Today’s Headlines: Kidney Stones, How to Make Tomatoes Tastier, and Chemotherapy Alternatives

Fresh-squeezed lemonade could solve all of your kidney stone problems. A recent study has shown that the citric acid in lemons has helped break down calcium-filled kidney stones to ease the pain when passing them. “Kidney stones often form when oxalate, a byproduct from some foods, binds with urine. Lemon juice, which is low in oxalate, can stunt the growth of pre-existing stones and prevent crystal deposits in the kidneys from developing into stones.” For best results you should drink natural lemonade that has no added sugars and is as close to fresh-squeezed lemon as possible. (Fox)

Dunking tomatoes in hot water can make them taste better. All produce that comes to the grocery store is picked before it’s ripe and then ripens in the truck while commuting to the stores. Once they arrive, tomatoes are placed in a refrigerator in order to maintain freshness until they are bought. However, it’s been found that colder temperatures reduce the flavor quality of the fruit. “At the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society this week, researchers presented a simple solution: Just give the fruit a nice, hot bath beforehand. In the experiment, which was led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, and the University of Florida, Florida-grown tomatoes were dipped in hot water (about 125 degrees Fahrenheit) for five minutes before getting the same chilly treatment as the other tomatoes. The hot bath seemed to mitigate some of the tasteless effects of the chilling. Important flavor compounds — the chemicals that give tomatoes their taste — were more abundant in the experimental tomatoes, even after they’d been chilled and stored.” Hopefully tomato suppliers get word of these new findings and prep their tomatoes in hot water before shipping them off to stores for tastier tomatoes in the future. (Washington Post)

New approaches to cancer treatments have provided a potential alternative to chemotherapy. In a new study, researchers gave a drug commonly used to treat melanoma to those suffering from brain, lung and colon cancer, instead of traditional chemotherapy treatments. “Researchers used a targeted melanoma drug to treat patients with a range of cancers, from lung cancer to brain cancer, who weren’t being helped by traditional chemotherapy any more. Even though they had many different types of tumors, they all had one thing in common — a genetic mutation called BRAFV600. It’s a mutation familiar to doctors who treat melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. It’s seen in about half of melanoma cases. A pill called vemurafenib, sold under the brand name Zelboraf, specifically targets the mutation. It helps about half of patients with melanoma who have the mutation. The same mutation is sometimes seen in colon cancer, lung cancer, thyroid cancer, brain tumors and some blood cancers.” While the research results proved to be mixed and in need of more testing, for those that it worked on, the results were astounding and either significantly shrunk tumors or eradicated them completely. (NBC)