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Use of Cell Phones sparingly

Cell-phones: Cell killers?

As you may know, I've been one of the more vocal critics in the past about the excessive usage of cell phones these days - especially among kids. Not only are they distracting and dangerous for users (like those who are DRIVING), they're also annoying for bystanders to have to hear people yakking on them.

And although I've been inclined in the past to think a lot of the hype around possible cell-phone-related health problems is nothing more than urban legend, there is some evidence pointing to potentially serious health consequences for those who have these radio-wave units glued to their ears...

Today, there's more such news - some of the most persuasive yet.

But first, a little recap: Back in January of 2005, I reported on some European research linking a decade or more of cell phone use to as much as a four-percent increase in the likelihood of developing permanent, brain-damaging tumors of the auditory nerve. This report buffered the findings of a 2002 Finnish study that linked the type of radiation emitted by cell phones to adverse effects on brain tissue...

This latest research, however, doesn't focus on possible brain or nerve damage, like so many other studies have before. It aims a bit lower on the body: The testicles, in men.

According to some American research on British males, cell phones may indeed be the culprit behind that nation's precipitous decline in male fertility. How bad is the problem? Sources cited in a UK Daily Mail article on the research claim that sperm counts among Briton males have fallen by 29 percent in just the last DECADE.

Something's causing it, and it may be the "harmless" cell phone...

Previous research has postulated that there may be a link between cell phone use and sperm quality. According to this latest study's lead author, animal research has shown conclusively that the testes are susceptible to negative effects from radiation of a type similar to what cell phones depend on for communication.

But this latest research - revealed at the recent gathering of the American Society for Reproductive Health in New Orleans - looks to be the most conclusive and well-designed study on the topic yet. Keep reading for the research's startling findings...

The research focused on four main criteria for sperm potency among the study's 360 test subjects: Count, motility (agility), viability (hardiness), and morphology (appearance). In ALL FOUR of these areas, those men who endured the most time on cell phones had the least healthy sperm cells. Consider...

Studied men in the highest cell-phone use category (four hours a day or more), experienced:
25% lower sperm counts than those who never used cellular telephones
A 33% lower rating of sperm quality (their swimming ability and hardiness) than their less loquacious peers
50% fewer properly formed sperm than non-cell users - with just 20% of sperm cells appearing normal under microscopic examination
As I said, this is some of the most convincing evidence yet that cell phones may have detrimental effects on our health. I've been healthily skeptical and reserving judgment on this topic until all the evidence is in - but this study goes a long way toward proving to me that these ubiquitous devices may not be so harmless after all...

Bottom line: If you've got a son or nephew who's glued to his cell-phone and also facing some struggles with conceiving, you may want to pass this article along. And whether you're a man or woman, until we know all the facts, it's best to use your cell phones sparingly, for emergencies only - or not at all! I dont own one -- never have. But I have to admit, they are good for emergencies -- especially for women traveling alone.

Remember, we all got along fine without them until more or less a decade ago.

Always yakking about what's attacking our health,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.
07 Nov 2006

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New Molecular Tests can Predict the Return of Prostate Cancer

Earlier this year Aureon Laboratories released Prostate Px, the first in a series of tests that predict prostate cancer recurrence. The test stratifies patients into high or low risk categories for the likelihood of experiencing a return of their prostate cancer after they have had their prostate surgically removed (prostatectomy). In addition, Aureon is in the final stages of development of a new predictive test for prostate cancer that will use biopsy tissue, at the time of diagnosis.

Approximately 15-40% of patients who have had their prostate removed will develop a serum PSA or biochemical recurrence (BCR). Moreover, a man with prostate cancer who has had a PSA recurrence can still develop a metastasis some eight years post PSA/BCR suggesting that identifying this group of patients early in their treatment program is critical to their overall survival.

The current practice for following patients after a prostatectomy is to test their blood for prostate specific antigen (PSA) to determine whether their cancer is returning. This period can be a time of great anxiety and many patients are searching for additional sources of information in order to make a more-informed decision about possible treatment options. An accurate prognosis is important because the majority of tumors are indolent and require minimal intervention while a subset are more aggressive and early intervention may be valuable.

The Prostate Px test has two endpoints for cancer recurrence:
*PSA Recurrence Px Score describes the likelihood of the patient developing a PSA recurrence within five years of having their prostate removed.

*Disease Progression Px Score describes the likelihood of the patient developing Disease Progression defined as bone/soft tissue metastasis and/or androgen independent rise in PSA within five years of having their prostate removed.

Compared to existing methods, Prostate Px provides a prediction of PSA recurrence with a sensitivity of 96%. In addition, Prostate Px can predict disease progression and does so with a sensitivity of 89%.

Prostate Px benefits patients and physicians at a number of decision points after surgery. The predictive test can: *Provide a probability of whether a patient, after a prostatectomy, will have a PSA recurrence within five years. *Predict whether a patient, after a prostatectomy, will have disease progression within five years. *Avoid possible side effects associated with therapy (e.g. androgen deprivation therapy) for asymptomatic low risk patients. *Identify patients with high risk of clinical failure who may benefit from increased surveillance or early adjuvant therapy. *Help relieve anxiety and allow patients, their families and their physicians to decide upon the best treatment regimen moving forward. *Assist in patient selection for new therapies as part of randomized clinical trials.

Technology The basis for the predictive power of Prostate Px is its unique breakthrough technology. Aureon's System Pathology platform combines histological, molecular and clinical information to predict cancer recurrence.

After prostatectomy, the physician orders Prostate Px and a small section of the prostate tissue sample is collected from the pathology department at the hospital where the surgery was performed and sent to Aureon's specialized laboratory. Aureon's approach integrates:

*Histology (tissue): Prostate Px analyzes the cells and other structures in a prostate cancer tissue sample. This results in the generation of specific (quantitative) features for inclusion in the mathematical model. *Molecular markers: Prostate Px selectively measures specific proteins in prostate tissue samples in order to obtain a unique molecular picture of the patient's prostate cancer. *Clinical data: Prostate Px takes into account important clinical information such as the Gleason score and the pathology results from the patient's surgery.

By combining these sources of information and by applying advanced computer technology and mathematics, Prostate Px is able to provide patients a more thorough picture of their individual risk for recurrent disease.

Next Generation Prostate Px is just the first in a new generation of predictive tests from Aureon that combines the power of advanced mathematics with biology and clinical practice.

As stated earlier, Aureon is in the final stages of development of Prostate Px +, a new predictive test for prostate cancer that will use biopsy tissue, at the time of diagnosis, and Aureon's system pathology platform to assess future disease severity.

Prostate Px + will enable the assessment of future disease severity at the time of diagnosis, thus more information will be available to the patient and their physician prior to the selection or implementation of any therapies.

Jason M. Alter, Ph.D.
Director of Marketing
Aureon Laboratories
17 Nov 2006

Dr. Alter is the Marketing Director for Aureon Laboratories. Aureon Laboratories applies "Systems Pathology" to develop predictive clinical tests for cancer care. For more information about Aureon Laboratories go to or contact

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