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Healthy lifestyle always pays off

Photo: CheckUp medical column for July 1
Stress spreads cancer, drinking by young Aussies is down, a new drug offers asthma hope, research links obesity to MS, and memory benefits from running.

A weekly round-up of news affecting your health.


New research has found stress can cause breast cancer cells to multiply more rapidly.

While stress has not been proven to cause cancer, scientists from Monash University now say it might have a significant role in how it spreads in the body.

A study of mice with breast cancer found stress acted like a fertiliser, helping the tumour to take hold and metastasise in other organs.

In fact, stress caused cancer cells to spread six times faster in the mice.

Essentially the adrenalin produced as a result of stress turned the lymphatic system into a "super highway" for the disease.

Alcohol consumption among Australians has reached its lowest level since the 1960s, according to a new study.

Published in the scientific journal Addictioan, the study of 120,000 Aussies aged 14 to 79 years found a the overall decline in drinking was due to people in their teens and early twenties drinking less.

Alcohol consumption among Australians peaks between 40 and 60 years. As drinkers move into their 60s and 70s they tend to ease up, helping to explain the recent decline in drinking.

According to the researchers, those born in the 1990s are drinking markedly less, suggesting a significant "generational shift" in attitude toward drinking is under way.


Researchers at The University of Queensland are testing a new drug with the potential to reverse, or even halt, the development of asthma.

The drug targets a protein called IL-33, found to play a significant role in the development of asthma.

Prior research has shown IL-33 caused bronchial inflammation in asthma patients, but a mice study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, indicated for the first time the protein also weakens the ability of asthmatics to combat respiratory viral infections.

"Our aim is to eventually come up with better treatment therapies that will reverse or slow down the progression of asthma rather than just east the symptoms," researcher Rhiannon Werder said.


Individuals who are obese in early adulthood face a heightened risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to new research.

Researchers from the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital in Canada found that a change in body mass index from overweight to obese - that's equivalent to gaining 14 kilos - increased their risk of developing the progressive neurological disorder by 40 per cent.

Published in journal PLOS Medicine, the result provides further confirmation of previous observational studies that had suggested the existence of such a link.

Currently treatments have only modest effects on the disease and its symptoms, underlining the importance of identifying preventive measures.


The cardiovascular benefits of running are well known, and now evidence has found it improves your memory too.

According to the findings of a mouse study, which have been published in the journal Cell Metabolism, a run increases the levels of a protein called cathepsin B in the blood.

Cathespsin B, produced in the muscles during exercise, helps the growth of new nerve cells in the brain, which may have something to do with the memory boost.

Overall, the message is that a consistently healthy lifestyle pays off.


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