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Early breast cancer may identify with urine test

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BERLIN — A new test that recognizes changes in cell metabolism system through urine tests may identify breast cancer early, researchers say.

According to the findings, published in the journal BMC Cancer, researchers at the University of Freiburg in Germany have developed a technique that involves determining the concentration of molecules that regulate cell metabolism which are often deregulated in cancer cells.

These molecules, referred to as microRNAs, enter into the urine over the blood. By deciding the structure of microRNAs in the urine, the researchers succeeded in setting up with 91 for percent accuracy whether a test subject was healthy or diseased.

The measurement was possible through the discovery of only four microRNAs.

If the effectiveness of the method is confirmed in further studies, it could serve later on as a method for checking the achievement of treatment and possibly also of making an early determination of breast cancer, researchers said.
Currently, researchers have made breast cancer diagnosis by mammography or ultrasound and confirmed it with tissue tests.

However, these methods have been subject to recurring criticism due to radiation exposure, erroneous results, and the fact that they involve an invasive intervention.

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In the study, Dr Elmar Stickeler, medical director of Senology at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and head of the Breast Center at the Medical Center and his team measured the concentrations of nine microRNAs in the urine, short genetic sequences that regulate cell metabolism.

Four of the nine molecules exhibited significant differences in concentration between healthy and diseased test subjects.

“We discovered that the microRNA profile in the urine is modified in a characteristic way in the urine of test subjects with breast cancer,” said Stickeler.

“MicroRNAs should thus be suitable in principle for a breast cancer test,” Stickeler said.

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Regular physical activity may reduce heart attack risk even in highly polluted areas

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Regular physical activity may reduce the risk of heart attack, even in areas with moderate-to-high levels of traffic pollution, a study has claimed.

Higher levels of pollution were associated with more heart attacks, however, the risk was lower among those who were physically active, the researchers found in the study published in the Journal of the American Heart.

“While exercise is known to reduce cardiovascular disease risk; pollution can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease,” said lead author Nadine Kubesch from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

“Currently there is little data on whether poor air quality cancels out the protective benefits of physical activity in preventing heart attacks,” Kubesch added.

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Researchers in Denmark, Germany and Spain evaluated outdoor physical activity levels (sports, cycling, walking and gardening) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2 pollutant generated by traffic) exposure in 51,868 adults, aged 50-65.

Over a 17.7-year period, there were 2,936 first heart attacks and 324 recurrent heart attacks.

Moderate cycling for four or more hours per week cut risk for recurrent heart attack by 31 per cent; and there was a 58 per cent reduction when all four types of physical activity (together totalling four hours per week or more) were combined, regardless of air quality.

Those who participated in sports had a 15 per cent lower rate of initial heart attacks and there was a 9 per cent risk reduction associated with cycling, regardless of air quality, the researchers said.

Compared to participants with low residential NO2 exposure, those in higher risk areas had a 17 per cent increase risk in first heart attack and 39 per cent for recurrent heart attack, the researchers noted.

With Agency Inputs

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