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Stress tests may have value beyond the heart — and more

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Medical Watch for Sept 6.

Stress tests may have value beyond the heart.

The treadmill exercises combined with an electrocardiogram, called a stress test, is used to diagnose cardiac problems.

But a new Mayo Clinic study reveals stress test abnormalities reveal more than just heart risks.

In research involving more than 13,000 patients, doctors found abnormal exercise tests can be the key to diagnosing cancer. Low functional aerobic capacity on the stress test was a powerful predictor of cancer death.

Cancer was the leading cause of death in 38% of people compared to just 19% who performed abnormally on the stress test who died of heart problems.

Experts say based on their results, when heart problems are ruled out but patients have low performance on the stress test, their caregivers should look at other possible health issues like cancer.

Beating Brain Cancer

A little device the size of a grain of rice may be the key to beating brain cancer.

Microdevices implanted into tumors can alert doctors about how well cancer treatment is working.

Brigham and Women’s scientists tested the new device which can conduct dozens of experiments at once to gauge the effects of therapy on some of the hardest to treat brain cancers.

Researchers say the implanted chip gives them unprecedented insight into the efficacy and potential side effects of drugs prescribed to patients with gliomas.

Study authors say they are turning patients into their own labs to better treat their cancers.

Lack of sleep & Alzheimer’s

Lack of sleep can damage the brain leading to a mind robbing disease.

The American Chemical Society reports sleep deprivation impairs brain function.

Sleep loss over long periods of time can increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

That’s because protective protein levels decline after sleep deprivation leading to the death of neurons.

The sleep deprivation induced neurological damage occurs in the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in learning and memory.

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