Health Buzz: Breast Cancer Analysis Shows 4 Types of the Disease

Should you get your genome mapped? Plus, 7 ways to lose fat fast--and fit into your skinny jeans!

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Researchers Find Four Distinct Breast Cancer Types

Researchers at the University of Washington have made progress in understanding and, hopefully, treating breast cancer. In a study published Sunday in the journal Nature, researchers identified four genetically distinct forms of breast cancer. Within those subtypes, they also found characteristics of other types of cancers. For example, the researchers found one form of breast cancer that looks similar to a type of ovarian cancer, so the hope is that an already-proven ovarian cancer treatment could also work for these breast cancer patients. "There's types of therapies now for melanoma and lung cancer and colon cancer and leukemia and we see subsets of breast cancer that have genetic relationships with these other forms of cancer," study researcher Matthew Ellis, a Washington University professor of medicine, told CBS. "So can we reach across and grab those drugs approved for other purpose[s] and re-purpose them for breast cancer?" Ellis told CBS that it could take years for these studies to translate into treatments or cures. So far in 2012, breast cancer has killed about 40,000 people in the United States.

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  • Should You Get Your Genome Mapped?

    Back in early 2010, molecular geneticist Michael Snyder, then a trim 54-year-old, decided to put his genetic blueprint under the microscope and make the results public. Swabbing saliva from his cheek with a sterile sponge and drawing blood to obtain his DNA samples, the Stanford scientist became the subject of one of the first clinical studies to analyze the blueprint of a healthy individual rather than someone known to be sick.

    Snyder's study took advantage of recent technological advances that have now made it possible to rapidly and much less expensively sequence a genome—the instruction manual, contained in virtually every cell of a person, for making a human being. Containing some 3.2 billion pieces of genetic information, the genome determines a broad spectrum of human traits such as eye color, height, general health, and whether someone might be more likely to be a basketball player or a biologist.

    What the Stanford researcher found surprised him. His genetic tests showed that he had a higher-than-average risk for developing adult onset, or type 2, diabetes even though he wasn't overweight, nor did he have any known family history of the disease. But during the 14-month study, in which Snyder's health was closely monitored using a battery of tests, his glucose levels spiked and remained high following a respiratory infection. Only after six months of increased exercise and a change in diet did Snyder's glucose levels drop back to normal, he and colleagues reported in the March 16 issue of the journal Cell. [Read more: Should You Get Your Genome Mapped?]

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    • 7 Ways to Lose Fat Fast—And Fit Into Your Skinny Jeans!

      It's that time of year again when many of us regret the diet decisions we made over the summer as we realize our jeans are too tight! The all-inclusive vacation and trips to the beach and pool can often lead to some unwanted pounds by September and, as a result, poorly fitting jeans. Look your best, and get ready to slip into your skinny jeans with these tips to help you shape up quickly, writes U.S. News blogger Mitzi Dulan.

      1. Eat protein at every meal: Eating enough protein will help you stay satisfied and resist the temptation to snack excessively between meals. If you want to lose weight, aim to eat approximately .7 grams of protein for each pound of your body weight. Just multiply your body weight, in pounds, by .7 to determine the number of protein grams to eat each day. Protein also helps boost your metabolism, since it takes more calories to metabolize compared to fat and carbohydrates. Some high-quality protein sources include: lean beef, chicken breast, fish, lentils, beans, and Greek yogurt.