HealthWise at 5 From 11.15 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/15/02

HealthWise at 5 From 11.15

  • Colorectal Virus

A small study is linking a common virus and the development of Colorectal Cancer. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham analyzed 45 polyp and tumor samples from 29 Colorectal Cancer patients. They found evidence of the Cytomegalovaris or CMV, in 80-85% of the samples analyzed.

Researchers believe the virus disrupts cell function, making cells more prone to malignant growth. CMV is a version of the herpes virus and it's common in people with weakened immune systems and has been linked to illnesses like colitis and hepatitis and syndromes similar to mononucleosis.

This study is published in the journal, Lancet. Researchers plan further study to determine what role cells affected by CMV play in tumor growth.

  • Gum and Surgery

Patients undergoing abdominal surgery may have an unusual ally. A study appearing in the Journal of the American College of surgeons says chewing gum might speed up normal intestinal function. Researchers looked at 19 gum chewing patients after surgery. They found that 10 were able to move their bowels earlier than non-gum chewing patients. Experts say that chewing gum stimulates digestive nerves and triggers saliva.

  • What Makes a Tomboy?

Are little tomboys born, or made because of how we dress and treat our little girls? British researchers measured the levels of the male hormone Testosterone in nearly 700 pregnant women and then evaluated the behavior of their kids when they were three. They found that hormones may be a tomboy trigger.

The study found the higher mom's Testosterone levels during pregnancy, the more likely girls were to engage in "boy behavior", such as playing with toys or sports typically preferred by boys. The Testosterone influence held true in girls, even after researchers factored in environmental and other influences. On the flip-side, no relationship was found between Testosterone levels and the behavior in little boys.

Researchers note that hormones affect brain development, which in turn influence behavior, and that boys are often more strongly encouraged to behave like boys, so girls are more likely to follow their hormones and switch-over and act like a tomboy rather than little boys wanting to do girl stuff. The authors suggest that the effects were not seen in boys because boys ordinarily are exposed to higher levels of prenatal Testosterone. The researchers based their hypotheses on animal studies that have shown a link between maternal levels of testosterone and behavior in female offspring.

The study was conducted by researchers at City University in London. Participants were part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a long-term study of biological, environmental and social factors associated with pregnancy outcomes and child health. Results appear in the November-December issue of child development the study was supported by the Wellcome Trust.

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