Ginseng 'hampers blood clot drug'

The herbal remedy ginseng interferes with the action of a drug often given to heart patients, warn US scientists.

The University of Chicago team found ginseng reduced the blood level and anti-clotting effect of warfarin, which they say makes this combination unsafe.

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority said it would investigate the concerns.

The report on 20 patients, after a four-week trial, appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Warfarin works to reduce the risk of blood clots.

It is prescribed for people who have a higher than normal risk of blood clots, such as people with abnormal heart rhythms or an artificial heart valve.

Too much warfarin can increase the risk of bleeding. On the other hand, too little will not be effective at preventing clotting.

For this reason, it is important that the level of warfarin is tightly controlled and monitored.

Source BBC News

Multivitamins 'slow HIV progress'

Taking multivitamins may help stop HIV infection developing into full-blown Aids, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in the US say.

In a six-year study, 538 African women with HIV were given a daily supplement of a multivitamin or a dummy pill.

Of the 267 taking dummy pills, 12% developed Aids compared with 7% of the 271 on a multivitamin pill.

The 271 also suffered fewer late-stage complications, the researchers told the New England Journal of Medicine.

They said their findings suggested vitamin supplements could be given to people with HIV in the developing world to delay the need to start treating them with Aids drugs.

Source BBC News

Early vitamin use link to asthma

Children who take multivitamins may be at a greater risk of developing asthma and food allergies, research suggests.

Researchers from the Children's National Medical Center in Washington say the reason for the apparent link is unclear.

They believe vitamins may cause cell changes that increase the odds of an allergic reaction, but say as yet there is no proof this is the case.

The research, based on more than 8,000 children, is published in Pediatrics.

Source BBC News

Vitamin may ward off Alzheimer's

A vitamin found in a range of common foods could protect against Alzheimer's Disease, researchers have claimed.

A team from the Chicago Institute for Healthy Aging found niacin - vitamin B3 - was also linked to a reduced risk of age-related mental decline.

It is found in dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meats, nuts, and eggs.

The team said their findings, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, could help prevent Alzheimer's developing.

Source BBC News

Currying favour with parenthood

A restaurant manager in Leicester reckons fresh ingredients on his menu have caused a spate of recent pregnancies amongst his employees.

In the last two years five waitresses and a kitchen worker at Lanna Thai Restaurant have conceived.

All the women went on to give birth to daughters.

Peter Banks said: "We give a free plate of herbs with each meal. We think this has had a bearing on the fact we've had six babies in the last two years."

Source BBC News