Starving Cancer Patients May Help Chemotherapy Work Better
It’s a standard practice for cancer doctors to recommend that their patients eat before chemotherapy because they can lose their appetite afterwards, and because it’s always been believed that patients need to eat in order to get stronger. But researchers at the University of Southern California say the exact opposite may be true.
Scientists have known that limiting calorie consumption can help mice and other organisms live longer and avoid developing tumors. But new research suggests calorie restriction may also enhance chemotherapy for cancer patients.
Short-term starvation techniques may apparently help shield healthy cells from the damaging effects of chemotherapy, while still leaving tumor cells vulnerable to treatment.
A series of laboratory experiments found that reducing the food supply for as long as 60 hours helped toughen normal cells and make chemotherapy work better on tumors.
Scientists think the starvation technique may work because it forces cells into a slow-down mode to brace themselves against stresses from free radical oxygen, or toxins like chemotherapy. Tumor cells, on the other hand, are unable to slow down because their genes are programmed to make them grow and divide uncontrollably.
The study’s senior author, Dr. Valter Longo said: “The potential here is that you could give chemotherapy three times more frequently with very little side effects.”
The study caught the attention of cancer doctors at USC’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles. Doctors there are designing a clinical trial of as many as 20 cancer patients, to see how they perform on chemotherapy after fasting for a short period, compared with those on a normal diet.
Meetings go ‘Topless’ in Siloncon Valley
Like so many innovations from the home of hi-tech, the latest movement in Silicon Valley is counterintuitive: ditch those computers.
A growing number of companies in the Silicon Valley, home to Google, Yahoo, Apple and Cisco are urging employees to leave their laptops on their desks when attending office meetings and engage in the decidedly low-tech form of social networking known as human interaction.
Naturally, there’s even a snappy term for the move: topless meetings.
Sue Fox, author of Business Etiquette for Dummies says: “Face-to-face meetings have become a low priority because they’re constantly interrupted by technology.”
John Vars, co-founder of Dogster.com, said. “Get rid of the gadgets, and, “meetings go quicker. People are communicating better, the flow is faster.”
For some, though, the problem lies not with the technology brought into office meetings, but with the meetings themselves.
Technology blogger Jeremy Zawodny wrote “People hate most meetings,”. “They become a source of frustration.”
That frustration has led to yet another innovation: meeting-free companies. That too has a snappy moniker: “meataxto”, as in take a meat axe the meetings.
No-laptop meetings make sense. No meetings makes more sense.
Good News for Tired Parents
If you’re the parent of a newborn and would like to get a bit more shuteye, you might want to listen to the advice of Sleep Doctor Polly Moore. Although, the counterintuitive advice may shock today’s overachieving, overscheduled parents, like all things CounterThink, it’s working amazingly well.
San Diego sleep specialist and neurologist Polly Moore, PhD studied a 90-minute rest and activity cycle that determines when babies are most likely to nap. Her new book titled “The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program” is written to help parents and their babies sleep better at night.
According to Dr. Moore, there’s this 90-minute clock running in our brain all the time, that signals the human rest/activity cycle.
Dr. Moore says, “If you want them to sleep through the night, you really have to focus on the daytime sleep first.” I told you it was counterintuitive.
Dr. Polly Moore created what she calls the NAPS plan to help parents clue into her 90-minute cycle theory. Here’s how it works.
N: Note the time when your baby wakes up.
A: Add 90 minutes.
S: Soothe your baby to sleep as the 90 minutes wind down.
The end result? Baby sleeps better and sounder at night, and for longer periods of time.
How universal is this 90-minute cycle?
Start watching for your own 90-minute patterns. Most people also tend to have 90-minute variations in their creative thinking, and about every 90 minutes, people tend to want to have something to eat, something to drink, or otherwise to put something in their mouth, which may explain my frequent trips to the refrigerator when I’m writing. And we’ve also learned there are 90-minute variations of blood flow alternating between the left and right hemispheres of our brains.