Children who suck their thumb and bite their nails are less likely to get allergies.

Children who suck their thumb and bite their nails are less likely to develop some allergies, according to new research.

The findings support the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ that allergies are partly caused by children not being exposed to germs at an early age as they would be in the natural world.
There are a number of theories – and myths – about why the number of children with allergies has gone up in recent decades. The researchers found 45 per cent of 13-year-old children had at least a mild reaction to an allergen, such as cats, dogs, dust mites, grass, horses and airborne fungi.

But, among those who had sucked their thumbs and bitten their nails, this dropped to just 31 per cent. If they had one of the habits, the figure was 40 per cent. However, neither habit appeared to have an impact on whether the children developed asthma or hay fever.

One of the researchers, Professor Malcolm Sears, of McMaster University in Canada, said: “Our findings are consistent with the hygiene theory that early exposure to dirt or germs reduces the risk of developing allergies."

Source - Independent

Eating oily fish 'cuts risk of death from bowel cancer'

People with bowel cancer who eat oily fish may cut their chances of dying from the disease, research has suggested. It is thought survival rate may be boosted by having a rich Omega-3 diet, which is abundant in oily fish. 

Research, published in the journal Gut, analysed data from 1,659 people with bowel cancer along with how much Omega-3 they consumed. Researchers focused on the presence of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which previous research has indicated may suppress the growth of cancer tumours and curb blood supply to cancer cells. The scientists found those who consumed PUFAs of at least 0.3g per day had 41 per cent less chance of dying from bowel cancer than those who consumed less than just 0.1g per day.

Patients who increased their PUFA intake by at least 0.15g per day after being diagnosed with cancer had a 70% reduced chance of dying from bowel cancer compared with those who did not change their intake. Meanwhile, a reduction in daily intake of omega-3 was associated with a 10% increased risk of death from the disease.

Source - Independent

Walking football: the sporting craze helping men to battle depression

Men suffering from depression, anxiety and social isolation are literally walking back to happiness thanks to the rapidly spreading sporting craze of ‘walking football’, the sedentary iteration of the beautiful game that aims to attract older players who can no longer cover miles of turf in one match.  What's more, the deceptively challenging game hasn’t just captured the imagination of men who’d long ago hung up their boots. “We have guys playing who’d never kicked a ball before,” explains Paul Smith, who runs walking football sessions in the Scottish borders village of Newcastleton. “We have men in their 50s and 60s playing now for the first time, some of whom have had mental health problems – others who live alone and would struggle to leave the house before.”