ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
CAREGIVING
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
Herb Shows Potential for Rheumatoid Arthriti
The Raw Food Diet
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
FITNESS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Any Old Cane Won't Do
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Add your Article

Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Women who take multivitamin tablets along with calcium supplements seem to have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, new research suggests.

The authors of the study, which is to be presented Sunday at the American Association for Cancer Research annual conference in Washington, D.C., did not separate out which specific vitamins might be beneficial but suggested that the interactions of different vitamins together might account for the beneficial effect.

"The effect was seen with multivitamins, not with single vitamins," said study co-author Dr. Jaime Matta, a professor of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology at Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, Puerto Rico. "It's possible that the vitamins work better together than individually."

"We found that taking multivitamins and calcium supplements were strongly protective against breast cancer," said Dr. Manuel Bayona, a professor in the public health program at the Ponce School of Medicine. "Which vitamins exactly? We don't know because they were multivitamins."

The findings, however, do seem to contradict previous reports that the supplement forms of various single vitamins including E and C don't prevent breast cancer in women. Other studies have suggested a protective effect for individual vitamins.

The new study won't do much to settle that confusion, one expert said. "The results are interesting but it's a small study," said Joanne Dorgan, an epidemiologist with Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. "At this point in time, most of the big studies don't support an association."

For this study, the authors compared vitamin and calcium intakes of 268 women with breast cancer and 457 women without breast cancer, all in Puerto Rico.

They also measured the ability of the women's DNA to repair itself, a function that is critical to keeping cancer at bay.

"We've known that DNA repair capacity is linked to several other types of cancer," said Matta. "DNA repair capacity is very, very linked to breast cancer risk."

Here, women who were older, had low DNA repair capacity levels, a family history of breast cancer and who had not breast-fed all had a higher risk of breast cancer.

Taking a multivitamin tablet reduced the risk of tumors by about 30 percent, while calcium supplements reduced the risk by 40 percent, the study authors noted.

But when the DNA repair capacity was taken out of the equation, calcium was no longer protective, strongly suggesting that calcium's protective effect came only from its influence on DNA repair.

Vitamins, on the other hand, seemed to have a beneficial effect even beyond contributions to DNA repair, the researchers said.

One drawback of the study is that the authors did not measure women's actual vitamin levels, instead relying on responses to questionnaires. Participants most likely bought widely available brands at chain drug stores. "People here usually don't have access to very sophisticated health food stores or specialty vitamin stores," noted Matta.

The study authors are now looking at ways to use DNA repair capacity function as a marker for breast cancer risk, much like cholesterol is used as a marker for heart disease.

"We're developing new technology that would make measuring DNA repair capacity more inexpensive, faster and easier to do," Matta said.

Still, another expert said the new study was less than convincing.

"The totality of the evidence to date does not support taking vitamins and calcium for breast cancer prevention," said Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society. "There are other reasons women may wish to take calcium, for example for bone health."

SOURCES: Jaime Matta, Ph.D., professor, pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, Ponce School of Medicine, Ponce, Puerto Rico; Manuel Bayona, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Public Health Program, Ponce School of Medicine, Ponce, Puerto Rico; Joanne Dorgan, Ph.D., epidemiologist, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia; Marji McCullough, Sc.D., R.D., strategic director, nutritional epidemiology, American Cancer Society; April 18, 2010, presentation, American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, Washington, D.C. Published on: April 19, 2010