Link Between Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Increased Prostate Cancer Risk Confirmed

Consumption of fatty fish and fish-oil supplements linked to 71 percent higher risk: 

Alan Kristal

Senior author Alan Kristal, Dr.P.H., is a member of the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutch.

A second large, prospective study by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has confirmed the link between high blood concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Published in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the latest findings indicate that high concentrations of EPA, DPA and DHA – the three anti-inflammatory and metabolically related fatty acids derived from fatty fish and fish-oil supplements – are associated with a 71 percent increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. The study also found a 44 percent increase in the risk of low-grade prostate cancer and an overall 43 percent increase in risk for all prostate cancers.

The increase in risk for high-grade prostate cancer is important because those tumors are more likely to be fatal.

The findings confirm a 2011 study published by the same Fred Hutch scientific team that reported a similar link between high blood concentrations of DHA and a more than doubling of the risk for developing high-grade prostate cancer. The latest study also confirms results from a large European study.

“The consistency of these findings suggests that these fatty acids are involved in prostate tumorigenesis and recommendations to increase long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake, in particular through supplementation, should consider its potential risks,” the authors wrote.

“We’ve shown once again that use of nutritional supplements may be harmful,” said Alan Kristal, Dr.P.H., the paper’s senior author and member of the Fred Hutch Public Health Sciences Division. Kristal also noted a recent analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that questioned the benefit of omega-3 supplementation for cardiovascular diseases. The analysis, which combined the data from 20 studies, found no reduction in all-cause mortality, heart attacks or strokes.

Theodore Brasky

Corresponding author Theodore Brasky, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, was a postdoctoral trainee at Fred Hutch when the research was conducted.

“What’s important is that we have been able to replicate our findings from 2011 and we have confirmed that marine omega-3 fatty acids play a role in prostate cancer occurrence,” said corresponding author Theodore Brasky, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center who was a postdoctoral trainee at Fred Hutch when the research was conducted. “It’s important to note, however, that these results do not address the question of whether omega-3’s play a detrimental role in prostate cancer prognosis,” he said.

Kristal said the findings in both Fred Hutch studies were surprising because omega-3 fatty acids are believed to have a host of positive health effects based on their anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation plays a role in the development and growth of many cancers.

It is unclear from this study why high levels of omega-3 fatty acids would increase prostate cancer risk, according to the authors, however the replication of this finding in two large studies indicates the need for further research into possible mechanisms. One potentially harmful effect of omega-3 fatty acids is their conversion into compounds that can cause damage to cells and DNA, and their role in immunosuppression. Whether these effects impact cancer risk is not known.

The difference in blood concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids between the lowest and highest risk groups was about 2.5 percentage points  (3.2 percent vs. 5.7 percent), which is somewhat larger than the effect of eating salmon twice a week, Kristal said.

The current study analyzed data and specimens collected from men who participated in the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), a large randomized, placebo-controlled trial to test whether selenium and vitamin E, either alone or combined, reduced prostate cancer risk. That study showed no benefit from selenium intake and an increase in prostate cancers in men who took vitamin E.

The group included in this analysis consisted of 834 men who had been diagnosed with incident, primary prostate cancers (156 were high-grade cancer) along with a comparison group of 1,393 men selected randomly from the 35,500 participants in SELECT.

The National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine funded the research.

Also participating in the study were additional Fred Hutch scientists and researchers from the University of Texas, University of California, University of Washington, National Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic.

 Fish oil linked to prostate cancer. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

 

References

Brasky TM, Darke AK, Song X, Tangen CM, Goodman PJ, Thompson IM, Meyskens FL Jr, Goodman GE, Minasian LM, Parnes HL, Klein EA, Kristal AR. Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 2013 Jul 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Brasky TM, Till C, White E, Neuhouser ML, Song X, Goodman P, Thompson IM, King IB, Albanes D, Kristal AR. Serum phospholipid fatty acids and prostate cancer risk: results from the prostate cancer prevention trial. Am J Epidemiol 2011; 173: 1429-39.

Council for Responsible Nutrition. CRN Says New Study on Omega-3 Conclusions Are Overblown. Press Release, July 11, 2013.

 

Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of our Lives

Genetic RouletteWhen the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology. After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets eating GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves. This seminal documentary (2012) provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.

1-in-50 U.S. school kids has autism: Gov’t survey

A government survey of parents says 1-in-50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism, surpassing earlier federal estimate for the disorder. Health officials say the new number doesn’t mean autism is occurring more often. But it does suggest that doctors are diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder problems. The earlier government estimate of 1-in-88 comes from a study that many consider more rigorous. It looks at medical and school records instead of relying on parents.

For decades, autism meant kids with severe language, intellectual and social impairments and unusual, repetitious behaviors. But the definition has gradually expanded and now includes milder, related conditions. The new report released on March 20, 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would mean at least 1 million children have autism. The number is important: Government officials look at how common each illness or disorder is when weighing how to spend limited public health funds. It’s also controversial.

The new statistic comes from a national phone survey of more than 95,000 parents in 2011 and 2012. Less than a quarter of the parents contacted agreed to answer questions, and it’s likely that those with autistic kids were more interested than other parents in participating in a survey on children’s health, CDC officials said. Still, CDC officials believe the survey provides a valid snapshot of how many families are affected by autism, said Stephen Blumberg, the CDC report’s lead author.

The study that came up with the 1-in-88 estimate had its own limitations. It focused on 14 states, only on children 8 years old, and the data came from 2008. Updated figures based on medical and school records are expected next year. “We’ve been underestimating” how common autism is, said Michael Rosanoff of Autism Speaks, an advocacy group. He believes the figure is at least 1-in-50.

There are no blood or biologic tests for autism, so diagnosis is not an exact science. It’s identified by making judgments about a child’s behavior. Physicians have been looking for autism at younger and younger ages, and experts have tended to believe most diagnoses are made in children by age 8. However, the new study found significant proportions of children were diagnosed at older ages.

Dr. Roula Choueiri, a neurodevelopmental pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said she’s seen that happening at her clinic. Those kids “tend to be the mild ones, who may have had some speech delays, some social difficulties,” she wrote in an email. But they have more problems as school becomes more demanding and social situations grow more complex, she added.

The greatest change in prevalence estimates was seen in boys and for adolescents aged 14 to 17 years old. Also, children who were first diagnosed in or after 2008 were more likely to have milder autism than those diagnosed in or before 2007, which may be because of increased awareness among parents and doctors and better diagnostic testing.

 

References 

Blumberg SJ, Bramlett MD, Kogan MD, Schieve LA, Jones JR. Changes in Prevalence of Parent-reported Autism Spectrum Disorder in School-aged U.S. Children: 2007 to 2011–2012. National Health Statistics Reports 2013; Number 65: 1-11.

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Surveillance Year 2008 Principal Investigators; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders–Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 sites, United States, 2008. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2012; 61 (3): 1-19.

 

 

Hofmann’s Potion

This documentary offers a compassionate, open-minded look at LSD and how it fits into our world. Long before Timothy Leary urged a generation to “tune in, turn on and drop out,” the drug was hailed as a way to treat forms of addiction and mental illness. At the same time, it was being touted as a powerful tool for mental exploration and self-understanding.

Featuring interviews with LSD pioneers, beautiful music and stunning cinematography, this is much more than a simple chronicle of LSD’s early days. It’s an alternative way of looking at the drug… and our world. (National Film Board of Canada, 2002)

Nanoparticles loaded with bee venom kill HIV

Anti-HIV nanoparticles

Nanoparticles (purple) carrying melittin (green) fuse with HIV (small circles with spiked outer ring), destroying the virus’s protective envelope. Molecular bumpers (small red ovals) prevent the nanoparticles from harming the body’s normal cells, which are much larger in size.
Credit: Joshua L. Hood, MD, PHD.

Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while leaving surrounding cells unharmed, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown. The finding is an important step toward developing a vaginal gel that may prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

“Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection,” says Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, a research instructor in medicine.

The study appears in the current issue of Antiviral Therapy.

Bee venom contains a potent toxin called melittin that can poke holes in the protective envelope that surrounds HIV, and other viruses. Large amounts of free melittin can cause a lot of damage. Indeed, in addition to anti-viral therapy, the paper’s senior author, Samuel A. Wickline, MD, the J. Russell Hornsby Professor of Biomedical Sciences, has shown melittin-loaded nanoparticles to be effective in killing tumor cells.

The new study shows that melittin loaded onto these nanoparticles does not harm normal cells. That’s because Hood added protective bumpers to the nanoparticle surface. When the nanoparticles come into contact with normal cells, which are much larger in size, the particles simply bounce off. HIV, on the other hand, is even smaller than the nanoparticle, so HIV fits between the bumpers and makes contact with the surface of the nanoparticle, where the bee toxin awaits.

“Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope,” Hood says. “The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus.”

According to Hood, an advantage of this approach is that the nanoparticle attacks an essential part of the virus’ structure. In contrast, most anti-HIV drugs inhibit the virus’s ability to replicate. But this anti-replication strategy does nothing to stop initial infection, and some strains of the virus have found ways around these drugs and reproduce anyway.

“We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV,” Hood says. “Theoretically, there isn’t any way for the virus to adapt to that. The virus has to have a protective coat, a double-layered membrane that covers the virus.”

Beyond prevention in the form of a vaginal gel, Hood also sees potential for using nanoparticles with melittin as therapy for existing HIV infections, especially those that are drug-resistant. The nanoparticles could be injected intravenously and, in theory, would be able to clear HIV from the blood stream.

“The basic particle that we are using in these experiments was developed many years ago as an artificial blood product,” Hood says. “It didn’t work very well for delivering oxygen, but it circulates safely in the body and gives us a nice platform that we can adapt to fight different kinds of infections.”

Since melittin attacks double-layered membranes indiscriminately, this concept is not limited to HIV. Many viruses, including hepatitis B and C, rely on the same kind of protective envelope and would be vulnerable to melittin-loaded nanoparticles.

While this particular paper does not address contraception, Hood says the gel easily could be adapted to target sperm as well as HIV. But in some cases people may only want the HIV protection.

“We also are looking at this for couples where only one of the partners has HIV, and they want to have a baby,” Hood says. “These particles by themselves are actually very safe for sperm, for the same reason they are safe for vaginal cells.”

While this work was done in cells in a laboratory environment, Hood and his colleagues say the nanoparticles are easy to manufacture in large enough quantities to supply them for future clinical trials.

(news.wustl.edu. March 7, 2013)

 

Reference

Hood JL, Jallouck AP, Campbell N, Ratner L, Wickline SA. Cytolytic nanoparticles attenuate HIV-1 infectivity. Antiviral Therapy 2013; 19: 95-103.

 

Mercury Rising

The Arctic is one of the regions of the world to which mercury is transported and accumulates in the food chain. The substance continues to be a threat to people and wildlife in the Arctic. A special issue is related to the increasing content of mercury in Arctic species such as polar bears, toothed whales and birds despite a reduction in anthropogenic emissions from Europe and North America.

 

Dental Mercury’s Toxic Journey Into The Environment

Dental Toxic“Dental Mercury’s Toxic Journey Into The Environment” was narrated by Robert Lamarck and produced as a collaborative effort between The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, the website Mercury Exposure and the film You Put What In My Mouth? a documentary about the devastating effects of dental mercury on patients, staff and the environment.

The IAOMT has sent a distinguished panel of experts to attend the International Negotiating Committee (INC5) meeting being held in Geneva by the United Nations Environmental Programme. The INC5 is writing a Globally Binding Treaty that will eliminate the use and trade of mercury and mercury containing products. Dental Mercury accounts for 10% of the annual global emissions and therefore is considered a significant contributor. The IAOMT group of experts will represent our position that mercury amalgam is a risk to the environment, dental workers and the general public, and whose use should be discontinued as there are many suitable alternatives available.

Chemical Brain Drain (Lecture)

Brain development can be damaged by mercury and other environmental chemicals.

This is a lecture by Professor Philippe Grandjean who works at the University of Southern Denmark and Harvard School of Public Health in the United States. He tells in the presentation that there are 201 environmental chemicals currently identified as harmful for the brain. These toxic substances can cause the so-called brain drain, which means that the population’s skills decrease with more mental health problems and fewer highly intelligent people.

Grandjean also shows the magnetic resonance scanning of the brain when children make different finger movements. In children with high mercury levels are both right and left brain active instead of just one in children with low mercury load. This shows that the nerve impulses in mercury affected brains are not functioning optimally.

Cancer Industry Doesn’t Want A Cure

Researchers at the University of Alberta believe dichloroacetate (DCA) may soon be used as a safe and effective treatment for many forms of cancer. DCA was once used for unusual metabolic problems. It is an odourless, colourless, inexpensive, relatively non-toxic, small molecule. However, because the compound is no longer patented, you may never see it on the market as pharmaceutical companies can’t profit from it.


 

Read More

 Relevant publications in PubMed by Dr. Michelakis

Lemmo W. DCA—my clinical experiences—intravenous and oral uses

Louis PF. Proof that the cancer industry doesn’t want a cure – even if it’s a pharmaceutical (NaturalNews, January 31, 2012)

Fresh

Fresh (2009) celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Among several main characters, Fresh features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.

Learn more at www.freshthemovie.com