Cinnamon extract could stop Alzheimer's

Cinnamon could help stop people developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists have discovered an extract from the plant’s bark can halt the brain disorder which disrupts a sufferer’s memory, ­behaviour and thought processes.

One-in-eight people over 65 have the condition, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. But tests on mice and flies with the disease showed their mental decline and life spans returned to normal after just four months of using the spice’s extracts.

Study leader Professor Michael Ovadia began testing cinnamon after reading in the Bible that high priests once used it as a protective holy ointment.

Source - Daily Mirror


Why guzzling diet drinks could make you FATTER .

They are the calorie-free way of having a sweet treat, but diet drinks could still make you fat, scientists have warned.

A ten-year study of almost 500 men and women linked low-calorie soft drinks with bulging waistlines – even when taken in small quantities. Those who downed two or more diet fizzy drinks a day saw their waistbands expand at five times the rate of those who never touched the stuff, a diabetes conference heard.

The results were so dramatic that the American researchers advise that people ditch their diet drinks and use water to quench their thirst instead. Those who cannot bear to give up the sugar rush may be better off drinking normal full-sugar fizzy drinks.

Professor Helen Hazuda, of the University of Texas’s health science centre, said diet sodas and artificial sweeteners may foster a sweet tooth, distort appetite and even damage key brain cells. As a result, treating them as healthy alternatives may be ‘ill advised’

The professor, who no longer drinks diet colas and lemonades, said: ‘They may be free of calories but not of consequences.’

Source - Daily Mail


Could food-packaging chemical rob men of their sex appeal?

A gender-bending chemical found in food packaging may reduce a man's ability to attract a female, researchers warn.

A study from the University of Missouri found male mice who were exposed to bisphenol A as babies became demasculanised and 'behaved more like females.' Study author associate professor Cheryl Rosenfeld, said the chemical had suppressed the early production of testosterone, which the females could sense.

'The BPA-exposed deer mice in our study look normal; there is nothing obviously wrong with them. Yet, they are clearly different,' she said.

Source - Daily Mail




Finally, a cure for hay fever?

Hay fever sufferers plagued by itchy eyes and a runny nose this summer may find relief in a powder produced from pine trees.

The cellulose nasal spray forms a barrier over the membrane, lining the nose and filtering out allergens like tree and flower pollen.

More people have been using cellulose sprays in recent years such as Care Allergy Defence and Nazaleze. However, there has been a shortage of scientific proof that they work.

Now scientists at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden say they have proven that the spray does reduce symptoms of hay fever, otherwise known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, especially among children.

Associate professor Nils Ã…berg, said: 'The cellulose powder has no adverse effects, and this fact makes it a particularly attractive treatment for children. It is used increasingly in many countries, but there is until now no scientific study proving the efficacy of the cellulose powder in children during the pollen season.'

How meditation could help your health

As a study finds that daily meditation cuts heart attack death rates by half, we review other health benefits attributed to the practice.

Alleviate depression

Transcendental meditation has been shown to significantly reduce depressive symptoms. One study of 36 patients with clinical depression found that symptoms almost halved after just three months and the benefits were maintained over a year-long period.

Another study of 112 patients at high risk of depression found that depressive symptoms fell by a third over the initial three-month period.

Improve memory

People who meditate in the long-term have "significantly larger" hippocampi – the part of the brain associated with memory and learning – a study found. The research on 44 people, half of whom had practised meditation for between five and 46 years, found those who had meditated also had increased grey matter.

Source - Telegraph

British black raspberry superfood will help prevent cancer

A new superfood – black raspberries that have been grown in Britain – will go on sale today.

The variety, which has been named Mac Black, apparently has a more intense flavour than traditional red varieties. Perhaps more importantly, it is also said to include relatively high levels of compounds which scientists have identified as helping to prevent cancer.

The Mac Blacks are rich in ellagic acid, anthocyanins and antioxidants, and have been called the ‘king of berries’ for their superior health benefits. Antioxidants are said to help destroy free radicals, the harmful molecules which gather in the body and can damage cells.

Studies at Ohio State University have found significant decreases in colon tumours in rats and oesophageal tumours in mice fed a diet with black raspberries. Studies have shown that extracts of raspberries and blackberries may slow the growth of breast, cervical, colon and oesophageal cancers.

Clinical trials have begun to assess the effects of black raspberries on colon and oesophageal cancers in humans.

Source - Daily Mail


Broccoli could be key to beating Alzheimer's

Broccoli could hold the key to beating Alzheimer’s.

Scientists believe that a chemical derived from the vegetable could help keep the brain sharp into old age. They hope that sulforaphane, which is also made in the body from a compound found in rocket, Brussels sprouts and cabbages, will kick-start the body’s natural defenses.

This will protect vital brain cells from being attacked and destroyed by free radicals - dangerous oxygen molecules produced when food is turned into energy. Anti-oxidants, such as vitamins C and E, can ‘mop up’ the attackers, but are of limited use in the brain.

The Dundee University scientists believe the answer could lie in harnessing the body’s own protective, or anti-oxidant, mechanisms – which can be kick-started by sulforaphane. It is hoped that chemical, which is made when we eat green vegetables, will succeed where other approaches have failed.

Source - Daily Mail

Headache, cold sore or ulcers? Thyme to try a herbal remedy

Many of us have a few herbs in our garden - or wilting in a pot on the kitchen windowsill - that we use to add flavour to a sauce or roast dinner, writes Jill Foster. But these inauspicious plants may have far more significant uses when it comes to pepping up our health.

It is estimated £126million is spent on herbal medicine in Britain each year, and a poll in 2008 revealed that 35 per cent of Britons have tried shop-bought natural remedies.

So could the answer to common illnesses be as simple as a trip to the supermarket? We spoke to Philip Weeks, an expert in natural medicine, about the everyday herbs with healing properties.

PEPPERMINT

A powerful muscle relaxant-peppermint (mentha piperita) can help with stomach cramps and relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The oil can be used as a topical remedy for pain, while a study by the University of Heidelberg in Germany found that peppermint can also help treat cold sores. 'Once somebody contracts the herpes simplex virus, it isn't curable,' says Philip.

'But essential oils from various plants have shown huge potential as antivirals and one study showed that, in the test tube at least, peppermint stopped the reproduction of the virus. Drinking peppermint tea, made from fresh leaves, can speed up the healing of a cold sore, and crushing the leaves, then dabbing on the oil, can also help. Dilute it with olive oil and apply every few hours.'


Source - Daily Mail


Eat more nuts and fruit to 'help weight loss'

Eating larger portions of healthy food is more important than dieting when it comes to staying slim, say scientists.

The US team found people who increased their intake of more high-fibre food like nuts, fruit, yoghurt and vegetables actually lost weight. The Harvard School of Public Health researchers believe consumption of these products left less room for fatty foods.

The study of 120,000 people appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. The participants were monitored over 20 years. Unsurprisingly, the food linked to the greatest amount of weight gain was chips. An extra daily portion led to an increase in weight of over 3lbs in four years. Similar results were seen among people who consumed extra portions of crisps, sugary drinks and meats.

Source - BBC

Hospital admissions linked to high risk-drugs prescribed in primary care

Hospital admissions and even deaths have been linked to the preventable side effects of drugs prescribed in primary care, research shows.

Drugs that have a high risk of causing side effects are being prescribed to around 60,000 people in Scotland. They discovered cases where anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, were prescribed to patients with kidney problems or stomach ulcers, while people with dementia had been given anti-psychotic drugs.

High-risk prescribing was noted as fairly common, but researchers found that different practices varied greatly in their prescribing habits, the cause of which was “largely unexplained”.

The team said there may be a good reason as to why GPs were offering patients high-risk drugs, particularly in complex situations where there is no obvious “correct” course of action, but that the big differences between practices suggest that prescribing could be made safer.

Professor Bruce Guthrie and his colleagues at Dundee University medical school’s centre for primary care and population research looked at prescribing records and other data from 315 general practices in Scotland with 1.76 million registered patients.

Source - Nursing Times

Just half a glass of wine a day 'raises risk of breast cancer'

Just half a glass of wine a day raises a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer, one of Britain's leading doctors has warned.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said that even those who stick within Government recommended limits for alcohol could be at higher risk. He warned that one unit of alcohol a day - half a glass of wine - increased the risk of breast cancer by ten per cent.

The Government advises that women do not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a weLinkek or two units a day. This means that even those who stick to these safe limits are at substantially higher risk.

Professor Gilmore, former head of the Royal College of Physicians, was referring to a major ongoing study carried out by Oxford University involving more than a million women. It had shown that 10g of alcohol a day - a unit - increased a woman’s risk of breast cancer by ten per cent. A large glass of wine served at a pub or restaurant typically contains 2.3 units, a small glass 1.7 units.

Professor Gilmore, who had been addressing MPs at the health select committee, said that it was important that this information 'was in the public domain'.

Source - Daily Mail


Eating strawberries could help stave off effects of ageing

It's the news that Wimbledon tennis fans have been waiting for - eating strawberries could help stave off ageing and even prevent cancer.

New research reveals that eating the fruit helps boost antioxidant levels in the blood.

Higher levels of antioxidants have been found to combat the effects of oxidative stress, lessening the effects of ageing and even the chances of contracting diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Spanish and Italian researchers fed 12 healthy volunteers half a kilo of strawberries over two weeks. They took blood samples from volunteers after four, eight, 12 and 16 days, and also a month later.

Results, published in journal Chemistry, showed that eating strawberries regularly can boost levels of antioxidants in the blood and also help prevent red blood cells undergoing haemolysis, a process which sees them fragmenting.

Scientists from Marche Polytechnic University in Italy and the University of Granada in Spain say that the power of strawberries lies in the high levels of phenolic compounds they contain, which have antioxidant properties.

Source - Daily Mail

How your pillow is the perfect breeding ground for gruesome array of pests and diseases

It is not a thought conducive to a good night’s sleep: Up to a third of the weight of your pillow could be made up of bugs, dead skin, dust mites and their faeces.

Pillows – and the stuffy bedroom air that surrounds them – are ideal breeding grounds for undesirables ranging from the superbugs MRSA and C.diff to flu, chicken pox and even leprosy, scientists said yesterday.

While some of the bugs will only be found lurking in hospitals or in tropical climes, others will be making themselves at home in the comfort of your bed, Dr Arthur Tucker warned. He spoke out after studying the ‘health’ of hundreds of pillows used by patients in hospitals run by Barts and the London NHS Trust.

The tests revealed high levels of ‘living’ contamination on the outside of the pillows. In some cases, rips and tears meant that the germs had found their way into the filling. Some pillows were contaminated with the E.coli stomach bug. Others contained germs that can cause respiratory and urinary tract infections.

Routine use of vital antibiotics on farms threatens human health

As Europe and the US face up to the menace of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, UK farmers have dramatically increased their use of the drugs most likely to cause these lethal strains.

The use of modern antibiotics on British farms has risen dramatically in the past decade, fuelling the development of resistant organisms and weakening the power of human medicine to cure disease.

Three classes of antibiotics rated as "critically important in human medicine" by the World Health Organisation – cephalosporins, fluouroquinolones and macrolides – have increased in use by up to eightfold in the animal population over the past decade. Over the same period, livestock numbers have fallen, by 27 per cent in the case of pigs, 10 per cent for cattle and 11 per cent for poultry.

Experts say intensive farming, with thousands of animals reared in cramped conditions driven by price pressure imposed by the big supermarket chains, means infections spread faster and the need for antibiotics is greater. The widespread use of antibiotics in livestock farming is recognised as a major contributor to the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Last month British scientists identified a new type of MRSA in milk, the first time the resistant organism had been found in farm animals in the UK. Although the superbug is killed by pasteurisation, there are fears it could spread from cattle to humans.

Source - Independent

Mobile phones may NOT increase cancer risk as most brain tumours 'not within radiation range'

Mobile phones are unlikely to cause cancer because brain tumours are not clustered within the radiation range emitted from most devices, a new report finds.

Researchers also found people who spent the most time on mobiles were no more likely to experience tumors located within five centimetres of the phone, where '90 percent of the radiation' is emitted.

The findings from the University of Tampere in Finland were revealed as the World Health Organization announced that, upon review of available scientific evidence, mobile phones should be classified as 'possibly carcinogenic.'

Study author Dr Suvi Larjavaara said although the results may be reassuring, they are certainly not conclusive. She said cancer could take a long time to develop and only five per cent of the people included in the study had been using mobile phones for at least 10 years.

Source - Daily Mail

Olive oil 'helps prevent stroke'

Olive oil can help prevent strokes in people over 65, a study suggests.

Researchers followed around 7,000 people aged 65 and over living in three FreLinknch cities, for at least five years. They found those who used a lot of olive oil in cooking or as a dressing or dip had a lower risk of stroke than those who never used it.

The researchers say older people should be given new dietary advice regarding olive oil, based on the findings, which are published in the journal Neurology.

Lead author, Dr Cecilia Samieri, of the University of Bordeaux, said: "Our research suggests that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older. Stroke is so common in older people, and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it."

Source - BBC

Health and your hair

Are you eating right? Why not ask your hair?

Pierre Beaumier is a chemist who studies hair. Not hairstyles or follicles, but actual hair. “You’re alive because of chemistry,” he notes, and the chemical reactions in your body depend on various metals, all of which end up in your hair. “Hair is one way of looking at these metals and making sure you’ve got enough of them.”

Beaumier, a renowned analytical chemist from Ontario, is coming to Edmonton’s Telus World of Science this weekend to talk about hair and health. Beaumier is the president of the Canadian Alternative Health Laboratories, former president of the Canadian Society for Chemistry and a founder of Maxxam Analytics, Canada’s largest private analytical testing laboratory.

His visit is part of a series of talks celebrating the International Year of Chemistry, says Frank Florian, science director at the Telus World of Science. “The human body is basically one big chemical factory,” he notes, and your hair is a permanent record of its activities. “It’s a way of predicting your future health.”

Source - St. Albert Gazette

Having a family pet 'could prevent children developing allergies'

A study of almost 600 youngsters discovered that early exposure to cat and dogs prevented them becoming allergic later in life.

The first year of a child’s life is the most important period in building up resistance, the results of the study in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy showed.

Experts studied blood samples of participants at the age of 18, comparing the levels of antibodies to dog and cat allergens between those who had pets as children and those who had not. Young men who had dogs during the first year of their lives had about half the risk of becoming sensitised to dogs compared with non dog-owning families.

Both men and women who had cats in the first year of their lives were also about half as likely to be sensitised to the animals, compared to those who did not. Ganesha Wegienka, of the department of public health sciences, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, who led the research, said: “Exposing children to cats and dogs in the home is not going to increase the risk of sensitisation to these animals. It might even decrease the risk."

Source - Telegraph

Woman who suffered three miscarriages becomes a mother of two after using reflexology

A saleswoman who was desperate to have a baby after suffering three miscarriages has become a mother of two - after using reflexology to get pregnant.

Gabby Lamplugh, 32, was devastated after she and husband James lost their unborn babies one after another. The couple, who had already overhauled their diets, booked themselves in for fertility tests when a friend recommended reflexology classes.

Reflexology is based on the ancient Chinese belief that we have energy flowing all around our bodies, which can become blocked. Practitioners believe they can free these areas by manipulating the hands and feet, which correspond to all the different organs and systems of the body.

Gabby was initially sceptical of the alternative treatment but was amazed when she fell pregnant after just six sessions. Fearing another miscarriage Mrs Lamplugh continued with the holistic therapy to help alleviate stress and anxiety. The proud parents were delighted when their son Alfie was born in 2009.

Hypnotism 'speeds up cancer op recovery and cuts chance of it returning'

Hypnotising women undergoing breast cancer surgery could speed their recovery and reduce the odds of the disease returning, experts believe.

They say using a combination of hypnotism and local anaesthetic to put patients under also allows quicker discharge from hospital and leaves patients more satisfied overall. However, the technique is recommended only for operations in which surgeons do not tug at flesh and patients must be ‘motivated’. The recommendations come from Belgian anaesthetists who already routinely put patients having breast and thyroid operations in pain-relieving trances.

To prove the technique's worth, they carried out studies on two groups of patients. The first involved 78 breast cancer patients, scheduled for ops which included removing part of the breast.

Eighteen of the women had the hypnosis, combined with a local anaesthetic, which only numbed the chest area. The others had a general anaesthetic that knocked them out completely.

Those that were hypnotised spent five or six minutes more under the surgeon's knife but needed fewer powerful pain-relieving drugs when recovering afterwards. They were also discharged nearly a day earlier, on average, the European Anaesthesiology Congress heard.

Source - Daily Mail


Number of people with brain cancer could soar 20-fold in 20 years because of mobile phones, experts warn

Two weeks ago, the World Health Organisation warned for the first time that mobile phones may cause cancer - urging users to limit their use.

The warning followed Interphone's research from 13 countries that found that the even just using a phone for 15 minutes a day could substatially increase the risk of a brain tumour.

But it could come to late for many mobile addicts, as it takes 15 to 20 years for primary cancers to develop - meaning the 'timebombs' could have already done their damage.

Graham Lamburn, technical manager at independent watchdog Powerwatch, said: 'This research shows that heavy users are at the biggest risk and that there is a very high increase in the risk of brain cancer from just 15 minutes of mobile phone use. Fifteen minutes is really not that long any more. Many people use their phones for much longer than that each day now. If the indications in this study are right ... then this is a potential timebomb.'

Source - Daily Mail


Bees' role in superbug fight, finds Cardiff research

Beekeepers could hold the key to fighting a variety of drug-resistant superbugs, according to new research.

It has long been thought that honey's acidic qualities and low water content are antiseptic factors. Cardiff University's Welsh School of Pharmacy is beginning to isolate the importance played by drugs within flowers from which nectar is collected. Beekeepers are being urged to submit samples of their honey in the hope they may provide a clue to new drugs.

The earliest depiction of humans collecting honey is a cave-painting in Valencia, on Spain's eastern coast, thought to date from around 8000 BC. Since about 4000 BC, the ancient Hindi medical theory of Ayurveda outlined honey's medicinal qualities in treating burns, allergies and infections.

Western cultures have eventually caught up by devising honey-based wound dressings and oral medicines. But the composition of honey varies greatly, and it depends on the local flora in the bees' immediate environment.

Professor Les Baillie of the Welsh School of Pharmacy asked as many amateur and private beekeepers as possible to send in samples of their honey.

Source - BBC

Stressed at work? Put pot plants on your desk

Having potted plants in the office is good for your health, a new study has discovered.

Research found that the presence of pot plants in offices reduced fatigue, stress, dry throats, headaches, coughs and dry skin among workers. The study was led by environmental psychology expert Dr Tina Bringslimark and her team at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and Uppsala University, Sweden.

In a second study, based on 385 office workers, the researchers looked at sick-leave rates and the number of plants individuals could see from their desks. Results showed that the more plants they could see, the less sick leave they took. One explanation is that plants and the microbes in their soil are good at removing volatile, organic compounds that can affect health.

Source - Daily Mail

Dried fruit can help combat cancer and heart problems

Dried fruit is as healthy as its fresh equivalent and can help combat cancer, metabolic disease and heart problems, researchers have found. They are also a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Countries including the UK and the USA already put the two on a par in formal dietary recommendations, but The World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress has called for dried fruit to be recognised as equal to fresh fruits in dietary advice across the globe.

Dr Daniel Gallaher, of the University of Minnesota, said: 'Dried fruits are great sources of total and soluble fibre in the diet. Just as fresh fruit, they have low glycaemic index values and can play an important role in preventing different aspects of metabolic diseases.'

Source - Daily Mail


Magnets could prevent heart attacks by thinning the blood as effectively as aspirin

People at risk of heart attacks are often prescribed aspirin to thin the blood, but now scientists believe that MAGNETS could one day be used instead.

Scientists at Temple University in Michigan found that a device that uses a magnetic field to thin fuel, can have the same effect on human blood. Professor Rongjia Tao pioneered the use of electric or magnetic fields to decrease the viscosity of oil in engines in 2008. He realised that this could work on our own circulation system in a similar way.

Because red blood cells contain iron, Tao has been able to reduce a person's blood viscosity (resistance to flow) by 20-30 per cent by subjecting it to a magnetic field for about one minute. The field measured 1.3 Telsa which is about the same as an MRI machine. After testing numerous blood samples in a laboratory, Tao found that the magnetic field polarises the red blood cells causing them to link together in short chains, streamlining the movement of the blood.

As these chains are larger than the single blood cells, they flow down the centre, reducing the friction against the walls of the blood vessels. The combined effects reduce the viscosity of the blood, helping it to flow more freely.

Source - Daily Mail


An apple a day keeps the doctor away

An apple a day really could keep the doctor away – as long as you don’t throw away the peel.

The chemical behind the apple skin’s waxy shine is being credited with a host of health benefits from building muscle to keeping the lid on weight. Ursolic acid also keeps cholesterol and blood sugar under control, meaning an apple a day could do wonders for all-round health.

Researcher Christopher Adams said: ‘Ursolic acid is an interesting natural compound. It’s part of a normal diet as a component of apple peels. They always say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away…’

Source - Daily Mail


Virtual gym 'helps weight loss'

Regular visits to a health club in the online virtual world Second Life appear to help shed the pounds in real life, say exercise scientists.

Participants in two 12-week weight loss programmes - one real, and one online - lost similar amounts of weight. Indiana University researchers told a conference that confidence and motivation built in the virtual gym continued in normal life. A UK psychologist said mixing online and real world support might work best. Second Life, launched in 2003, allows individuals to create online personae and explore an online world, interacting with others.

Dr Jeanne Johnston, who led the study which was presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference in Denver, worked in partnership with a Second Life interactive weight loss community called Club One Island to devise a weight loss programme.

Source - BBC

How your medicine could be draining vital nutrients from your body

Medication can do much to alleviate the symptoms that make your life miserable. But in most cases they don’t actually tackle the cause. There is also the risk of side-effects.

And as a new book suggests, they might be adding to your health woes by ‘stealing nutrients from your system or preventing their absorption’. As a result, you could end up feeling worse, or even being diagnosed with another condition.

The book, Drug Muggers: Which Medications Are Robbing Your Body Of Essential Nutrients, has been written by leading U.S. pharmacist Suzy Cohen.

‘If you run low on even one vital nutrient, you can experience a cascade of uncomfortable side effects,’ she claims.

These side effects — which she’s labelled ‘drug mugging symptoms’ — may not show up right away; some can occur months to years after taking a drug. So could we counteract this nutrient loss by eating more healthily?

‘Even if you eat fresh fruits and vegetables every hour, you still get only a fraction of the essential nutrients you need from these foods — and if your medication is depleting them, you’ll need even more,’ says Cohen.

She suggests the solution is supplements, though you should take care.

Source - Daily Mail

Don't pop pills... just grow peonies

You wake early. It's raining. You've lost your job. Maybe you drank too much the night before. But this is worse than a hangover. You feel as if a black dog is sitting on your shoulder.

Your doctor has told you, as if you didn't know, that you're suffering from depression, a condition that can turn everything black. So how do you get out of it before it turns into a serious downward spiral? Is there any alternative to a handful of pills?

Well, you might try growing sweet peas up a wigwam of canes.

Art therapy, music therapy and exercise therapy have been around for a long time, but garden therapy is a newer idea — though every retired person with time on their hands who heads out to a bed of roses after breakfast is probably practising it.

If you're suffering from empty nest syndrome, the children having fled home, then nothing fills it quicker than an overflowing flowerbed. Now the NHS is backing a trial scheme at Mayfield Garden Nursery in Southampton, where people feeling as if the sun's gone in go looking for brightness in the garden.

Source - Daily Mail

Why eating dirt can be good for you... and act as a shield for your stomach

Parents who have watched in horror as their young children stuff a handful of mud into their mouths while playing in the garden can relax.

For research suggests that eating mud or clay could actually be good for the stomach. Dining on dirt, or geophagy, is common among many cultures and has been reported in almost every country in the world. Now more than 480 cultural accounts of the practice — by missionaries, plantation doctors and explorers — have been analysed by researchers at Cornell University in New York.

While no one is suggesting that mud should be the new fad diet, the study, in The Quarterly Review of Biology, found the most plausible explanation for geophagy could be that earth acts as a shield against ingested parasites and plant toxins.

People may also crave dirt because it provides nutrients they lack such as iron, zinc, or calcium, the research found.

'Cowboys' hamper use of hypnotherapy to treat NHS patients

The use of hypnosis as a medical therapy is being undermined by cowboy practitioners with little training who have caused serious harm to patients, specialists say today.

Hypnotherapy is a proven treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice), and research has shown that it provides effective pain relief to women in labour.

But the extension of the technique to other areas of medicine is being hampered by its misuse by inadequately qualified practitioners.

Specialists from the Royal Society of Medicine's Section of Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine meeting in London tonight are to discuss ways of combating the threat and increasing the medical use of hypnosis which they say could save the NHS millions of pounds. Peter Naish, senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University and president-elect of the hypnosis section of the RSM, said many lay hypnotherapists were using techniques which induced damaging "false memories" in the belief that current traumas stemmed from episodes of abuse in the past which were so terrible the memory of them had been suppressed.

Source - Independent

Pomegranate juice could reduce workplace stress

Pomegranate juice could reduce stress in the workplace, according to new researLinkch.

The study found that having the drink every day resulted in lower stress hormones and a reduction in blood pressure. Researchers at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, studied the physiological effect of daily consumption of 500ml of Pomegreat Pure pomegranate juice over a two-week period.

They found that all 60 volunteers - from a range of working environments - reported being more enthusiastic and less distressed after having the drink.

Dr Emad Al-Dujaili, who led the study, said: "On the basis of these findings there is a justified argument for busy workers to drink pomegranate juice to help alleviate chronic stress and maintain good health."

Source - Independent

Most 'wasting money on health supplements' finds NHS report

The market for dietary supplements and vitamins was worth more than £670 million in 2009, according to NHS Choices, which provides general health information.

But, in a new report titled Supplements: Who needs them? the authors concluded: "During our work it has become clear that the widely perceived benefits of certain supplements simply do not have enough robust evidence to support them. This was partly due to press coverage, partly due to the way they were marketed, and partly due to "the sheer volume of misinformation floating around on the internet."

The report found that vitamin supplements to be a particular area of wasted cash.

Accounting for almost a third of the overall market, at £208 million, the report stated: "There are clearly plenty of people buying vitamin supplements but, surprisingly, only certain groups are considered to benefit from taking them."

Source - Independent