Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stress triggers tumor formation, researchers find

Stress triggers tumor formation, researchers find

January 13, 2010

Stress induces signals that cause cells to develop into tumors, Yale researchers have discovered. The research, published online Jan. 13 in the journal Nature, describes a novel way cancer takes hold in the body and suggests new ways to attack the deadly disease.


Stress is a biological term which refers to the consequences of the failure of a human or animal to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats to the organism, whether actual or imagined. It includes a state of alarm and adrenaline production, short-term resistance as a coping mechanism, and exhaustion. Common stress symptoms include irritability, muscular tension, inability to concentrate and a variety of physical reactions, such as headaches and elevated heart rate.

For more information about Stress (biological), read the full article at Wikipedia.
This text uses material from Wikipedia and is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Stress triggers tumor formation, researchers find

"A lot of different conditions can trigger stress signaling: physical stress, emotional stress, infections, inflammation - all these things. Another bad news for cancer" Xu said.
The researchers studied the activity of two genes known to be involved in development of human cancers: a gene called RAS that has been implicated in 30 percent of cancers, and a tumor-suppressing gene called scribble, which contributes to tumor development when mutated. Neither of these mutant genes cause cancer on their own, it's when they are together in the same or adjacent cells that the problem begins. A signaling process called JNK, is activated by environmental stress conditions leading to the aberrant behaviour of the two genes.

Short term stress is managed generally, well by the homeostatic mechanisms of the person's physiology. Chronic, unremitting reaction to environmental stressors is where the real problem lies - more and more evidence is showing that inflammatory processes are a big issue. The challenge is for us, especially in the modern fast paced world, to slow down, relax more, switch on the parasympathetic aspect of our nervous systems. We need to chill out,'smell the roses', have massages, walk along the beach, marvel at natuare, eat good food slowly, exercise, take time for fun and good things in our lives. The most powerful stress reduction activity is to surround ourselves with people who love us. Social support is the key to a healthy, happy, joyous life.

Of course, I have to relate this information to childbearing women!

Knowledge about the effects of environmental stress on our physiology is growing exponentially. The effect of stress on childbearing women is becoming more widely known. Stress reduction strategies for childbearing women are a must for healthy happy mothers and babies. One strategy that has immense value is one to one midwifery care. We know how effective social support is to human wellbeing. Midwifery support is an exponential increase in support for childbearing women because one to one midwifery care provides social and professional support, helping women to create an environment within which they feel safe, loved and respected and in control of their bodies and their decisions.

As researchers learn more and more about genetic behaviour; how genes are modified in response to environmental conditions; how what used to be called 'junk DNA' is now recognised as the extraordinary, complicated multifactorial process of RNA transcription and methylation that gives us all our unique aspects, the vitally and crucial need to take real care of childbearing women will become more and more apparent.

2 comments:

Lisa Barrett said...

This is really interesting. I didn't think it was new information. This is always how the sympathetic and parasympathetic system has been known to work. It's interesting that it is seen as the body's abnormal reaction instead of the normal action of the body when hit by a stressor just trying to maintain homeostasis. This applies particularly in pregnancy. At our workshop last weekend we had a Chiro Charles Williamson come and talk about this very thing to us. It is one of the most interesting concepts to think about for a pregnant woman when realising that the body is always trying to maintain equilibrium so all symptoms and ailments a woman has in pregnancy can be related to how her parasympathetic nervous system is dealing with the stressors on the womans body.

Thinkbirth said...

Hi Lisa, the way that the sympathetic and parasympathetic work and that the body seeks balance is not new information, that is true. What is new is the understanding of how cells 'talk' to each other in response to environmental stress. Scientists have now identified the way environmental stress triggers a signaling process they have labelled JNK. JNK is an epigenetic process which gets different genes with different functions in adjacent cells to team together to create tumours. What is so useful about this finding is that it shows how stressors affect cell behaviour and cause problems for people. I've extrapolated this information to understanding how environmental stressors affect pregnant women and their babies in all sorts of ways. To me, this information proves how important midwifery is to pregnant women when midwifery is provided in a one to one way. My take on this is that one to one midwifery is an 'anxiolytic'.

My golden rule is that a woman should feel better about herself after leaving a midwife's presence - that's the power of what Michel Odent has labelled 'authentic midwifery'.