Friday, December 4, 2009

Detecting skin cancer at an earlier stage

Detection of skin cancer is usually done by the eye alone. Now Israeli researchers have developed a new device that can detect cancerous tumors at an earlier stage.

Sunbathers are particularly at risk of developing skin cancer if they don't protect their skin from the sun.

Researchers in Israel are developing a new device that can detect cancerous skin tumors, including melanomas that aren't visible to the naked eye, at an earlier stage of the disease.

The Optical Spectro-Polarimetric Imaging (OSPI) instrument, developed at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), reveals new textures of lesions that have never been seen before - including melanoma in patients who were diagnosed with various skin lesions and were awaiting surgery for their removal. The instrument diagnosed 73 types of lesions, some of them cancerous.

More than one million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the US every year according to the American Cancer Society. Of the 11,590 deaths due to skin cancer in 2009, some 8,650 will be due to melanoma, the most serious and dangerous type of skin cancer.

Today, dermatologists and plastic surgeons typically diagnose skin tumors with the naked eye and only rarely use a dermatoscope - a magnifying tool that allows tumors to be examined in detail.

Skin cancer and beyond

Cancerous mole detection is usually done by looking for one or more telltale visible symptoms: if the mole is asymmetrical; if it's outline is blurred or irregular; if it has multiple colors; if it is larger than five millimeters in diameter; and if stands up above the skin.

The OSPI biosensor, however, uses safe, infrared wavelengths and LC devices to measure tumor characteristics, including contours and spread, identifying tumors at an earlier stage.

"This is an exciting preliminary development since the initial testing shows that we can now identify microscopic tumors in the biological layers of the skin," explains Prof. Ibrahim Abdulahim, who is head of the BGU Electro-Optical Unit in the Faculty of Engineering Sciences and is leading the research group.

"As we continue to develop the OSPI, we also see an opportunity to use this technology for detecting other types of cancerous growths."

Abdulahim is supervising this research with Ph.D candidate Ofir Aharon and MS.c student Avner Safrani. He is also collaborating with BGU Prof. Lior Rosenberg and Dr. Ofer Arnon from the Department of Plastic Surgery at Soroka University Medical Center.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

5+ Foods to Fight the Flu

Keep your digestive system happy. When the digestive system is healthy it is able to breakdown and access nutrients from the foods you eat, it is better able to get rid of toxicity, and process “bad” bugs such as bacteria & viruses Practitioner Dr. Helen Lee offers the following free flu-fighting foods:

Ginger: The volatile oils in ginger warm the body, helping the body to sweat, break a fever and eliminate toxins. Ginger also stimulates mucous release. Ginger is also a metabolic enhancer and the warming also helps with nausea, is a great digestive aid, lung and chest decongesting, and a body cleansing herb. Add fresh ginger to your food or in tea, or eat alone. Ginger tea (especially combined with honey) helps too sooth the throat.

Garlic: Garlic has allicin as an active ingredient giving it antiviral and antibacterial properties. Garlic cleans your liver (which cleans your blood) since your blood cycles through your liver every three minutes. So thereby stimulating the white blood cells and in turn boosting the immune system. An onion garlic syrup can help with mucous release.

Honey: Honey acts as a natural antibiotic with antiseptic properties. There are vitamins such as B-complexes, C, D, E, minerals enzymes and propolis. The propolis in honey boosts the immune system, disables viruses and fights infections. Furthermore, pediatric studies have shown that honey is more effective than cough syrup because it coats the throat better. Locally grown honey is best for seasonal allergies, asthma and respiratory conditions because you are treating with the irritants that are common to your area. Take a tablespoon 4 times per day, taken straight or in tea.

Cayenne: Cayenne pepper has a high vitamin C content making it a natural choice for a cold, as well as vitamin A, B, calcium and potassium. Cayenne also increases the circulation in the body. You may take in capsule form taking 2 – 40,000 heat units (950mg), or liquid 4 drops of the 200,000 heat units. Place a few drops in water and gargle with it every 15-30 minutes to make a sore throat disappear.

“Good” Bacteria: Increase “good” bacteria such as acidophilus and bifidus which can be found yogurt or kefir.

Go Green: Eat dark leafy green vegetables like kale, swiss chard, and spinach provides vitamins B12, folic acid, potassium, vitamins A, C & K which supports a healthy immune system.

Acid and Alkaline: Keep your internal acid/alkaline chemistry balanced by squeezing a half lemon into a cup of hot water to break up congestion, stimulate digestion, and create an alkaline or healing pH chemistry in the body