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Amega Wand



February 7, 2011 Newsletter

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Different berries, similar cancer-fighting effects
Animal tests suggest esophageal and breast cancer might be targets of several types of berries • July 17th, 2010; Vol.178 #2


Garden-variety berries provide about the same cancer-fighting punch as more exotic ones, a study of rats with esophageal cancer shows. A separate study finds a potentially protective effect against breast cancer as well.

Cancer biologist Gary Stoner of Ohio State University in Columbus and his colleagues tested seven berry types against cancer of the esophagus in rats —black raspberries, red raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, noni berries, açai berries and wolfberries (also called goji berries).


The scientists injected the animals with a carcinogenic chemical and gave some of the rats normal food, while others got similar chow containing 5 percent of one of the berries in dehydrated form.


While nearly all of the rats fed normal chow developed tumors rapidly, only about two-thirds of the berry-supplemented rats did. Overall, these rats had about half as many tumors as the others, the researchers report in the June Pharmaceutical Research. The berry-fed rats also had lower concentrations of interleukin-5 and a rat version of interleukin-8, inflammatory proteins implicated in esophageal cancer.


Earlier work by Stoner’s group found that black raspberries contain ample amounts of the two cancer-fighting compounds ellagitannin and anthocyanin. Ellagitannins also show up in nuts, pomegranates and other berries, while anthocyanins give many berries a red, purple or blue color.


But the new work shows that a berry need not have large concentrations of either compound to be a cancer fighter. For example, blueberries and açai berries are high in anthocyanins but low in ellagitannins. And wolfberries are low in both, Stoner says.


“There may be different things in different berries that are providing these [anticancer] effects,” says Ramesh C. Gupta, a cancer biologist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. “It’s a good thing,” he says, since availability varies by region.


In the other study, Gupta and his colleagues induced breast cancer in female rats by implanting estrogen in the animals. Some animals received a diet comprising 2.5 percent dehydrated blueberries or black raspberries and others got food without berries. Those getting berries showed less tumor growth, the researchers report in the June Cancer Prevention Research. The berries also decreased activation of two genes implicated in breast cancer, CYP1A1 andCYP1B1.


Although the various berries tested in these studies differ from one another in chemical composition, they have things in common, such as an anti-inflammatory effect, Stoner says. They also contain cellulose, lignin and pectin. These fibrous compounds “may be the common denominator,” he says, because in digesting these fibers, the body makes butyrate, which previous research has shown may have anticancer properties.


“It could be the presence of more conventional antioxidants such as the carotenoids, or more likely vitamin C, which was not measured in this study,” says Susan Duthie, a nutritional biochemist at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.


In any case, the potent anticancer effect of berries shown in lab-dish and animal studies has yet to be replicated in people, she cautions. A huge European study reported earlier this year found only very modest protection against cancer from a diet high in fruits and vegetables. “There is stronger protective evidence for berries and the compounds in them against heart disease and cognitive decline in humans,” Duthie says.



Improve your vision by up to 30% in just two months
From Robert J. Rowen, MD in

You probably already know that certain plant flavonoids can protect your eyes. I've told you in the past about bilberry, grape seed extract, and other flavonoids. Now there's a way to increase the protection - and improve your vision.

In 46 diabetic patients with mild to moderate eye disease, Pycnogenol dramatically helped. Pycnogenol is a water extract from the bark of the French maritime pine. The participants took it for three months. Compared to a placebo group, the Pycnogenol reduced retinal edema and improved retinal thickness.


Better still, Pycnogenol increased retinal blood flow in the central retinal artery (measured by Laser Doppler) significantly. The increase went from 34 to 44 cm/s. That's a big jump. On the Snellen visual acuity chart, 18 of the 24 patients had significant improvement. And they saw the benefits after only two months. Because of how it works, this extract ought to help protect your eyes from glaucoma as well.



- Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Physical Therapies


"[Clinical study on the treatment of knee osteoarthritis by acupuncture plus manipulative regulation of knee muscle]," Sun K, Bao XM, et al, Zhongguo Gu Shang, 2010 Dec; 23(12): 895-8. (Address: Acupuncture-Moxibustion Hospital Affiliated to Anhui College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hefei 230061, Anhui, China. E-mail: ).

In a randomized study involving 121 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, treatment with acupuncture plus manipulative regulation of knee muscle balance was found to significantly reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis, as compared to a control group who received treatment with diclofenac sodium sustained release tablets.


Patients were divided into a treatment group (n=63 cases involving 83 knees, 47 females, 16 males, average age: 60 years), and a control group (n=58 cases involving 73 knees, 45 females, 13 males, average age: 58 years). Appraisal scores of symptoms and physical signs index in the treatment group reduced from 39.81 to 9.69 (compared to 39.89 to 13.62 among controls), the numerical scale of pain reduced from 7.61 to 2.17 (compared to 7.55 to 3.34), joint function reduced from 1.47 to 0.61 (compared to 1.33 to 0.93), and joint swelling reduced from 1.23 to 0.42 (compared to 0.97 to 0.58 in the control group).


While both groups experienced reductions in symptoms, those in the acupuncture plus manipulative therapy group were found to have a better therapeutic effect in terms of scores of symptoms and physical signs index, numerical rating scale of pain, and joint function.


After the treatment period, 12 patients in the treatment group were considered "clinically cured," as compared to 5 in the control group. 48 patients in the treatment group were found to have "remarkable effects" as compared to 31 in the control group, 19 were found to have "good" effects, as compared to 34 in the control group, and 4 were found "ineffective" as compared to 3 in the control group.


When the patients were followed up with three months post-treatment, these numbers were 8, 42, 27, and 6 in the treatment group, as compared to 5, 21, 37, and 10, in the control group.


The authors conclude, "Acupuncture plus manipulative regulation of knee muscle balance can effectively improve the clinical symptoms and knee joint's motor function of patients with knee osteoarthritis, and can avoid the further development of disease. It is a proved effective method for knee osteoarthritis."