ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Good Sleepers More Likely to Eat Right
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Biomarkers May Help Measure Rate of Decline in Dementia
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
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Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer

A popular nutritional supplement -- extract of bitter melon -- may help protect women from breast cancer, researchers say.

Bitter melon is a common vegetable in India, China and South America, and its extract is used in folk remedies for diabetes because of its blood-sugar lowering capabilities, according to the researchers.

"When we used the extract from that melon, we saw that it kills the breast cancer cells," said lead researcher Ratna Ray, a professor of pathology at Saint Louis University. But their work was done in a laboratory, not in humans, she noted.

The bitter melon extract killed only the cancer cells, not the healthy breast cells. "We didn't see any death in the normal cells," she said.

However, these results are not proof that bitter melon extract prevents or cures breast cancer.

"I don't believe that it will cure cancer," Ray said. "It will probably delay or perhaps have some prevention."

The report was published online Feb. 23 in advance of print publication March 1 in Cancer Research.

For the study, Ray's team treated human breast cancer cells with bitter melon extract, which is sold in U.S. health food stores and over the Internet.

The extract slowed the growth of these breast cancer cells and even killed them, the researchers found. The next step is to see if the team can repeat these findings in animals, Ray said. If so, human trials might follow.

Eating bitter melon could also have a beneficial effect, Ray said. "It has ingredients which are good for the health." Those ingredients include Vitamin C and flavonoids.

Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, expressed interest in the findings.

"The results of this laboratory study are intriguing," McCullough said. "But before recommending bitter melon extract supplements for cancer prevention, we need appropriate clinical trials to establish its safety and efficacy in humans."

For now, the cancer society recommends getting nutrients through foods, not supplements, McCullough said.

This involves eating "a plant-based diet including a variety of vegetables and fruits," she said. "Many supplements have biologic activity, but before I recommend that people take isolated supplements they need to be tested in humans."

Current recommendations to prevent breast cancer include maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol, exercising and eating a healthful diet, McCullough said.

SOURCES: Ratna Ray, Ph.D., professor, pathology, Saint Louis University; Marji McCullough, Sc.D., R.D., strategic director, nutritional epidemiology, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Feb. 23, 2010, Cancer Research Published on: February 23, 2010