Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Coffee as a treatment of skin cancer

NEW YORK: US scientists have said the combination of daily exercise and a cup of coffee may prevent skin cancers.

Past researches have shown that moderate consumption of coffee may offer some health benefits.

Coffee may help manage asthma and even control attacks when medication is unavailable, stop a headache, boost mood and even prevent cavities, the studies had found.

A new study by scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey shows that a low to moderate intake of caffeine combined with exercise can be good for health and prevent skin damage caused by the sun's ultraviolet rays.

They arrived at this conclusion after conducting a study on mice, reported health portal News Medical.

For the study, the researchers used groups of hairless mice, whose skin is extremely vulnerable to the sun.

One group was given caffeinated water to drink, the equivalent of up to two cups of coffee for humans, another group voluntarily exercised on a running wheel, a third group both drank caffeine and ran, while a fourth group neither ran nor drank caffeine and acted as the control group.

All the mice were then exposed to lamps that generated ultraviolet radiation that damages the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in their skin cells.

They were then examined for evidence of programmed cell death, also known as apoptosis, which is the process by which cells with badly damaged DNA destroy themselves as a natural defence against illness and infection.

The scientists found that compared to the ultraviolet radiation exposed control group, the caffeine drinkers showed an increase of about 95 percent in ultraviolet radiation induced apoptosis, the exercisers showed a 120 percent increase, while the mice that were both drinking and exercising showed a nearly 400 percent increase.

One of the study's authors Allan Conney said if apoptosis takes place in a sun-damaged cell, its progress towards cancer will be aborted.

The team who reported their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said drugs that induce apoptosis are currently being researched as a method of preventing different types of cancer but the combination of caffeine and exercise appears to have a similar protective effect.

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