ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
CANCER
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Just Say No to Nuts During Pregnancy
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Home Renovations by Affluent Families Can Unleash Lead Threat
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
FITNESS
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
The Unmedicated Mind
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
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