Finding lung cancer early

A large study evaluating the effectiveness of using CT scans to screen for lung cancer could lead to earlier detection and treatment, and possibly fewer deaths. In November 2010, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced preliminary results from the largest randomized trial of lung cancer screening ever conducted. The study, called the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), included over 53,000 current and former heavy smokers, ages 55 to 74, who had no signs or symptoms of lung cancer when they agreed to be in the study. The full results of the trial haven't even been reported yet. The NCI has said publication in a peer-reviewed journal is scheduled for some time in 2011. The full results should have breakdowns by gender, race, smoking status (current vs. former), and other details that may be revealing about who will benefit most from screening with CT scans. More »

Let's go nuts

Nuts contain healthy unsaturated fats, protein, and important nutrients like potassium, and there is ample evidence that eating nuts regularly helps protect against heart disease. Numerous studies have shown that if you put people on nut-filled diets, favorable effects on cholesterol levels, blood pressure readings, and inflammatory factors follow. And in large epidemiologic studies, high nut consumption has been associated with lower rates of heart disease. An analysis of data from the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study showed that having one serving of nuts a day is associated with a 30% lower risk of heart disease compared with having one serving of red meat a day. (Locked) More »

When the liver gets fatty

The increase in obesity among Americans has led to an increase in fatty liver disease as a consequence of insulin resistance. Some researchers believe that this condition may lead to heart disease. When people are insulin resistant, their muscle, fat, and liver cells don't respond normally to insulin, so levels of the hormone — and the blood sugar it ushers into cells — build up in the blood. As a result, the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease increases. More »