Alzheimer's: Diet 'can stop brain shrinking'

A diet rich in vitamins and fish may protect the brain from ageing while junk food has the opposite effect, research suggests.
Elderly people with high blood levels of vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids had less brain shrinkage and better mental performance, a Neurology study found.
Trans fats found in fast foods were linked to lower scores in tests and more shrinkage typical of Alzheimer's.
A UK medical charity has called for more work into diet and dementia risk.
The best current advice is to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, not smoke, take regular exercise and keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check, said Alzheimer's Research UK.

Source  - BBC

Cantaloupes and concussions

 Hard to believe just a year ago we thought mammograms were good for us, cantaloupes could not be bad and concussions were just the human cost of doing business in hockey. Change is the name of the game in health: Cellphones are bad, then they’re not, then they are. While health debates continue on a number of fronts, here are my picks of the top stories of 2011.
*Mammography: More harm than good. Canadian guidelines released a few months ago from the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care suggest against routine mammography for women of average risk who are aged 40 to 49 and extending time between screens for older women. The reason? Potential harm from over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment. A British study suggested the same, while in the U.S., radiologists backed routine mammograms. A few weeks ago, a Dutch study weighed in noting mammograms cut the risk of breast cancer death by half. The debate, while tops in health news, is confusing and unhelpful.
*Tainted cantaloupes. Until this summer, cantaloupes were a favourite healthy food. But the tainted ones from a U.S. grower set a record as the deadliest food outbreak in over a decade with 30 deaths. Traffic on consumer websites was heavy as we ramped up our awareness of listeria and other food-borne illnesses. Recently, an alert about the dangers of E. coli in raw cookie dough -- a study published in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases found 94% of participants who consumed it got sick.
*Cellphones and brain cancer. The World Health Organization has opened the “yes they do/no they don’t” debate once more with its announcement in May that cellphone radiation may cause cancer. While a series of Swedish studies showed a connection, the WHO announcement was based on a review by 31 scientists from 14 countries. Risk is highest in children and adolescents. Teach your kids to text!

Source  - Macleans

Just a spoonful of malt extract could banish winter sniffles

Aah! That delectable smell of malt extract: all sugar and yeast and… umm, fish livers.
As I hold the tablespoonful of sweet, treacly gloop in front of me, it takes me back to my happy childhood: my mother standing before her three small daughters, bottle of Radio Malt (as it was branded) in one hand, large spoon in the other, cajoling us into swallowing the magic elixir, which was supposed to ward off colds and winter illness while building up our weakling bodies. But it hasn’t been widely seen for decades.
The gloop is a product of the brewing industry, derived from barley grains. Malt extract is packed full of sugars and some nutrients, including vitamin A and riboflavin. Though now mainly used in flavoured drinks and confectionery, after the war it was popular as a cheap dietary supplement for a generation of undernourished children who needed a high carbohydrate feed as well as more vitamins. Back then, its rich, sweet flavour was often combined with unpalatable but nutritious cod liver oil which, with high vitamin D levels, could protect against rickets. Small wonder that in The House at Pooh Corner, Kanga gave Roo and Tigger malt extract as a “strengthening medicine”.

Source  - Telegraph

Acupuncture really can reduce stress levelst

Acupuncture really does reduce stress levels, say scientists.
In the first study of its kind, a team found the ancient Chinese therapy reduces levels of a protein linked to chronic stress. Although the research was carried out on rats, researchers say it might help explain the sense of well-being many people receive from the therapy. If their findings are replicated in human studies, it could offer a proven treatment for stress.
The U.S. study tested the effect of acupuncture on blood levels  of the protein neuropeptide Y (NPY), which is secreted by the sympathetic nervous system in humans.
This system is involved in the ‘flight or fight’ response to acute stress, resulting in constriction of blood flow to all parts of the body except to the heart, lungs and brain (the organs most needed to react to danger).
Chronic stress, however, can cause elevated blood pressure and cardiac disease.

Source  - Daily Mail

Mediterranean diet helps you live longer

Ever since the 1950s, studies have found a Mediterranean diet, packed with vegetables, fish and olive oil, can improve health.
Now a study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden suggests even older people who stick to the diet can increase their life expectancy by up to three years. Scientists studied thousands of 70-year-olds in the Gothenburg region over 40 years as part of their 'H70' study.
They found those who eat a Mediterranean diet have a 20 per cent higher chance of living longer than those who consume a diet heavy in animal-based products such as meat and milk.

'This means in practice that older people who eat a Mediterranean diet live an estimated two to three years longer than those who don’t', says Gianluca Tognon, from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
The diet traditionally favoured by natives of countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy is high in unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. It includes plenty of vegetables, olive oil, fruit, nuts, fish and whole grains and is low in meat and alcohol. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Horseback physio gives new poise to disabled

On a chilly winter’s afternoon in the Essex countryside, eight-year-old Esha Ilyas sits astride her beloved horse Blaze, but not in the usual fashion: she is facing the cob’s hindquarters as he is led around the paddock, with her arms stretched high above her head.
Minutes later, without saddle or stirrups, she is holding other equally unorthodox positions: sitting sideways, with arms held out in front; lying flat on the horse’s back; sitting up straight with arms outstretched. It’s as unnerving as watching acrobats at the circus. In fact Esha is having hippotherapy, a little known treatment for profoundly disabled children which appears to be having some stunning results.
Half an hour later, with help, she dismounts, grinning broadly. “I feel fine after that,” she says.
Watching her on Blaze, it’s hard to believe that Esha has cerebral palsy, diagnosed when she was 18 months old. The condition, usually caused by brain injury during pregnancy or birth, means that some of her muscles – particularly those in her legs – are excessively tight, which prevents the full range of movement; while weakness in other muscles that normally maintain posture means she has had problems holding herself upright.

Source  - Telegraph

Maggots clean wounds faster than surgeons

Maggots may trump scalpels when it comes to cleaning large wounds that won't heal easily, such as those seen in diabetics, according to French researchers.
To allow such wounds to heal, doctors usually remove infected or dead tissue with scalpels or enzymes, a process they call debridement. But that method is time-consuming and doesn't always work. Studies have suggested maggots might be helpful, potentially offering antibacterial and healing benefits in addition to keeping the wound clean - although not all researchers are convinced insects are the way to go.
The new study was carried out in patients with so-called venous ulcers on their legs. During a two-week hospital stay, they were randomly assigned to either maggot therapy or traditional wound cleaning with a scalpel, with just over 50 patients in each group. Both groups of patients were blindfolded so they wouldn't know which treatment they received.
The sterile creepy-crawlies, of the species Lucilia sericata, came in little bags that were placed over the wounds twice a week. Maggots secrete substances into the wounds that liquefy dead tissue and then they ingest the material to further degrade it in their guts.
There was no difference in pain or crawling sensations between the two groups, according to Dr Anne Dompmartin of Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Caen and colleagues. Their findings appear in the Archives of Dermatology.

Source  - Daily Mail

Tai chi 'can help prevent falls'

Elderly people whose eyesight is  failing can improve their balance and avoid dangerous falls by practising tai chi, according to a study.
Experts say the gentle martial art builds strength and also improves balance control, reducing the chances of life-threatening falls among old people with poor eyesight.
Researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University set up a four-month programme for 40 people aged over 70 living in care homes. The volunteers had three  90-minute tai chi sessions a week. Each session was designed to help volunteers practise shifting their weight gradually, rotate their heads and torsos and become more aware of their limbs, thus improving their co-ordination.

Source  - Daiy Mail

Irregular movement

They might not be able to save the continent’s economy, but the men of Brussels are finding ways to keep busy. For example, they have decided that since the laxative effect of prunes cannot be proved beyond doubt, they cannot be promoted as an aid to regularity. This has angered Sir Graham Watson, a Liberal Democrat MEP, so much that he has challenged the relevant European Commissioner to a prune-eating contest – hoping, perhaps, that gut feeling will trump scientific dogma.
Far be it for us to contradict the European Food Safety Authority – the same body that recently ruled that water did not prevent dehydration – but prunes deserve a break. They have already suffered the indignity of being rebranded as “dried plums”; refusing to ratify their medicinal benefits is an insult too far. No wonder Sir Graham is in a stew.

Source  - Telegraph

The great detox deception

Gulping pints of maple syrup mixed with chilli peppers, having enemas, being sucked by leeches or getting wrapped in cling film until your body overheats...
All of these so called ‘detoxes’ are undertaken every year by millions of women in the pursuit of good health and beauty. The treatments promise to cure a range of vague ailments, such as tiredness, headaches, bloating, back pain and skin problems, by cleansing your body’s blood and organs of a welter of accumulated ‘toxic’ chemicals.
Now a leading British expert has issued a festive warning for anyone hoping to purge themselves of so-called toxins after an indulgent Christmas break: detoxing simply does not work, says David Bender, a professor of nutritional biochemistry at University College London. At best, it is pointless — and at worst, highly dangerous.
The professor also points out, in this month’s edition of the British Society of Biology’s journal, The Biologist, that we have an excellent system for getting rid of potentially harmful substances — it is called the human body.

Source  - Daily Mail

It Could Be Old Age, or It Could Be Low B12

Ilsa Katz was 85 when her daughter, Vivian Atkins, first noticed that her mother was becoming increasingly confused.
“She couldn’t remember names, where she’d been or what she’d done that day,” Ms. Atkins recalled in an interview. “Initially, I was not too worried. I thought it was part of normal ageing. But over time, the confusion and memory problems became more severe and more frequent.”
Her mother couldn’t remember the names of close relatives or what day it was. She thought she was going to work or needed to go downtown, which she never did. And she was often agitated.
A workup at a memory clinic resulted in a diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s disease, and Ms. Katz was prescribed Aricept, which Ms. Atkins said seemed to make matters worse. But the clinic also tested Ms. Katz’s blood level of vitamin B12. It was well below normal, and her doctor thought that could be contributing to her symptoms. Weekly B12 injections were begun. “Soon afterward, she became less agitated, less confused and her memory was much better,” said Ms. Atkins. “I felt I had my mother back, and she feels a lot better, too.”
Now 87, Ms. Katz still lives alone in Manhattan and feels well enough to refuse outside assistance.

Source  - New York Times

Middle-aged women warned against buying unlicensed herbal menopause treatment

People are being warned against buying a potentially dangerous herbal product for treating symptoms of the menopause.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a safety notice over FSC (Food Supplement Company) Black Cohosh 1000mg capsules.
The MHRA said the pills - an unlicensed herbal remedy - contain 50 times the approved dose for treating menopausal symptoms and do not have the necessary authorisation as a medicine.
It has asked the manufacturer to remove the product from the market after experts also found it carried poor labelling relating to safety information and side effects. The pills can currently be bought in health food shops and online.
According to MHRA figures, 50 reports of suspected adverse reactions linked to various unlicensed black cohosh products have been received since 1998. They have included some people suffering jaundice, liver problems and hepatitis.

Source  - Daily Mail 

Acupuncture offers an alternative, gentle form of medicine

The room is darkened, and flute music plays softly. Then I barely feel the first stick.
Acupuncture needles are very tiny, just the thickness of a few hairs — not at all the vast implement some people think of when they envision acupuncture.
By the third stick, I feel an overwhelming desire to close my eyes. A fourth stick, and I am left alone — just me, the needles and the low hum of Southland Drive traffic outside. Fifteen minutes later, my eyes open and the perpetual knot between my shoulders has untangled.
Before this very minor acupuncture experience, Kathleen Fluhart read the pulses corresponding to various organs and body systems on each arm. She read the pulses before and after the treatment by gently pressing various points around the wrist and lower arm.
For those undergoing a full acupuncture treatment, the experience might involve several treatments with the one-use, variable-size needles — one size for digestive problems, say, one for pain and one "seasonal" treatment, which is a sort of tune-up for all body systems that Fluhart recommends that patients receive five times a year.

Source  -

Young women 'could reduce their heart disease risk by 90 per cent by eating fish once a week'

Young women who regularly eat oily fish are less prone to heart disease say scientists.
A groundbreaking study has found that a fish-rich diet could cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by 90 per cent. 
Traditionally findings have highlighted the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, mackerel and sardines for men. However it is now believed because of gender differences fish oil might be even more beneficial for women of a child-bearing age, boosting blood pressure, cardiac and blood vessel function.
Lead researcher Dr Marin Strom, from the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen said: 'Our study shows that for younger women, eating fish is very important for overall health.' 

Source  - Daily Mail

Could a simple pill costing 30p a day be the answer to getting pregnant?

A 30p multi-vitamin pill could more than double a woman’s chance of having a baby, according to a study.
It found that 60 per cent of those taking the supplements while undergoing IVF became pregnant compared to just a quarter who did not take them.  Researchers say the pills contain nutrients that may boost fertility such as vitamins A, C and E, zinc and selenium, that are often absent from our diets. 
The study carried out at University College London involved 56 women aged 18 to 40, who had all tried unsuccessfully to fall pregnant using IVF for at least a year.   Half were given a multi-nutrient pill to take every day and the other half given folic acid pills to take daily.
The micronutrient pill also contained folic acid which prevents birth defects and has also been shown to help boost fertility.

Source  - Daily Mail

A puzzle a day really can keep dementia away

Just two hours a day spent keeping the mind and body busy is as effective at warding off dementia as drug treatment, research reveals.
Simple activities such as gardening, doing crosswords or sudoku, making snacks and singing helps keep the brain healthy, and even slow the course of dementia in sufferers already diagnosed with the condition. It confirms longstanding theories that keeping the brain active helps keep it healthy.
Researchers in Bavaria trialled a two-hour therapy session, called MAKS, in nursing homes for six days a week for a year. Sessions began with a 10-minute 'spiritual' introduction, in which the 98 participants discussed topics such as 'happiness', or sang a song or hymn.

Source  - Daily Mail

Little pill, big trouble

Over and over again, the doctor told her she was being silly. But Gemma knew there was something wrong. She’d fall asleep on the sofa and couldn’t be woken. She’d see strange shapes and colours. She was having difficulties remembering things in the office. And yet every time she saw the doctor, he would say the same thing: you’re just a young girl, panicking.
Eventually, they found tumours on her brain, and they grew and spread. They tried chemotherapy. She felt sick. She gained four stone in four weeks. Her hair fell out over one weekend. She had to lift her eyelids with her finger to see. She had a wheelchair, a stick. Her bowels stopped moving. Her sight was so bad she couldn’t watch television or read. So she just lay there.
Then, in October 1995, the oncologist visited her hospital bed. “These are your options,” he said. “You can stay here, you can go to a hospice or you can go home.” Gemma was groggy; confused. She thought, well, let me think: sick people go to hospital, dying people go to a hospice, fit people go home.
“I’ll take home.” “Well,” said the doctor. “You’ve got those little pills and you’ve got Him up there. Make sure you have a happy Christmas.” It took Gemma a while to realise that this was her doctor’s way of telling her the cancer was, in fact, terminal.
Despite her dark prognosis, she carried on taking the “little pills” her oncologist had mentioned with a gently patronising smile. They’d been given to her by a homeopath recommended by her sister-in-law – she went out of politeness, really. But the more she took, the better she felt. At Christmas, her eyelids opened up. Her sight returned. A year later, she saw her oncologist. He wrote in his notes: “Gemma has made a remarkable recovery. Her case will remain a mystery.” But it wasn’t a mystery to Gemma, who has been telling me her story in the front room of her modest Sutton Coldfield house over the past hour. Gemma Hoefkens believes those little homeopathic pills had not only saved her life but changed it. She’s now a practising homeopathist who claims not to have been to the doctor for years.

Source  - Telegraph

Why fish is good for your brain

Eating oily fish such as salmon and trout can significantly improve your memory say scientists.
A new study found that a fatty acid found in fish and seafood can boost memory function by 15 per cent. Scientists are now highlighting the importance of a fish-rich diet for maintaining optimal brain health and preventing the onset of dementia.
Over a six month period 176 healthy adults were given supplements containing DHA - an Omega-3 fatty acid found in foods such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, prawns and mussels. During this time memory and cognitive function were assessed and compared to a placebo group. After treatment, memory, working memory and speed of working memory all showed significant improvements.
It is believed that DHA could be key in preventing Alzheimer's disease, one of the most common forms of dementia, characterised by a decline in mental abilities, such as memory and reasoning and often associated with increasing age.
Lead researcher Professor Welma Stonehouse of Massey University in New Zealand said: 'This is the first robust study to show that a DHA-rich supplement can improve some aspects of memory functioning in young healthy adults.'

Source  - Independent

Scientists question if wi-fi laptops can damage sperm

Scientists are questioning if using wi-fi on a laptop to roam the internet could harm a man's fertility, after lab work suggested ejaculated sperm were significantly damaged after only four hours of exposure.
The benchside tests showed sperm were less able to swim and had changes in the genetic code that they carry.
Experts stress this does not mean the same would occur in a real-life setting and say men should not worry unduly. But they are recommending more studies.
The preliminary research, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, looked at semen samples from 29 healthy donors. Each donor sample was separated out into two pots. One of these pots was then stored for four hours next to a laptop that was wirelessly connected to the internet. The other was stored under identical conditions, minus the laptop.
The scientists, from Argentina and the US, suspect that the effect seen is unrelated to the heat kicked out by a laptop, although heat can damage sperm.

Source  - BBC

Probiotic drinks that tame irritable bowels

For the first time in three years, Lynette McMeekin is looking forward to her staff Christmas party.
Previously, the nurse from Newcastle has declined the invitation — bloating and pain caused by her irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) made the idea of socialising unthinkable.
‘It left me feeling so bloated and exhausted that all I could manage was to go to work, do the odd bit of shopping and come home,’ says Lynette, 53, who has an adult son. ‘And I was so bloated that when I was at work I often felt embarrassed even walking across the ward.’
Around one in five people in Britain are affected by IBS, thought to be caused by a sensitive gut.  But Lynette’s symptoms were eased by a new drink containing ‘friendly’ bacteria, suggested to her by a colleague.
‘My attitude was “Not another probiotic!”, but I decided to give it a go,’ says Lynette. After a few months the bloating and discomfort have gone.  The drink she tried has just been the subject of a large British trial — one of the first to show convincingly that probiotics can make a difference to health.

Source  - Daily Mail

Dreaming 'eases painful memories’

Scientists have used scans to shed more light on how the brain deals with the memory of unpleasant or traumatic events during sleep.
The University of California, Berkeley team showed emotional images to volunteers, then scanned them several hours later as they saw them again.
Those allowed to sleep in between showed less activity in the areas of the brain linked to emotion. Instead, the part of the brain linked to rational thought was more active.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, said it showed the links between dreams and memory.
Most people have to deal with traumatic events at some point in their lives, and, for some, these can produce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), leaving them emotionally disturbed long after the event itself.

Source  - BBC

Meditation really is good for the brain

Meditation could help temper the symptoms of ADHD and Alzheimer's scientists say.
A groundbreaking study has revealed that the ancient relaxation technique can switch off areas of the brain associated with a range of psychiatric disorders.
It is now hoped that the findings will shed light on how neurological diseases work and prompt the development of effective treatment.
Past research has shown meditation, which has become increasingly popular over recent years, has helped people quit smoking, cope with cancer, and even prevent psoriasis.
But scientists at Yale University now believe it can help people to stay focused and boost happiness, slowing down the onset of dementia.
Lead researcher Judson Brewer said: 'Meditation's ability to help people stay in the moment has been part of philosophical and contemplative practices for thousands of years. Conversely, the hallmarks of many forms of mental illness is a preoccupation with one's own thoughts, a condition meditation seems to affect.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Training your brain to be happy... the key to a longer life

Is there a person on the planet who doesn’t want to be happy? Probably not. After all, happiness makes life more pleasant. And studies show that contented humans live longer than miserable ones, and are less inclined to turn to crime and much more likely to form relationships.
Happiness is a hot topic. Various governments, including our own, are bent on measuring it. This is because they’ve woken up to scientific claims that happy adults are more productive – and are therefore good for the economy.
But isn’t it unnatural to be happy all the time? As one of my depressed clients recently asked: ‘Aren’t I entitled to be sad if I want to be?’
Of course, in her case her illness meant that, at first, she was very resistant to treatment – psychotherapy takes hard work and some tough self-examination. But it did make me think: should we just accept unhappiness as a natural state of being?
The answer is no. True happiness is not about being perpetually chirpy. But neither does it have much to do with the momentary ecstasy we might feel when our team scores a goal, or we make an impulse buy of some lovely shoes.
It’s about a deeper sense of contentment and, and about valuing ourselves, and others. It’s also about looking for positives in situations, and feeling confident that we have the resilience to deal with life’s reverses. And this, I believe, is achievable for all.

Source  - Daily Mail 

Antibiotics can't cure colds – but a placebo may

The news that doctors are under pressure to prescribe antibiotics for colds and flu offers a tremendous opportunity to make complementary medicine work for us all. The Health Protection Agency has just released a survey showing that antibiotics are overprescribed because the public believes they will cure colds and flu.
The problem with antibiotics for colds and flu is not just that they don't work. If that were all, they would be only a waste of money. But the long-term danger is that they will spread antibiotic resistance, which really would kill very large numbers of people. The spread of organisms like MSRA in inadequately cleaned hospitals could lead us back to the state that prevailed for most of history, where a hospital was where you went to die, not to get well. A European report reckons that antibiotic resistance could soon cost €1.5bn to combat.
The view we have today that medicine works the way that magic ought to is pretty new. The expectation that doctors will cure us has only really taken root in the last 50 years, and although it is often wonderfully well-justified, it brings its own problems. A huge amount of any GP's time is taken up with people who are unhappy and perhaps unwell, but for whom no medicine exists.

Source  - Guardian

An apple or a few vitamin pills a day?

Every day I do something that, among my medical colleagues, would raise a few eyebrows. I bet lots of you do it, too. Each morning, I take a fistful of supplements. It started off innocently enough – a multivitamin while I was recovering from flu a few years ago. More recently, I noticed a funny creaking sound in the vicinity of my knees. Imagining my future life in a wheelchair (despite the reassurance of a rheumatologist friend), I started on the cod liver oil capsules. After that, it was the slippery slope to ginseng, then vitamin B complex, and garlic. And, of course, where would I be without my echinacea? In bed, nursing a life-threatening cold, no doubt.
The scientific evidence would suggest that as I eat a (fairly) balanced diet and I’m not infirm, pregnant or alcoholic, there is absolutely no need for me to take any form of nutritional supplement. Countless studies have shown that they make absolutely no difference, except to your wallet.
In addition, there is evidence emerging that excessive quantities of supplements can, in fact, do harm. Last week, we were told that high levels of vitamin D – which many post-menopausal women take with calcium to fend off osteoporosis – may increase the risk of a heart condition, atrial fibrillation, by two‑and-a-half times. This got me thinking about the nation’s penchant for pill-popping. That we need vitamins and minerals is not in dispute. That we need them from a bottle is what scientists would challenge.

Source  - Telegraph

Honey: The 'bee penicillin' that could even beat MRSA

It is often hailed as a natural, healthy sweetener – but in most cases, honey bought from supermarkets today is simply sugar syrup with no nutritional value at all. To reap the true benefits of what was dubbed ‘the food of the gods’ by the Ancient Greeks, you have to look for the raw variety.


Perfectly clear honey has usually undergone a process of ultrafiltration and pasteurisation, which involves heating and passing it through a fine mesh, to ensure it remains runny at any temperature. This strips away many of the unique chemicals and compounds that make it a nutritious and healing health food.
There is no law that requires a beekeeper or factory to specify whether the honey is raw. Non-EU honeys are often treated with the antibiotic chloramphenicol, a substance that can be dangerous to pregnant mothers.  Chinese honey was banned from being imported to EU member countries in 2002 for precisely this reason.

Source  - Daily Mail

Sea salt health claims 'flawed'

Rock and sea salt is no different to ordinary table salt, despite claims it is natural and more healthy, say consumer groups.
Research for Which? and Consensus Action on Salt and Health found no difference in chemical content between regular salt and costly gourmet brands. Manufacturers dispute the report saying it does not give the full picture.
Most UK adults eat too much salt, far above the recommended guideline of about a teaspoon a day. Eating a diet high in salt is linked with high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke, heart failure and heart disease.
The research analysed the chemical content of several gourmet brands of sea and rock salt, and compared this with ordinary table salt.

Source  - BBC

Mirror trick could ease arthritis

A simple trick makes it appear as if the sufferer's arthritic joints has been replaced by healthier ones, causing the brain to believe it is less stiff and painful.
The technique, which has also been used to help amputees overcome "phantom limb" pain, could help millions of sufferers relieve the symptoms of arthritis without the need for more drugs.
In a small study, researchers from the University of California in San Diego helped eight patients reduce their pain by an average of one-and-a-half points on a ten-point scale after just a minute of treatment.
The results, announced at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington DC, have not been peer-reviewed but could provide a simple alternative to steroids or painkillers. Treating a patient with arthritis in their right hand, the researchers asked them to place it on a table and blocked it from view using an upright mirror. 

How magnets can help the body fight off prostate cancer

A prostate cancer treatment that uses a magnetic force to help the body's own cells kill tumours is being developed by scientists.

They say it would be particularly effective for the most advanced forms of the disease for which there are few drugs available.

Unlike chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the treatment can kill cancerous cells without harming healthy tissue – which is what causes side effects such as extreme tiredness, nausea and hair loss.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. There are around 37,000 new cases a year and 10,700 deaths. But there are few treatments for patients in the most advanced stages and the currently available drugs will only extend life for a few extra months.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield are developing a treatment that uses magnetic particles to help the body's white blood cells kill tumours.

Source  - Daily Mail

Parkinson's disease symptoms 'can be improved by teaching patients to regulate their brains'

Patients with early-stage Parkinson's disease may be able to improve their symptoms by learning to regulate their brains, a study suggests.
A group of five patients were able to increase their motor speed by monitoring magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of their own brain activity as they carried out a finger-tapping task. After a time, they had learned to alter activity in specific parts of the brain affected by Parkinson's. Similar biofeedback techniques have previously been used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and combat chronic pain.
Study leader Professor David Linden, from the University of Cardiff, said: 'This is the first time that this neurofeedback technique has been used with patients with Parkinson's disease.
'Self-regulation of brain activity in humans based on real-time feedback is emerging as a powerful technique. In this study, we assessed whether patients with Parkinson's disease are able to alter their brain activity to improve their motor function. We found that the five patients who received neurofeedback were able to increase activity in brain networks important for movements and that this intervention resulted in an overall improvement in motor speed - in this case, finger tapping.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Q&A: Edzard Ernst on alternative medicine

Steve Jobs’ tragic death may have added a new urgency to Edzard Ernst’s work. In October 2003, when Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he turned not to conventional medicine but acupuncture, macrobiotic diets, and visits to a spiritualist, delaying surgery some doctors suspect could have saved his life. About ten years before that diagnosis, Ernst—an award-winning, U.K.-based physician—began establishing an evidence base for alternative therapies. Since then, Ernst has become the world’s first professor of complementary medicine at Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, England, founded two academic journals on the topic (Perfusion and Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies), and published more than 1,000 papers and over 40 books (including the recent Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial).
So far, only five per cent of the alternative therapies Ernst turned his critical gaze to have shown curative powers beyond those of a placebo. The demise of Apple’s founder, then, seems a fitting occasion to reflect on the powerful allure that alternative medicine holds—even for the geniuses among us. “My first thought was, ‘How tragic,’ and the second, ‘When will we learn the lesson?’” said Ernst. “People—even if they are smart—are all too easily misled to do the most stupid things, particularly with the promotion of alternative medicine being as viciously effective as it is.”

Source  - Macleans

Yoga may work better for lower back pain than conventional treatments

Doing yoga is a more effective way for people with lower back pain to become more mobile than the treatments currently offered by GPs, according to new research.
The study found that back pain sufferers recorded greater improvements in everyday physical tasks such as walking, bending down and getting dressed if they did weekly yoga sessions. Participants who had practised yoga reported enhanced function compared with those receiving standard care, even nine months after the yoga classes had finished.
Previous, smaller studies have suggested yoga could be beneficial to back pain sufferers. However, these have often involved just one teacher and have not included long-term follow-up.
Back pain is estimated to affect 80% of adults at some point in their lives, and one in five people visits their GP in any given year because of it. The condition, defined as chronic if it lasts longer than six weeks, is the second most common cause of long-term disability after arthritis and second only to stress as a cause of absence from work. It costs the NHS around £1bn per year and the annual cost to the economy has been estimated at £20bn.
Existing treatment options include painkillers, spinal manipulation, acupuncture, exercise classes and cognitive behavioural therapy.

Source  - Guardian

One glass of wine a day increases risk of breast cancer:

A new study conducted by researchers at Harvard University has found that women who drink just four small glasses of wine a week increase their risk of developing breast cancer by 15 per cent.
In Britain women are recommended to drink no more than 14 units or two small glasses of wine a day with some alcohol free days each week. Experts said the new study confirmed the link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer as it is thought up to one fifth of cases are caused by drinking to excess. There are almost 50,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Britain each year.
Women who drank up to four units a day were 50 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not drink at all, it was found. 
Moderate drinking has been found to protect against heart disease and doctors warned women who may consider abstaining from alcohol in light of the findings that they may miss out on these benefits.
The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association was based on 106,000 nurses in America who were followed up from 1980 until 2008. 

Source  - Telegraph

Cancer-risk of well-cooked meat

It may give you pause for thought before you burn your sausages to a crisp on the barbeque.
Scientists have found that the carcinogenic risk of eating well-cooked meat may be more than twice than previously thought. It was known that frying or grilling food can cause carcinogenic food 'mutagens' on the surface.
But previous research has relied on using mice as models, basing the expected effect on humans on the effects on the rodents.
Scientists at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health found that humans have certain enzymes called sulfotransferases (sult) in many part of their bodies. However, mice only have them in their livers.

Source  - Daily Mail

Handful of nuts a day can help beat belly fat

A handful of nuts a day can keep hunger at bay and beat belly fat, according to scientists.
This is the first time a link between eating nuts and higher levels of serotonin - a substance that decreases appetite, boosts happiness and improves heart health - has been detected.
Researchers from the University of Barcelona say that it only took one ounce of raw and unpeeled walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts a day to produce the positive health effects.
It is hoped the findings, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, will benefit patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) which is characterised by excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
Dietary changes along with the regular consumption of nuts, which contain healthy fats and antioxidants, may help patients shed excess weight, decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The team led by Cristina Andris-Lacueva in collaboration with the Human Nutrition Unit of the Rovira i Virgili University said: 'An increased excretion of serotonin metabolites was associated for the first time with nut consumption.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Sitting around can increase risk of breast and colon cancer

Sitting around can increase your risk of cancer, say scientists.
A major study, presented at the at the American Institute for Cancer Research annual conference, has revealed a strong connection between inactivity and unregulated cell growth.
Researchers say that 92,000 cases a year of breast and colon cancer can be attributed to lack of exercise and are now urging people to get fit, interdepersing every hour of sitting with one to two minutes of activity.
Lead researcher Christine Friedenreich, of Alberta Health Services Cancer Care in Canada, presented findings from a new paper, published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, on physical activity and cancer risk.
An assessment of post-menopausal women confirmed that taking brisk daily walks helps to reduce several key biological indicators of cancer risk, including sex hormone levels, insulin resistance, inflammation and body fatness.

Source  - Daily Mail

Children with low levels of zinc may be at higher risk of autism

Children who are low in zinc may be at higher risk of autism.
A study found that large numbers of children with autism and related conditions such as Asperger’s syndrome were deficient in the mineral, which is found in meat, bread and dairy products. The researchers said their finding provided hope for the treatment and prevention of autism.
But British experts say it is impossible to draw any firm conclusions from the study – and people should not rush out to stock up on zinc supplements.
Autism and related conditions affect more than one in 100 British children – ten times more than just 30 years ago – but the condition is still little understood. 
In the latest study, researchers in Tokyo measured levels of zinc in the hair of almost 2,000 children with autism and related conditions.

Source  - Daily Mail 

10 ways to avoid catching a cold

We all feel that first sneeze or tickle at the back of the throat that signals the beginning of the cold season. But is there actually anything we can do to prevent ourselves from getting one? Adults average three to four sniffle bouts a year, with children picking up double this number. Yet scientists are no closer to that elusive goal: a cure for the common cold.
According to Professor Ron Eccles of Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre, the sheer number of different viruses is the main reason why we keep catching them year after year. But there is a glimmer of hope.
“We’re at a stage now where there’s a huge amount known about these ­viruses and how they work. We hope that by continuing to ­increase this knowledge we’ll have a breakthrough,” says Prof Eccles.
The good news is that all this research has taught us how colds spread. Here are 10 simple ways to ­significantly improve your odds of avoiding the scourge of winter...
1 Go green
The Babraham Institute in ­Cambridge found that eating plenty of leafy green veg can boost your immune system.
It turns out that cruciferous vegetables – from pak choi to broccoli – contain food chemicals that help ensure white blood cells function at peak performance to fight off infections.
Try: Stir-frying broccoli with a little soy sauce and ginger for a fabulous flu-fighting side dish.

Source  - Daily Mirror

Do supplements increase risk of death?

Contrary to the headlines, this recent paper, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, analysed the risk of mortality of those taking various supplements versus non-users and found that supplement takers had a reduced risk of death. To quote the study “self-reported use of vitamin B complex; vitamins C, D, and E; and calcium had significantly lower risk of total mortality compared with non-use; copper was associated with higher risk.” They found statistically significant health benefits for many supplements, with calcium being the strongest positive, and copper being the strongest negative.
When they looked at the pattern of risk over the three decades they reported that, for many nutrients the mortality risk was less in supplement takers and further reduced the longer people had been taking the supplements. This was true for multivitamins, magnesium, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin E. Vitamin C and B vitamins were associated with reduced risk in each of the three survey points.
The most negative association was seen with iron, with increasing mortality risk the longer a person had taken it. Copper went from a negative in the first survey point, to a positive result in the last.
They also found that “compared with nonusers, supplement users had a lower prevalence of diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, and smoking status”. Generally, they were a bit more physically active and less likely to be on HRT.

Source  - Patrick Holford

Probiotic yoghurts DO work

After wolfing down a pizza you may want to finish with a probiotic yoghurt, after researchers found they help the body to break down carbohydrates.
Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine wanted to look at what impact, if any, live bacteria in popular yoghurts have on digestion.  They performed studies on mice as well as identical female twins using a yoghurt that had five strains of live bacteria.
The team found eating the yoghurt twice a day for seven weeks did not alter the mix of microbes in the intestines of the women or the mice. However, when they took a closer look at the mice they found there were significant changes in some of the bacterial enzymes involved in metabolising carbohydrates.
Many of the key changes noted in the highly controlled laboratory environment were also found in the seven pairs of twins.

Source  - Daily Mail

Don't swallow everything: Alternative medicine

Why is homeopathy "utter nonsense"? What about ear candling? And does ginger really help prevent motion sickness?
Chemistry professor and author Joe Schwarcz, PhD, answers these questions and more in his latest books.
Schwarcz, director of McGill University's office for science and society, is on a mission to demystify science for students and public alike. Through his bestselling books, a weekly column for The Montreal Gazette, radio shows, university lectures and public talks -- including one given Wednesday night in Calgary addressing the public's rising fear of chemicals -- Schwarcz explores the science that surrounds us in our daily lives.
His forthcoming book, Dr. Joe's Health Lab (Doubleday Canada, Nov. 6, $22.95) focuses on health, nutrition and medicine.
Schwarcz, who's been fascinated by chemistry ever since seeing a magician perform at a childhood birthday party, used to write up science quizzes for his school buddies. He continues to share his love of science with people, selecting items he finds interesting.
"The main theme in all my books is separating sense from nonsense and providing interesting information. It's entertainment for the mind, as well as feeding the mind. I try to make it compact, because in these days people have been conditioned to sound bites, which is why I make them punchy and to the point."

Dolphin therapy is a scam

I've lost track how many times my disabled daughter has been offered a swim with a dolphin. While disabled people struggle to get a hoist or a few hours' home help, numerous charities will fly them to Florida to experience the miraculous feeling of frolicking in the water with a friend of Flipper. According to organisations that sell such snake oil, "dolphin therapy" alleviates a wide range of disabilities, from increasing the attention span of a child with attention deficit disorder to curing paralysis. Dolphin Tale  is the latest vehicle to peddle this propaganda. This family film is about the remarkable, restorative powers a dolphin called Winter brings to troubled and disabled youngsters.
Two great myths buoy up this linking of a marine mammal with a person with an impairment. There's the myth that dolphins share human characteristics; in the film, the dolphin Winter conducts lively conversations with people in squeak language. And there's the myth that all disabled people need to be whole again is a good dose of inspiration – even from an animal.

Source  - Guardian

Parents face inquiry for treating son with alternative medicine

Luca Monsellato was taken to hospital with a high fever and cold symptoms but failed to respond to emergency medical treatment and died.
His parents, Marcello and Giovanna Pantaleo, told doctors they had been treating his apparent three-week cold with fennel tea – a popular homeopathic remedy for coughs – in an attempt to keep his fever under control. They eventually took him to hospital when his condition worsened. Staff at the hospital described Luca as looking "pale, thin and breathless".
Mr Monsellato, 52, of the southern Italian town of Tricase, close to Lecce, has been a doctor of alternative medicine for more than 20 years. He is honorary president of Italy's Homeopathic Sinergy Association and an expert on acupuncture.
He told staff at the hospital how his son had been suffering from the effects of a cold for three weeks and they had given him fennel tea instead of other medical treatment.

Source  - Telegraph

Fish could cut risk of dementia

Eating fish may boost blood flow to the brain which could stave off dementia in later life, researchers have discovered.
The health benefits of a diet rich in omega-3, a fatty acid found in oily fish, have long been suspected, and the findings of two studies into its effects on young people suggest that it can improve reaction times in 18-35 year olds as well as reducing levels of mental fatigue after they perform tough tasks.
Although the results suggest that, contrary to popular belief, taking omega-3 or fish oil supplements may not have an impact on the mental performance of young adults, the researchers at Northumbria University say the increased blood flow to the brain it caused could be important for older people. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Yoga may not give you a mental lift

It is supposed to be a thorough workout for both body and soul.
But researchers claim doing yoga has no additional mental benefits when compared with regular stretching. The largest study of its kind found those who do the Indian stretching with a bad back would alleviate the physical symptoms – but that was it.
The researchers were unable to detect any improvement in mental welfare that they could specifically put down to the exercise.
Yoga has become one of the most popular ways to stay in shape thanks to endorsement from hundreds of celebrities including Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Those who follow it claim it gives them a spiritual cleansing that can be traced back to its roots in ancient India. However the study found that overall, yoga was only as effective at relieving back pain as normal stretching. 

Source  - Daily Mail 

Fish oil supplements 'can slow growth of prostate cancer cells in just four weeks'

A low-fat diet with fish oil supplements can slow down the growth of prostate cancer, research has shown.
Scientists in the U.S. made the discovery after testing prostate tissue samples taken from men with the disease. They found that just four to six weeks on the diet was enough to reduce the growth of cancer cells.
 The same effect was not seen in men who remained on a regular Western diet with no fish oil supplements.
Study leader Professor William Aronson, from the University of California at Los Angeles, said: 'The finding that the low-fat, fish oil diet reduced the number of rapidly dividing cells in the prostate cancer tissue is important because the rate at which the cells are dividing can be predictive of future cancer progression. The lower the rate of proliferation, the lesser the chances that the cancer will spread outside the prostate, where it is much harder to treat.'
The findings appear in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
The scientists tested blood samples before and after the diet commenced, and examined tissue from surgically removed prostate glands.

Source  - Daily Mail 

Chronic Back Pain

Weekly yoga classes eased pain and improved functioning in some people with chronic lower back pain -- but the yoga sessions weren't any better than regular stretching classes, according to a new study.

Researchers found that participants in both types of classes had better functioning and fewer symptoms after three months than back patients who were only given a book with advice on preventing and managing pain.

Source - Reuters

'Superfood' myths

One in ten people believe that 'superfoods' can prevent cancer despite their being no medical evidence, health experts have revealed. 
The term 'superfood' has no scientific definition but it is often bandied around and applied to foods with a specific health benefit giving the public a false expectation of the benefits. 
The new research, commissioned by Bupa, has revealed that 11 per cent of Britons think it can prevent cancer and many believe that there are more health benefits to 'superfoods' than eating a balanced diet.  
Christina Merryfield, Lead Dietician at Bupa's Cromwell Hospital, said: 'The term 'superfood' is misleading as there is no clear definition and many of the supposed health claims are vague or not fully substantiated.
'Some so-called 'superfoods' like pomegranate juice and almonds can be good for you as part of a balanced diet, but giving them such a heroic sounding name confuses the public and can cause worse diet choices as people mistakenly believe they can 'undo' the damage caused by unhealthy foods. 

Source  - Daily Mail 

Mobile phone brain cancer link rejected

Further research has been published suggesting there is no link between mobile phones and brain cancer.
The risk mobiles present has been much debated over the past 20 years as use of the phones has soared.
The latest study led by the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Denmark looked at more than 350,000 people with mobile phones over an 18-year period.
Researchers concluded users were at no greater risk than anyone else of developing brain cancer.
The findings, published on the British Medical Journal website, come after a series of studies have come to similar conclusions.

Source  - BBC

Prayer can cure, churches tell those with HIV

Seriously ill patients suffering from conditions including cancer and HIV are being encouraged by some Evangelical Christian churches to depend on prayers rather than pills.
Worshippers in London, Manchester and Glasgow have stopped taking life-saving drugs after being persuaded about the healing powers of God, according to research by the African Health Policy Network (AHPN).
A BBC London investigation yesterday revealed that at least three women with HIV have died after they stopped taking medication on the advice of their pastors.
Francis Kaikumba, chief executive of AHPN, said a family member committed suicide last year after being convinced by a church he did not suffer from a mental health problem. The man's mental health deteriorated after he stopped taking his medicine after taking guidance from the pastor.
Mr Kaikumba said: "This is a national concern... It is about spiritual healing being the preferred option for every condition and in some cases people being told that medication will damage the affects of the prayers. We have found very vulnerable people in London, Glasgow and Manchester being offered one-stop solutions to very complex issues such as diabetes, TB [Tuberculosis], cancer, as well as housing and immigration problems. This is not just a trend in the UK, it is happening on a much wider scale in Africa."

How a bowl of soup can help boost your bones.

Warming winter soups are packed with nutrients and, if you choose wisely, can be a tasty way of helping your body meet different needs...


Lentils are packed with soluble fibre, which studies have shown can help bring down levels of artery-clogging cholesterol. It binds to cholesterol in the gut, reducing its absorption into the bloodstream.


As a clear soup, it’s always going to be lower in calories than a creamy one. Also, the chunky vegetables slow down stomach emptying, so you feel fuller longer (unlike pureed vegetables in other soups), and the pasta pieces turn it into a proper meal that satisfies hunger.


You'll get your entire daily requirement of vitamin A and more from a bowl of this soup. And that’s important for your immune defences, because this vitamin maintains the mucous surfaces of respiratory passages — keeping out the  infection-causing bugs.

Source  - Daily Mail

Warning over fish pedicures

People with weak immune systems or underlying medical conditions are at risk of infection from fish pedicures, the Health Protection Agency has warned.
The beauty treatment sees customers place their feet in tanks of water containing tiny Garra rufa fish which nibble on dead skin. While the pampering carries a "very low" risk for healthy clients, those with conditions including diabetes and psoriasis have now been advised against it.
The pedicures - which are popular in Asia - have been banned in some US states, including Florida, Texas, New Hampshire and Washington amid fears that infections could spread through open wounds.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) today issued new guidance after a panel found fish tank water contained a number of micro-organisms and that infections could be transmitted either from fish to person (during the nibbling process), water to person (from the bacteria which can multiply in water), or person to person (via water, surrounding surfaces and the fish). 

Cheers to a pint of bone builder

Older women could guard against osteoporosis in later life by drinking a pint of beer a day.
A new study has shown that ale is an ideal source of dietary silicon, which is crucial in the formation of new bone. Bone is continuously being lost and reformed and silicon is vital for helping to renew it.
Although silicon is contained in some plants and beans, one of the richest and most easily absorbed sources is beer, as it is an ingredient of the malt used in the brewing process. Several previous studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between the amount of silicon in a person’s diet and their bone mineral density. 
In the new study, Professor Jonathan Powell, head of nutrition research at Cambridge University, studied the effects of beer on bone formation and found that ethanol – which is also present in alcohol – helps to prevent bone loss and silicon encourages the growth of new bone.
‘Silicon combines with the hormone oestrogen to produce a beneficial effect and as women age, their oestrogen levels fall, and so, as they get older, it is important for women to take in a good daily amount of silicon,’ says Prof Powell.

Source  - Daily Mail 

Ginger could reduce bowel cancer risk

Fifteen volunteers given two grams of ginger root supplement daily for 28 days showed reduced signs of colon inflammation - a condition that has been linked to bowel cancer - compared to 15 given a placebo.
The researchers, from the University of Michigan Medical School in the US, consequently suggested that ginger could be used as a bowel cancer prevention agent.
Suzanna Rick, a naturopathic doctor, said: "Interest in this is only going to increase as people look for ways to prevent cancer that are nontoxic, and improve their quality of life in a cost-effective."
The study is published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Bowel cancer claims 16,000 lives a year in Britain, more than either breast or prostate cancer.

Source  - Telegraph

Eating chocolate may reduce risk of strokes in women

A sweet tooth isn't necessarily bad for your health - at least not when it comes to chocolate, researchers say.
A study of more than 33,000 Swedish women found that the more chocolate women said they ate, the lower their later risk of stroke. The results add to a growing body of evidence linking cocoa consumption to heart health.
Research leader Susanna Larsson from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, said previous studies had linked flavonoids in chocolate with a drop in high blood pressure - a risk factor for strokes. However, she said the latest study did not give people a free pass to gorge on chocolate as it had not yet been proven whether this theoretical benefit translates into real-life benefits.
'Given the observational design of the study, findings from this study cannot prove that it's chocolate that lowers the risk of stroke,' Dr Larsson said.
While she believes chocolate may boost health, she also warned that eating too much of it could be counterproductive.

Source - Daily Mail

High doses of vitamin E 'can significantly increase risk of prostate cancer'

High doses of vitamin E can significantly increase the risk of men developing prostate cancer, says a major study.
The chances of developing the disease rose by 17 per cent, even years after men stopped taking the vitamin, claim researchers. The latest warning over potential harm caused by vitamin supplements follows a study which found women taking multivitamins and other supplements have an increased risk of dying. 
The new findings come from a U.S. trial which was attempting to confirm earlier reports that extra vitamin E and the mineral selenium could help prevent prostate cancer.
Instead the researchers discovered the opposite - more cases of prostate cancer among men taking 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E a day than placebo, or dummy capsules. This is the equivalent of 363mg a day – the measurement used in Britain – which is 30 times more than the recommended daily amount.
Lead researcher Dr Eric Klein, of the Cleveland Clinic in Chicago, said millions of older Americans take supplements containing vitamin E, many of them at the megadose levels of the study.

Source  - Daily Mail

Vitamins linked with higher death risk in older women

When it comes to vitamins, it appears you could have too much of a good thing, say researchers who report a link between their use and higher death rates among older women.
Experts have suspected for some time that supplements may only be beneficial if a person is deficient in a nutrient. And excess may even harm, as the study in Archives of Internal Medicine finds.
All of the women, in their 50s and 60s, were generally well nourished yet many had decided to take supplements. Multivitamins, folic acid, vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron in particular appeared to increase mortality risk. The researchers believe consumers are buying supplements with no evidence that they will provide any benefit.

Source  - BBC

Why 'fruit sugar' is one of the most damaging ingredients in our food

Sweet, cheap and natural — fructose sounds like the ideal ‘healthy’ sweetener.
However, the sugar, which is found naturally in fruit but is now added to many processed foods, may hide a range of deadly secrets.
Scientists are discovering that fructose appears to be linked to serious modern epidemics such as cancers, heart disease, hypertension, kidney damage and even dementia.
The latest fears were raised last week by research that found people who consume lots of fructose by drinking fruit juice have an increased risk of rectal cancer.
The research, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, suggests that the high content of fructose in processed fruit juice may be the trigger. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Rainbow coloured carrots and super broccoli that's healthier and sweeter

The healthiest foods aren’t usually the ones that tempt our tastebuds or turn our heads.

But two new additions to the supermarket shelves could be about to prove that theory wrong.

A healthier and sweeter variety of broccoli goes on sale today – alongside eye-catching crunchy carrots in colours such as purple, yellow and amber. 
 The super-broccoli is packed with a plant chemical credited with warding off cancer and heart problems, and is said to taste better than other varieties.
The Benefort√© broccoli contains up to three times as much glucoraphanin – a compound which, when broken down within the body, is thought to provide protection against prostate and other cancers and improve heart health. What’s more, raising levels of the plant chemical reduces broccoli’s sharp flavour, making the vegetable taste less bitter. 

Source  - Daily Mail 

Green tea can slow down weight gain

Drinking green tea may help you stop piling on the pounds by limiting how much fat is absorbed by the body, scientists say.
Researchers found a compound in the herbal drink slowed down weight gain in a study on mice. Crucially the mice were already obese at the start of the study from Penn State university.
Research author Joshua Lambert, said: 'Our results suggest that if you supplement with EGCG or green tea you gain weight more slowly.' The researchers, who released their findings in the online version of Obesity, fed two groups of mice a high-fat diet. 

Source  - Daily Mail

A pinch of reality about salt

The Canadian government is in an all-out war on salt.
According to Health Canada, about half of us are consuming more than double the recommended daily dose, and it plans to rectify that by altering the food supply. The problem, say critics, is that the response could do more harm than good.
There’s no question high-salt diets can affect blood pressure, but several studies suggest this outcome, generally speaking, is dwarfed by other health benefits. In fact, the government’s position, critics charge, is based on out-of-date data, and ignores the most recent studies. Worse, Ottawa’s salt offensive could cause serious health concerns, including heart disease, low birth rates, kidney disease, or an early death.
“[Canada’s] limits are not based on science,” explains Michael Alderman, a physician and epidemiologist at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and editor of the American Journal of Hypertension. “Folks that eat the least amount of salt have the worst outcomes. They die.”

Source  - Macleans

Eat yourself happy with foods to beat depression

More of us are now taking ­anti-depressants than ever before and women are almost twice as likely to feel depressed than men.
The researchers – from a German university – blame some of it on the stresses of modern life. “Women in particular are having to juggle family and work more than ever before,” ­explains Professor Cary Cooper, a stress expert from ­Lancaster University. “Then there’s the ­economy and an ­uncertain job climate to contend with.”
Studies show that the start of autumn and winter can lead to a lower mood, ­too, with cases of ­seasonal affective ­disorder (SAD – where a ­lack of sun and ­daylight lower levels of ‘happy’ hormones) increasing at this time of year.  But the good news is you can eat yourself happier by making sure ­certain foods are part of your daily diet.
“What we eat has a huge impact on our mood,” says James Duigan, trainer ­to Elle Macpherson and Rosie ­Huntington-Whiteley. “What we eat can help lift our mood and raise levels of feel-good hormones. However, the wrong food can do the opposite and raise stress levels.” Here’s what to do to stay happy.

Source  - Mirror

How mulberries have as much iron as a sirloin steak

A wet, warm autumn means a bumper crop of nuts and berries, packed with nutrients. ANNABEL VENNING speaks to Sarah Wilson, specialist dietician at London’s Princess Grace Hospital, about their health benefits.

These fruits, right, are very rich in iron, vital for maintaining a healthy count of red blood cells and preventing anaemia – a rare feature among berries. They contain 1.85mg per 100g, 23 per cent of the recommended daily intake, on a par with sirloin beef. 
They are also a good source of Vitamin C and have high levels of resveratrol, an antioxidant also found in red wine that is thought to ‘clean up’ pollutants in the body. Studies on rats found that resveratrol was effective against tumours of the skin, breast, lung and prostate.

Rosehip syrup is the traditional remedy for the common cold because of the high Vitamin C content of the berries, about 1,000 times higher than oranges or lemons. They are also rich in Vitamins A, D and E, calcium, iron and fatty acids. ‘Studies have shown that rosehip powder was effective in reducing the pain from osteoarthritis,’  says Wilson.

Source  - Daily Mail

Good news for red wine lovers

A chemical found in red wine can stop breast cancer in its tracks, according to new research.
Laboratory tests have shown resveratrol, which is found in the skin of grapes, could halt the development of the disease by blocking the growth effects of the hormone oestrogen.
Scientists said the finding published in The FASEB Journal has important implications for the treatment of patients.
Dr Sebastiano Ando, of the University of Calabria in Italy, said: 'Resveratrol is a potential pharmacological tool to be exploited when breast cancer become resistant to the hormonal therapy.'
The key chemical is also found in blueberries, peanuts and cranberries.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women, and almost 45,000 cases are diagnosed in the UK every year.   Resveratrol works by blocking the way oestrogen combines with DNA in a woman's body to spread tumour cells by turning them malignant.

Source  - Daily Mail

Is alternative medicine effective?

The Statement: “Traditional Chinese Medicine plays an important and valuable role in the health and well-being of Ontarians as many are choosing this complementary and alternative approach to health care. It is in this spirit that we are committed to the regulation of this profession,” – Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care,01/09/2011
The field of complementary medicine is huge and growing. In Canada, recent estimates put out-of-pocket spending on alternative-care providers at $5.6 billion—a substantial amount, even when compared to the $31.1 billion spent on pharmaceutical drugs last year.
Governments have been making attempts to rein in the gargantuan industry. As Deb Matthews suggests, since Ontarians are turning to alternative care like Chinese Medicine, and it “plays an important and valuable role in [their] health and well-being,” we should regulate it. The Canadian Medical Association, however, argues that any guidelines for or regulation of alternative medicine “should respect the conviction of many physicians and clinical researchers, that [alternative medicine] has minimal scientific validity and that recommending it to patients achieves no clinical purpose and may be unethical.” In other words, warn the huddled masses about this quackery.

Source  -  Macleans

Yoga won't help me walk again.

I have never tried yoga, so I arrived for a class at Triyoga in Chelsea feeling pretty intimidated. My inner cynic expected sinewy people standing on their heads in a fug of incense, but instead I find a large white room scattered with purple mats, foam bricks, blankets and other participants. I choose a space and sit on a mat on the floor.
When our teacher, Matthew Sanford, arrives he lays a calming hand on my shoulder and in a soft American voice describes me as sporty and determined to the point of bloodymindedness. He recognises this, because I am on the floor with my wheelchair parked next to me – and we are both paraplegic.
Sanford was just 13 when his family's car hit a patch of ice and slid down an embankment. His mother and brother survived, but his father and sister were both killed. Asleep at the time of the accident, he suffered a broken neck and back, among other injuries. He was in a coma for three days.
"I was a very athletic kid, and I loved feeling my whole body," he tells me. "After the accident, doctors told me I didn't have sensation and I believed them. They called the tingling and burning in my legs phantom feeling, in case I took it to mean I would walk again." Actually, as I know myself, the constant "noise" in my legs, which can be anything from an almost pleasant, warm tingling to excruciating pain, may not be functional, but it is certainly real.

Source  - Guardian

Popular herbal supplement used to treat prostate pain 'does not work'

A popular herbal supplement bought by men to relieve discomfort caused by an enlarged prostate does not work, say researchers.
Thousands of men take the remedy saw palmetto, which comes from the fruit of a type of palm tree, to improve urinary problems caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). But a new study found even taking three times the standard dose of the supplement produced no benefit.
Many older men take saw palmetto capsules bought from health food shops or on the internet as a first option when they are diagnosed, before drugs to make the prostate shrink or surgery.  It is the most popular supplement for BPH, and part of a growing £396 million a year market in health supplements.
The latest US research involved more than 300 men aged 45 and older who had moderate symptoms of a swollen prostate, including frequent urination and difficulty emptying their bladders. They were randomly selected to receive a daily saw palmetto supplement or a ‘dummy’ placebo capsule that smelled and tasted the same. 

Source  - Daily Mail