president put a proposal on the table, and I think he gets credit for that," says Alice Rivlin, President Clinton's budget director and a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. "But he wasn't willing to negotiate with the Congress to make it a serious proposal that both sides could accept. And Congress wasn't ready to negotiate."

Last year, Mr. Bush asked Congress to slow the rate of growth of Medicare spending, aiming to cut $8 trillion from the program's $34 trillion unfunded obligations over the next 75 years. But the president couldn't win congressional support.

Doomsayers have been warning for years of an approaching tsunami of health and retirement costs. What has changed is that the next president will actually have to confront the doom.

This year, the first of 78 million Baby Boomers hit retirement age and become eligible for early benefits, at a pace of 7,776 a day. Barring radical changes, in the final year of the next president's first term, 47.8% of the federal budget will cover the costs of Medicare, Medicaid, the Social Security retirement program and a smaller children's health insurance program, according to projections by the Office of Management and Budget. Today those programs consume 41.5% of the budget.

Ratings agency Moody's has warned that it could eventually downgrade its rating of U.S. debt unless there's a sharp change of course with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The government's triple-A rating allows it to borrow cheaply and sets the benchmark for global financial markets.

In 1999, Moody's started a series of five downgrades of Japanese government debt after the debt reached 90% of the entire economy. "That could happen in the United States if these programs aren't reformed" as 2020 nears, says Moody's Vice President Steven Hess.

Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist and adviser to Sen. Barack Obama, says that Mr. Bush has left his successor with little wiggle room. Sen. Obama has called for allowing some of the Bush tax cuts to expire as scheduled in 2010. Mr. Obama has also said he would like to remove the salary cap on the payroll taxes that fund Social Security.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, the other contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, identifies spending cuts or tax increases that she says would pay for almost every campaign initiative. For instance, she says she'd pay for a $10 billion-a-year universal preschool education plan by cutting the ranks of federal contractors by 500,000 and cracking down on no-bid government contracts. Mr. Bush "has rightly earned the legacy of being our nation's most fiscally irresponsible president," says Brian Deese, deputy economic director for the Clinton campaign. "As a result, the next president is going to have to deal with that."

Mr. McCain, the Republican front-runner, hasn't laid out a plan to deal with the looming fiscal crunch. But he has suggested that better-off seniors be required to pay more for drugs and outpatient visits, as a way of controlling Medicare costs. Distancing himself from the current administration and his party, Mr. McCain also calls for drug re-importation from Canada and negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies.

--Alex Frangos and Henry J. Pulizzi contributed to this article.

May 8

Mesalamine Related With Decreased Colorectal Cancer Rates

A study presented at the 72nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology has indicated that the use of mesalamine among patients with inflammatory bowel disease is associated with a decrease in the incidence of colorectal cancer when compared to cases and controls. The research was conducted by scientists at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who matched 16 patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease to 23 controls with similar body mass index, family history of IBD, family history of colorectal cancer and smoking.

Among those with ulcerative colitis who did not get colorectal cancer, researchers found that 100 percent used mesalamine. While among those with UC who developed colorectal cancer only 76.9 percent used mesalamine. “This finding suggests an association between mesalamine use and reduced risk of colorectal cancer,” according to Jeffrey Tang, M.D. Dr. Tang and his colleagues, including Ann L. Silverman, M.D., conducted conditional logistic regression analysis which revealed that at doses greater than 5068 grams mesalamine use in patients with IBD was associated with an 89 percent reduction in risk of colorectal cancer, compared to IBD patients matched for other major risk factors. While these are provocative findings, it should be noted that this is a small study and further investigation is needed on the chemoprevention potential of mesalamine.

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are at significantly higher than average risk for colorectal cancer and should be screened for colorectal cancer according to accepted guidelines, which recommend more frequent screening among those with IBD. However, some research suggests this is not happening.
In another study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and presented at the ACG Annual Meeting, researchers looked at rates of participation in colorectal cancer screening by patients with IBD in an integrated health system with access to colonoscopy. An intensive program of colonoscopic screening and surveillance is recommended to prevent colorectal cancer in patients with ulcerative colitis, who are at higher than average risk.

In this study of 358 patients with ulcerative colitis who were eligible for screening, only one third were screened once during the period 2001 to 2005. Of these 123 patients, only 52 percent had an additional surveillance colonoscopy within the recommended period of one to two years. Overall, only 18 percent of the eligible patients at high risk for colorectal cancer due to history of ulcerative colitis adhered to recommended surveillance guidelines.

May 8

Immune System and Cancer....the link between the Two

'Startling' Findings

In Nature, scientists show that a healthy immune system may hold some cancers in check.

The results may pave the way for the development of new therapies to "convert cancer into a controllable chronic disease," write the researchers.

They injected a cancer-causing substance into mice. Some mice developed growing tumors, while other mice developed tumors that stayed small.

But those small, stable tumors started to grow when the scientists suppressed the mice's immune systems.

The bottom line: A healthy immune system helps prevent cancer, though it didn't stop every small tumor from growing.

The researchers included graduate student Catherine Koebel and Robert Schreiber, PhD, of the pathology and immunology department at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Their findings are "startling" and "demonstrate that considering cancer as a fatal disease is not always appropriate," writes Cornelius Melief, MD, PhD, in a Nature editorial.

Melief works at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Cancer Defies Immune System

Sometimes, cancer flies under the immune system's radar, a British study shows.

The study focuses on immune system cells called regulatory T-cells (T-regs) and their effect on macrophages in test tubes.

Macrophages normally help the body get rid of threats. But under the sway of T-regs, macrophages act the opposite way. Instead of going on defense, the macrophages chill out, as if there were no cause for concern.

That process could open the door for tumor growth, note the researchers, who included Leonie Taams, PhD, of King's College London.

"We hope to be able to use this new knowledge about the relationship between regulatory T-cells and macrophages to find more effective treatments for tumors," Taams says in a news release.

May 8

Cancer and the Normal Maintenance Cells

- Cancers can spread through the body by following normal maintenance cells that unwittingly blaze a trail for tumor cells to follow.

The unexpected finding comes from studies by Erik Sahai, PhD, and colleagues at London-based Cancer Research UK.

Previously, scientists thought that a tumor spread only after cells in the tumor acquired the ability to push through surrounding tissues -- the extracellular matrix. But Sahai and colleagues now show that normally immobile tumor cells move through the extracellular matrix by following normal cells called fibroblasts.

Fibroblasts make and maintain the extracellular matrix. As part of their job, they push through the matrix. Tumor cells, Sahai's team finds, follow the trail the fibroblasts leave behind. This allows the cancer to spread through the body.

The fibroblasts did not make a trail when the researchers blocked certain chemical messengers the cells leave behind. This made it impossible for the cancer cells to follow them.

"This adds to the complexity of how we should think of treatment in terms of what cells we really should target -- the fibroblasts or the cancer cells themselves," Sahai tells WebMD. "This makes us think about anti-invasion strategies in a different way. We need not just consider the cancer cells but the contribution made by their cellular environment."

In their experiments, Sahai and colleagues looked at squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells. But they note that other types of cancer cells -- for example, breast and intestinal cancers -- are also able to follow the trails left behind by normal mobile cells.

May 8

7.6 million died from cancer in 2007

 -- Cancer continues to cut a deadly swath across the globe, with the American Cancer Society reporting 12 million new cases of malignancy diagnosed worldwide in 2007, with 7.6 million people dying from the disease.

The report, Global Cancer Facts & Figures, finds that 5.4 million of those cancers and 2.9 million deaths are in more affluent, developed nations, while 6.7 million new cancer cases and 4.7 million deaths hit people in developing countries.

"The point of the report is to promote cancer control worldwide, and increase awareness worldwide," said report co-author Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, director of the society's Cancer Occurrence Office.

The number of cancers and cancer deaths around the world is on the rise, Jemal said, mostly due to an aging population. "There is increasing life expectancy, and cancer occurs more frequently in older age groups," he noted.

Lifestyle may be another reason for the rise in malignancies in developing countries, Jemal said, as people adopt Western behaviors such as smoking, high-fat diets and less physical activity.

The best way to stem the increasing number of cancer cases and deaths is prevention, especially in poorer countries, the expert said. In many developing nations, the health-care infrastructure simply isn't there to offer cancer screening and treatment for most people, Jemal added.

In developed countries, the most common cancers among men are prostate, lung and colorectal cancer. Among women, the most common cancers are breast, colorectal and lung cancer, according to the report.

However, in developing countries the three most common cancers among men are lung, stomach and liver, and among women, breast, cervix uteri and stomach.

Worldwide, some 15 percent of all cancers are thought to be related to infections, including hepatitis (liver cancer) and human papilloma virus (cervical cancer). But the incidence of infection-related cancers remains three times higher in developing countries compared with developed countries (26 percent vs. 8 percent), according to the report.

In addition, cancer survival rates in many developing countries are far below those in developed countries. This is mostly due to the lack of early detection and treatment services. For example, in North America five-year childhood cancer survival rates are about 75 percent compared with three-year survival rates of 48 percent to 62 percent in Central America, the report notes. The report estimates that 60 percent of the world's children who develop cancer have little or no access to treatment.

The report also includes a section on the toll tobacco use takes around the world. In 2000, some 5 million people worldwide died from tobacco use. Of these, about 30 percent (1.42 million) died from cancer -- 850,000 from lung cancer alone.

Jemal believes smoking is a key culprit.

"Smoking prevalence is decreasing in developed countries. So, as tobacco companies are losing market in developed countries they are trying to expand their market in developing countries," he said.

In China alone, more than 350 million people smoke. "That's more than the entire population of the United States," Jemal said. "If these current patterns continue, there will be 2 billion smokers worldwide by the year 2030, half of whom will die of smoking-related diseases if they do not quit," he added.

In the 20th century, tobacco use caused about 100 million deaths around the world. In this century, that figure is expected to rise to over 1 billion people. Most of these will occur in developing countries.

One expert agreed that many cancer deaths can be avoided through lifestyle changes.

"What is most provocative here is not the total global burden of suffering and death cancer causes, dramatic though that may be, but the variations in cancer occurrence around the world, and the insights provided about how much of the cancer burden need not occur at all," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine.

In developing countries, cancer of the uterine cervix is a leading cause of death in women, Katz noted.

"Yet this infection-related cancer is now preventable by vaccine, and long treatable when detected early using the Pap smear. As a result, death from cervical cancer in developed countries is dramatically lower. Its toll in the developing world is testimony to missed opportunities to apply our resources effectively, and equitably," he said.

Cancer of the liver, often related to hepatitis infection, is a leading cause of death in developing countries, but not so in developed countries. "Again, an infection preventable with vaccine is causing death because of inequities in the distribution and use of existing resources," Katz said.

Prostate and colon cancers are more common in wealthier countries, where they are likely related to poor diet and obesity, Katz said. "Unnecessary suffering and death are occurring in affluent countries due to dietary excesses," he said.

Katz also noted that tobacco-related cancer is largely preventable. "The toll of tobacco-related disease, including lung cancer, is an appalling example of a global willingness to tolerate preventable suffering and death for the sake of profit," he said.

These data show both developed and developing countries how to move toward the lower rates of specific cancers, Katz said.

"It will be a tragic failure for public health if instead of applying these lessons developed countries continue to export tobacco and dietary transgressions so that the developing world adds to its current cancer burden ours as well," he said.

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