Hawaiian Gardens celebrates 50 years

For hundreds of years, the land where our city is today was wooded marsh where people came to hunt, or water their horses and cattle. Native Americans roamed here with Spanish settlers coming later. With time people came and went in this wooded marsh and, around the turn of the 20th century, the land was used agriculturally and sparsely populated.During the 1940s, Hawaiian Gardens was a small, rural community of dairy and truck farms that was considered unincorporated part of Artesia. As the area grew, so did the residents’ awareness of being a separate community. On April 9, 1964, the city of Hawaiian Gardens was formally incorporated as a city. With less than a half square mile in area and an estimated population of 3,000, it was the smallest city in the State of California.The name, Hawaiian Gardens, was borrowed from a bamboo shack refreshment stand that operated on Carson and Norwalk Blvd in 1927. The new city of Hawaiian Gardens grew quickly and within 5 years of incorporation all of the dirt streets had been paved, over 54 streetlights had been installed.Hawaiian Gardens adopted the motto “Our Youth Our Future” and placed a high priority on community and social programs. By 1966 the City’s first park Lee Ware was opened. By 1977 the city developed its $2.5 million dollar recreation and administration building on Pioneer Blvd, which is now known as C. Robert Lee Activity Center and City Hall. In the 1980’s, the newly-created St. Peter Chanel was opened to the community and the early 1990’s brought struggle to our city, with the massive loss of manufacturing jobs in our working-class area.By April 2001, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino opened their doors and the new revenue source provided the city with the opportunity to enhance community services and programs. Today, the city of Hawaiian Gardens is a thriving community with a growing population and flourishing budget.Over the last five years it has constructed a new, state-of-the-art public safety center, library, sports complex and memorials built in honor of our veterans and public safety personnel. Most importantly, today it continues to be a small city with a big heart and bright future, focused on community services and our youth.

Giving homage to our veterans

UnitedHealthcare employees who work and live in the Los Angeles and Orange County region honoredAmerica’s veterans and service membersthis past Memorial Day by placing more than 1,700 U.S. flags in front of its California headquarters in Cypress throughout the Memorial Day weekend.Employees also created several memorial walls both inside and outside the building with pictures and stories of loved ones to honor their service and sacrifice. Patriotic music was played as employees and members of American Legion Cypress Post 295 shared their personal stories and placed the flags in front of the building. UnitedHealthcare is donating $1 for each flag and photo to support the American Legion Cypress Post 295.

Adidas Cerritos hosts Boys & Girls Club of Cypress

On Thursday, Dec.10, 25 lucky Boys & Girls Club of Cypress members were selected to visit the Adidas store at Los Cerritos Center for a special holiday shopping spree. The members were selected based off of their overall improvement since beginning at the club, as well as for displaying outstanding behavior and citizenship. This event was one of eight across the nation during this holiday season. Each child received $125 to spend at the Adidas store, as well as a gift bag filled with a variety of Adidas apparel. Members were delighted to enter the store and pick out new outfits, shoes, sporting equipment, and more. There was even a DJ playing music at the front of the store. After the event, Boys & Girls Club of Cypress Site Director Samantha Johnson stated, “Our members had an amazing night.Their faces lit up when they entered the store and many of them had a really difficult time deciding what to spend their money on. The Adidas store staff were incredibly helpful and gracious and we are so thankful for this opportunity.”

Stacy Berry jumps in the race for City Council spot

Local community volunteer, Stacy Berry, formally requested official papers to begin the process of entering the race for one of three open seats on the Cypress City Council.An Orange County native, Stacy has witnessed firsthand the growth and prosperity in the region. Once Stacy and her family bought their home and moved to Cypress, the city became her “hometown.” Stacy immediately became an involved Cypress resident and has continued to actively serve as a community volunteer leading and participating in a variety of organizations and events. She continues to prove her dedication and commitment to serving the city through her diverse activities and possesses the innate ability to put aside herself for the good of the community.Stacy's community involvement includes currently serving on the Cypress Senior Citizens Commission, acting as Youth Action Committee Liaison and serving as President of Cypress Children's Advocacy Council. Stacy is also presently serving on the Orange County Transportation Authority Special Needs Advisory Board, Boys and Girls Club of Cypress Board and as Volunteer Coordinator for the Cypress Community Festival Association."As a community volunteer and leader, I've had the privilege of working with a true cross-section of people and organizations within the city. I will put these experiences to work on the City Council these next four years,” said Stacy Berry, about her bid for an open spot. Stacy has already begun putting together a team of volunteers for her council run.Stacy intends to file her papers with the Cypress City Clerk before the August 8 deadline and welcomes community support and feedback as she launches her campaign.

Breast cancer risk is more affected by total body fat than abdominal fat

Body fat is a known risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer but whether there is an increased risk from fat specifically accumulated around the stomach is unclear. In recent years, belly fat has been reported to raise the risk of several conditions including cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and colorectal cancer. Increased levels of several blood markers, including sex hormones, testosterone and oestrogen, the “fullness hormone,” leptin, and inflammatory factors, are associated with breast cancer risk. Some research has suggested that these markers are mainly produced in fat localised to the belly while other work has shown that weight loss is associated with changes in blood levels of breast cancer markers. Taken together these findings seem to suggest that body fat could have an important effect on breast cancer markers.

In this study, carried out by researchers at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, 243 overweight, postmenopausal women lost 5-6 kg of weight over 16 weeks. Blood levels of sex hormones, leptin and inflammatory markers were compared to levels prior to weight loss. Total and abdominal fat changes were assessed using x-ray and MRI-based scans.

After 16 weeks a reduction in total body fat was associated with favourable changes in the levels of breast cancer risk markers, including sex hormones and leptin, whilst a reduction in belly fat was more associated with a reduction in inflammatory markers.

Dr Evelyn Monninkhof who led the study said, “It is known that belly fat increases the risk of several chronic diseases, independently of total body fat, but for reducing sex hormone levels total body fat seems more important.”

Although previous research has reported conflicting associations between breast cancer risk and belly fat, this study used a more accurate scanning based method of determining fat distribution, rather than waist circumference. Dr Monninkhof explains, “we obtained two measurements of both fat depots and biomarkers over time; and we used more accurate DEXA measurements for total body fat, as well as MRI for belly fat.”

Dr Monninkhof says, “Our next step is to find out how belly fat and total body fat can best be conquered, to identify which nutritional or physical activity programmes are optimal for reducing both weight gain and breast cancer risk.”

Specific long-term therapy may not prevent fractures in older women

By 2020, an estimated 61 million American adults will have low bone mineral density. A group of medications known as “bisphosphonates” are sometimes used to treat osteoporosis. These medications increase bone mineral density, which strengthens bones and is thought to make them less likely to fracture. Studies have shown that the risk for bone fractures lessens when women with low bone mineral density take these medications for between 1 and 4 years. However, little is known about whether taking bisphosphonates for longer periods of time has the same effect.

Recently, a team of researchers examined whether older women taking bisphosphonates for 10-13 years had fewer bone fractures than older women with similar fracture risks who took these medicines only briefly. Their study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.The research team examined data from the Women’s Health Initiative study, a large study that began in 1993 to develop ways to reduce heart disease, cancer, and fractures in women after menopause. The researchers looked at information from 5,120 women within the study. These women were bisphosphonate users with a high risk for bone fractures.

More than 95% of participants in the study were over age 70, with an average age of about 80. The length of time the women had taken bisphosphonates when the study started was as follows:

13% for 2 years 34% for 3-5 years 20% for 6-9 years 33% for 10-13 years

The researchers followed the women in the study for nearly 4 years. They discovered that women who took bisphosphonates for 10-13 years had higher fracture rates, compared with women who took the medication for 2 years. Taking bisphosphonates for 3-9 years was not linked to a higher fracture risk.

“Our study and several others have found higher risk of fractures among very long-term bisphosphonate users, compared with short-term users. However, the ideal length of bisphosphonate use has not yet been studied in randomized clinical trials, which are considered the gold standard of research studies. Therefore, long-term bisphosphonate users should see their healthcare providers regularly to decide how long to continue bisphosphonate therapy in their individual cases,” stated Rebecca L. Drieling, MPH, an author of the study.

Vaginal bacteria can trigger recurrent UTIs, study shows

A new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has uncovered a trigger of recurrent UTI infections: a type of vaginal bacteria that moves into the urinary tract.

The research, in mice, is published March 30 in PLOS Pathogens.

UTIs most often occur when bacteria that live inside the bowel make their way into the urinary tract. The infections can occur anywhere along the urinary tract but commonly develop in the bladder. UTIs are treated with antibiotics, but each time a UTI comes back makes it even more likely the infection will recur yet again.

In young, sexually active women, about 80 percent of UTIs are caused by E. coli. Conventional thinking holds that recurrence occurs when E. coli is reintroduced into the urinary tract. But the new research suggests another way for a subsequent UTI to develop: The vaginal bacterium Gardnerella vaginalis triggers E. coli already hiding in the bladder to cause another UTI. G. vaginalis also may be a contributor to more serious — and potentially deadly — kidney infections, the study suggests.

“We found that a particular vaginal bacterium, Gardnerella vaginalis, did not cause infection during exposure to the urinary tract, but it damaged the cells on the surface of the bladder and caused E. coli from a previous UTI to start multiplying, leading to another bout of disease,” said the study’s senior author, Amanda Lewis, PhD, an assistant professor of molecular microbiology and of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University.

Controlling energy production by calcium is an organ-specific affair

Now, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University have shown that the composition of the mitochondrial calcium portal (the protein that regulates when and how much calcium enters) is different depending on the organ in the body, and this difference allows mitochondria to tune their energy output by decoding a pattern of amplitude and/or frequency of calcium oscillations inside a cell. The results, published March 7 in the journal Cell Reports, could shed light on our basic understanding of organ health and disease.

“The mitochondria have to adjust the energy production to meet the metabolic needs of the tissue, whether it’s in the heart, the liver, or the muscle,” says Gyorgy Hajnoczky, M.D., Ph.D., the Raphael Rubin Endowed Chair and Professor of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology at Thomas Jefferson University and Director of the Jefferson MitoCare Center.

Dr. Hajnoczky and colleagues Gyorgy Csordas, M.D. and Erin Seifert, Ph.D., faculty at the MitoCare Center, looked at the composition of the mitochondrial calcium portal in three tissue types of mice: heart, liver and skeletal muscle, and noticed that the ratio of the main channel protein, called MCU, and a regulator protein, called MICU1, varied across tissue types. They and others had previously shown that MICU1 is a calcium sensing master switch that both seals the channel until a threshold is reached then expedites its activation.

Strikingly, the group found that the liver contained a high amount of the regulator protein relative to the amount of the channel protein, whereas the heart had a lower ratio of regulator protein. This meant that liver cells have mitochondrial calcium channels that are more likely to be under the control of the regulator, while heart cells have less guarded mitochondrial calcium channels.

Adding a second HER2 blocker may lower chance of invasive breast cancer for some women

The study will be featured in a press briefing today and presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

At an early follow up of three years, 93.2% of women who received trastuzumab alone had not developed invasive disease compared with 94.1% of those who received pertuzumab and trastuzumab, a difference of 1%. While the prognosis for patients who receive standard of care trastuzumab is already favorable, patients in the study who received pertuzumab and trastuzumab had a 19% lower chance of developing invasive breast cancer than those who received trastuzumab alone.

Invasive breast cancer begins in the milk ducts or glands and spreads into surrounding tissue. From there it can spread to nearby lymph nodes and beyond. Invasive breast cancer is therefore much more difficult to treat than non-invasive cancer.

“Women with HER2-positive breast cancer used to have a worse prognosis than those with HER2-negative cancer, but the advent of HER2-targeted therapy changed the outlook for these women,” said lead study author Gunter von Minckwitz, MD, PhD, President of the German Breast Group in Neu-Isenburg, Germany. “Our early findings suggest that we may be able to further improve outcomes for some women by adding a second HER2-targeted treatment, without increasing risk for serious side effects.”

While trastuzumab targets only HER2, pertuzumab blocks HER2 and HER3. Using both antibodies establishes a more complete blockade of cancer cell growth signals and may lower the chance of treatment resistance. The authors estimate that about 8% of all patients diagnosed with breast cancer (about 20,000 women in the United States alone) have early, HER2-positive disease and may benefit from this adjuvant therapy.

Hormone replacement therapy associated with lower early mortality

Hormone replacement therapy has been controversial over the past few decades as studies have associated it with both health benefits — lowering the risk of osteoporosis and improving some measures of heart health, for example — and risks, including links to cancer and stroke. Fear over potential cancer and other risks has fueled a dramatic decrease in the number of women using hormone replacement therapy over the past 15 years. The new study bolsters evidence that the therapy, which involves the use of supplemental estrogen, sometimes along with progesterone or similar hormones, may help improve heart health and overall survival in some women.

“With proper screening and proper follow-up, from a cardiovascular standpoint I believe it is beneficial to take hormone replacement therapy,” said Yoav Arnson, MD, a postdoctoral scientist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the study’s lead author. “Our results confirm and enhance previous work in terms of showing lower atherosclerosis. In addition, we’ve shown very clear survival benefits of using hormone replacement therapy.”

The researchers retrospectively analyzed the health records of more than 4,200 women who received a coronary calcium scan at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center between 1998 and 2012. A coronary calcium scan is a CT scan that measures the amount of calcium in the heart’s arteries. Having higher levels of calcium is a marker for the buildup of plaque, which increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.