Pancreatic Cancer May Not Be A Death Sentence When we hear the words Pancreatic Cancer we shudder. And rightfully so. By the time the first symptoms develop—unexplained abdominal pain, weight loss, poor appetite, jaundice—and the tumor is picked up by a CT scan or MRI, the disease is uniformly fatal. According to Dr. Dan Ramasamy, a gastroenterologist at the Center for Digestive Diseases in Union, Pancreatic Cancer actually can be cured—when caught in its earliest stages. Early stage diagnosis is accomplished through Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS). A special ultrasound device installed on the tip of the endoscope enables examination from the stomach through to the pancreas. With EUS, the pancreas can be visualized with high-quality ultrasound images, detecting tumors as small as a few millimeters, which can be missed by a CT Scan or MRI. According to Dr. Ramasamy, who performs this procedure, a biopsy can be taken through the stomach wall with fine needle aspiration (FNA) and sent for evaluation. If still in its earliest stage, the cancer is curable by surgery.

Smart Kids & Stupid Decisions Two recent studies, one in the U.S. and one in England, reveal that “very bright” kids are more likely than children of average intelligence to be heavy drinkers when they grow up. The studies—National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (US) and National Child Development Study (UK)—took into account religion, sex, race, ethnicity, marital status, number of children, education, earnings, satisfaction with life, frequency of socialization with friends, depression, number of recent sex partners, childhood social class, mother’s education, and father’s education—and still came up with the same results. Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist and author of Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, offered one interesting theory for this phenomenon. Intelligent people aremore likely to be “early adopters,” so it makes sense they would adopt beer, wine and distilled spirits—which are acquired tastes as opposed to evolutionary staples.

Smoking, Obesity Increase CRC Risk in Women With so much attention focused on urging men to get checked out for colorectal cancer (CRC), people sometimes forget that this is the third most common cause of cancer in women. Adding to the threat is the fact that screening guidelines are not “one-size-fits-all” for men and women. Indeed, according to a May article in Women’s Health, myriad factors contribute to determining the right screening intervals for female patients. The article also cited recent studies that have shown smoking and obesity increase the risk of CRC in women. Screening for CRC increases the chances for early detection of cancer and premalignant polyps, and also decreases morbidity from this disease.

Stamping Out Alzheimer’s The effort to understand, treat and perhaps ultimately prevent Alzheimer’s Disease depends on raising funds and awareness. In May, these goals got some help from Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, who introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives urging the U.S. Postal Service to issue a special stamp to help raise money for Alzheimer’s research. Mikulski’s own father was one of an estimated 5.4million Americans diagnosed with the disease. By voluntarily paying more than the normal postage rate for the Alzheimer’s stamp, people would contribute directly to the search for a new treatment or a cure.