Vitamin D could prevent arthritis

Scientists hope adding vitamin D to the diet could help prevent one of the most common and painful forms of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis affects more than a million people in the UK, many of them elderly.

There is currently no cure and all doctors can do is control pain and keep patients active and mobile.

With the growing number of elderly people and better life expectancy, the number of people with osteoarthritis is expected to soar over the next five years.

Source BBC News

Irish moss may have role in protecting against HIV

Next month in Bangkok at an international AIDS conference, the world will hear about a new product offering women a way to protect themselves.

The topical treatment, an HIV blocking agent, is made with carrageenan. The registered name of the still-experimental vaginal gel is Carraguard.

The primary source of carrageenan is the Irish moss found in Nova Scotia's rich seaweed beds. Three-quarters of the world's Irish moss comes from the Maritime provinces, where it's harvested from the wild.

The product is called a microbicide - although it doesn't kill microbes but rather prevents infection by binding to the surface of the virus, preventing the microbes from adhering to nearby cells and infecting them.

Source - Novaserve Magazine

Chinese herb 'good for the mind'

A herb used in China for centuries may help stroke patients suffering from dementia.
Experts tested the herbal medicine in a clinical trial and found it lived up to its reputation.

The drug, extracted from an orchid and six other plants, has been used since 100 AD for treating dizziness, headache and stroke.

It was found to significantly increase mental function in a three-month study of 120 stroke patients.

The remedy, known as gastrodine compound granule, is the first herbal drug for dementia to be tested in clinical trials at hospitals in China.

Cooking oil 'fights fat'

Volunteers fed a diet containing a particular blend of oils actually lost weight and fat, according to researchers.

Over a 27-day period, male volunteers, despite eating the same quantity of oil as others given conventional cooking oil, lost an average of one pound.

Women did not fare as well - none lost any weight.

The researchers, from McGill School of Dietetics in Montreal, Canada, say that their blend of oils is sent straight to the liver and burned up.

The ingredients of this oil are mostly "tropical oils" such as palm oil and coconut oil, with some olive oil and flaxseed oil.

The results of the study are published in four scientific journals.

The oil has been developed by Forbes Medi-Tech, which funded the study, but the oil is unlikely to hit supermarket shelves before further tests are carried out.

While conventional oils contain fats called "long chain triglycerides", "functional oil", as it has been dubbed, contains different fats called "medium chain triglycerides".

Source BBC News

Miso soup 'cuts breast cancer risk'

Eating three or more bowls of the Japanese delicacy Miso soup every day could cut women's risk of developing breast cancer, researchers suggest.

The soup contains fermented soy paste along with other ingredients including seaweed, bean curd and vegetables.

Most people in Japan eat the soup at least once a day.

Vitamin D boosts cancer treatment

Giving cancer patients a form of vitamin D could help radiotherapy work more effectively, researchers have suggested.

The combination could help wipe out cancer cells altogether.

Radiation therapy is commonly used prior to surgery to reduce the size of the tumour, and after surgery to eradicate any remaining cells and to reduce the chance of the tumour returning.

But there are often some cells which are resistant to the treatment and which could cause the cancer to recur.

Excess calcium

Tests on mice have now shown combining a form of vitamin D with radiotherapy means these remaining cells can be destroyed.

In the study, researchers from Dartmouth Medical School compared tumour growth in mice given the combined therapy, using a derivative of vitamin D called EB 1089, and others given radiation therapy alone.

Source BBC News

Vitamin could prevent arthritis

Scientists hope adding vitamin D to the diet could help prevent one of the most common and painful forms of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis affects more than a million people in the UK, many of them elderly.

There is currently no cure and all doctors can do is control pain and keep patients active and mobile.

With the growing number of elderly people and better life expectancy, the number of people with osteoarthritis is expected to soar over the next five years.

Source BBC News

Herb wrap wards off food poisoning

The herb basil is the crucial ingredient in a super wrap being developed to protect food more effectively from contamination by dangerous bugs.

Scientists are using anti-microbial extracts from the herb to create a plastic wrapper for meat and cheese.

The chemicals slowly ooze out from the wrapper - and extend the product's shelf-life by killing off bacteria such as E. coli and listeria which can cause severe food poisoning.

New Scientist magazine reports that tests have shown the new wrapping can keep bacteria at bay in Cheddar cheese for a week longer than ordinary packaging.

The wrapper has been developed by scientists at the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, and the Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.

It is laced with two chemicals extracted from basil: an ether called methyl chavicol and the alcohol linalool.

Both contain compounds that attack and destroy cell walls, and have been shown to be active against eight types of bacteria.

Source BBC News