A new study published in the journal Cell suggests that living in an environment rich with physical, mental and social stimulation - a setting that causes mild stress - might by itself curb cancer growth. The animal study, led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, also shows how this effect happens and that it might have therapeutic use.
The researchers discovered that an enriched environment activates a nervous-system pathway by which the brain talks to fat tissue. That pathway -- the hypothalamic-
sympathoneural-adipocyte (HSA) axis -- tells fat cells to stop releasing a hormone called leptin into the bloodstream. The enriched environment had the same cancer-curbing influence in models of melanoma and colon cancer.
Leptin normally helps restrain appetite, but this study discovered that it also accelerates cancer growth. "The most dramatic hormonal change we observed was the drop in leptin from fat after richer housing conditions activated the HSA pathway. That pathway is also present in humans, where it is likely to be activated by a more complex and challenging life," he adds. (Source: Times of India)