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Working long hours 'linked to depression': overtime-depression_166x138_200332294-001

Working long hours 'linked to depression'

Working eleven hours a day can lead to severe depression, Metro has today reported. According to the newspaper, staff who put in 11 or more hours a day at the office are twice as likely to suffer a severe bout of depression than those working just eight.

New initiative - Money Sense

First Newsletter

Rotherham Council has backed a multi million pound project: visions-of-china-feature

Rotherham Council has backed a multi million pound project

The Council's Cabinet has selected the preferred developers for the fomer Pithouse West colliery site, located to the north of Rother Valley Country Park.

The Source Skills Academy has secured  funding to support businesses and sole traders in Yorkshire: The Source Skills Academy

The Source Skills Academy has secured funding to support businesses and sole traders in Yorkshire

Businesses can access a 50% contribution towards an exclusive programme designed by Retail Expert and TV host Mary Portas - "The Mary Portas guide to successful retailing - An inspirational programme for shop owners/managers."

Tips for Raising Finance from your Bank: APPROVED_loanJPG

Tips for Raising Finance from your Bank

There is a belief in the business community that banks are not lending to businesses, but banks are keen to emphasise that they are very much open for business to lend to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Government appoints Careline services to deliver Business Link helpline: new_phone_line

Government appoints Careline services to deliver Business Link helpline

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has appointed Careline Services, in partnership with the Business and Enterprise Group, to provide its new Business Link helpline

News Details

Does fruit and veg chemical fight cancer?

Posted 20/02/2012

A healthy fruit and vegetables diet could help guard against one of the deadliest cancers, the Daily Express has today reported. The newspaper says this is due to a potent super-nutrient found in these foods.

This story is based on research into a chemical called luteolin that is found in a wide variety of plants. The substance has already been found to reduce the growth of bowel cancer cells in the laboratory, and this new study attempted to confirm how it disrupted these cancer cells. In particular, the researchers concentrated on a cellular process that blocks cells from dying naturally and causes cancers to form. After testing luteolin on bowel cancer cells the researchers found that it interfered with this process, which effectively helps to control a cells life and death.

The Daily Express has reported that a luteolin-rich diet prevents cancer, but this research was carried out in cells in the laboratory, and did not test the effect of the compound in humans. Also, the luteolin used in this research was in a highly concentrated pure dose, and not from dietary sources. The study demonstrates how pure luteolin reduces the growth of bowel cancer cells in the laboratory, but does not show that a diet high in luteolin-containing vegetables can prevent cancer.

However, there is a great deal of existing research supporting a link between fruit and vegetables and benefits such as a reduced risk of bowel cancer. On this basis, there is already enough evidence to recommend including fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from Hallym University and other institutions throughout Korea. The research was funded by the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed open-access medical journal BMC Gastroenterology.

By itself, this study is not enough to support headlines claiming that a diet high in fruit and vegetables can prevent bowel cancer. Rather than examining the health effects of eating luteolin-containing foods it tested a dose of pure luteolin on bowel cancer cells grown in a laboratory. It is premature to link these laboratory-based results to dietary intake of luteolin.

What kind of research was this?

This was a laboratory study that examined the effect of a common plant compound called luteolin on bowel cancer cells. Luteolin is a type of plant pigment called a flavonoid, and it has antioxidant and suspected anti-cancer properties.

The researchers performing this study had previously shown that luteolin can stop bowel cancer cells in the laboratory from dividing, and can cause them to die. They thought that luteolin may do this by interfering with a particular biochemical chain of events called the IGF-IR pathway, which is known to be overactive in bowel cancer cells. This pathway causes cancerous cells to grow and divide, and prevents them from dying off naturally as healthy cells do.

This research was conducted in a laboratory setting, and did not involve any human participants. Its aim was to identify the effects of luteolin on bowel cancer cells, as a very early step in determining whether this chemical or a similar one might be used as a cancer treatment. It did not assess the potential cancer-preventing effects of eating luteolin-containing vegetables and herbs.

What did the research involve?

The researchers first grew human colon cancer cells in the laboratory, starved them for one day, and then divided them into four groups:

  • group 1 was exposed to luteolin but no insulin-like growth factor I (IFG-I), which is known to activate the IGF-IR pathway under study
  • group 2 was exposed to luteolin and IGF-I
  • group 3 was exposed to IGF-I, but no luteolin
  • group 4 was exposed to neither luteolin nor IGF-I

The researchers then measured and compared the number of cancer cells present after one, two and three days, across all the exposure groups. The researchers compared the average number of cells, and determined whether or not there was a statistically significant difference in the number of cells present in each group.

The researchers also carried out a variety of experiments to determine what components of the IGF-IR pathway luteolin interferes with.

What were the basic results?

When assessing the effect of luteolin on the growth of bowel cancer cells, the researchers found that the cells exposed to only IGF-I significantly increased in number, while those exposed to only luteolin significantly reduced in number. The group exposed to both luteolin and IGF-I showed the same reduction in the number of cells as the luteolin-only group, implying that luteolin interferes with the effect of IGF-I.

They also found that luteolin reduces the secretion of a protein called IGF-II by the cancer cells, reduces the amount of a key protein in the signalling pathway and interferes with several chemical processes in the signalling pathway. All of these actions reduce the activity of the cancer-related IGF-IR signalling pathway.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers say that luteolin reduced the activity of a key signalling pathway that is overactive in bowel cancer cells, and that this may account for the reduction of cell growth and increase in natural cell death seen in these cells when exposed to luteolin. They say that further animal studies are necessary to determine whether or not luteolin can be developed into an effective therapy for bowel cancer.


This research studied luteolin, which is a plant compound that can reduce growth and induce death of bowel cancer cells in the laboratory. The research seems to have pinpointed the specific signalling pathway through which this occurs. It did not, however, examine the impact of luteolin-rich diets on bowel cancer in people, and based on these results it cannot be assumed that eating vegetables containing this compound can prevent or slow cancer.

Laboratory-based studies carried out in cells are a necessary first step in identifying a potential new disease treatment. The mechanism through which luteolin may prevent cancer cell growth has been identified, and the next step would be further studies in animals. If these animal studies suggest that luteolin is safe and beneficial, limited trials in humans would then be needed to assess its effect on human disease. In short, this study represents an extremely early stage of research, and it will be several years before its results could result in any new treatments in humans.

It is important to remember that this study used pure luteolin, and not dietary sources of the compound. The effect of dietary luteolin on cancer is not clear from this research.

Systematic reviews of observational studies have found a link between eating a diet high in plant foods and a reduced risk of bowel cancer. Therefore, despite the limitations of the current study, a diet high in fruit and vegetables is certainly a healthy choice, and is recommended by schemes such as 5 A DAY.

Team Challenges

Walking the Length of Hadrian's Wall: hadrian's wall

Walking the Length of Hadrian's Wall

Our 2nd challenge is to walk the length of Hadrian's Wall in 2 weeks.

The Meadowhall Challenge: meadowhall

The Meadowhall Challenge

We aim to walk 897,600 steps (equalivalent to 100 Laps) which is 170 miles of Meadowhall Shopping Centre in 22 days!

Conquering the Eiffel Tower, 10 times in a day!: eiffel-tower-431x300

Conquering the Eiffel Tower, 10 times in a day!

For our third team challenge we're going to walk up and down the Eiffel Tower, 10 times in one day.

Climbing Mount Everest (in steps): mount-everest-1

Climbing Mount Everest (in steps)

The first challenge we set ourselves was to conquer the giant that is Mount Everest while still balancing a full week of work.

Upcoming Events

NHS Rotherham Events (Stop Smoking Help): 8e00704e-b469-4671-815f-9450f7fe301d

NHS Rotherham Events (Stop Smoking Help)

Some people prefer one-to-one help. You can walk into one of the service's drop-in centres or book an appointment in advance.

Mind Your Own Business Training Dates 2011/12: MYOB_logo_cmyk

Mind Your Own Business Training Dates 2011/12

Please see the attached flyer for forthcoming dates for the Mental Health First Aid and Managing Mental Health training courses


  • Nicholas Associates
  • Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
  • ERDF
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