Severely brain-damaged patients are still able to learn and form memories

Vegetative patients who cannot communicate with the outside world still seem able to learn, research has shown.

In the Cambridge University study, researchers 'taught' such patients to associate a sound with air being blown into their eyes. After a period of training, the patients started to blink when the tone was played but before they experienced the air puff.

This level of learning requires conscious awareness of the relationship between different stimuli - in other words, knowing that the sound precedes and predicts the air puff into the eye. The same ability was not seen in volunteers who had been 'put to sleep' under anaesthetic.

It suggested that the patients could form memories and may benefit from rehabilitation, according to the scientists.

Source - Daily Mail

Junk food makes you eat more: research

Fat from certain foods including ice cream and burgers goes straight to the brain and tells you to eat more, new research reveals.

It triggers messages that are sent to the body's cells, warning them to ignore appetite-suppressing hormones that regulate our weight. The effect can last for a few days sabotaging efforts to get back to a healthy diet afterwards, the study found. The study shows for the first time how particular products can create a vicious cycle of food bingeing.

Lead author Dr Deborah Clegg of the study by UT Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas, said: "Normally, our body is primed to say when we have had enough, but that does not always happen when we are eating something good. What we have shown is that someone's entire brain chemistry can change in a very short period of time. Our findings suggest that when you eat something high in fat, your brain gets 'hit' with the fatty acids, and you become resistant to insulin and leptin. Since you are not being told by the brain to stop eating, you overeat."

Source - Telegraph

Vitamin pills a waste of money? Not if you're over 60, they're not!

Most people don't need to take supplements, it was reported last week.

We get enough vitamins and minerals from our diet, said Professor Brian Ratcliffe, a former government adviser on nutrition, so buying supplements is simply a waste of money.

But there are some people who could benefit - the over-60s.

'Retirement, the death of a partner, apathy and sometimes immobility can combine with the fact that your body's absorptive capacity drops off with age,' explains Susan Fairweather-Tait, professor of Mineral Metabolism at the University of East Anglia.

'The result is that unless you are eating very high-quality food, you could become nutritionally deficient as you get older.'

Here Professor Fairweather-Tait outlines certain vitamins that older people can lack. If you suspect your diet or absorptive abilities aren't as good as they should be, a good broad-spectrum multivitamin and mineral would be a safe option.

But if you feel you need individual supplements, always consult your GP or a nutritionist from the Nutrition Society - especially as some vitamins can interact with medication and other supplements.

Source - Daily Mail

Melon compound 'reduces stress'

Scientists may have uncovered a natural way to combat stress - eat a melon.

The key ingredient is an enzyme called superoxide dismutase, thought to have beneficial antioxidant properties which prevent damage to the body's tissues. Volunteers given a capsule containing the enzyme reported fewer symptoms of stress and fatigue than those given a dummy capsule.

The French study is published in BioMed Central's open access Nutrition Journal.

The researchers found a strong placebo effect in the 35 volunteers who received the dummy capsules, which were filled with inactive starch. However, this effect only lasted for the first seven days of the study.

In contrast, the positive effects on perceived stress and fatigue reported in the group of 35 who took the enzyme capsules were much greater - and much longer lasting.

Taking the enzyme appeared to boost concentration, cut feelings of weariness and irritability and improve problems with sleeping. The researchers said the placebo effect might have been relatively high because the people who took part in the study had everyday levels of fatigue and stress which were not out of the ordinary. They suggest the results might have been more pronounced if people with higher levels of fatigue and stress had taken part.

It is thought that the enzyme may help to minimise the damage caused by a chemical process known as oxidative stress, which releases harmful atoms called free radicals into the body's tissues.

Source - BBC

Multivitamin pills 'can do you more harm than good'

Multivitamins taken by millions of 'worried well' are a waste of money and may be doing more harm than good, an expert has said.

Brian Ratcliffe, a former government adviser on nutrition, accused the £600million-a-year vitamin pill industry of preying on the fears and finances of people who are essentially healthy.

The tablets, on sale in every supermarket, chemist and health food shop, do little to boost health in those with no medical problems and in some cases could be dangerous. For instance, those who take fish oils as well as multivitamins could be raising their odds of brittle bones in later years because they are consuming too much vitamin A.

The health-conscious should not take any supplements without first consulting their GP or another medical expert, said Professor Ratcliffe, of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

He said: 'A lot of people take supplements because they are the worried well and are concerned with taking a belt-and-braces approach to health. So they are not thinking very carefully about why they are taking them, how much they should be taking and whether they should be taking them at all. They are simply wasting their money and fuelling an industry that is to some extent exploiting their fears. Then, of course, there is a chance they are dabbling in an area where there is a potential for harm.'

The professor, a former adviser to the Food Standards Agency, is not the first to raise concern about the tablets taken by 40 per cent of women and 30 per cent of men a day.

Source - Daily Mail

A bowl of blueberries keeps the brain active in the afternoon

Munching a bowl of blueberries for breakfast can stop you flagging in the afternoon, a new study shows.

Researchers found that a large helping of the fruit - described by some as nature's 'superfood' - boosts concentration and memory up to five hours later.

In tests, volunteers who drank a blueberry smoothie in the morning did much better at mental tasks in the mid afternoon than people who had an alternative drink. British scientists who made the discovery believe the antioxidants in blueberries stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain - and keep the mind fresh. The finding means people could use blueberries and other fruit rich in anti-oxidants to improve their chances during exams or on long, difficult days at work.

Dr Jeremy Spencer of Reading University, who carried out the study, said: 'After one hour there was little difference in the attention tests. But after five hours people who didn't have the blueberry smoothie saw their performance fall by 15 to 20 per cent.'

Blueberries are bursting with vitamins C and E. Nutritionists say they are one of the richest sources of cancer-fighting antioxidant called flavonoids, which are also found in green tea, wine, grapes and cocoa.

Past studies have shown that flavonoids can protect against degenerative diseases and even help people lose weight.

Source - BBC

Low self-esteem can lead to obesity later in life

Children with low self-esteem are more likely to be overweight or obese in later life, according to new research.

A study of 6,500 participants in the 1970 British Birth Cohort Study found 10-year-olds with emotional problems tended to be fatter as adults, according to the BMC Medicine journal.

Study leader Andrew Ternouth from King's College London, said: 'While we cannot say that childhood emotional problems cause obesity in later life, we can certainly say they play a role, along with factors such as parental BMI, diet and exercise.'

The children had their weight and height measured by a nurse and their emotional status noted down. They self-reported these details when they were 30. The researchers said those who felt less in control of their lives and those who worried often were more likely to gain weight over the next 20 years. They also found that girls were slightly more affected by these factors than boys.

They suggested that early intervention for children suffering low self-esteem, anxiety or other emotional challenges could help improve their chances of long-term physical health.

Source - Daily Mail

Frozen vegetables 'more nutritious than fresh produce'

Frozen food can be even more nutritious than supposedly fresh produce in a supermarket, a new study has found.

Most of the fruit and veg found in the freezer, things like peas, are frozen very soon after harvest, so preserving the levels of vitamins and minerals. However, the long delays in getting fresh food from the field to the store often leads to a reduction in the level of beneficial compounds. In some cases fruit and vegetables sold as fresh will have been held in warehouses for months on end.

Road noise link to blood pressure

People living near noisy roads are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, a Swedish study suggests.

A Lund University team found risk rose above an average daily exposure of 60 decibels, which accounts for about one in four people in western Europe. They said it was likely noise caused stress - and maybe sleep disruption - leading to blood pressure problems. But UK experts questioned the findings, saying other factors such as diet and smoking were more important.

Researchers analysed questionnaires completed by nearly 28,000 people as well as analysing neighbourhood traffic noise.

They found that at above 60 decibels the risk of high blood pressure rose by more than 25%. Above 64 decibels the risk rose by more than 90% although the team cautioned that the low numbers in this group could have skewed the findings.

The report, published in the Environmental Health journal, said the findings were worrying as high blood pressure increased the chances of heart disease and stroke.

Source - BBC

Bed sharing 'bad for your health'

Couples should consider sleeping apart for the good of their health and relationship, say experts.

Sleep specialist Dr Neil Stanley told the British Science Festival how bed sharing can cause rows over snoring and duvet-hogging and robs precious sleep. One study found that, on average, couples suffered 50% more sleep disturbances if they shared a bed.

Dr Stanley, who sleeps separately from his wife, points out that historically we were never meant to share our beds. He said the modern tradition of the marital bed only began with the industrial revolution, when people moving to overcrowded towns and cities found themselves short of living space. Before the Victorian era it was not uncommon for married couples to sleep apart. In ancient Rome, the marital bed was a place for sexual congress but not for sleeping.

Dr Stanley, who set up one of Britain's leading sleep laboratories at the University of Surrey, said the people of today should consider doing the same.

"It's about what makes you happy. If you've been sleeping together and you both sleep perfectly well, then don't change, but don't be afraid to do something different. We all know what it's like to have a cuddle and then say 'I'm going to sleep now' and go to the opposite side of the bed. So why not just toddle off down the landing?"

Source - BBC

Faith healing 'risks recovery'

A belief in faith healing could jeopardise recover from illness, according to a new study by a University of Ulster researcher.

Dr Tony Cassidy said he believes that some people who put their trust in faith healing may be less likely to adhere to medical advice. He will be presenting his research at a British Psychological Society conference in Birmingham.

The Coleraine-based academic's research team questioned 766 people on their belief in and intention to use faith healing. They were also surveyed about their intention to adhere to medical advice.

"We found that belief and intention to use faith healing was a significant predictor of self-reported non-adherence to a medication," Dr Cassidy said. "Participants who believed strongly in faith healing were also more likely to say they were less satisfied with their GP. Given that only about one-in-three people follow medical advice totally and about one in four put their lives at risk through non-adherence, it's important that health care professionals understand their patients' beliefs about alternative remedies, such as faith healing."

But one Belfast GP, Dr Paul Corry, believes that sometimes the opposite is the case.

"Often patients that do have a faith in God or have had a Christian healing prayer for them, show a better outcome because they are more positive," Dr Corry explained. "They have hope where maybe they didn't have it before."

Source - BBC

Wonder drug in development to let dieters eat whatever they want - without gaining a single pound

A pill that allows dieters to gorge on junk food without putting on a pound is being developed by scientists.

The couch potato's dream, it would allow people to eat all their favourite foods without worrying about their waistline. The wonder drug would also protect against diabetes, liver disease and other debilitating conditions associated with unhealthy eating habits. The breakthrough hinges on the discovery of a metabolism 'masterswitch' - a gene key to weight control.

Mice lacking the gene, known as IKKE, stay slim despite being fed a lard-based diet. The 'knock-out' mice also free of the liver problems associated with a junk food diet and appear to be protected against diabetes, the journal Cell reports.

Researcher Alan Saltiel said: 'We've studied other genes associated with obesity - we call them "obesogenes" - but this is the first one we've found that, when deleted, stops the animal from gaining weight. The fact that you can disrupt all the effects of the high fat diet by deleting this one gene in mice is pretty interesting and surprising.'

It is thought that the gene makes enzymes called kinases that help regulate metabolism. Removing the gene - and the kinases - speeds up metabolism, leading to more calories being burnt.

Dr Saltiel said: 'Perhaps most interestingly, the mice burn more calories even though they aren't eating any less or exercising any more.'

Source - Daily Mail

Children suffering back pain due to heavy school bags

Children buckling under weight of heavy and poorly designed school bags, a charity has warned.

Back health charity BackCare said as many as 80 per cent of children carry too much weight in poorly designed bags and in the most harmful way - on one shoulder. It warned that excessive load-bearing for long periods on immature spines could put children at increased risk of future back problems in adulthood.

BackCare's chief executive Sash Newman said: 'Other factors like badly designed school chairs also contribute to the problem, but back pain is a real problem for some children, causing an estimated 15 per cent to seek medical help. It's important for parents to take care over the backpack their child uses for school and try to ensure he or she wears it correctly.'

The charity said a child's backpack should weigh no more than 10 per cent of the child's body weight and it should be worn over both shoulders so the weight is distributed correctly across the back. It said a well-designed schoolbag with a padded back panel is far more comfortable and less fatiguing.

Source - Daily Mail

Kitchen cupboard remedies

Bananas to banish veruccas, ginger to ease muscle pain and tea for mouth ulcers – before you visit the chemist, check out the many proven remedies in your own larder.


Colds, cuts, thrush

If you can get past its pungent aroma, avoid the chemist and reach for a bulb of garlic. This wonder food is used around the world for treating a whole host of minor ailments.

Medically proven to have antibacterial and antiviral properties, garlic can cure thousands of illnesses so long as it's used raw. Garlic expert Dr Ron Cutler, the deputy director of biomedical science at Queen Mary, University of London, says: "In its raw form it can treat colds, cuts, even thrush and MRSA, the list is endless. It's a very potent compound and the last thing you want to say is that it's an old wives' tale."

Allicin, the active chemical in garlic which kills bacteria and viruses, is created when the enzymes in two bulbs are crushed together. Although you need to eat about five cloves of raw garlic to get the same amount of allium as a concentrated capsule, it'll fight off a cold in no time. Dr Cutler also suggests making a poultice of crushed garlic gloves for any cuts or grazes and, if you can really stomach it, you can use a clove of garlic as a pessary to treat thrush. "It's one of the most tremendous cures for thrush I've seen," he said.


Veruccas, hangovers

To banish a verucca, tape the skin of a slightly overripe banana to the surface of the afflicted area. Michael O'Neil, Consultant Podiatrist and spokesman for the society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists says: "This idea has been around for about 20 years and although it won't work on very resistant veruccas because their viral structure is too complicated, some people swear that it gets rid of them."

Source - Independent

Eat less, live longer

Calorie restrictors deliberately limit their intake of food because they believe it will extend their lifespans. Now a major scientific study seems to back up their extraordinary claims.

It's 6.30pm, and so far today Dave Fisher has eaten 150g of prawns, a skinless chicken leg, 50g of raw peas, and a few handfuls of blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and nuts. Dinner is yet to come, and will consist of a lean chicken breast and a small salad. In total, he will have ingested around 1,600 calories, perhaps a 1,000 fewer than a typical Western man of similar height and age.

Fisher, 51, is not trying to lose weight, though weight loss is the inevitable result of the dietary regime he began 20 years ago. At 5ft 10in and 10st 8lb he is lean rather than skinny and says he appreciates food far more than he did when he was eating a lot more of it. He eats so little every day because he wants to be healthy well into old age, and because he thinks it could be the key to unlocking 20 or 30 years of extra life.

"There are two goals to a calorie-restricted diet," says Fisher. "One is maximum lifetime expansion. The other is an improvement in health in the meantime, and reducing the chances of succumbing to the diseases of ageing – heart disease, cancer and so on. I think it's worth doing for either goal."

Fisher is one of a growing number of calorie restrictors who believe, to put it simply, that less food can equal more life. Calorie restriction (or CR) may sound faddy and Californian but it has certainly piqued the interest of scientists. Last week, scientists announced the conclusion of a 20-year study by a team at the University of Wisconsin on rhesus monkeys. It is the best known of a plethora of animal experiments that are testing the claim that very low-calorie diets can improve health and extend life. And like most of them, it has produced striking results in their favour.

Source - Independent

Are scare stories bad for our health?

Anxious about additives? Fretting about fats? Relax – the facts behind those modern medical myths will make you feel a whole lot better.

Are you a cowering, diet- obsessed wreck, meticulously measuring your carbs and counting out individual salt granules on to your plate? Headlines like "Fat Britain: tackling the obesity epidemic", and "Food additives murdered my horse" (OK, we made the second one up) can't help to steady your stress levels.

There are so many health scare stories these days that it's all too easy to feel that our modern lifestyles are a sure-fire route to an early grave. However, two seasoned physicians are keen to counter this idea. Global Warming and Other Bollocks is a book put together by professors Stanley Feldman and Vincent Marks in the hope of blasting away various media scare stories (or in some places, received scientific wisdom). These include dietary misconceptions about salt, carbohydrate and junk-food intake. They are all areas of intense scientific debate, with a wide variety of opinions; screaming out of left-field, the pair hope not so much to reposition scientific consensus as to inject a much-needed tonic of common sense into the debate.

"We did it because we were fed up with people appearing to know too much and being overcome by dogma, which is just meaningless," says Marks. "I have always adhered to an axiom which is that when we all know something, it is probably wrong." With that in mind, we line up a gang of "monster myths" and let our pair of professors put the other side.

Source - Independent

How greens may protect the heart

Researchers have discovered a possible reason why green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are good for the heart. Their work suggests a chemical found in the vegetables can boost a natural defence mechanism to protect arteries from disease.

The Imperial College London team hope their work could lead to new dietary treatments to prevent heart problems. Details appear in Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology

Much heart disease is caused by the build up of fatty plaques in the arteries known as atherosclerosis. However, arteries do not get clogged up with these plaques in a uniform way. Bends and branches of blood vessels - where blood flow is disrupted and can be sluggish - are much more prone to the build-up.

The latest study has shown that a protein that usually protects against plaque build up called Nrf2 is inactive in areas of arteries that are prone to disease. However, it also found that treatment with a chemical found in green "brassica" vegetables such as broccoli can activate Nrf2 in these disease-prone regions.

Lead researcher Dr Paul Evans said: "We found that the innermost layer of cells at branches and bends of arteries lack the active form of Nrf2, which may explain why they are prone to inflammation and disease. Treatment with the natural compound sulforaphane reduced inflammation at the high-risk areas by 'switching on' Nrf2. Sulforaphane is found naturally in broccoli, so our next steps include testing whether simply eating broccoli, or other vegetables in their 'family', has the same protective effect. We also need to see if the compound can reduce the progression of disease in affected arteries."

Source - BBC

Is beetroot the latest superfood?

Beetroot may help reduce blood pressure but is it really a miracle cure?

Pass a packet of wine gums around, and everyone takes the red one. Confectioners know that colour sells – it always has, long before sweets were invented. Cherries, raspberries, blackcurrants and grapes have always been irresistible.

But, if Mother Nature made healthy foods red in order to encourage us to eat more of them, where did she go wrong with beetroot? One glimpse of it haemorrhaging its juice over the hard-boiled egg and iceberg lettuce in a salad is enough to make most people sick. Most of us swore undying hate for it after that first vinegary bite. Did they pickle it because they couldn't sell it? I swear the same pack has been sitting on the shelf in our local greengrocer for three years.

Beetroot is just a bit too red for its own good; deeply, overpoweringly red. "Far too bossy a vegetable" was cookery writer Jane Grigson's description (the best ever). Its colour pushes itself embarrassingly everywhere. Even into your pee. Why eat it, then? Because it is good for you, obviously.

I don't want to use the term "superfood". Superfoods were invented to feed an obsession with finding a miracle cure for cancer. More than anything we want to believe that eating a single fruit or vegetable containing a certain chemical will zap a diseased cell. But it isn't that simple. New EU guidelines are about to ban the word superfood as a selling pitch, unless it is backed up with science. The new rules come as something of a relief because it will force food manufacturers to pay for proper independent research – and to tell the truth.

Source - Telegraph

Women encouraged to take extra folic acid

All women of child-bearing age are being advised to take extra folic acid after a rise in spina bifida cases.

The Scottish Spina Bifida Association (SSBA) said 15 babies had been born in the country with the condition this year - around twice the normal number. Research already suggests that folic acid supplements help prevent spina bifida, but the charity is warning that factors such as unplanned pregnancies can mean the vitamin is taken too late.

Spina bifida causes vertebrae in the backbone to form incorrectly, often leading to paralysis from the waist down and other damage to the nervous system.

SSBA chairman Dr Margo Whiteford told the BBC: "This year we've had as many contacts from families in the first half of the year as we'd expect to see for the full year. We don't know if this is down to folic acid but we do know that most women don't take enough folic acid at the right time. Ladies do know about folic acid preventing spina bifida but they wait until they've missed a period before they start taking it. The spinal cord develops within the first four weeks of pregnancy so by that stage it's too late - if the baby's going to have spina bifida it will already have developed it."

Source - Independent

Large thighs 'may protect heart'

Men and women with thighs over 60cm (23.6in) in circumference have a lower risk of heart disease and early death, a study of 3,000 people suggests.

The relationship remains even when body fat, smoking and blood cholesterol are taken into account, a Danish team says. Those with narrow thighs may not have enough muscle mass to deal with insulin properly, raising the risk of diabetes and, in turn, heart disease, they say. Experts cautioned that the research needed corroborating.

Some said it was too early to change current advice on eating and exercise for heart health, but the researchers said thigh size could be used as a marker for at-risk patients.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, followed men and women in Denmark for more than 10 years.

They were measured for height, weight and thigh, hip and waist circumference and their overall percentage of body fat was calculated. The thigh measurement was taken just below the gluteal fold, which is the crease caused by your buttocks.

Researchers also looked at the activity levels of the participants, whether they smoked, their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They then monitored incidence of heart disease over 10 years and death rates over 12-and-a-half years.

Source - BBC

Can psychics be good for your health?

A phenomenon known as remote viewing, which claims to use psychic powers to 'see' what is invisible to the naked eye, may have an intriguing role to play in healthcare,

Three months ago, Twitter hosted its first scientific experiment and invited users to help demonstrate the existence of psychic powers. Professor Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, recruited 7,000 volunteers via the social messaging service to investigate "remote viewing" (RV). A remote viewer is a gifted individual who claims to be able to "see" events in the past, present and future, and identifying distant locations.

The psychology professor, famed for his mass-participation experiments, which explore the curious science of everyday life, travelled to a mystery site in the UK, whereupon he sent a Tweet. Participants were asked to pinpoint his location by selecting it from a line-up of five photographs. As only 15 per cent of people correctly predicted Prof Wiseman's location – despite a 20 per cent probability – he pronounced RV to be a hoax.

Historically, however, governments have not been not so quick to condemn. During the Cold War, the American military spent $20 million (£12.2 million) on an RV project, conducting "psychic spying" missions against the Soviet Union for two decades. In 2001, the Ministry of Defence also investigated the potential of remote viewing, but the outcome is unknown.

Source - Telegraph

Alcohol and coffee linked to heartbeat problems

Drinking more than ten alcoholic drinks a week or four cups of strong coffee each day can increase the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat, new research suggests.

Two studies presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Barcelona found that alcohol and caffeine intake can affect the chances of developing an abnormal heart rhythm, known as atrial fibrillation. About 46,000 people in Britain are diagnosed with atrial fibrillation every year. The condition greatly increases the risk of having a stroke, heart attack or other cardiac problems.

The study into alcohol, carried out on 8,830 men and women in Britain, Scandinavia and the United States, found that those who drank the equivalent of ten standard drinks — about 15 units a week — had an 80 per cent increased risk of being diagnosed with the condition within five years.

Source - Times

Now it IS safe for your child to use a mobile: After years of warnings, official leaflet drops safety guidance

Plans to give the green light for children to use mobile phones despite cancer fears have angered health campaigners.

The draft of a new advisory leaflet for parents by the Department of Health removes safety advice to impose strict limits on youngsters' use of the handsets. It goes on to suggest that heating to the head caused by using a mobile is no more harmful than a hot bath.

However campaigners insist there is good evidence that using mobile phones increases the risk of brain tumours in both children and adults.

One study published in March said children with mobiles are five times more likely than others to develop such a cancer in later life. The current official advice from the Department of Health says that mobile phone use affects brain activity and admits to 'significant gaps' in scientific knowledge about the health effects. It highlights the fact that the head and nervous system are still developing into the teenage years with the result that children and young people 'might be more vulnerable' than adults. Consequently, it warns parents: 'The widespread use of mobile phones by children (under the age of 16) should be discouraged for non-essential calls.'

However, the draft of the new safety leaflet seen by the Daily Mail, removes all this safety advice and makes clear that no extra precautions need to be taken by children. It says: 'There is currently no scientific or biological evidence that radio waves cause cancer.' The change in the advice is expected to lead to a marketing blitz aimed at children by mobile phone manufacturers.

Source - Daily Mail

Soluble fibre 'effective for IBS'

A soluble fibre supplement should be the first line of attack in treating irritable bowel syndrome, experts say.

Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands compared adding bran, a soluble supplement called psyllium and a dummy supplement to sufferers' diets. They found psyllium was the most effective, warning that bran may even worsen the symptoms of the condition, the British Medical Journal reported.As many as one in 10 people is estimated to have the condition. It is characterised by abdominal pain and an irregular bowel habit.

Its exact cause is unknown and recommendations for treatment include dietary advice, antidepressants and drug treatments. Many relying on dietary adjustments still turn to bran in a bid to help improve the way the intestines work. But the Dutch study of 275 patients questions the wisdom of this approach. The team gave patients 10g of either psyllium, bran or rice flour twice a day for 12 weeks.

Source - BBC