Lack of sleep linked to risky precancerous colon polyps

Cancer
In most of my health books, I discuss the reams of studies now showing myriad benefits from consistently getting a good night's sleep. Now, we have another health benefit from good sleep. A recent study is showing that people who sleep less than six hours a night are more likely to have dangerous precancerous polyps in their colon or rectum compared to better-rested patients. The polyps, called colorectal adenomas, progress to become cancerous tumors in about 10% of cases. As a result, they are considered to be "precancerous" polyps and a strong predictor of the disease. The findings don't prove that lack of sleep causes these polyps to occur. The scientists note in the journal Cancer that this is the first time anyone has ever found a link between sleep duration…
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Low-dose aspirin reduces risk of developing and dying from colon cancer

Cancer
ABC World News reported what most of us doctors have known for some time: that "at high doses, aspirin can cause side effects, like bleeding and stomach discomfort;" however, we also know that the "low dose of aspirin a lot of people are already taking for their hearts may reduce the risk of colon cancer by a quarter and deaths from the disease by a third." Now, new research is confirming these earlier findings. Indeed, "aspirin should not replace screening tests like colonoscopies, and because it has serious side effects ... people should talk to their doctors before taking even a low dose of aspirin on a regular basis," the CBS Evening News reported. Still, "a daily dose of baby aspirin" over a long period of time may be the…
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Statin drugs may lower colon cancer risk: study

Cancer
Statin drugs, which are used to lower cholesterol, may also lower the risk of colon cancer by as much as 12 percent, U.S. researchers have reported. The longer people took the highly popular cholesterol-lowering pills, the lower their risk of later developing colon cancer, the researchers told a meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. Many researchers have found that statin drugs, which include Pfizer Inc's Lipitor and AstraZeneca Plc's Crestor, have effects far beyond lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. Here's another one to add to the list, and here are the details from Reuters Health: "Observational studies have suggested that long-term use of statins is associated with reduced risk of several cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, pancreas and liver," said Dr. Jewel Samadder of the University…
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Physicians increasingly concerned about breast cancer campaign’s misleading message

Cancer, Medical Economics, Woman's Health
One of my most read blogs in recent months is this one: "Nurse practitioner writes about her decision to stop getting mammograms." Now, for a fitting follow-up, there's an even more stunning opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times by physician H. Gilbert Welch of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Dr. Welch has put into print what many women's health professionals have been discussing behind closed doors recently. He says that he's concerned that the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month "has led women to be more fearful of breast cancer than they need be: the '1 in 8' or '1 in 9' statistic, in particular, serves as a poster child for how to exaggerate risk." He is also "equally troubled" by the "relentless promotion of screening mammography…
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Hormone therapy helpful for younger women?

General Health, Woman's Health
Hormone therapy (formerly called HRT or hormone replacement therapy) may pose little risk to younger women, and could even help some aspects of their health - but any benefit appears to disappear as women age, according to a new study. Among more than 70,000 postmenopausal women, some of whom had elected to take hormone therapy (HT), younger HT-users were less likely to die from all causes over a nearly 10-year period than women of the same age who had never taken HT. However, as women aged, taking HRT was no longer associated with a lower risk of death. Here are the details in a report from Reuters Health: "Whatever benefits there are for younger women, they don't really persist for older women," study author Dr. Daniel Stram of the Keck School…
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Hormone therapy after menopause may worsen breast cancer

Cancer, General Health, Woman's Health
The CBS Evening News recently reported, "For women going through menopause, the decision about whether to take hormone replacement therapy has been controversial and confusing." In 2009, "40 million prescriptions for hormones were filled here in the US, but there's new evidence tonight that this treatment may be even riskier than previously thought." ABC World News also covered the story, reporting, "The Women's Health Initiative reports today that among post-menopausal women, the use of estrogen and progestin is not only linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, but the kind that kind of cancers that have higher fatality rates. The safety of more hormone replacement therapy was first questioned in 2002." NBC Nightly News, not to be outdone, reported, "Our lead story tonight has to do with an emotional…
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Devotional for Men – Healthy Through and Through – Part 8 – Concluding Bible Study

General Health
Here’s the last of an eight-part devotional for men based upon my chapter on health in Coach Joe Gibbs best-selling book, Gameplan for Life, was featured by the Men of Integrity ministry of Christianity Today. I hope you enjoy the series. Here’s Part 8 of 8: THE SERIES’ THEME: Healthy Through and Through. What does it mean to be a truly healthy man of God? CONCLUDING BIBLE STUDY "Your spiritual wheel must be seen as the most crucial one, because good physical, emotional, and relational health alone will not make you a highly healthy person," says Dr. Walt Larimore in Part 6's reading. "Spiritual well-being has to be a consistent priority." This week's passage offers insights into cultivating a spiritually healthy life, and it also demonstrates the correlation between our…
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Red yeast rice products NOT recommended for high cholesterol

Alternative Medicine, Medical Economics
The Chicago Tribune "Julie's Health Club" blog reported that "some red yeast rice products have been shown to lower cholesterol levels as effectively as moderate doses of statin drugs." However, "the supplement isn't quite 'ready for primetime,' according to researchers who found that 12 over-the-counter red yeast products had strikingly inconsistent amounts of active ingredients." The research, "published in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, also showed that four of the 12 products (one third of the sample) contained citrinin, a contaminant that is toxic to kidneys of animals." WebMD and MedPage Today also covered the story. It for this reason that I do NOT recommend anyone take red yeast rice. In addition to the above study, a recent analysis by ConsumerLab found red yeast rice products varied sharply…
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SAMe and Depression

Alternative Medicine, Mental Health
SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) is getting renewed attention as an option for patients with mild-to-moderate major depression. New guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association now suggest SAMe as an alternative to conventional antidepressants (e.g., paroxetine, venlafaxine, etc) for patients interested in alternative therapies. New research also shows that SAMe might be effective for treatment-resistant depression. Adding SAMe (SAMe Complete 400 mg, Nature Made) 400 mg twice daily to conventional treatment in nonresponders increased remission rates by about 14% after 6 weeks of treatment. About 7 patients need to be treated with SAMe for 6 weeks for one additional patient to have remission. The experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database tell physicians, "Explain to patients that SAMe is an option worth considering. Keep in mind that SAMe isn't covered by insurance.…
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St. John’s wort may not help patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Alternative Medicine
St. John's wort (SJW) is most commonly used to improve mood and treat depression. St. John's wort affects neurotransmitters similar to conventional antidepressants. However, it also affects serotonin receptors in the gut, similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) drugs such as alosetron (Lotronex). Many IBS patients are now trying St. John's wort. But new research is discouraging. It shows that taking a specific St. John's wort extract (St. John's Wort Extract Extra Strength, Enzymatic Therapy) 450 mg twice daily is no more effective than placebo for reducing symptoms after 12 weeks of treatment. In fact, some patients did worse on St. John's wort compared to placebo. The experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database tell physicians, "For now, explain to IBS patients that St. John's wort doesn't appear to be a…
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Larimore Family Newsletter – December 2010

Family Newsletter
Here are the contents of our Family Newsletter: Holiday Gifts Family Update Publication Update Avoid Loneliness Like the Plague Past Articles in Significant Living magazine New Dutch Translation Broadcast Update Family Talk Broadcast on Immunizations Events of the last month Upcoming Events What Better Holiday Gifts For Readers Than Signed/Personalized Books It’s not to early to begin thinking about unique holiday gifts, and what could be more exclusive than receiving a best-selling book, autographed by the author, and personalized to the recipient. Most of my books are available for just such gifts. You can order them here. Better yet, some of them are on sale between now and Christmas. Supplies are limited, so be sure to order yours now. Family Update Finally, our wonderful and prolonged fall fell with a vengeance.…
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Devotional for Men – Healthy Through and Through – Part 7 – Examine Your Wheels

General Health, Men's Health
Here’s the seventh of an eight-part devotional for men based upon my chapter on health in Coach Joe Gibbs best-selling book, Gameplan for Life , was featured by the Men of Integrity ministry of Christianity Today. I hope you enjoy the series. Here’s Part 7 of 8: THE SERIES’ THEME: Healthy Through and Through. What does it mean to be a truly healthy man of God? EXAMINE YOUR WHEELS KEY BIBLE VERSE: No matter how much you want, laziness won't help a bit, but hard work will reward you with more than enough. (Proverbs 13:4) Dig Deeper: Proverbs 20:4; James 1:2-4 One day, my wife, Barb, pointed out a nail in one of our car tires. All I could see was the head of the nail. No air was escaping,…
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Fish oil supplements do not boost babies’ cognitive development or prevent postpartum depression

Children's Health, Mental Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
The New York Times reports, "Many women take fish oil supplements during pregnancy, encouraged by obstetricians, marketing campaigns, or the popular view that a key fish oil ingredient -- docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA -- is beneficial to a baby's cognitive development." However, a study published "in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that the DHA supplements taken by pregnant women show no clear cognitive benefit to their babies." What's more, researchers "found no evidence that DHA can reduce postpartum depression, except perhaps for women already at high risk for it." "In the new study, 2,399 women at the midpoint of their pregnancies were divided into two groups," the Los Angeles Times reports. "One took a daily capsule of 800 mg of DHA derived from fish oil until giving birth;…
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New Moms’ Brains May Grow After Childbirth

Mental Health, Woman's Health
The brains of new mothers actually get bigger within months of giving birth, according to new research. The researchers, most from the Yale University School of Medicine, said that the growth was likely fueled by changes in levels of certain hormones just after birth. They reported finding expansion in areas of the brain associated with behavior and motivation. Here are more details from HealthDay News: The researchers also found that mothers who were most enthusiastic about their babies had more growth in key parts of the mid-brain -- areas linked to maternal motivation, rewards and emotion processing -- than did mothers who were more reserved about their infants. The findings, from a small study reported in Behavioral Neuroscience, suggest that a new mother's desire to look after her baby may be…
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Devotional for Men – Healthy Through and Through – Part 6 – The Spiritual Wheel of Health

General Health, Marriage and Family Health, Men's Health, Mental Health
Here’s the sixth of an eight-part devotional for men based upon my chapter on health in Coach Joe Gibbs best-selling book, Gameplan for Life. The devotional was featured by the Men of Integrity ministry of Christianity Today. I hope you enjoy the series. Here’s Part 6 of 8 THE SERIES’ THEME: Healthy Through and Through. What does it mean to be a truly healthy man of God? THE SPIRITUAL WHEEL KEY BIBLE VERSE: "The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." (John 10:10) Dig Deeper: Psalm 32 What does it mean to be in a state of maximum well-being as we relate to our Creator? Obviously, for us to be spiritually healthy, any break in our relationship…
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Give Thanksgiving leftovers a healthy and delicious overhaul

Nutritional Health, Obesity
One of the wonderful things about Thanksgiving dinner is there are often lots of delicious leftovers. You can just warm up a few of your favorite dishes or make a simple turkey sandwich. But for healthful alternatives, USA Today asked the Food Network’s Ellie Krieger, the editors of EatingWell and Cooking Light to share some nutritious recipes that use Thanksgiving leftovers. I hope you try them out. Greek salad pitas with feta spread and turkey Ingredients: 3 tbsp non-fat plain yogurt 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice 2 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 4 whole-wheat pita breads 4 large pieces of romaine lettuce, torn in half 1 English cucumber, sliced into half moons ¼ cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves ¾ lb. thinly…
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Comparing Weight Loss Plans, Dollars Per Pound

Nutritional Health, Obesity
Well,  it's the day after Thanksgiving, and there are at least two or three things on most people's minds: (1) Black Friday shopping, (2) Football, and/or (3) Weight Loss. Have you ever wondered which of the weight loss plans cost you the most for each pound dropped? Well, here you have the answer, provided by ABC News: $500 per pound with Liposuction $300 to $400 per pound with Gastric Band Surgery $235 to $353 per pound with Duodenal Switch Surgery $237.56 per pound with One-on-One with Jenny Craig $173 per pound with Non-prescription Weigh Loss Aids when paired with a Low-Fat Diet SAVE $12.50 per pound by just Kickin' It Old School Here are the details: 1) One-on-One With Jenny Craig Bottom-Line Estimate: $237.56 per pound for one-on-one weight loss support and…
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Update on Anastasha – 1 month after birth and death

Bioethics, Marriage and Family Health, Parenting
Many of you have been following the notes sent to me by family physician Craig DeLisi, MD, about his daughter, Anastasha. Here's an update, about a month after her birth and death: November 26th 2010 We've updated Anastasha's blog with several new posts and lots pictures (funeral, funeral program, her monument) since my last email. Today marks the one month anniversary of Anastasha's birth and death. She is gone. We're still here. And we hate that. There are many days that we wish we weren't here either and that Jesus would return to take all of us who are in Christ with Him and end all pain and suffering once and for all. But He tarries, so we wait ... In the month since we said good-bye to Anastasha, we have:…
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Holidays are a great time to obtain a family medical history

General Health
Healthcare professionals have known for a long time that common diseases (like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes) as well as some rare diseases (like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia) can run in families. If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it is not unusual for the next generation to have similarly high blood pressure. Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you may be at risk and take action to keep you and your family healthy. To help focus attention on the importance of family history, the Surgeon General has launched a national public health campaign called the Surgeon General's Family History Initiative, to encourage all American families to learn more…
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Devotional for Men – Healthy Through and Through – Part 5 – The Relational Wheel of Health

General Health, Marriage and Family Health, Men's Health, Mental Health
Devotional for Men – Healthy Through and Through – Part 1 – IntroductioHere’s the fifth of an eight-part devotional for men based upon my chapter on health in Coach Joe Gibbs best-selling book, Gameplan for Life. The devotional was featured by the Men of Integrity ministry of Christianity Today. I hope you enjoy the series. Here’s Part 5 of 8: Here’s the fifth of an eight-part devotional for men based upon my chapter on health in Coach Joe Gibbs best-selling book, Gameplan for Life. The devotional was featured by the Men of Integrity ministry of Christianity Today. I hope you enjoy the series. Here’s Part 5 of 8: THE SERIES’ THEME: Healthy Through and Through. What does it mean to be a truly healthy man of God? THE RELATIONAL WHEEL KEY BIBLE VERSES:…
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Physicians’ group and FDA say radiation risk from TSA scanning is “miniscule”

General Health
With all the news today about the new body scanners that TSA is using, I thought it might be reassuring for my readers to understand that the radiation exposure in these scans is incredibly low. In fact, a national group of radiologists is now saying that it would take 1,000 TSA whole body scans in one year to reach the effective dose of radiation a person gets with one standard chest X-ray. USA Today reports,"The nation's Homeland Security chief asked for air travelers' 'cooperation' and 'patience' with full-body scanning and pat downs this holiday season amid a growing public backlash that the airport tactics are intrusive." But, "some consumer, civil rights and pilots groups are protesting new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) methods," in part because they "could emit dangerous radiation,"…
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How to help kids follow a healthy diet even over holidays

Nutritional Health, Obesity
This is a reprint of one of the more popular blogs I posted last year. It's adapted from an AP story on how we, as parents, can help our children with more healthful nutrition during the holidays. I also have a ton of tips in my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat which in on sale in both hardback and softcover at my DrWalt.com book store. Better yet, they're autographed: Many parents are trying to figure out how to have a healthier holiday without depriving their kids of holiday treats. About a third of American kids are overweight or obese, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. Studies show Americans gain about a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s; people who are…
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Go healthy, not hungry for Thanksgiving dining

Nutritional Health, Obesity
The holiday season means you’ll be faced with a seemingly endless buffet of food temptation. While some people simply give in and eat too much, others deny themselves any holiday treats. But there are ways to navigate between overindulgence and deprivation, according to Julie Redfern, manager of Nutrition Consult Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She offers the following advice in a report by Health on the Net Foundation: Eat a light snack before you go to a holiday party. That will prevent you from arriving hungry and overeating or gobbling down foods high in calories and saturated fat. When you’re invited to a party, offer to bring a healthy food dish. Research how you can use healthy ingredients in your favorite holiday recipes. For example, using 1 percent…
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Devotional for Men – Healthy Through and Through – Part 4 – The Emotional Wheel of Health

General Health, Men's Health, Mental Health
Here’s the fourth of an eight-part devotional for men based upon my chapter on health in Coach Joe Gibbs best-selling book, Gameplan for Life. The devotional was featured by the Men of Integrity ministry of Christianity Today. I hope you enjoy the series. Here’s Part 4 of 8: THE SERIES’ THEME: Healthy Through and Through. What does it mean to be a truly healthy man of God? THE EMOTIONAL WHEEL KEY BIBLE VERSE: A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. (Proverbs 17:22, The Message) Dig Deeper: Proverbs 14:30, 15:13 My friend Ben is a model of emotional health. For years, I've watched him handle whatever life throws at him. He doesn't pretend things are better than they are, nor does he treat the inevitable letdowns…
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FDA announces crackdown on chelation therapy — finally!

Alternative Medicine, General Health
I’ve written about chelation for many years. In my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, I conclude, “Evidence against (chelation’s) effectiveness in heart disease is so clear, its continued use raises serious ethical questions. The therapy is very expensive and can be very lucrative for providers. But, it's virtually worthless for consumers." Some of my past blogs on chelation have included: Chelation therapy for autism not only potentially harmful, it’s based on faulty premise and Federal investigators uncover major problems with chelation study. Now, finally, comes news that the FDA is going to crack down on these quacks. The Washington Post reports that officials from the Food and Drug Administration have "announced a crackdown on" chelation, "a controversial therapy widely hawked on the Internet and elsewhere as an alternative treatment for conditions such as autism,…
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Watermelon extract may lower blood pressure

Alternative Medicine, Heart Health, Nutritional Health
The Los Angeles Times and Orlando Sentinel reported that, according to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, there is "evidence that eating watermelon could reduce ... blood pressure." In fact, "in a small, pilot study led by food scientists at Florida State University, researchers found that eating six grams of watermelon extract a day for six weeks lowered blood pressure in all nine middle-aged subjects with prehypertension." The study authors "suggest that watermelon may prevent prehypertension from progressing to full-blown hypertension." The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Health & Science Today" blog quoted one of the study authors, who explained that "watermelon is the richest edible natural source of L-citrulline, which is closely related to L-arginine, the amino acid required for the formation of nitric oxide (which is) essential…
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FDA approves Botox as treatment for chronic migraines

Alternative Medicine, Bioethics, General Health
On the front page of its Business Day section, the New York Times reported, "The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Botox, the anti-wrinkle shot from Allergan, as a treatment to prevent chronic migraines, a little more than a month after the company agreed to pay $600 million to settle allegations that it had illegally marketed the drug for unapproved uses like headaches for years." Botox "had worldwide sales last year of about $1.3 billion, divided equally between medical and cosmetic uses." But Allergan said "sales of Botox for chronic migraine and other medical uses would soon eclipse sales of the drug as a wrinkle smoother. The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported, "The FDA's decision expands the potential market for Botox, which burst upon the American cosmetic…
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Patients use prayer as part of healing process

Alternative Medicine, General Health
The Chicago Tribune reports, "The relationship between prayer and physical healing has long been the subject of conflicting studies. Some indicate prayer can help, but at least one study concluded that in some cases it can be harmful." Researchers "found that coronary bypass patients who were told strangers were praying for them did worse than those who got no prayers." But, "increasingly ... prayers are being offered by chaplains, doctors, nurses, and social workers. They are recited in hospitals before and after surgery, during treatments, upon admission and discharge, and on the anniversary of a diagnosis." Despite this one negative study, there are not "some" studies showing prayer can help, but hundreds of studies showing a positive association between a wide variety of spiritual interventions (spiritual assessment, prayer, spiritual counseling, etc.) and…
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Most Doctors Don’t Follow Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines

Cancer, General Health
Most doctors (81 percent) fall short when it comes to comparing what they do for colon cancer screening with what they should be doing. And, we docs fall off both sides of the balance beam, either ordering tests too frequently or too seldom. Here are the details from HealthDay News: Only one in five doctors in the United States follows all the recommended colon cancer screening guidelines, a new report finds. Some 40 percent of doctors follow guidelines for some tests, while the remaining 40 percent don't follow guidelines for any colon cancer screens, the researchers said. "There's more work to be done to understand how to improve colorectal cancer screening," concluded lead researcher Robin Yabroff, an epidemiologist at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Most doctors also don't adhere to guideline recommendations…
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Abortion Boosts Breast Cancer Risk 193%: Study

Bioethics, Cancer, Woman's Health
Researchers in Iran have published the results of a new study showing women who have an abortion face a 193% increased risk of breast cancer. On the other hand, women who carry a pregnancy to term find a lowered breast cancer risk compared with women who have never been pregnant. Here are the details in a report from LifeNews.com: The study follows on the heels of new reports indicating Komen for the Cure gave $7.5 million to the Planned Parenthood abortion business in 2009. The findings were reported in the journal Medical Oncology but are coming to the public's attention only now. Hajian-Tilaki K.O. and Kaveh-Ahangar T. from Babol University of Medical Sciences compared 100 cases of women who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer compared with 200 age-matched controls to…
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