How to Help Someone With Depression

When someone you know and love is clinically depressed, you want to be there for that person. Still, keep in mind that your friend or loved one has a medical condition, so giving support may mean more than just offering a shoulder to cry on.

How to Help Someone With Depression; woman with her head tucked in her legs, sad and someones arm on her shoulder

“There are many things you can do to make them feel better,” says Jackie Gollan, PhD, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, but medical care may be what they really need to recover.

Here are nine helpful things you can do for someone with depression.

How to Help Someone With Depression; woman who is frustrated

Realize treatment is key

Depression is a medical condition requiring medical care. As a family member or friend, you can listen to the person and give your support, but that might not be enough.

If you keep this in mind, it can prevent you from losing patience or getting frustrated with them because your best efforts don’t “cure” their depression.

“People that are depressed can’t sleep it off; they can’t avoid it,” says Gollan. “You can give care and support, but it’s not going to solve the problem.”

How to Help Someone With Depression; woman smiling and talking to another woman

Get active in their care

The best thing you can do for someone with depression is support his or her treatment. Tell your friend or loved one that depression is a medical problem and ignoring it will not make it go away.

“If someone breaks their leg, they are taken to a doctor or hospital,” says Gollan. “But if someone has depression, they need medical care and psychosocial support.”

How to Help Someone With Depression; man who is frustrated, and older man talking to him

Talk about it

Let them know that you and others care about them and are available for support. Offer to drive them to treatment or, if they want to talk to you about how they’re feeling, know what to listen for.

“This can reduce risk of suicide,” says Gollan. “Listen carefully for signs of hopelessness and pessimism, and don’t be afraid to call a treatment provider for help or even take them to the ER if their safety is in question.”

How to Help Someone With Depression; family portrait, dad, mom, two daughters and son smiling

Stay in contact

Call or visit the person and invite her or him to join you in daily activities. People who are depressed may become isolated because they don’t want to “bother” other people.

You may need to work extra hard to support and engage someone who’s depressed.

“Activities that promote a sense of accomplishment, reward, or pleasure are directly helpful in improving depression,” says Gollan. “Choose something that the person finds interesting.” Still, keep in mind that they may not feel interested in the activity right away.

Routines that promote exercise, nutrition, and a healthy amount of sleep are helpful.

Focus on small goals

A depressed person may ask, “Why bother? Why should I get out of bed today?” You can help answer these questions and offer positive reinforcement.

“Depressive avoidance and passivity can be reduced through activation [to help the person regain a sense of reward] and small goals of accomplishment,” says Gollan.

Document and praise small, daily achievements—even something as simple as getting out of bed.

Read all about it

Books about depression can be useful, especially when they are reliable sources of advice or guidance that’s known to help people with depression.

Books can often shed light on the types of treatment available.

Gollan recommends books like The Feeling Good Handbook ($15;, Mind Over Mood ($14;, and Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time ($18;

“Blogs are pretty risky,” she says, “unless you are sure the sources are reliable.”

Find local services

Use support services in your community or online resources such as National Alliance on Mental Illness to help you find the right specialists to consult on depression treatment. A primary-care physician or an ob/gyn can also provide referrals for a psychiatrist.

Some people with depression may not recognize that they’re depressed. Explain to them that the condition can get progressively worse, even become chronic, if not treated early. Hence, it’s worth investigating supportive services and specialists.

Encourage doctor visits

Encourage the person to visit a physician or psychologist; take medications as prescribed; and participate in cognitive behavioral therapy for depression.

Gollan suggests checking the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association to locate psychologists and medical centers’ psychiatry departments.

Pay attention

If someone you love has been depressed in the past, pay attention if the person is experiencing some of the riskier life phases (in terms of depression), such as adolescence or a recent childbirth.

Also, if the going is rough for him or her emotionally due to marital separation, divorce, job loss, a death in the family, or other serious stress, be ready to step in to help.

Taking Care of Skin – 7 Things Every Woman Should Know

Own your skin

You probably don’t realize it, but your skin is constantly reinventing itself: The outer layer regenerates every month. Taking care of skin is essential – your body’s biggest organ needs to stay in tip-top shape because it has important jobs to do—like shielding you from pathogens, the elements, and everyday bumps and falls. You can help by giving your skin the TLC it deserves. That means eating the right nutrients, slathering on sunscreen, and checking for suspicious spots, says Jessica Wu, MD, professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. Bonus: Those same healthy habits will keep your skin soft, smooth and gorgeous, too.

Taking care of skin; woman smiling with flower in her hand, glowing healthy skin

Layer by layer

In order to understand how to keep your skin healthy, it helps to know these important terms:

The epidermis makes new skin and the pigment melanin. It also contains Langerhans cells, which help regulate your immune system.

The dermis holds the subepidermal structures of the skin in place.

Subcutaneous fat cushions and protects your body and helps you stay warm.

Sebaceous glands produce an oily substance to keep your skin smooth and soft.

Blood vessels remove waste (like CO2) and ferry nutrients through the layers of the skin.

Hair follicles attach to tiny muscles that cause your hair to stand up (giving you goose bumps) and trap heat when you’re cold.

Sweat glands secrete perspiration to moisten the surface of the skin and cool you down.

Nerves send signals to your brain, so you know how something feels and react to it (e.g., you pull your hand back from a hot pot).

Wrinkles can offer health clues

Got a lot of deep creases? You might be at a higher risk of developing low bone density postmenopause, according to a Yale School of Medicine study. That makes sense, says Debra Jaliman, MD, professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, because skin and bone are made from the same type of collagen. Another study, from the Netherlands, found that women with saggier skin had higher blood pressure. “Wrinkles can signal that your body is not making enough of the protein elastin, which helps keep both your skin and blood vessels supple,” notes Dr. Jaliman. Wrinkles could also be a hint that you need more shut-eye: Women who received five or fewer hours a night had more fine lines than those who logged a full night’s sleep, according to a 2013 study. When you skimp on rest, your body has less time to do its nightly repair work on collagen and elastin, explains Dr. Jaliman.

When in doubt, get moles checked out

It’s important to alert your derm to any new growth. But it’s especially vital if the mole exhibits one or more of the ABCDE signs of melanoma: asymmetry, border irregularity, color variations, a diameter that’s larger than a pencil eraser’s, and an evolving size, color or shape. You should also have your derm examine anything that looks like a pimple or ingrown hair and doesn’t go away within three weeks. “It could be either basal or squamous cell carcinoma, the two nonmelanoma forms of skin cancer,” says dermatologist Shawn Allen, MD, spokesperson for the Skin Cancer Foundation. These are much less likely to be deadly but still require removal; and the longer you wait, the larger they grow.

If you notice a suspicious spot, you may be tempted to use a skin cancer app that lets you submit a picture for either automated analysis or a dermatologist’s opinion. “These are unreliable,” cautions Dr. Allen. “It’s hard enough to make the call as to whether something needs to be biopsied when the person is standing right in front of you.” The better move is to always schedule a face-to-face appointment.

See spots fade

If you’re unhappy with freckles, sunspots, or melasma (patches of gray-brown skin), these treatments can erase ’em.

Tri-luma: This Rx cream packs a triple punch: the skin bleacher hydroquinone, a skin-sloughing retinoid and a steroid to reduce irritation. Since high doses of hydroquinone have been linked to cancer in rats, many doctors recommend that you limit use. Cost: around $150 for a four-month supply.

Glycolic acid peels: These medical-strength peels contain at least 30 percent glycolic acid, and some dermatologists will mix in hydroquinone for extra potency. Most women require three to five peels before they see results. Cost: $200 to $250 per peel.

Lasers: They are very effective at zapping freckles and sunspots, says Heather D. Rogers, MD, professor of dermatology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Patients generally need three or more treatments. Cost: about $500 per session.

Your acne may get worse with age

“As you enter perimenopause”—which can start as early as your 30s—”your estrogen levels drop, while male sex hormones, like testosterone, remain nearly constant,” says Dr. Wu. That imbalance may send your oil glands into overdrive, causing you to break out like a teen. Look for OTC products with retinol, which fights both wrinkles (by increasing cell turnover) and pimples (by unblocking pores). Or ask your derm about a prescription retinoid, like Renova, which may be a good choice for aging skin. But if you’re experiencing big, pustulelike cysts, you likely need something stronger: “I sometimes put patients on the blood pressure medication spironolactone, which restores hormonal balance,” says Dr. Jaliman.

Smart swaps can give you better skin

While some foods can help prevent UV damage, others can cause problems (from acne to aging). Here, three smart trades to try for healthier skin.

Instead of blended coffee drinks, drink plain iced coffee. Dairy can worsen acne; sugar helps break down collagen, says Dr. Wu, author of Feed Your Face. On the other hand, having four or more cups of coffee a day was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of melanoma in a 2015 Yale study.

Instead of grilled steak, eat salmon. Red meat that’s cooked at high temps is more likely to form advanced glycation end products, which can play a role in aging. Salmon is rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. A study published in 2009 suggests that a serving of oily fish every five days may protect against pre-cancerous changes.​

Instead of lots of citrus fruits, eat watermelon. Citrus contains substances called psoralens, which make your skin more sensitive to UV rays, and have been linked to an increased risk of melanoma. Like citrus fruits, watermelon are chock-full of skin-rejuvenating vitamin C—but they don’t have any psoralens.

Reduce Inflammation – Just 20 Minutes of Exercise Can Help Fight It

It’s a known fact that regular exercise has health benefits, such as strengthening of the heart and bones, muscles, weight management, and decreasing the risk of some diseases. Researchers have discovered how a single moderate exercise session can serve to reduce inflammation as well. The results have significant promise for treating chronic diseases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis as well as for conditions like obesity.

Reduce Inflammation; woman doing lunges and exercising outside

What Does Research Show?

The study revealed that the immune system can be stimulated with a single session of 20 minutes of moderate exercise, which produces an anti-inflammatory cellular response. Every time we exercise, we’re really doing something beneficial for the body on many different levels, which includes the immune cell level. Although exercise’s anti-inflammatory benefits are already known, discovering how that process takes place is the answer to safely making the most of the benefits.

The sympathetic nervous system and the brain are activated when exercising to enable physical performance. Hormones like norepinephrine and epinephrine get released in to the blood stream and activate adrenergic receptors, the modulators of immune cell function.

This process when exercising produces immunological responses, such as producing cytokines, such as TNF, which helps to regulate local and systemic inflammation and improve immune responses. The study discovered that a single session of approximately 20 minutes of moderate exercise on a treadmill led to a 5% reduction in the number of stimulated immune cells that produce TNF. Understanding what sets regulatory mechanisms of inflammatory proteins in motion can help develop in treating people having chronic inflammatory illnesses, including those with autoimmune diseases.

The 47 people who took part in the study exercised on a treadmill (walking) at a level of intensity that was adjusted according to their level of fitness. Blood was taken immediately before and after the 20 minute period. The study revealed that an intense workout session isn’t actually needed for the anti-inflammatory benefits. Twenty to thirty minutes of moderate exercise, which includes fast walking, is apparently sufficient. This is a significant discovery as people who are afflicted with chronic inflammatory conditions who could benefit from exercise could feel intimidated by a long duration workout at an intense exertion level.

Inflammation is a crucial aspect of the immune response of our bodies. It’s the body’s effort to heal itself following an injury, repair tissue that’s been damaged, and its defence itself against bacteria and viruses. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can result in severe health problems related to celiac disease, diabetes, obesity and other diseases.

A physician should always be consulted with regards to the appropriate treatment for chronic inflammatory diseases, but understanding that exercise can work as an anti-inflammatory is good news.

17 Worst Birth Control Mistakes

Contraception? Careful!

When it comes to birth control, many people want to just set it and forget it. It’s there, it does its job, who wants to think about it, right? But bungling birth control is all too common. In fact, half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Yikes. To make sure you can count on your contraceptive, here are the potential birth control mistakes many make:


Birth Control Mistakes; doctor providing patient with birth control pills

You’re not using it

It’s no secret that birth control is a touchy subject, particularly in the US. Political and religious leaders fight about it endlessly, and it’s all tangled up in personal choices about—shhhh!—sex.

But the bottom line is if you’re sexually active, and now isn’t a great time to start a family, you should select a type of birth control that works for you. Luckily, there are a ton of birth control options out there.

You’re taking rifampin

The antibiotic rifampin can undermine hormonal contraception, including the pill, the patch (Ortho Evra), or the vaginal ring (NuvaRing).

Some anticonvulsants, oral medications for yeast infections, HIV drugs, and the herbal supplement St. John’s wort can also be a problem for these types of birth control, as well as for contraceptive implants (Implanon), according to Planned Parenthood.

Bottom line? Check with your doctor about possible interactions and medications that can make your birth control less effective.

You use the wrong lubricant

Oils or oil-based lubricants (including Vaseline, baby oil, and mineral oil-based body lotions) can dramatically weaken latex condoms in just 60 seconds.

Choose a water- or silicone-based lubricant, available in the family-planning aisle in drugstores and supermarkets. Also keep in mind that many lipsticks contain oils that can weaken latex.

Your nails nick your sponge

Long fingernails can nick or tear contraceptive sponges during insertion, which reduces the efficacy.

Even small nicks or tears can get bigger during intercourse, so keep your nails short or be sure to use care. It’s also important not to nick or tear condoms with jewelry, fingernails, or teeth.

You’re inconsistent

Missing three or more combination birth control pills (the most commonly used type, which contain both estrogen and progestin) means all bets are off until you’ve taken the pills again for seven days straight—so you need to use backup birth control during that week.

If you miss even one or two of the first pills of a pack, it also means you need seven days of backup birth control (such as condoms).

Progestin-only pills need to be taken at the same time each day, with backup contraception needed for 48 hours if you get off-schedule by more than three hours.

You haven’t explored the options

Some people just can’t remember to take a pill every day. If that sounds like you, think about switching to a “more ‘forgettable’ method that doesn’t rely on taking a pill every day, like a contraceptive implant or an intrauterine device,” says Alison Edelman, MD, a clinical gynecologist and associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

You could also consider birth control injections (Depo Provera), a shot in the arm that lasts 3 months, as well as sponges, rings, patches, diaphragms, and more. Check out the variety of choices at Planned Parenthood.

You’re on the wrong pill

People call it “the pill,” but there are a bunch of different types, with some more effective than others. If you’re breast-feeding or have heart disease, migraines, or other reasons you can’t take estrogen, it may make sense to be on a progestin-only pill (or “mini-pill”), but a combination pill provides more pregnancy protection.

“Choosing between birth control pills is more of an art than a science,” says Dr. Edelman. Talk to your doctor about balancing the highest level of efficacy with your other needs and concerns.

You pick the wrong condoms

Condoms that are too small can break, and there is some evidence that polyurethane condoms may break more frequently than latex ones.

Latex, polyurethane, and lambskin condoms all protect against pregnancy, but lambskin condoms may not protect against HIV. So unless a latex allergy is an issue, lambskin condoms may not be your best option.

You skip backup

If you get a contraceptive implant (Implanon) or start taking a combination pill within five days after your period starts, you don’t need backup birth control, but if you start any other time during your cycle, you need condoms or another birth control method for the first seven days.

For progestin-only pills, you need backup for the first 48 hours of use. Whatever type you choose, check with your doctor to find out if you need backup until it starts working.

You remove your sponge early

To be effective, contraceptive sponges must be left in place for at least six hours after intercourse (though they shouldn’t stay in for more than 30 hours total).

Diaphragms need to stay in place for six to eight hours after sex, but have to be removed at least every 24 hours for cleaning.

You don’t have an emergency plan

If a condom breaks or slips off, an IUD insertion or emergency contraception (also called the “morning-after pill”) can help prevent unwanted pregnancy.

People 17 and older don’t need a prescription to buy emergency contraception products, called Plan B One-Step and Next Choice, at drugstores.

But the pills must be taken within 72 hours (up to 3 days) of unprotected sex, according to the manufacturers, and the sooner the better. (Experts, including Planned Parenthood, say emergency contraception will work if taken within 120 hours, or up to 5 days, but again—sooner is better.) It’s a good idea to have them on hand, just in case.

You rely on spermicide alone

Studies show that spermicide can make other methods of contraception, including condoms and the pill, even more effective. But on its own, spermicide offers very low protection from pregnancy.

You use condoms incorrectly

Condoms need to be used correctly to work. (They’re 98% effective if you do it right, only 83% if you don’t).

Use one before any genital contact, not just before intercourse or climax as even a few drops of pre-ejaculatory fluid can cause pregnancy.

To prevent breakage, squeeze the tip of the condom to get the air out before putting it on. Check which way the condom unrolls before touching it to the penis, and if you make a mistake, throw it away in case there’s already semen on the tip.

You don’t use lubricants

Not everybody needs it, but if vaginal dryness is an issue, use a lubricant with your condoms—not just for comfort, but for protection.

A non-oil based lubricant can help keep condoms from tearing or breaking.

You smoke

It’s common knowledge that smoking while taking birth control pills ups the risk of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke—though the risk may be higher with some types of pills than others.

Can’t quit, no matter how hard you try? Don’t give up, since serial quitters are more likely to successfully kick the habit.

In the meantime, talk to your doctor to find the safest birth control for you.

You don’t use condoms

Condoms can help protect you from sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, unlike hormonal birth control.

Diaphragms and cervical caps may provide a small amount of STD protection, but are much less effective than condoms.

Stress Related Health Problems That You Can Fix

Need another thing to get stressed out about? Your stress itself could be making you sick.

“Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally,” says Jay Winner, MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life and director of the Stress Management Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, Calif. “It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”

Stress Related Health Problems; woman stressed out with her hands on her forehead

Studies have found many health problems relate to stress. Stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.

Before you get too stressed out about being stressed out, there is some good news. Following some simple stress relief tips could both lower your stress and lower your health risks.

Stress Related Health Problems

What are some of the most significant health problems related to stress? Here’s a sampling.

Heart disease 

Researchers have long suspected that the stressed-out, type A personality has a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. We don’t know why, exactly. Stress can directly increase heart rate and blood flow, and causes the release of cholesterol and triglycerides into the blood stream. It’s also possible that stress is related to other problems — an increased likelihood of smoking or obesity — that indirectly increase the heart risks.
Doctors do know that sudden emotional stress can be a trigger for serious cardiac problems, including heart attacks. People who have chronic heart problems need to avoid acute stress — and learn how to successfully manage life’s unavoidable stresses — as much as they can.


Many studies have shown that stress can worsen asthma. Some evidence suggests that a parent’s chronic stress might even increase the risk of developing asthma in their children. One study looked at how parental stress affected the asthma rates of young children who were also exposed to air pollution or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. The kids with stressed out parents had a substantially higher risk of developing asthma.


Excess fat in the belly seems to pose greater health risks than fat on the legs or hips — and unfortunately, that’s just where people with high stress seem to store it. “Stress causes higher levels of the hormone cortisol,” says Winner, “and that seems to increase the amount of fat that’s deposited in the abdomen.”


Stress can worsen diabetes in two ways. First, it increases the likelihood of bad behaviors, such as unhealthy eating and excessive drinking. Second, stress seems to raise the glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes directly.


Stress is considered one of the most common triggers for headaches — not just tension headaches, but migraines as well.

Depression and anxiety

It’s probably no surprise that chronic stress is connected with higher rates of depression and anxiety. One survey of recent studies found that people who had stress related to their jobs — like demanding work with few rewards — had an 80% higher risk of developing depression within a few years than people with lower stress.

Gastrointestinal problems

Here’s one thing that stress doesn’t do — it doesn’t cause ulcers. However, it can make them worse. Stress is also a common factor in many other GI conditions, such as chronic heartburn (or gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Winner says.

Alzheimer’s disease

One animal study found that stress might worsen Alzheimer’s disease, causing its brain lesions to form more quickly. Some researchers speculate that reducing stress has the potential to slow down the progression of the disease.

Accelerated aging

There’s actually evidence that stress can affect how you age. One study compared the DNA of mothers who were under high stress — they were caring for a chronically ill child — with women who were not. Researchers found that a particular region of the chromosomes showed the effects of accelerated aging. Stress seemed to accelerate aging about 9 to 17 additional years.

Premature Death

A study looked at the health effects of stress by studying elderly caregivers looking after their spouses — people who are naturally under a great deal of stress. It found that caregivers had a 63% higher rate of death than people their age who were not caregivers.

Feeling The Heat – The Link Between Inflammation and Cancer

Today, we’ll tell a story that began in 1863, when a German pathologist called Rudolf Virchow peered down his microscope; he was able to discover a relationship between inflammation and cancer in which we will expand upon.

Our body’s immune system forms a defensive shield that any fighting force would be proud of. One of its most powerful weapons is inflammation, a carefully orchestrated manoeuvre designed to eliminate enemies such as bacteria, injured cells and chemical irritants. Without it, we probably wouldn’t survive beyond infancy.

 Inflammation and Cancer; fire flames

But inflammation has a split personality – one that can wreak havoc for those unfortunate enough to experience it. And we now know that inflammation’s dark side is a powerful force in cancer development, where it aids and abets tumour growth and spread around the body.

Hell hath no fury

Let’s start with the way inflammation normally works. Our skin constitutes the first line of defence against microscopic invaders. But whenever this barrier is breached, the wrath of the immune system is unleashed – and things get ugly.

As bacteria and other microbes enter the body though an open wound, cells of the immune system (often referred to as ‘white blood cells’) rush to the site of injury, forming the welcoming committee from hell. This highly trained militia gets to work immediately, showering intruders with toxic chemicals, punching holes in their surface or swallowing them whole.

From the outside, this molecular thuggery manifests in swelling, heat, redness and pain – symptoms that anyone who’s ever scraped a knee will be familiar with.

It’s brutal, but it’s over quickly – it has to be, to minimise collateral damage to healthy tissue. As the enemy is eaten and beaten into surrender, signals urge victorious immune cells to return to base camp. Repair and recovery teams move in to direct the process of healing. Blood vessels sprout. A scab forms. Skin grows. And before long, calm returns and it’s back to business as usual.

The heat is on!

While we might not be able to live without it, too much inflammation can cause serious damage. Chronic, persistent inflammation is behind a host of health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. And after finding immune cells in tumour samples, Rudolf Virchow was the first to ask whether inflammation might also contribute to cancer.

Unfortunately, he was right – many chronic inflammatory diseases (such as pancreatitis and Crohn’s disease) can increase a person’s cancer risk. And cancers caused by infectious agents (like stomach cancer caused by infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, or liver cancer caused by infection with the hepatitis B or C virus) are characterised by one thing: chronic inflammation.

In the case against inflammation and cancer, the evidence is damning.

It’s getting hot in here

So how do inflammation and cancer correlate? Here’s the current thinking. Inflammation and Cancer; Rudolph Virchow

When a tiny tumour starts growing from a few rogue cells, it can scavenge enough oxygen and nutrients from its surroundings. But as it grows bigger, demand starts to outstrip supply, and things start getting desperate.

As they struggle to survive, and as they accumulate more and more genetic faults, the cancer cells release chemical signals that lure immune cells called macrophages and granulocytes to infiltrate the tumour.

Once inside the tumour’s inner sanctum, these cells secrete molecules (called cytokines) that kick-start the growth of blood vessels (angiogenesis), which ferry in much-needed oxygen and nutrients.

Other cytokines encourage growth of a sort of cellular ‘pillow’ called the stroma against which the tumour rests. Meanwhile, other inflammatory cells spritz the tumour with molecules (free radicals) that further damage their DNA. Inflammation might also fire the starting gun for metastasis by producing chemicals that help tumour cells nibble through the molecules tethering them to their surroundings.

Taken together, it’s clear that fledgling tumours hijack inflammation and use it to accelerate the progression towards full-blown cancer. As one of our own experts once commented:

Stay cool, boy

So how do we turn down the heat? Scientists, including our own are working on how to dampen inflammation, making it much harder for cancers to flourish. They’re hacking into the molecular circuitry controlling inflammation, looking for ways to hotwire the system with next-generation drugs.

But what if we could manipulate inflammation to prevent cancer developing in the first place? Recent results suggest that the answer might be anything but next-generation. In fact, it’s been around since Hippocrates.

Better known to most of us by its brand name aspirin, acetylsalicyclic acid has been used for over a century to quell inflammation, and there’s now a body of evidence highlighting its potential in cancer prevention. While there’s still a way to go to work out who should take aspirin, how much, and for how long, it’s becoming clear that blocking inflammation will play a big role in cancer prevention and treatment in the future.

Rudolf Virchow will never know that his work sparked an entire field of cancer research but thanks to him, the fight against cancer is hotting up.