ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
CANCER
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
CAREGIVING
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
EYE CARE, VISION
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
U.S. Prepares for Possible Return of Swine Flu in Fall
Good Sleepers More Likely to Eat Right
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Any Old Cane Won't Do
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
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