Why kids with migraines may not need drugs

Sugar pills worked as well at preventing kids' migraines as two commonly used headache medicines - and even had fewer side effects, a study reveals. The findings may lead doctors to rethink how they treat a common ailment in children and teens.

It's the first rigorous head-to-head test in kids of two generic prescription drugs also used for adults' migraines: topiramate, an anti-seizure medicine, and amitriptyline, an anti-depressant.  The idea was to see if either drug could reduce by half the number of days kids had migraines over a month's time. Both drugs worked that well — but so did placebo sugar pills.

The results 'really challenge what is typical practice today by headache specialists,' said study author Scott Powers, a psychologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital's headache centre.


'The fact that it shows that two of the most commonly used medications are no more effective than a placebo and have adverse effects makes a very clear statement,' said Dr. Leon Epstein, neurology chief at Ann & Robert Lurie H. Children's Hospital of Chicago

Scientists find no evidence they help to fight off bladder infections

Cranberries are often regarded as a superfood but they may not be as good as scientists first thought.

Experts say the fruit - which contains a high amount of beneficial compounds known as flavonoids - can improve heart health and the immune system. It is also thought to reduce urinary tract infections (UTIs) of the bladder, kidneys and the tubes among elderly women. But the berries had little effect on reducing any such infections, new evidence suggests. 

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine, Connecticut, gave older women in nursing homes cranberry capsules or a placebo. The study randomly assigned 185 women with an average age of 86 two oral berry capsules or a fake pill. 

Both capsules contained 72mg of the active ingredient proanthocyanidin, equivalent to a pint of cranberry juice.  They found the berries made no significant difference in presence of bacteria and white blood cells in the urine (pyuria), a sign of UTIs.

Source  - Daily Mail

Why broccoli could reverse the signs of ageing

Physical signs of ageing could be slowed down by a compound found in broccoli, cabbage and avocado, scientists claim.

It slowed down the deterioration of liver and eye function, bone density and the metabolism, a new study found. While it was found to prevent laboratory mice from gaining weight as they aged - despite consuming more food. 

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) compensated for the loss of energy production, which experts believe is a key driver of the body's ageing process. 

Researchers tested the compound on older mice to see if it helped to slow their physical ageing signs. They were also keen to find out if it could alter their metabolism to one expected in younger animals.

Study author Professor Dr Shin-ichiro Imai, from Washington University, St Louis, said: 'We have shown a way to slow the physiologic decline that we see in ageing mice. This means older mice have metabolism and energy levels resembling that of younger mice.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Vitamin D deficiency associated with heightened depression

A lack of vitamin D – common in the UK during the autumn and winter months – has been associated with increased symptoms of depression, according to a new study.
Earlier this year everyone in Britain was recommended to take supplements of the vitamin during the darker months. While it is found in a few foods like oily fish, most people get vitamin D from a natural effect on the body caused by sunlight. Low levels are associated with bone conditions such as rickets and osteoporosis, but it can also affect muscle tissue and has been found to be associated with normal levels of dopamine, a chemical linked to mood, in the brain.
In the new study, which was revealed at the International Early Psychosis Association in Milan, scientists tested vitamin D levels among 225 patients being treated for psychotic disorders and another 159 well people. They found a significant association between low levels of vitamin D and “higher levels of negative symptoms and of depression” among people with psychosis. They also found a significant link to reduced verbal fluency and cognitive impairments.

Migraines could be caused by gut bacteria, study suggests


Migraine sufferers have a different mix of gut bacteria that could make them more sensitive to certain foods, scientists have found.

The study offers a potential explanation for why some people are more susceptible to debilitating headaches and why some foods appear to act as triggers for migraines. The research showed that migraine sufferers had higher levels of bacteria that are known to be involved in processing nitrates, which are typically found in processed meats, leafy vegetables and some wines.

Antonio Gonzalez, a programmer analyst at the University of California San Diego and the study’s first author, said: “There is this idea out there that certain foods trigger migraines - chocolate, wine and especially foods containing nitrates. We thought that perhaps there are connections between what people are eating, their microbiomes and their experiences with migraines.”

When nitrates in food are broken down by bacteria in the mouth and gut they are eventually converted into nitric oxide in the blood stream, a chemical that dilates blood vessels and can aid cardiovascular health by boosting circulation. However, around four in five cardiac patients who take nitrate-containing drugs for chest pain or heart failure report severe headaches as a side effect.

How placebos can work even when patients know they're not real

Taking a placebo helps to ease pain even when patients know it isn't the real thing, scientists claim.
Fake medication was found to cut initial back discomfort and disability by a third, a study found.  While patients who had their usual drugs - which have previously found to be ineffective - reported no reduction in their pain.  Experts say the findings could be an end to the ethical issue of deceiving patients by telling them they are taking fake drugs. 

Back pain causes more disability than any other condition, with 40 per cent of working-age Britons suffering from the complaint in the past year. Treatment costs the economy £1 billion a year and when lost earnings are factored in, the bill reaches £12 billion. 

Portuguese researchers studied 97 adults with low back pain lasting for around three months. They were randomly assigned to three weeks of treatment of their usual medications alone, or with placebos on top. But unlike usual studies, patients knew they were taking a placebo and were explained about how their body may respond to the sham pills anyway. Measures of back pain and disability were compared between both groups.

Source  - Daily Mail

Vitamin D deficiency associated with heightened depression, study finds.

A lack of vitamin D – common in the UK during the autumn and winter months – has been associated with increased symptoms of depression, according to a new study.
Earlier this year everyone in Britain was recommended to take supplements of the vitamin during the darker months. While it is found in a few foods like oily fish, most people get vitamin D from a natural effect on the body caused by sunlight. Low levels are associated with bone conditions such as rickets and osteoporosis, but it can also affect muscle tissue and has been found to be associated with normal levels of dopamine, a chemical linked to mood, in the brain.
In the new study, which was revealed at the International Early Psychosis Association in Milan, scientists tested vitamin D levels among 225 patients being treated for psychotic disorders and another 159 well people. They found a significant association between low levels of vitamin D and “higher levels of negative symptoms and of depression” among people with psychosis. They also found a significant link to reduced verbal fluency and cognitive impairments.
In a paper in the journal Schizophrenia Research, the researchers, from Norway, suggested vitamin D could be used to help treat patients. “In a clinical setting, this could support vitamin D as adjuvant therapy in treating co-morbid depressions in psychotic disorders,” they wrote.

Trying to get pregnant? Avoid diet drinks.

Diet drinks may reduce a woman's chance of getting pregnant during IVF, a study suggests.

Would-be mothers who opted for pop with artificial sweeteners, or put sugar substitutes in hot drinks, produced poorer eggs and embryos, researchers said.  
While it is widely believed taking artificial sweeteners is healthier than taking sugar, both options raised the risk of an embryo being found to have at least one deformity.

The findings were based on a study of women undergoing fertility treatment at an IVF clinic and presented at the congress of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, in Salt Lake City.

The 524 women were asked about their dietary habits, and whether those who drank diet drinks and coffee with either sugar or artificial sweeteners. Over two years, the researchers looked at 5,548 egg cells taken from the women undergoing fertility treatment. They noted whether any form of shape defect was present or absent in the egg.

Source  - Daily Mail

Revealed, the 5 reasons which make porridge the healthiest breakfast option.

Whether you enjoy it with almonds, blueberries or a sprinkle of cinnamon - porridge is one of the healthiest breakfast options.
Other than being low in fat, the oatmeal dish is a great source of minerals, fibre and slow-releasing carbohydrates. Researchers from Harvard University previously found wholegrains, such as oats, were the key to living longer. 

Here Cassandra Barns, a London-based nutritionist, reveals the 5 reasons why porridge makes the best breakfast:-


Source  - Daily Mail

Do you really need 8 glasses of water a day?

Doctors, scientists and our loved ones all remind us of the need to drink eight glasses of water each day. But is there any truth behind the tale that it's good for us?

Apparently not, as experts have now warned refreshing yourself when you're not thirsty could actually kill you.  Drinking excess liquid activates a protective swallowing inhibition within the brain, a study found. But forcing yourself to drink more than what your body needs overrides the mechanism and puts people at risk of water intoxication, scientists claim.

Hyponatremia - where vital levels of sodium in the blood become abnormally low - occurs when too much of the liquid has been consumed. It can cause lethargy, nausea, convulsions and even lead to a coma and if left untreated, it can lead to death within just a matter of hours.

Lead researcher Dr Michael Farrell, from Monash University, Melbourne, said: 'If we just do what our body demands us to we'll probably get it right - just drink according to thirst rather than an elaborate schedule.
Source  - Daily Mail

Could bee venom halt arthritis?

A jab made from bee venom could help millions of arthritis sufferers.

Scientists have developed tiny nanoparticles that can be injected straight into painful knees, using a peptide found in the insects’ poison. The peptide, called melittin, has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that halts the destruction of cartilage, the body’s built-in ‘shock absorber’.

Experts who tested the jab on mice think the sooner it is given after a sporting injury or accident, the less likely it is the joint will later be affected by osteoarthritis. But they are also hopeful the bee venom particles will help those who have suffered the painful condition for years.

An estimated nine million people in Britain have some degree of osteoarthritis.
As the body ages, major joints like the hips, knees and wrists suffer wear and tear. But other risk factors include being overweight, having a family history of the condition and suffering sports-related injuries. Cartilage soaks up the impact from walking, running or lifting, so that bones do not rub together and disintegrate.

Source  - Daily Mail

Should you really stop wearing deodorants because of cancer risk?

As breast cancer rates continue to rise, experts have debated about where to lay the blame. 

Certainly, there is the obesity crisis, the fact that women drink more alcohol than before and that we tend to be less active than women of previous generations — all known risk factors. With the introduction of a breast screening service in the late Eighties, more cancers are now detected, too.

But could some of the blame lie with the use of antiperspirants? Most use aluminium-based compounds to prevent sweat, probably by inhibiting sweat glands. 

This is different from deodorants, which don’t stop sweating but mask its odour, and may contain chemicals to kill bacteria, but don’t contain aluminium.

Source  - Daily Mail

Coffee really can help to prevent dementia

It's tasty, warm and gives you a much needed energy boost - just about everybody loves a cup of coffee.

But now scientists claim the hot drink is more than just an enjoyable treat, it can actually help to prevent the onslaught of dementia. Women over the age of 65 who had a normal caffeine intake were 36 per cent less likely to develop a cognitive impairment, a study found.

However, experts haven't quite put their finger on why just two cups of coffee a day can help to prevent dementia. Researchers, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, assessed 6,467 women over the age of 65 and their daily self-reported caffeine consumption. Intake was estimated from questions about coffee, tea and cola consumption, including frequency and serving size. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Could Chinese medicine cure leukaemia?

A Chinese herbal medicine has blasted leukaemia into submission.
Seriously ill patients given homoharringtonine, a drug made from the leaves of the plum yew tree, made remarkable recoveries. 

Some had already been treated unsuccessfully with conventional drugs. All were suffering from a hard to treat form of acute myeloid leukaemia – an aggressive cancer of the white blood cells.

Twenty of the 24 patients treated with homoharringtonine, plus a conventional medicine that boosted its effect, went into remission – meaning all signs of their cancer had gone. One 76-year-old woman remained in remission for over a year, despite being given the herbal drug for just five months.

Source  - Daily Mail

Why porridge really is a super food.

It's the warming breakfast staple enjoyed by many over the winter months.
Now researchers say there is further evidence porridge oats really do offer the best start to the day.

Oats have long been known to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. But previously researchers focused on how oats help reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — or 'bad' cholesterol — which collects in the lining of the arteries, potentially blocking them.  But there is growing evidence that two other markers provide an even more accurate assessment of heart attack risk. 

These are non-HDL cholesterol, which is total cholesterol minus the 'healthy' part and lipoprotein, which carries bad cholesterol through the blood.  The checks are particularly useful to people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome as patients with these conditions typically do not show high LDL cholesterol levels. And the good news is eating oat fibre can reduce all three markers, according to a large study review. The study was led by Dr Vladimir Vuksan, a research scientist and associate director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre of St Michael's Hospital.

Source  - Daily Mail

Why does the NHS spend money on homeopathy?

The NHS says there's "no good-quality evidence" that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition, yet it funds it. Why and to what extent?

Homeopathy is an extremely controversial issue - so it's no surprise it came top of our poll of readers when we asked what they would like us to investigate. The Department of Health doesn't hold any figures for England - nor do the other devolved nations - so instead I've had to go to a variety of different sources to get a picture of what is happening.

There are now only two NHS centres offering homeopathic treatments - in London and Glasgow. Another two former ones - in Bristol and Liverpool - have moved into the private sector, but still see NHS patients (although it was announced this week the last health body funding the Liverpool one was going to stop sending patients).

However, the way money flows around the health service makes it hard to work out exactly how much is spent across these sites.

For example, patients receiving fertility treatment or being given support for pain or anxiety may get referred to these centres, but are not necessarily recorded as receiving homeopathic care. Nonetheless, the Good Thinking Society, which has been campaigning for the NHS to stop funding homeopathy, estimates spending is in the region of £5m a year.

Source - BBC

Omega-3 oils in farmed salmon 'halve in five years'

Levels of beneficial omega-3 oils in farmed salmon have fallen significantly in the past five years, a study shows.

BBC News has learned that, on average, levels of omega-3s halved in the fish over that period. Despite this, the analysis shows that farmed salmon is still one of the richest sources of these fatty acids.

But the industry is exploring new ways to arrest the decline - which appears to be due to the type of feed given to the farmed fish.

The study was carried out by researchers at Stirling University. Prof Douglas Tocher, who led the research, told BBC News: "About five years ago, a portion of Atlantic salmon of 130g was able to deliver three-and-a-half grams of beneficial omega-3. This is actually our weekly recommended intake. Now, the level of omega-3 has halved," he said. "Therefore, instead of eating one portion of farmed salmon, we would need to eat two portions of farmed salmon," he explained.

Source - BBC

Alternative medicine treatment put four-year-old boy in A&E

The plight of a four-year-old boy who nearly died after his parents gave him 12 alternative medicines has prompted doctors to warn against the treatments.

Doctors at Newham Hospital in east London said the parents were "devastated" that their good intentions had made him so unwell. The boy took a dozen supplements supposedly to help treat his autism.

The National Autistic Society said it was crucial for doctors to talk through the risks of alternative therapies. The boy developed a potentially fatal condition after taking supplements from a naturopath (natural health practitioner) for a number of months, which included vitamin D, camel's milk, silver and Epsom bath salts.

He was admitted to A&E after losing 6.5lbs (3kg) over three weeks, suffering from symptoms including vomiting and extreme thirst.

Source - BBC