Thursday May 3 7:41 AM ET
Sushi May Cut Smokers' Lung Cancer Risk - Study

By Patricia Reaney

LONDON (Reuters) - Eating large amounts of sushi, the Japanese fish delicacy now popular in many western countries, may help smokers reduce the risk of developing lung cancer, scientists said Thursday.

Scientists at the Aichi Cancer Center in Nagoya, Japan, believe sushi and fresh fish are the reason lung cancer rates in Japan are markedly lower than those in the United States and Britain, even though the Japanese smoke as much as Westerners.

``Japanese people love their fresh fish, particularly sushi,'' Professor Toshiro Takezaki said in a statement. ``We think that is why, even though the Japanese smoke as much as people in the UK, their rate of lung cancer is only two-thirds as high.''

In a study published in the British Journal of Cancer, Takezaki and his colleagues studied the eating habits of 4,000 healthy people and 1,000 lung cancer sufferers to determine how much of an impact diet had on the disease.

They found that people who ate large amounts of fresh fish or sushi were less likely to develop lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the world.

Fresh fish seemed particularly to prevent the adenocarcinoma type of lung cancer. People who ate the most sushi and fresh fish had half the risk of developing the rare tumor than people who ate the least fresh fish.

Salted or dried fish did not seem to protect against the disease. Other scientific studies have indicated they could increase the risk of lung cancer.

Scientists are not sure how fresh fish helps to lower lung cancer risk in smokers but suspect it is due to polyunsaturated fatty acids present in fish oil.

Results of other studies looking into the relation between eating fresh fish and reduced lung cancer risk have been inconclusive.

``It has been suspected but this study shows a strong correlation with this particular type of lung cancer,'' Brad Tims of the Cancer Research Campaign (CRC), a leading British charity, told Reuters.

Lung cancer is the deadliest of all cancers. The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is about 10 percent and an estimated 80 percent of lung cancer patients die within a year of being diagnosed.

Smoking is a leading cause of the disease. Researchers estimate that one billion people will die of lung cancer in the 21st century if current smoking trends continue.

``The most important thing anyone can do to cut their risk of lung cancer is to give up smoking, but for those people who are unable to quit, eating lots of fresh fish could be a useful way to moderate their risk,'' said Professor Gordon McVie, the director general of the CRC.

Thursday November 15 1:49 PM ET

Depressed? Eat Some Sushi, Scientists Say

By Elinor Schang

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Remember your mother telling you: ''Eat your fish. It's good for your brain.'' She may just have been right.

Scientists think they have evidence that fish oil could cure mental disorders such as depression and dyslexia -- conditions increasingly common in the Western world.

``This really does represent a breakthrough in the managing of individual depressions,'' Alexandra Richardson, Senior Neuroscience Research Fellow at Britain's University of Oxford, told a seminar about depression in Stockholm on Thursday.

``If the brain does not have the right fats, it will not be working right.''

The right fats to beat the blues are large amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel.

Richardson's research found that the lack of these fats -- which are needed for the normal development and functioning of brain cells -- causes depression, autism, dyslexia and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) in some people.

Depression became increasingly common in the 20th century and one in four people will suffer from a mental or neurological disorder during their lifetime, according to World Health Organization (news - web sites) data.

High levels of stress, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine consumption can further decrease the levels of fatty acids, aggravating or even creating mental disorders, Richardson said.

She believes there is a link between the dramatic increase of depression and changing eating patterns in the West.

``We really seem to be looking at a crisis here and it's all in the diet,'' she said.

In countries where people eat less fish the increase in the incidence of depression is higher than in, for instance, Japan where fish consumption remains high, Richardson said.

She said everyone could benefit from increasing their intake of Omega-3 fatty acids.

``There is little too lose. There are hardly any negative side-effects, only nice cosmetic ones such as nice shiny hair, strong nails and healthy looking skin.''

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