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An apple a day . .

French scientists have found more evidence Mom was right, this time about eating apples.

Apples may keep colon cancer at bay because they contain antioxidant properties that seem to protect mice from developing pre-cancerous lesions.

Researchers wanted to study the role of polyphenols, or naturally occurring antioxidants found in the skin of apples and in other kinds of foods. Specifically, the scientists wanted to compare the cancer prevention effects of two types of polyphenols called flavonoids and procyanidins.

When they exposed cancer cells from mice to flavonoids, the researchers noticed little effect on cancer cell growth. However, exposing cancer cells to procyanidins triggered apoptosis, or cellular suicide, which is crucial to preventing the spread of cancer.

Time for vitamin S?

Like an essential nutrient, salicylic acid in small, daily aspirin doses helps prevent diseases such as Alzheimer's and heart disease -- hence its nickname, vitamin S. Now, scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia have found that ovarian cancer may start when surface tissues are inflamed by prostaglandins -- chemicals that aspirin is known to block. These same prostaglandins are found inside Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer cells. In a new Harvard study of 1,200 people, five years' regular aspirin use cut risk of that cancer by 40 percent. The dose was the same as recommended for heart disease prevention -- one 81-miligram aspirin per day.

Stairs or the elevator?

It was a designer's challenge worthy of HGTV: Which decor change would encourage people to skip the elevator and take the stairs? Researchers experimented in a five-story Atlanta office building. Can you pick the winner? A. New paint and carpeted stairs.

B. Original artwork hung in stairwells.

C. Motivational signs.

D. Music piped into the stairwells.

Answer: D.

Initially, signs and music increased stair use by nearly 10 percent, but music kept people climbing -- even three years later, a new CDC study finds.

Compiled from News and wire service reports.

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