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Posted at: Apr 13, 2019, 8:33 AM; last updated: Apr 13, 2019, 8:33 AM (IST)HEALTH CAPSULES

Rest best medicine to treat some pains

Rest best medicine to treat some pains

Getting rest may be as effective as taking medication to treat common musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and low back pain, which caused by repeated moderate-strain activity. In a study conducted in rats, researchers showed that a four-week period of rest was nearly as effective as an experimental drug at reducing discomfort and regaining function. Rest appears to be a good first treatment choice. Other treatments following rest should include exercises to improve tissues, and pain reducers, if needed. If symptoms do not subside and strength does not return following this approach, then medicines may be needed to aid recovery. Researchers trained rats to repeatedly pull a lever in order to model the types of repetitive-strain injuries humans experience. After 12 weeks, the rats showed a weaker grip strength, discomfort and increased collagen production in the forearm — evidence of strain-induced tissue damage.They then allowed the rats  four weeks’ rest. During this rest period one group of rats received an experimental drug that blocks a neurotransmitter, Substance P, associated with the sensation of pain, while the other group did not. They found that the four-week rest reduced collagen production, improved strength and decreased discomfort. The drug also had similar effects, and was somewhat better at improving grip strength, but at the same time made the animals less sensitive to very hot temperatures. 

Chronic stress may promote breast cancer growth

Researchers have revealed the mechanism of how chronic stress promotes breast cancer development, shedding light on future treatment for cancer. Cancer patients often suffer from anxiety, despair and fear, which are risk factors facilitating tumour growth as well as promoting cancer progression. However, the specific mechanism of how chronic stress affects cancer development remains unknown yet. Researchers found that chronic stress might increase epinephrine levels, which enhances lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) and promotes breast cancer stem-like cells. Using a drug screen that targeted LDHA, they found that vitamin C reversed the chronic stress-induced cancer stem-like phenotype. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, demonstrates the critical importance of psychological factors in promoting stem-like properties in breast cancer cells and provides a promising therapeutic approach for breast cancer. It noted that patients with breast, ovarian and stomach cancer often have negative emotions, which in turn accelerates the development of their own tumours. Hence, it is vital to monitor their chronic stress by taking psychological assessments as well as conducting blood tests which include epinephrine levels.  — Agencies

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