HEALTH

Study finds bitter melon may reduce breast cancer risk

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Many Westerners trying it for the first time cringe the moment it enters their mouths, and its taste is so strong that some brewers in China even use it as a substitute for hops, but a new study indicates that the bitter melon also may ward off breast cancer.

The study, published online on Feb. 23 and scheduled to appear in the March 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research, found that an extract of bitter melon was able to slow the growth of and in some cases kill breast cancer cells while leaving healthy breast cells untouched when applied directly do them.

The bitter melon, whose name is a direct translation from its Chinese name, kugua, is common in many Asian cuisines and used in traditional Chinese medicine, though it’s rarely found outside Asian food markets in the United States. The bright green fruit resembles a cucumber with the skin of a toad.

Researchers conducting the study quoted in published reports said that bitter melon extract, which is widely available in the United States, was unlikely to cure cancer, but might have preventive properties.

According to the National Bitter Melon Council, bitter melons contain twice the calcium of spinach, twice the potassium of bananas, twice the beta carotene of broccoli and are rich in dietary fiber, phosphorus and vitamins A, B1, B3 and C.

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Study finds Ulesfia effectively kills head lice

BY Michael Johnsen

HOBOKEN, N.J. A new non-neurotoxic treatment for head lice has been found to have an average of 91.2% treatment success rate after one week, and to be safe in humans from 6 months of age and up, according to a study published in the latest issue of Pediatric Dermatology.

Benzyl Alcohol Lotion 5% (branded Ulesfia) works by suffocating lice. Unlike commonly used asphyxiant remedies, scanning electron microscopy appears to indicate that benzyl alcohol lotion effectively asphyxiates lice by “stunning” the spiracles open, allowing the lotion, comprised of mineral oil and other inactive ingredients, to infiltrate the “honeycomb” respiratory apparatus and kill lice.

“Existing over-the-counter head lice treatments contain neurotoxic pesticides as active ingredients, resulting in potential toxicity and other problems, including lengthy applications, odor, ineffective treatment,” stated study author Terri Meinking of Global Health Associates. “Resistance has also become a problem now that lice have had such prolonged exposure to these products.”

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E-cigarette maker welcomes FDA challenge

BY Allison Cerra

MIAMI Despite the ongoing battle between the Food and Drug Administration and electronic cigarette makers, one manufacturer welcomes the challenge as a chance to present its product as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco.

Green Smoke said it has created an electronic cigarette designed to simulate the smoking experience without carcinogenics. Instead, it emits an odorless vapor of mostly steam, with ingredients like nicotine, water, propylene glycol (an additive used in cake mixes) and others. The nicotine also is available in different strengths.

The company also added that the price for the electronic cigarettes are more cost-efficient than regular tobacco products, with cigarette starter kits ranging from $109 to $270. The starter kits include nicotine cartridges, rechargeable cigarette batteries, home charger and more.

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