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High level of Vitamin D may lower cancer risk

Raghu Kshitiz

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High levels of vitamin D may be linked to a lower risk of developing cancer, including liver cancer, a study published in the British Medical Journal has said.

The study, conducted by a team of international researchers in Japan, stated that the findings support the theory that vitamin D might help protect against some cancers.

Vitamin D is made by the skin in response to sunlight. It helps to maintain calcium levels in the body to keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. While the benefits of vitamin D on bone diseases are well known, there is growing evidence that Vitamin D may benefit other chronic diseases, including some cancers.

“We believe vitamin D has a maybe weak, but beneficial effect across many cancers,” said Taiki Yamaji, co-author of the study from the Center for Public Health Sciences at the National Cancer Center in Tokyo.

But so far, most studies have been carried out in European or American populations, and evidence from Asian populations is limited.

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As Vitamin D concentrations and metabolism can vary by ethnicity, it is important to find out whether similar effects would be seen in non-Caucasian populations.

Researchers analysed data from the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective (JPHC) Study, involving 33,736 male and female participants aged between 40 to 69 years.

Participants, at the start of the study, provided detailed information on their medical history, diet, lifestyle, and blood samples were taken to measure vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D levels varied depending on the time of year the sample was taken, tend to be higher during the summer and autumn months than in the winter or spring.

After accounting for this seasonal variation, samples were split into four groups, ranging from the lowest to highest levels of vitamin D.

Participants were then monitored for an average of 16 years, during which time 3,301 new cases of cancer were recorded.

After adjusting for several known cancer risk factors, such as age, weight (BMI), physical activity levels, smoking, alcohol intake and dietary factors, the researchers found that a higher level of vitamin D was associated with a lower (around 20 percent) relative risk of overall cancer in both men and women.

Higher vitamin D levels were also associated with a lower (30-50 percent) relative risk of liver cancer, and the association was more evident in men than in women.

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No association was found for lung or prostate cancer, and the authors note that none of the cancers examined showed an increased risk associated with higher vitamin D levels.

Findings were largely unchanged after accounting for additional dietary factors and after further analyses to test the strength of the results.

The authors said their findings support the theory that vitamin D may protect against the risk of cancer, but that there may be a ceiling effect, which may suggest that there are no additional benefits beyond a certain level of vitamin D.

With Agency Inputs

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Single blood test might be enough to diagnose diabetes

Gorkha Post

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A new study report has suggested that it may be possible to diagnose type 2 diabetes by measuring fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) using the same blood sample without requiring a patient to come back for a second visit and saving patients time and health care cost.

The findings, from the prospective Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, were published online June 19 in Annals of Internal Medicine by Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues.

Until now, it’s recommended that a blood test focused on elevated fasting levels of blood sugar (glucose) or a blood component called glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) be confirmed with a second blood test at a follow-up visit which takes time and money and could still result in missed diagnoses, said a team from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

In the new study, researchers led by Hopkins epidemiologist Elizabeth Selvin looked at data on more than 13,000 people in a long-running US heart disease study. The study began in the 1980s, and along the way has recorded valuable data from participants, including diabetes test data.

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The team analyzed that data, and reported that a positive result for glucose and HbA1c from just a single blood sample can confirm type 2 diabetes.

” This could change care potentially allowing a major simplification of current clinical practice guidelines,” Selvin said in a university news release.

“Doctors are already doing these [glucose and HbA1c] tests together — if a patient is obese, for example, and has other risk factors for diabetes, the physician is likely to order tests for both glucose and HbA1c from a single blood sample.

“It’s just that the guidelines don’t clearly let you use the tests from that one blood sample to make the initial diabetes diagnosis,” she explained.

“I’m hoping that these results will lead to a change in the clinical guidelines when they are revised in early 2019, which could make identifying diabetes a lot more efficient in many cases,” Selvin said.

Diabetes experts welcomed the findings.

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