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Exercise May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Posted May 04 2013 10:08pm

Older women who are physically active have lower levels of estrogen and its breakdown products in their bodies, providing insights that may help explain why exercise may reduce breast cancer risk. Cher Dallal, from the US National Cancer Institute (Maryland, USA), and colleagues evaluated 540 Polish women, ages 40 to 74 years, who were enrolled as healthy control patients in the NCI Polish Breast Cancer Study. None of the patients was on hormone therapy. The women engaged in a range of physical activity. For seven days, they wore an accelerometer on their waist while awake, which measured overall activity. The women also collected 12-hour urine samples. The researchers measured the hormones estradiol and estrone, along with different estrogen breakdown products, in the urine; they found that physical activity was associated with lower levels of the main estrogens, and that activity also was associated with increased metabolism of some of the breakdown products.  Writing that: “Our findings with accelerometer-measured physical activity are consistent with prior studies reporting a reduction in estrogen levels with increased activity,” the study authors submit that: “our results suggest that increased physical activity may lower endogenous estrogens by increasing hydroxylation, and subsequent metabolism, of estrogens.”

Cher M. Dallal, Louise A. Brinton, Charles E. Matthews, Ruth Pfeiffer, Terryl Hartman, Gretchen L. Gierach, et al.  “Is accelerometer-measured physical activity associated with urinary estrogens and estrogen metabolites among postmenopausal women?”  [Abstract  2519/8].   Presented at American Association for Cancer Research 2013 Annual Meeting, 9 April 2013.

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Tip #156 - Social Ties May Slow Memory Decline
Staying connected with family and friends can beneficially impact memory as we age. Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA) researchers studied 16,638 men and women, ages 50 and over, to assess the impact of social integration on changes in memory during a six-year period. The team found that the study participants with high social integration at the start of the study encountered slower rates of memory decline over time, as compared to the less socially integrated subjects. Memory among the least socially integrated declined at twice the rate as that of the most socially integrated.

Among men, social activity in midlife may slash the risk of dementia. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland, USA) studied 147 male twin pairs for 28 years. Among the twins, those who participated in social activities at home, visited with family and friends, and engaged in club activities and hobbies were less apt to develop dementia.

Be sure to stay in-touch with loved ones on a regular basis. Your network of family and friends not only provides moral support and encouragement, it might also help delay a declining memory.

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