The health benefits of everyone’s favorite nightshade

There’s new research on the health benefits of everyone’s favorite nightshade just in time for tomato season. Whether you grow your own or pick them up from your local grocery store or farmer’s market, from May until about August or October (depending on your area’s growing season), you can expect super-fresh local tomatoes that are packed with flavor. And if you need an extra incentive to enjoy them by the cartload while they’re in season, a study published by Scientific Reports in July of 2017 shows that tomatoes may protect us from the most common skin cancers, keratinocyte carcinomas.

THE RISK OF HAIR EXTENSIONS

These skin cancers are the most common form of cancer in the US and include basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, also sometimes referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers. These cancers are closely linked to cumulative sun exposure. Using a broad spectrum sunblock that protects against both UVA and UVB rays reduces your risk of keratinocyte carcinomas, but since the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to prevent skin cancer in 2014, researchers have looking more closely at other ways to reduce risk.

This latest study is big news, but it’s not too surprising since studies have shown for years that tomato paste can protect against short-term damage from the sun. One study showed that volunteers who ate tomato paste daily for 12 weeks saw a whopping 33 percent increase in sun protection. (As a bonus, they also found that the study participants had increased levels of procollagen, which is the precursor of collagen, the protein responsible for keeping skin smooth and supple.)

THE RISKS OF HAIR EXTENSIONS

The chemical behind the magic of tomatoes is called lycopene, and it’s a carotenoid found in all tomato products but especially concentrated in cooked tomatoes. One of the primary purposes of carotenoids in plant biology is to protect them from the sun, and it seems that we can cash in on that protective effect when we eat plants that contain high levels of carotenoids such as lycopene. However, because supplementing with lycopene is less effective than eating tomato products, researchers suspect that other phytochemicals in tomatoes may play yet-to-be-identified roles in protecting us from the sun.The catch with the new study showing a link between tomatoes and cancer risk is that it wasn’t a human study. It was found that mice who were given tomato in powdered form developed fewer carcinomas than those who weren’t given tomato products.

A long-term human study would need to be conducted before anyone could say definitively that tomatoes can help prevent carcinomas in humans, but given tomatoes’ proven power to protect us from the sun damage that contributes to carcinomas, it’s a pretty good bet that studies will show at least some protective effect. (And we may not see a human study for quite some time. It would be complicated and expensive—participants would have to be followed over the course of many years, and study authors would have to factor variables like participants’ genetic predisposition to skin cancers, differing levels of sun exposure, and sunblock use into their study results.)

THE WEEK IN PICTURES

The results look promising, but don’t trade in your bottle of sunblock for a can of tomato paste just yet. You have to consume a pretty significant amount of lycopene to see protective effects, and it doesn’t compare to a heavy-duty sunblock for high-exposure days. But if you’re looking for a little extra daily protection (or an excuse to eat as many tomatoes as you want), tomatoes may help protect you from mild sun damage and possibly carcinomas. Cooked tomatoes have more lycopene than raw tomatoes, and tangerine varieties seem to have lycopene that’s more bioavailable than other varieties. Tomato paste, the most concentrated tomato product, is great on homemade pizza and in simple-to-make tomato sauces.

Studies have also shown that the lycopene in tomatoes may help lower the risk of prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. So don’t forget to enjoy tomatoes while they’re available locally this summer, and remember that the healthy goodness of tomatoes is just a can opener away year-round.

Guitar as doctors perform brain surgery

Musician Abhishek Prasad strummed his guitar throughout his neurosurgery to help doctors zero in on the part of the brain being operated on during the first such procedure in India.

The 37-year-old had been suffering from musician’s dystonia, a neurological movement disorder which leads to involuntary muscle contractions.

Prasad had to be kept conscious during the surgery as the doctors needed continuous feedback to work out exactly which parts of the brain were to be targeted to stop the cramps affecting the three fingers on his left hand.

So the obvious thing was to play his guitar.

It is only the eighth time in the world that such a procedure has been undertaken with the patient being conscious, a statement by Bengaluru’s Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain hospital said on Friday.

“A 14-mm hole was made in the skull and a specialized electrode was passed into the brain under local anesthesia,” Sharan Srinivasan, a stereotactic and functional neurosurgeon at the hospital, said.

Prasad was overwhelmed with the outcome after suffering since October 2015 with the disorder that could have ended his career.

He had tried several hospitals to find a cure, but most doctors could not diagnose the problem or had focused on the cramps rather than the neurological activity causing them.

“It was a very emotional moment for me and my family. This is what I have been waiting for,” said Prasad, who had quit his IT job to pursue a career in music.

Pope Francis after inoperable tumor diagnosis dies

The 7-year-old girl who wished to meet Pope Francis after she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor died on Monday, her family said in a Facebook post. Philomena Stendardo, of Pennsylvania, received her diagnosis in September after her father noticed her acting odd during soccer practice, Fox 29 reported.

Shortly after, her family started updating supporters with the hashtags #PrayforPhil and #StormTheHeavens, and she was contacted by the Make A Wish Foundation. Philomena asked if she could meet Pope Francis, which was made possible in November.

“Philomena’s purpose was, and always will be, to bring people back to our Lord, WHERE WE ALL BELONG!!” a July 24 post said, in part. “Don’t you DARE turn your back on him now. Doing so would break Philomena’s heart. Saint Philomena of Port Richmond is now with the only person who loves her more than Mark and I do. The smile on her face when she went home, and the glow around her, told us all how happy she is.”

A Marine veteran and his bomb-turned-service dog are in the midst of completing their final mission together, after a veterinarian told Cpl. Jeff DeYoung that his trusted pooch has just weeks left to live.

DeYoung and Cena were first introduced after a personality test paired them together in 2009. They deployed to Afghanistan together where they were charged with walking in front of infantry units to patrol the area for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), Fox 17 reported. While DeYoung retired in 2013, Cena completed two more tours with different handlers, but they reunited in 2014.

MAN GETS MASSIVE KELOIDS REMOVED FROM NECK IN LIFE-CHANGING SURGERY

DeYoung adopted Cena, who became his service dog after he started suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, Fox 17 reported.

“I started noticing that going out in public was easier, less anxious, I could do more things when I had him once again by my side,” DeYoung told the news outlet.

But last week, DeYoung noticed Cena was having trouble putting weight on his back leg, which doctors eventually diagnosed as bone cancer.

“To be frank, I hid under the desk in the vet’s office, I threw my phone against the wall and the vet had to leave the room until I could compose myself,” DeYoung told Fox 17.

5-YEAR-OLD HEART TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT WHOSE BASEBALL FANDOM WENT VIRAL DIES

With just weeks left together, DeYoung is determined to make lasting memories with his loyal pooch. He’s currently in search of a Jeep Wrangler to borrow so the pair could enjoy a ride with the top down. He’s also hoping for a hand salute as Cena makes his way into the vet’s office on his final day. A GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of a headstone was started in his honor, and DeYoung is hoping to secure a burial plot at the war dog memorial in Lyons, Michigan.

“We walked in front of the group that we served with and everything that they faced, we faced first,” DeYoung said of his time overseas with Cena. “Overseas it was me and him against the world.”

Flesh eating bacteria through blisters while hiking

A Florida man said he has a “new appreciation of life” after he nearly died when he contracted a flesh-eating bacteria through blisters while hiking in New Hampshire.

Wayne Atkins, 32, told WSVN on Thursday he went hiking on June 4 in New Hampshire during a family wedding celebration.

“I get blisters all the time, so I didn’t think anything of it,” Atkins told the news station.

He kept hiking and felt fine afterward despite the blisters. But he started feeling sick when he returned to Miami, according to WSVN. He went to the hospital, where doctors discovered the flesh-eating bacteria devouring his internal organs.

“Pretty much every organ in his body was not functioning,” Dr. Jonathan Auerbach told WSVN. “So the bacteria tracks up the body, digesting the body as it goes.”

Auerbach added that the infection could be deadly if it isn’t treated properly. Doctors believe the bacteria entered Atkins’ body through the blisters.

WOMAN CONTRACTS FLESH-EATING BACTERIA WHILE FISHING OFF ALABAMA COAST

Atkins was in a coma as doctors worked to stop the flesh-eating bacteria from causing more damage. Antibiotics and surgery successfully removed it in Atkins.

“I definitely have a new appreciation of life after going through this experience, ’cause it’s scary to know that I was so close to death,” Atkins said.

“I don’t think I’ll ever want to play the Lotto again, if that’s what hitting the jackpot feels like,” he added.

Bucket list for service dogs final weeks

A Marine veteran and his bomb-turned-service dog are in the midst of completing their final mission together, after a veterinarian told Cpl. Jeff DeYoung that his trusted pooch has just weeks left to live.

DeYoung and Cena were first introduced after a personality test paired them together in 2009. They deployed to Afghanistan together where they were charged with walking in front of infantry units to patrol the area for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), Fox 17 reported. While DeYoung retired in 2013, Cena completed two more tours with different handlers, but they reunited in 2014.

DeYoung adopted Cena, who became his service dog after he started suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, Fox 17 reported.

“I started noticing that going out in public was easier, less anxious, I could do more things when I had him once again by my side,” DeYoung told the news outlet.

But last week, DeYoung noticed Cena was having trouble putting weight on his back leg, which doctors eventually diagnosed as bone cancer.

“To be frank, I hid under the desk in the vet’s office, I threw my phone against the wall and the vet had to leave the room until I could compose myself,” DeYoung told Fox 17.

 

Dog’s final weeks

A Marine veteran and his bomb-turned-service dog are in the midst of completing their final mission together, after a veterinarian told Cpl. Jeff DeYoung that his trusted pooch has just weeks left to live.

DeYoung and Cena were first introduced after a personality test paired them together in 2009. They deployed to Afghanistan together where they were charged with walking in front of infantry units to patrol the area for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), Fox 17 reported. While DeYoung retired in 2013, Cena completed two more tours with different handlers, but they reunited in 2014.

MAN GETS MASSIVE KELOIDS REMOVED FROM NECK IN LIFE-CHANGING SURGERY

DeYoung adopted Cena, who became his service dog after he started suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, Fox 17 reported.

“I started noticing that going out in public was easier, less anxious, I could do more things when I had him once again by my side,” DeYoung told the news outlet.

But last week, DeYoung noticed Cena was having trouble putting weight on his back leg, which doctors eventually diagnosed as bone cancer.

“To be frank, I hid under the desk in the vet’s office, I threw my phone against the wall and the vet had to leave the room until I could compose myself,” DeYoung told Fox 17.

5-YEAR-OLD HEART TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT WHOSE BASEBALL FANDOM WENT VIRAL DIES

With just weeks left together, DeYoung is determined to make lasting memories with his loyal pooch. He’s currently in search of a Jeep Wrangler to borrow so the pair could enjoy a ride with the top down. He’s also hoping for a hand salute as Cena makes his way into the vet’s office on his final day. A GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of a headstone was started in his honor, and DeYoung is hoping to secure a burial plot at the war dog memorial in Lyons, Michigan.

“We walked in front of the group that we served with and everything that they faced, we faced first,” DeYoung said of his time overseas with Cena. “Overseas it was me and him against the world.”