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May 23, 2013

At 100, ACS Has Made Huge Strides In Reducing Cancer

By Mike Stobbe

AP Medical Writer

New York (AP) The American Cancer Society - one of the nation's best known and influential health advocacy groups - is 100 years old this week.

Back in 1913 when it was formed, cancer was a lesser threat for most Americans. The biggest killers then were flu, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and stomach bugs. At a time when average life expectancy was 47, few lived long enough to get cancer.

But 15 doctors and businessmen in New York City thought cancer deserved serious attention, so they founded the American Society for the Control of Cancer. The modern name would come 31 years later.

The cancer society's rise coincided with the taming of infectious diseases and lengthening life spans. "Cancer is a disease of aging, so as people live longer there will be more cancer," explained Dr. Michael Kastan, executive director of Duke University's Cancer Institute.

Cancer became the nation's No. 2 killer in 1938, a ranking it has held ever since. It also became perhaps the most feared disease - the patient's own cells growing out of control, responding only to brutal treatments: surgery, radiation and poisonous chemicals.

The cancer society is credited with being the largest and most visible proponent of research funding, prevention and programs to help house and educate cancer patients.

Last year, the organization had revenues of about $925 million. It employs 6,000 and has 3 million volunteers, calling itself the largest voluntary health organization in the nation.

"The American Cancer Society really is in a league of its own," Kastan said. The rate of new cancer cases has been trending downward ever so slightly.

Some historical highlights:

1913 - The American Society for the Control of Cancer is founded in New York City.

1944 - The organization is renamed the American Cancer Society. The change is spurred by Mary Lasker, the wife of advertising mogul Albert Lasker.

1946 - A research program is launched, built on $1 million raised by Mary Lasker. A year later, Dr. Sidney Farber of Boston announces the first successful chemotherapy treatment.

1948 - The cancer society pushes the Pap test, which has been credited with driving a 70 percent decline in uterine and cervical cancer.

1964 - Prodded by the cancer society and other groups, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issues a report irrefutably linking smoking to cancer.

1971 - The cancer society helps lead passage of the National Cancer Act to ramp up research money. President Nixon declares a national "war on cancer," which becomes an extended effort derided by some as a "medical Vietnam."

1976 - The cancer society suggests women 40 and older consider a mammogram if their mother or sisters had breast cancer.

1976 - The cancer society hosts a California event to encourage smokers to quit for the day. A year later, the annual Great American Smokeout is launched nationally.

1988 - Atlanta becomes headquarters for the society.

1997 - The cancer society recommends yearly mammograms for women over 40.

2000 - Dr. Brian Druker of Oregon reports the first success with "targeted" cancer therapy.

2003 - The cancer society stops recommending monthly breast self-exams. But it continues to urge annual mammograms for most women over 40, even after a government task force says most don't need screening until 50.

2012 - The cancer society reports the rate of new cancer cases has been inching down by about half a percent each year since 1999.

Authors Seek To Align Horses With Owners’ Personalities

By MITCHELL KIRK

Pharos-Tribune

Bunker Hill, IN (AP) When Bunker Hill resident Eunice Rush worked in sales, she used her education in business math and management information technology to teach a class on how to identify clients’ personality types and how to highlight areas of one’s own personality to form an effective business relationship.

When Rush met Marry Morrow of Denver at a horse retreat, the two began discussing their own theories about how the same holds true when it comes to equestrians and their horses.

Soon they put their theories to the test, preparing more than 200 surveys and spending the next two years traveling to horse parks and training barns across Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. They interviewed riders, prepared a composite of their personalities and observed their horses to assess what makes them tick well.

What came from it all is their book, ``Know You, Know Your Horse,’’ published in January by international publishing company Trafalgar Square. Rush wrote the part of the book pertaining to assessing human personalities while Morrow addresses those of horses, the Pharos-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/118VGLx ).

``I look at your birth order, learning styles, your basic core personality, whether you’re introverted, extroverted, right brain, left brain and make up a composite person, to help you truly understand you,’’ Rush said.

Rush’s prose also goes into detail about different learning styles people adopt and how to interact with them. The Bunker Hill resident said many people who don’t even own horses buy the book for this reason, like businesspeople and teachers.

After you understand yourself, then it’s time to understand your horse, whether it’s one you already own or one you plan on getting. That’s where Morrow’s part of the book comes in.

``Does your horse like to go all day?’’ Morrow said she asks in the book. ``Does it like to go for four hours then be done? Have you always had your horse? Where did it come from? Who trained it? Does it like to stand still? Does it get frustrated when it stands still? These basic questions give me a window.’’

Horses share many of the same learning styles and personality types as humans, said Morrow, who has been riding horses since she was a child and currently works as a trainer.

``A horse tells you what it wants to do, what it likes and what gives it security,’’ Morrow said. ``Then I look at the people. Do the people match? If there’s a horse that’s an extrovert, then I’m looking for a human that’s an extrovert. ... They’re a more aggressive rider. They have just a little bit more energy, which would mesh with an extroverted horse better because that horse wants to move.’’

Not that this is always the case, Morrow continued.

``Once you adapt to a horse, over time that horse will actually come toward your personality,’’ she said. ``Bring up the energy if you’re an introvert because you’re the kind of person who tries to slow things down and you’re going to be putting that on the horse. If it’s a good bond, the horse will come to your personality and you’ll go to theirs and you’ll start to see things work out.’’

The authors said a large part of the motivation behind the book was to help people get the right horse the first time rather than getting one that doesn’t mesh well with the rider and having to start the whole process over again.

``For a first-time buyer, we explain how to buy a horse that matches your personality so you have a better relationship with the horse right up front,’’ Rush said. ``For a lot of people, it’s trial and error. We help them buy the right horse the first time.’’

``Know You, Know Your Horse’’ is available at www.ridesafe2day.com, and retailers like Barnes & Noble and www.amazon.com.

Honeybees Trained In Croatia To Find Land Mines

By DUSAN STOJANOVIC and DARKO BANDIC

Associated Press

Zagreb, Croatia (AP) Mirjana Filipovic is still haunted by the land mine blast that killed her boyfriend and blew off her left leg while on a fishing trip nearly a decade ago. It happened in a field that was supposedly de-mined.

Now, unlikely heroes may be coming to the rescue to prevent similar tragedies: sugar-craving honeybees. Croatian researchers are training them to find unexploded mines littering their country and the rest of the Balkans.

When Croatia joins the European Union on July 1, in addition to the beauty of its aquamarine Adriatic sea, deep blue mountain lakes and lush green forests, it will also bring numerous un-cleared minefields to the bloc’s territory. About 750 square kilometers (466 square miles) are still suspected to be filled with mines from the Balkan wars in the 1990s.

Nikola Kezic, an expert on the behavior of honeybees, sat quietly together with a group of young researchers on a recent day in a large net tent filled with the buzzing insects on a grass field lined with acacia trees. The professor at Zagreb University outlined the idea for the experiment: Bees have a perfect sense of smell that can quickly detect the scent of the explosives. They are being trained to identify their food with the scent of TNT.

``Our basic conclusion is that the bees can clearly detect this target, and we are very satisfied,’’ said Kezic, who leads a part of a larger multimillion-euro program, called ``Tiramisu,’’ sponsored by the EU to detect land mines on the continent.

Honeybee at work

Several feeding points were set up on the ground around the tent, but only a few have TNT particles in them. The method of training the bees by authenticating the scent of explosives with the food they eat appears to work: bees gather mainly at the pots containing a sugar solution mixed with TNT, and not the ones that have a different smell.

Kezic said the feeding points containing the TNT traces offer ``a sugar solution as a reward, so they can find the food in the middle.’’

``It is not a problem for a bee to learn the smell of an explosive, which it can then search,’’ Kezic said. ``You can train a bee, but training their colony of thousands becomes a problem.’’

Croatian officials estimate that since the beginning of the Balkan wars in 1991, about 2,500 people have died from land mine explosions. During the four-year war, around 90,000 land mines were placed across the entire country, mostly at random and without any plan or existing maps.

Dijana Plestina, the head of the Croatian government’s de-mining bureau, said the suspected devices represent a large obstacle for the country’s population and industry, including agriculture and tourism. In the nearly two decades since the end of the war, land mines have taken the lives of 316 people, including 66 de-miners, she said.

``While this exists, we are living in a kind of terror, at least for the people who are living in areas suspected to have mines,’’ she said. ``And of course, that is unacceptable. We will not be a country in peace until this problem is solved.’’

It may be a while before the honeybees hit real minefields, Kezic said. First, they will conduct controlled tests, with real mines but which are marked.

Kezic said American researchers have in the past experimented with mine-searching bees, but, TNT-the most common explosive used in the Balkan wars-wasn’t part of their experiment because its smell evaporates quickly, and only small traces remain after time. Rats and dogs are also used to detect explosives worldwide, but unlike bees, they could set off blasts on the minefields because of their weight.

Even after the de-miners have done their job in an area, some land mines are missed and remain in the soil, and they are most often the cause of deadly explosions. Once the experiment with bees proves scientifically reliable, the idea is to use them in the areas that have already been de-mined, where their movement would be followed with heat-seeking cameras, Kezic said.

``We are not saying that we will discover all the mines on a minefield, but the fact is that it should be checked if a minefield is really de-mined,’’ he said. ``It has been scientifically proven that there are never zero mines on a de-mined field, and that’s where bees could come in.’’


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