An analysis of one hundred coffees sold in Spain has confirmed the presence of mycotoxins -toxic metabolites produced by fungi. In addition, five of the samples that were tested were found to contain ochratoxin A, the only legislated mycotoxin, in amounts that exceeded maximum permitted levels. While the authors point out that these results are not alarming, they do recommend assessing the risk that exposure to mycotoxins from coffee poses to the general public. They also suggest reviewing production processes in order to reduce the levels of these natural contaminants in coffee.
Saying that the link between alcohol and cancer is dangerous is nothing new. Five Spanish universities and more than 300,000 female volunteers participated in a European investigation that is now confirming that alcohol intake increases the chances of developing breast cancer. This risk quadruples with the intake of each daily glass of wine or beer.
A novel way to count white blood cells without a blood test, simply by applying a small device on the fingertip, is being developed by a team of young bioengineers. The technology, that combines an optical sensor with algorithms, has already three prototypes on the go and is specially designed to be used on chemotherapy patients, who could know their immune system levels in real time. It could also serve to detect serious infections.
Over the last century, life expectancy for Spaniards has increased by 40 years. A study by the International University of La Rioja highlights the main cause, since 1980, as being the reduced incidence of cardiovascular diseases while other pathologies, such as mental illnesses and certain types of cancer, have been seen to rise. The authors predict that the effects of the economic recession on mortality will show up in the long-term.
A new study led by José Javier Bravo-Cordero, Spanish researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, details how cells with low levels of the profilin 1 protein in breast tumours increase their capacity to metastasise and invade other tissues.
Scientists from the Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB Barcelona) have carried out successful in vitro tests using wasp venom to kill tumour cells. The next step will be to test its efficacy in mouse models.
Patients receiving chemical treatment for cancer often suffer fatigue and body weight loss, two of the most worrying effects of this therapy linked to the alteration of their circadian rhythms.
Researchers at the Rey Juan Carlos University and the Alcorcón Hospital (Madrid) have compared the volatile substances exhaled by eleven people with cancer of larynx, with those of another twenty healthy people. The results show that the concentrations of certain molecules, mainly ethanol and 2-butanone, are higher in individuals with carcinoma, therefore they act as potential markers of the disease.
At the beginning of the year, the novelist Henning Mankell revealed that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Almost immediately he decided that he would write about his illness in a Swedish newspaper. Mankell is not alone, but one of many writers who have written about their illness. Apart from whatever they might bring to the table, a recent study claims that so-called “expressive writing” can help to reduce some of the symptoms suffered by oncology patients.