New evidence about a cancer operation in women finds a higher death rate for the less invasive version, challenging standard practice in treating cervical cancer. The unexpected findings are prompting some hospitals to go back to traditional radical hysterectomies for early-stage disease. The study found women who had the less invasive surgery were four times more likely to see their cancer return compared to women who had traditional surgery. Death from cervical cancer occurred in 14 of 319 patients who had laparoscopic surgery and 2 of 312 patients who had open surgery. The data came from more than 30 sites in a dozen countries.

Appendix removal linked to lower Parkinson’s risk

Scientists have found a new clue that Parkinson’s disease may get its start not in the brain but in the gut. People who had their appendix removed early in life had a lower risk of getting the brain disease decades later, researchers reported. It appears that this tiny organ seems to be a storage depot for an abnormal protein — one that, if it makes its way into the brain, becomes a hallmark of Parkinson’s. “We’re not saying to go out and get an appendectomy,” stressed neuroscientist and geneticist Viviane Labrie. But the research promises to re-energize work to find the connection between the gastrointestinal tract and Parkinson’s, and learn who is really at risk.

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