Male contraception methods proposed

Specialists reviewed new methods for male contraception at the Future of Male Contraception conference, sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and held in Seattle last September.

Ronald Swerdloff, an endocrinologist and chief of the division of endocrinology at Harbor-UCLA and professor of medicine at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, proposed two methods at the conference. One method involved hormonal therapy and testicular warming to control the release of sperm.

The other involved transdermal gels; men either applied a progestin gel called Nestorone or a testosterone gel, or they applied both. The researchers concluded that the combination of transdermal gels worked the best to suppress sperm.

Also, researchers at Columbia University tested a drug that interfered with vitamin A receptors in the testes, which are known to reduce fertility.

Source: Health Day

Researchers find benefits in worrying

Gregory Samanez-Larkin, a psychology graduate student at Stanford, found that people who worried more scored better in a financial game. A person’s likelihood of worrying was judged by scans of activity in a part of the brain known as the anterior insula.

An active anterior insula indicated higher chances of uncertainty in terms of financial decisions. Samanez-Larkin said the research could be used to detect people who are most likely to use too many credit cards or get into financial trouble like incurring debts.

Source: Health Day

New drug protects against radiation

Researchers have developed a new drug that can protect healthy cells and bone marrow against radiation therapy used to cure cancer.

The new drug, known as CBLB502, has been shown to protect the gastrointestinal cells and bone marrow in mice and monkeys from radiation, but does not reduce the treatment’s effectiveness.

Lyudmila Burdelya, a scientist in New York state’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute, showed that CBLB502 works by activating a molecular pathway that some cancer cells use to prevent cell death.

Clinical trials on humans may begin this summer.

Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Diet supplements could be harmful

Recent studies suggest that dietary supplements such as over-the-counter vitamins and minerals may potentially harm individuals, especially when taken in large doses, and in combination with each other or other prescription drugs.

Six natural sources, namely green tea, grapeseed, ginkgo biloba, turmeric, salmon oil, and vitamin E have been found to increase bleeding after an abrasion or surgery. The chemical properties of these substances inhibit platelet aggregation, which is necessary to form blood clots.

According to a 2002 Harris poll, 70 percent of adults in the United States take vitamins, minerals, herbs, and/or other supplements.

Source: The New York Times