Researchers from the New York State Department of Health have discovered that certain molecular signals in the blood or in the airways can help detect the early stages of lung cancer. Through a research study on 33 people, they found that exhaled breath carries DNA from cells in the lungs. They closely studied the methylation patterns of particular gene promoters in the subjects and identified a potential predictor of the cancer. Their conclusions suggest that a breath test can predict lung cancer risk. Early detection of lung cancer is extremely important since treatment at this time will be most effective.
Moreover, another study conducted at Harvard University found that marijuana could help combat lung cancer. The researchers carried out lab studies and discovered that delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component in the drug, halves tumor growth in cases of common lung cancer and also prevents the cancer from spreading. They injected mice with human lung cancer cells and THC. Three weeks later the tumors showed a 50 percent reduction. However, the mice displayed signs of clumsiness and being high. The studies may be at an early stage but the therapeutic potential of THC is now undeniable.
Another American research study associated excessive intake of cured meats with lung disease. Researchers studied the data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination, conducted from 1988 to 1994, which covered 7,352 people. They examined the lung function tests and saw that those consuming meat not less than 14 times a month had higher chances of suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD includes several lung conditions such as bronchitis and emphysema. Rich in nitrites, cured meats produce nitrogen species, which may harm the lungs. However, further studies are essential to know the risk factor of such meats.
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