Could caffeine transform the average nan into Supergran?

Drinking coffee could help older people maintain their strength and reduce their chances of falling and injuring themselves, a new study has found.

The decline in muscle strength that occurs as we age can reduce quality of life by making everyday tasks harder.  The process is not well understood, but it is clear that preserving muscle tone is key. 
It is known that in adults in their prime caffeine helps the muscles to produce more force. But as we age, our muscles naturally change and become weaker. So, sports scientists at Coventry University looked for the first time at whether caffeine could also have a strengthening effect on pensioners.
Their study on mice revealed that caffeine boosted power in two different muscles in elderly adults - an effect that was not seen in developing youngsters. Jason Tallis, the study's primary author, said: 'With the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle to preserve health and functional capacity, the performance-enhancing benefit of caffeine could prove beneficial in the aging population.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Walking 'cuts breast cancer risk by 30%

Walking for an hour and a half every day could reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 30 per cent, claim scientists.
They say that doing ten hours of gentle exercise a week – which includes household chores – drastically cuts the likelihood of the illness for all age-groups. American scientists believe that being active helps prevent the formation of fatty tissue, which in turn is known to trigger cancerous tumours.
They compared the lifestyles of 3,059 women aged 20 to 98, including 1,504 patients who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Each woman was asked to record how much physical activity she did a week, which included walking, household chores, cycling and jogging.
They found that women who did ten to 19 hours of exercise a week were 30 per cent less likely to have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This amounts to between an hour and a half to nearly three hours daily.
Currently the Department of Health recommends that adults take at least two and a half hours’ exercise a week, which ideally includes some intense activity. But Lauren McCullough, from the University of North Carolina, insisted women did not necessarily need to go near a gym to reap the benefits.
 

Two cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of heart failure (but five are bad for you)

Two mugs of coffee a day could help keep the heart healthy. A study has linked the drink with a lower risk of heart failure.
With up to 40 per cent of those affected dying within a year of diagnosis, heart failure has a worse survival rate than many cancers.
The latest research suggests that regularly drinking moderate amounts of coffee can cut the odds of cardiac trouble – though too much could be counter-productive. Crunching together the results of five previous studies, involving almost 150,000 men and women, showed that those who enjoyed one or two mugs of coffee a day were 11 per cent less likely to develop heart failure than those who had none. Heart attack survivors gained as much benefit as those with healthy hearts. But drinking five or more mugs a day appeared to be bad for the heart, the journal Circulation Heart Failure reports. 

Source  - Daily Mail 

National Botanic Garden of Wales logs plant DNA barcode

Wales has recorded the DNA of all its native flowering plants, which has potential to help conservation and develop new drugs to fight illnesses.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales says it is the first country in the world to create the database.
Wales has about 75% of UK flowering plants, and the database has 1,143 plants and conifers. Barcodes are short DNA sequences and plants can be identified from pollen grains, seed pieces, or roots and wood. Other plants introduced by humans will form the next phase of the three-year project.
The Barcode Wales project has been led by Dr Natasha de Vere, head of conservation and research from the National Botanic Garden in Carmarthenshire.
She said: "Wales is now in the unique position of being able to identify plant species from materials which in the past would have been incredibly difficult or impossible. Through the Barcode Wales project, we have created a powerful platform for a broad range of research from biodiversity conservation to human health."

Source  - BBC

Yoga for Lifers

Last December I visited a state prison in Northern California (Deuel Vocational Institute) and not only had the opportunity to teach yoga to inmates but also to talk with them afterwards about their yoga practices. It was an incredibly profound and humbling experience. To a man they were articulate, eloquent and astute. In terms of their depth of understanding of the potency of yoga practice, it was way beyond what I read in most of the yoga blogs on-line these days. They were freedom yogis, practising to find liberation behind bars. Imagine how confronting and challenging -- and how meaningful and transformative -- it would be to show up to your yoga mat every day if you were in jail for life.

One of the geniuses of yoga it that it also helps us get clearer about what we value in the rest of our lives through the opportunity it gives for self study (svadhyaya). Sustained practice over time leads to greater self-awareness because of the meditative aspects of the practice. Yoga is designed to make us more connected to ourselves, more aware of our tendencies and better able to witness our thoughts, emotions, sensations and feelings without reacting to them.

Source  - Huffpost

Having Your Coffee and Enjoying It Too

A disclaimer: I do not own stock in Starbucks nor, to my knowledge, in any other company that sells coffee or its accoutrements. I last wrote about America’s most popular beverage four years ago, and the latest and largest study to date supports that earlier assessment of coffee’s health effects.
Although the new research, which involved more than 400,000 people in a 14-year observational study, still cannot prove cause and effect, the findings are consistent with other recent large studies.
The findings were widely reported, but here’s the bottom line: When smoking and many other factors known to influence health and longevity were taken into account, coffee drinkers in the study were found to be living somewhat longer than abstainers. Further, the more coffee consumed each day — up to a point, at least — the greater the benefit to longevity.
The observed benefit of coffee drinking was not enormous — a death rate among coffee drinkers that was 10 percent to 15 percent lower than among abstainers. But the findings are certainly reassuring, and given how many Americans drink coffee, the numbers of lives affected may be quite large.

Source  - New York Times

Tai Chi makes your brain bigger and improves memory

A new study has revealed how elderly people practising Tai Chi - an ancient Chinese form of slow, meditative exercise - just three times a week can boost brain volume and improve memory and thinking.
As the exercise increases mental activity, scientists believe it may be possible to delay the onset of incurable Alzheimer's in pensioners.
Dementia and the gradual cognitive deterioration that precedes it is associated with increasing shrinkage of the brain, as nerve cells and their connections are gradually lost.
Previous research has shown Tai Chi can help relieve stress, improve balance in the elderly and stave of high blood pressure - helping those who suffer from heart disease.
Although scientists know brain volume can be increased in people who participate in aerobic exercise, this is the first study to show a less physical form of working out, like Tai Chi, can have the same results.

Source  - Telegraph

Alternative medicines 'potentially unsafe'

Edzard Ernst, the country's only professor of complementary medicine, said trials into treatments like chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture and herbal remedies too often failed to record incidents when patients suffered adverse effects.
Studies were frequently run by "enthusiastic amateurs" more concerned about promoting alternative medicine than accurately reporting the science, he said.
While his research indicated there were conditions for which alternative medicine could be useful, he believed in most cases people should steer clear because the balance of risks and benefits was not positive.
Chiropractic manipulation could even be "lethal", said Prof Ernst, of the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter.
"Most people believe that alternative treatments are safe. But how sure are we that this is true?" he asked.

Source  - Telegraph

How extract from poisonous Foxglove can PROTECT against high blood pressure and heart failure

A lethal poison made from a toxic plant once used as a Victorian murder weapon could help treat millions of people with high blood pressure.
Since the 13th century, the herb Foxglove has been used to cleanse wounds and its dried leaves were brewed by Native Americans to treat leg swelling caused by heart problems.
Researchers at the University of Michigan reveal that digoxin, the active ingredient in digitalis, or Foxglove, can enhance the body's own protective mechanism against high blood pressure and heart failure. Around one in three people in Britain and the U.S have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. The condition is linked to obesity and can be prevented by reducing salt intake, being active and keeping a healthy weight.
Most current treatments prevent excess hormone and stress signals that can lead to high blood pressure and heart failure.
But recent studies have found that the body has the ability to keep excess stimulation in check through production of a family of inhibitors called RGS proteins.
Researchers looked for ways to 're-purpose' old drugs to tap into this protective mechanism which is lost among some individuals with high blood pressure and heart failure.

Source  - Daily Mail

The natural remedies that can beat insomnia

Britain has become a nation of sleeping-pill-poppers. Stress-related insomnia has been blamed for a sharp increase in the number of people prescribed powerful drugs to help them sleep, with 15.3million prescriptions handed out for sleeping pills last year, costing the NHS almost £50 million.
A third of adults will suffer insomnia at some point but there are fears that strong medication is being given out too readily and that patients are becoming hooked.
Many medicines have potentially dangerous side effects, including liver problems, headaches and nausea. Yet there are natural remedies that are proving remarkably effective in clinical trials, without the same complications.
 A 2010 study found that drinking a glass of unsweetened cherry juice in the morning and evening helped improve sleep. 

Source  - Daily Mail


Homeopathy may be hokum but GPs can learn from it

A friend of mine has a chronic disease, an inflammatory arthritis that causes pain and swelling in many of her joints.
She’s never going to be cured; instead, she has to prepare herself for a future that might include hospital admissions and out-patient treatment, as well as daily medication.
I know she’s getting the very best of evidence-based care — her doctors are sure to use only treatments which are proven to work. But she’s unhappy.
Why? Well, she says, every time she goes to the hospital clinic or her GP she sees someone different. She has to start again, at the beginning of her long story of ill health.  So I was sad, but not surprised, when she told me her homeopath was doing her a lot of good.
She had an hour with her, the homeopath was never rushed, and asked all kinds of questions her usual doctors didn’t.
This is Homeopathy Awareness Week and celebrities, including David Bellamy, are involved in a campaign to promote it.
The problem is, homeopathy is bunk — it’s been tested in many studies and found to be no better than giving people sugar pills. But many people are devoted to it. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Male tea drinkers 'at greater risk of prostate cancer'

Men who are heavy tea drinkers may be more likely to develop prostate cancer, according to new research.
A team from Glasgow University tracked the health of more than 6,000 male volunteers over a period of 37 years. They found men who drank over seven cups of tea per day had a 50% higher risk of developing prostate cancer than moderate and non tea drinkers. The team said it did not know if tea was a risk factor or if drinkers lived to ages where cancer was more common.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men in Scotland and diagnosed cases increased by 7.4% between 2000 and 2010.

Source  - BBC

Fish oil does not aid memory loss


Omega-3 supplements do not appear to prevent mental decline in old age, a study review has shown.

Previous research has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids, especially those in fish oil, can help keep brain cells healthy.
But experts now say there is no evidence that they maintain mental function in ageing individuals, at least over time scales of up to three years. Researchers studied the findings of three trials looking at the effects of omega-3 taken in the form of capsules or added to margarine spread. In each case, their benefits were compared with those of sunflower oil, olive oil or regular margarine.
A total of 3,536 people over the age of 60 took part in the trials, which lasted between six and 40 months. None had any initial signs of mental decline or dementia. Participants taking omega-3 scored no better in standard tests of memory and mental performance than those not given the supplements.
The findings are published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Source  - Independent

Milk fats may alter gut bacteria causing bowel diseases

The rise of inflammatory bowel diseases could be down to our shifting diets causing a "boom in bad bacteria", according to US researchers.
Mouse experiments detailed in the journal Nature  linked certain fats, bacteria in the gut and the onset of inflammatory diseases. The researchers said the high-fat diet changed the way food was digested and encouraged harmful bacteria.
Microbiologists said modifying gut bacteria might treat the disease.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, affect one in every 350 people in the UK. When the gut becomes inflamed it can lead to abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
The researchers at the University of Chicago said the incidence of the diseases was increasing rapidly.
They used genetically modified mice which were more likely to develop IBDs. One in three developed colitis when fed either low-fat diets or meals high in polyunsaturated fats. This jumped to nearly two in three in those fed a diet high in saturated milk fats, which are in many processed foods.

Source  - BBC

Why staying mobile is the secret to a happy old age

Keeping healthy and independent are the two most important concerns for people over 60, a recent survey found. And key to both is remaining in your own home for as long as is practically possible, says the charity Age UK.
Unfortunately for many, staying mobile becomes increasingly difficult — around 2.45 million older people in England require help on a regular basis, whether it’s assistance getting dressed, help with the shopping and housework, or getting about. 
Around 750,000 people also require specially adapted accommodation, such as amended bathroom facilities, or something less major, like grab rails or ramps.
The number affected is only going to increase — it’s estimated that by the end of the decade there will be 7 million people who cannot walk up one flight of stairs without resting and more than 300,000 will have difficulty bathing.

Source  - Daily Mail

Mindfulness improves brain wiring in just a month

Just a month of meditation training alters brain wiring in ways that could open the door to new treatments for mental disorders, research has shown.
Scientists looked at the effects of integrative body-mind training (IBMT) on two groups of university students. After just four weeks, or 11 hours, of training scans showed physical changes in the brains of the volunteers.
Nerve fibres, known as 'white matter', became denser, providing greater numbers of brain-signalling connections. At the same time there was an expansion of myelin, the protective fatty insulation surrounding nerve fibres. The effects were seen in the anterior cingulate cortex region of the brain, which helps regulate behaviour.
Poor nerve activity in this part of the brain is associated with a range of mental problems, including attention deficit disorder, dementia, depression, and schizophrenia.
The study built on previous research based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans that first highlighted brain changes induced by IBMT.
Scientists revisited results from two 2010 studies, taking a closer look at what the scans revealed.

Source  - Daily Mail

Poor brushing of teeth linked to premature cancer deaths

Failing to brush your teeth properly could increase the risk of dying prematurely from cancer, researchers claim.
They found a link between high levels of dental plaque, or bacteria, and dying from cancer up to 13 years earlier than might otherwise be expected. Those with the most bacteria on the surface of their teeth and gums had an 80 per cent increased risk of premature death. Researchers say infection and inflammation play a role in up to one in five cancers, and is a key element in gum disease caused by dental plaque.
Gum disease causes bad breath, bleeding gums and, if untreated, cavities, receding gums and tooth loss after plaque settles between teeth and under the gumline.
It has been linked to chronic health problems including heart disease, thought to be caused  by inflammation passing from the gums into the bloodstream, although US researchers have recently suggested the link may be coincidental. 

Source  - Daily Mail 

Study Finds Soy Supplements Don't Boost Thinking Skills

Soy supplements taken daily don't improve the overall thinking abilities of older women, according to a new study.
"There are no substantial cognitive effects, positive or negative, from soy protein consumption in women past menopause," said researcher Dr. Victor Henderson, professor of health research and policy and neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University.
In the study, published June 5 in Neurology, Henderson and his team evaluated 350 postmenopausal women, aged 45 to 92. The researchers randomly assigned the women to take 25 grams of soy protein a day or a milk protein placebo. The soy and placebo were given in powder or bar form.
The study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is called the Women's Isoflavone Soy Health Trial. Isoflavones in soy are estrogen-like compounds. Some women choose them as an alternative to hormone therapy to relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

Source  - US  News

Tomatoes keep skin young

Scientists say tomatoes may provide the best defence against skin ageing and sun damage caused by sunlight exposure.
Tests show that eating tomato paste can help keep skin looking young and stay safe from sun damage. This is because tomatoes contain age-defying ingredient lycopene - the natural pigment that gives the fruit its red colour. The highest levels of lycopene are found in processed or cooked tomatoes used in ketchup, paste, soup and juice.
Professor Mark Birch-Machin, of Newcastle University, unveiled his research at the Royal Society of Medicine in London on Thursday [08/06].
In a study, women who ate a diet rich in processed tomatoes had increased skin protection - shown by a reduction in redness and less DNA damage from UV exposure.

Source  - Mature Times

Aspirin stops B vitamins’ benefit

This re-analysis of the VITATOPS study which found that the homocysteine lowering B vitamins didn’t appear to reduce risk of another stroke, looked at the difference between 6609 patient who were on aspirin, compared to 1463 that were not. Those not on aspirin had a significant reduction in stroke risk, as was predicted from earlier studies showing that homocysteine levels predict stroke risk. Those taking aspirin with the B vitamins had no reduction in risk. This is the second ‘negative’ study which, on re-analysis, supports the theory that aspirin knock out the benefits of B vitamins.
An editorial in the Lancet by stroke expert Dr Gustavo Saposnik says“the available evidence, suggests that the discordant results from observational studies and previous randomised trials could be explained by antiplatelet drugs attenuating or cancelling a small benefit of homocysteine-lowering therapy with B vitamins in cardiovascular prevention. The findings from the study also suggest that, in patients with raised homocysteine, vitamin-B supplementation might potentially have a role in primary stroke prevention (for non-antiplatelet users). However, vitamin-B supplementation does not seem to have a significant benefit in secondary prevention of stroke and cardiovascular disease when antiplatelet therapy is taken routinely.”

Source  - Patrick Holford

Do coffee drinkers die young or live long?

Every day Britons drink 70 million cups of coffee – roughly two each per adult. Many get caught in the sugar, nicotine, caffeine trap, thinking this combination is good for energy. But this combination feeds increasing fatigue, anxiety and weight gain. In my own research we surveyed over 55,000 people and found that the two foods that most predict fatigue and stress are caffeinated drinks and sugary foods, both addictive substances.  Many people become hooked on caffeine and sugar to keep going, gaining weight and losing health as a result. 
But what are the long-term consequences? Do coffee drinkers live longer or die young?
A study following the fate of almost 400,000 people has found that, overall, coffee drinkers are more likely to die younger.  But is that a result of the coffee or associated habits? When the researchers adjusted for smoking, the risk of death actually reversed. Coffee drinkers tended to have a slightly lower risk of death, although the decreased risk didn’t consistently become greater the more coffee was drunk. Slightly less risk were observed for deaths due to heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, and infections, but not for deaths due to cancer.

Source  - Patrick Holford

Spine manipulation for neck pain 'inadvisable'

A common chiropractic treatment for neck pain, which involves applying thrusts to the neck area of the spine, should be abandoned, say experts.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, Neil O'Connell and colleagues say that cervical spine manipulation carries a low risk of stroke, resulting from damage to the major neck arteries. They say the technique is "unnecessary and inadvisable". But other experts believe it is a valuable addition to patient care.
Spinal manipulation can be used to treat neck and back pain or other musculoskeletal conditions. It is a technique used by physiotherapists, osteopaths and most commonly by chiropractors.
Cervical spine manipulation focuses on the neck and involves a range of high-speed manual manoeuvres that stretch, mobilise or manipulate the upper spine in order to relieve pain.

Source  - BBC

Eating nuts may help combat diabetes and heart disease

A study showed that those who ate tree nuts, including cashews, walnuts and pistachios, were slimmer and had low BMIs than non consumers.
They had higher levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of proteins linked to inflammation and heart disease and were also five per cent less likely to suffer metabolic syndrome - a group of risk factors which together can cause stroke, diabetes and heart conditions.
Professor Carol O'Neil, of Louisiana State University, said: "One of the more interesting findings was the fact that tree nut consumers had lower body weight, as well as lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference compared to nonconsumers. The mean weight, BMI, and waist circumference were 4.19 pounds, 0.9kg/m2 and 0.83 inches lower in consumers than non-consumers, respectively."
Her team looked at data from more than 13,000 men and women with 'tree nut consumers' classed as those who ate more than quarter of an ounce a day.

Source  - Telegraph

Exercise does not lift depression, research suggests

Research published in the British Medical Journal suggests that adding a physical activity intervention to usual care did not reduce symptoms of depression more than usual care alone.
This contrasts with current clinical guidance which recommends exercise to help those suffering from the mental illness, which affects one in six adults in Britain at any one time.
To carry out the study researchers recruited 361 patients aged 18 to 69 years who had recently been diagnosed with depression. Trial participants were then split into two groups to receive either the physical activity intervention in addition to usual care, or usual care on its own and were followed up for 12 months to assess any change in their symptoms.
But the study found that adding exercise failed to alleviate symptoms of depression more than usual care alone, only increasing levels of physical activity.

Source  - Telegraph

Drinking four or more cups of tea can lower the risk of middle-aged related diabetes

The British habit of tea-drinking can help lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes - but only if you drink four or more cups a day.
A study of European populations found that countries that drank four cups a day - the British average - had a 20% lower risk of developing the illness.
Tea drinking ranged from an average of none a day in Spain to four a day in the UK.
The study found that benefits seemed to be most obvious among heavy tea drinkers - drinking a mere one to three cups a day doesn't lower the risk.

A research team led by Christian Herder from the Leibniz Center for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, Germany, said previous analyses showed tea consumption was associated with lower incidence of type 2 diabetes. 

Ginseng can cut tiredness caused by cancer

Ginseng helps long-term cancer patients fight off the tiredness caused by the condition.
Researchers found high doses of the herb American ginseng over two months reduced cancer-related tiredness in patients more effectively than a placebo.
They studied 340 patients who had completed cancer treatment or were being treated for cancer at one of 40 community medical centres.  Sixty per cent of the patients studied had breast cancer.
Each day, those taking part received a placebo or 2,000 milligrams of ginseng administered in capsules containing pure, ground American ginseng root.
Researcher Doctor Debra Barton, of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Centre in the United States, said: ‘Off-the-shelf ginseng is sometimes processed using ethanol, which can give it oestrogen-like properties that may be harmful to breast cancer patients.’
At four weeks, the pure ginseng provided only a slight improvement in fatigue symptoms.

Source  - Daily Mail

Fresh alert over the dangers of caffeine


Coffee drinkers are woefully ignorant of the dangers lurking in their cup, a new report warns. Consumers should be provided with information about the caffeine content of their takeaway latte or espresso since most are unaware of how it varies in strength from shop to bar or from cup to mug.

Pregnant women, as well as people with health problems, need to limit their caffeine intake. Evidence suggests there is a risk of poor foetal growth and miscarriage linked to caffeine consumption of more 300mg a day.
"For some, coffee is a problematic commodity because it is sold without information about caffeine, or a warning if it contains a lot," said Professor Mike Lean, head of human nutrition at Glasgow University, who wrote the report. "At present, there is almost no information on the caffeine contents of the various types of commercially prepared coffees."
He called on the Food Standards Authority to carry out a national study of the range of caffeine contents, reasons for variations and consumption habits to improve information for consumers.

Source  - Independent

Western living 'fuels cancer rates'

The number of people worldwide diagnosed with cancer each year is forecast to swell from 12::7 million in 2008 to 22.2 million within the next 20 years.
The trend is blamed on the spread of Western lifestyles to developing countries, where more people are now eating convenience food, becoming obese and smoking. A number of common cancers are linked to unhealthy high-income living, including those affecting the breast, prostate and bowel.
Substantial rises in the incidence of these diseases are likely to offset falling rates of others associated with infections, including cervical and stomach cancers, say researchers.
Scientists based their findings on a snapshot of cancer statistics collected from 184 countries in 2008.
The incidence and death rate estimates were recorded on the Globocan database compiled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Source  - Independent

Excess levels of Vitamin D linked to higher death rates

Excess levels of vitamin D in the blood are linked with higher death rates, warn researchers.
They claim, in a ‘surprising’ finding, that too much of the sunshine vitamin may cause almost as much harm as too little.
A new study from Danish researchers found rates of death were 40 per cent up in people with very high levels of vitamin D.
The study from University of Copenhagen is based on blood samples from 247,574 patients having tests through their GPs. But British experts said the UK had the reverse problem, with one in four people currently having low levels that put them at risk of deficiency.

Source  - Daily Mail 

Cannabis 'does not slow progress of multiple sclerosis'

Cannabis does not slow the progression of multiple sclerosis, a large-scale study has concluded.
The study at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at Plymouth University is a blow to hopes that the drug could provide long-term benefits for patients with the debilitating nerve disease.
Despite promising signs in earlier, shorter studies, researchers found patients who took capsules containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a key active ingredient in cannabis, fared no better than those given a placebo.
The trial involved 493 people with progressive MS at 27 centres around the UK and began in 2006. Participants took either THC capsules or placebo for three years.
In the study known as Cupid - cannabinoid use in progressive inflammatory brain disease - MS patients were assessed on both a disability scale administered by neurologists and another based on their own reporting.

Source  - Daily Mail 

Eating a Mediterranean diet 'improves mental well-being as well as physical health'

Eating a Mediterranean diet is good for the mind as well as the body and improves a person's quality of life, according to researchers.
The study found that the consumption of oil-rich Mediterranean foods, such as fish and seafood, helps to improve overall well-being.
For years the region's diet has been associated with superior physical health. But scientists have now linked its consumption to improved mental and physical health too.
A Mediterranean diet, which is characterised by a regular intake of fruit, vegetables, pulses, fish, olive oil and nuts, has been proven to lessen the chances of chronic illness.
Regions where people subside on it also have a lower mortality rate.

Source  - Daily Mail

Antioxidant supplement 'reduces irritability and repetitive behaviour in autistic children'

An antioxidant supplement may be an effective therapy for autism, according to scientists.
The antioxidant - called N-Acetylcysteine, or NAC - lowers irritability in children with autism and also reduces their repetitive behaviour patterns. Irritability affects 60 to 70 per cent of children with autism.
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital studied 31 children with the disorder.
Lead researcher Dr Antonio Hardan said: 'We're not talking about mild things - this is throwing, kicking, hitting, the child needing to be restrained. It can affect learning, vocational activities and the child's ability to participate in autism therapies.'
The study tested children with autism ages 3 to 12. They were physically healthy and were not planning any changes in their established autism treatments during the trial.

Source  - Daily Mail

Another excuse to eat chocolate

Lovers of dark chocolate have known for some time that their favourite treat can help protect them against high blood pressure and cut the risk of diabetes.
But now scientists say that it can even benefit those who are already at high risk of heart attacks and strokes. Although regular chocolate eating doesn’t work quite as well as drugs, the researchers say it has virtually no side effects and, perhaps not surprisingly ‘high rates of compliance’.
A team of researchers from universities in Melbourne, Australia, used a mathematical model to predict the effects and cost effectiveness of daily dark chocolate consumption in 2,013 individuals at high risk of heart disease over a decade.

Source  - Daily Mail