Hay fever symptoms can be significantly reduced after three years of treatment

Hay fever sufferers may be able to significantly reduce their symptoms such as itchy red eyes and a runny nose by having treatment for three years, new research suggests.

Scientists from Imperial College London found people with hay fever, an allergic reaction to pollen, were able to “suppress” the condition by taking pollen pills or undergoing injections. However, while a three-year course of treatment was shown to markedly lessen symptoms “for several years”, two years of treatment did not bring the same benefits.  

Past studies have shown that exposing patients to increasing amounts of grass pollen over time – a type of immunotherapy – is an effective way to reduce severe symptoms in the long term. Hay fever has been estimated to affect as many as one in four people across the UK. The majority of these cases are initiated as a reaction to grass pollen.

The new study, published in the journal JAMA, involved patient volunteers at Royal Brompton Hospital in London.

Vitamin D supplements 'the key to beating colds and flu', study finds

More than three million people across the UK could stave off infections such as colds or flu every year if everyone took Vitamin D supplements, experts have said.

A new study has found that taking the supplements protects against acute respiratory infections. Vitamin D supplements have been a hot topic in medical circles in recent years with some experts arguing that their usefulness remains uncertain.

Can coloured lights really stop that ringing in your ears?

A lamp that gives out coloured light is being tested as a new treatment for tinnitus, a condition characterised by a ringing, buzzing or constant roar in the ears.

Researchers at the University of Leicester are testing this approach following a serendipitous discovery from earlier research with migraine patients who also happened to have tinnitus. 

Using coloured lenses to treat their migraines also reduced their tinnitus. Further work found the coloured light reduced tinnitus symptoms in 40 per cent of the patients. Now the researchers are testing the treatment on a larger group.

An estimated six million people in the UK have tinnitus, with around 10 per cent of them seriously affected. This can have a detrimental effect on their quality of life and has been linked to depression, anxiety and sleeping problems.

Source  - Daily Mail

Can't sleep? Insomniacs should try camping, say scientists

Over the years, insomniacs have been offered pills, plants, “mindfulness”, and even special lamps to help them get off to sleep.

But it now turns out that a far simpler solution has always been at hand, and one that is, literally, all around: the great outdoors. New research suggests that rather than lying in bed miserably counting imaginary sheep, insomniacs should get out among some real ones and try a spot of camping.

According to a new study, just a couple of nights under canvas is enough to reset the body’s internal clock, enabling people to fall asleep more quickly. Modern living is increasingly depriving people of sufficient natural light, causing the timing of their circadian rhythm to slip.

However, a new experiment by the University of Colorado revealed how a stint in the countryside is able to rapidly shift the timing forward by two and a half hours, allowing campers to go to bed at a civilised hour once they returned home.

Can acupuncture relieve your baby’s colic?

Your baby is crying inconsolably, suffering from colic. Do you: a) cuddle it, b) give Infacol drops or c) stick needles into it? According to a paper in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, the answer may be c. Since colic affects up to at least 20% of babies, that could mean a lot of work for acupuncturists.
Colic starts in the first weeks of life and is usually over by three to four months. Babies are otherwise perfectly fine but cry in the early evening, and can yell for hours. No wonder parents feel desperate. The cause is unknown, with possible culprits including the mother’s diet during breastfeeding, cigarette smoke, the baby gulping too much air during feeding, inadequate burping and parental stress. Overstimulating babies has also been blamed. Super-sensitive pain signals and abnormal muscle contraction in the wall of the baby’s gut are the possible mechanisms that trigger the pain and bawling.

Standing up straight could treat depression

Good posture could help treat depression, a new study claims.

Previous research has showed that slouching can crush one's mood, and sitting straight does the opposite. But an upcoming paper by the University of Auckland is the first to examine whether something as simple as posture could work for people clinically diagnosed with moderate depression. 

'Compared to sitting in a slumped position, sitting upright can make you feel more proud after a success, increase your persistence at an unsolvable task, and make you feel more confident in your thoughts,' lead researcher Dr Elizabeth Broadbent explains.  'Research also suggests that sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, feel less fearful, and have higher self-esteem after a stressful task.'

Source  - Daily Mail