July 9, 2010
New research study conducted at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center shows social activities and related stress may help reduce cancer growth. Mental stimulation caused by stress related activities affects the nervous system pathways to inhibit fat cells from releasing a hormone called leptin. The release of the hormone generally decreases appetite.
Apparently appetite is not the only body function affected by leptin. It was also shown that the hormone accelerates cancer growth. By inhibiting leptin, cancer growth is inhibited providing a possible therapeutic treatment for the disease. The cycle includes a nerve cell center called hypothalamic-sympathoneural-adipocycle axis, or HSA. When a person is under influence of mild stress the HSA pathway stimulates the adrenal gland, often associated with survival. The adrenal glands release a hormone essentially inhibiting fat cells from releasing leptin.
Cancer patients are often recommended to avoid stress related activities. This new study shows that stress and social activities may have positive influence on cancer treatment.
Dr. Matthew During, professor of neurological surgery, immunology and molecular genetics led the research study. He believes social activities create and environment stimulating the HSA axis and adrenal gland function. The end result is a decrease in leptin. Further more, less leptin in the system has reduced growth in melanoma and colon cancer.
Results from the study could cause some to rethink cancer treatment. Patients undergoing treatment are often recommended to rest and avoid to social stress related activities. However, mild stress could provide an environment that helps instead of inhibits cancer treatment.