Just a couple of BITES of chocolate are as tasty as a whole bar

Next time you’re tempted to take the largest slice of cake, it is worth remembering that a piece half the size will leave you feeling just as happy.
At least that’s what researchers at a leading university in the US are saying – that smaller portions of snacks are just as likely to satisfy  our hunger as larger ones. Two groups of volunteers were quizzed about how they felt 15 minutes after eating servings of chocolate chips, apple pie, and chips. One group was given 100g of chocolate, 200g of apple pie, and 80g of potato chips, all slightly larger than the recommended sizes.
This equalled 1,370 calories. The other group was given 10g, 40g, and 10g of the same foods respectively – a total of 195 calories. The groups were then asked to rate their hunger and craving before the food was presented and 15 minutes after the tests ended.
The report was published by Cornell University in New York.

Source  - Daily Mail 

It's not what you eat, it's when you eat

People trying to lose weight may need to consider not only what they eat but when they eat it.

Scientists who studied the timing of meals have discovered that people who ate late in the day lost less weight than those who ate earlier. Even though they consumed the same total calories and expended the same energy, those who sat down to lunch late shed significantly fewer pounds than those who had their lunch early.
The finding turns conventional advice on its head. Nutritionists spend much of their time exploding dieting “myths” such as that eating at night leads to weight gain. Now they may have to reconsider.
The conventional view is that the body will store as fat any extra calories consumed beyond those burnt as energy during the day, regardless of the time of day during which those extra calories are consumed.
But it has been undermined by recent research in animals and humans suggesting that energy regulation and the laying down of adipose tissue (fat) is subject to a circadian rhythm, which , if disrupted, may lead to disturbances in metabolism.

Source  - Independent

The science of a long life

Bombarded with adverts promising a longer, healthier life, BBC News Los Angeles correspondent Peter Bowes goes in search of eternal youth.
If we are lucky, we will grow old. Most of us have grey hair, wrinkles, frailty, loss of memory and degenerative diseases to look forward to - if we do not have them already. It is not all bad news. With ageing, we can acquire wisdom and often become more emotionally stable and at ease with life. But the downsides seem to far outweigh the perks. We live in a youth-oriented world.
California epitomises a society where everyone wants to be young, attractive and vibrant. Being old, looking old, acting old is not an option, so much so that after many years operating as the University of California's Ageing Centre, in Los Angeles, the name was changed to Longevity Center, to "give it a more positive spin," according to its director, Dr Gary Small.

Source  - BBC

Cancer fight 'hampered in UK by stiff upper lip'

The UK's "stiff upper lip" culture may explain why it lags behind other countries when it comes to beating cancer, say experts.
Researchers, who surveyed nearly 20,000 adults in six high-income countries, said they found embarrassment often stopped Britons visiting the doctor. Respondents in the UK were as aware of cancer symptoms as those in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, but more reluctant to seek help, they said. A third feared wasting a doctor's time.
One in six of the men and women aged 50-and-over surveyed in the UK was embarrassed about sharing their symptoms with a doctor, the researchers from King's College London and University College London, with help from Cancer Research UK and Ipsos Mori, found.
They said, in the British Journal of Cancer, that this may partly explain why the UK has a far lower cancer survival rate than other developed nations, despite good access to skilled medical staff and cutting-edge treatments.

Source  - BBC

Vegetarians 'cut heart risk by 32%'

Ditching meat and fish in favour of a vegetarian diet can have a dramatic effect on the health of your heart, research suggests.
A study of 44,500 people in England and Scotland showed vegetarians were 32% less likely to die or need hospital treatment as a result of heart disease. Differences in cholesterol levels, blood pressure and body weight are thought to be behind the health boost.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Heart disease is a major blight in Western countries. It kills 94,000 people in the UK each year - more than any other disease, and 2.6 million people live with the condition. The heart's own blood supply becomes blocked up by fatty deposits in the arteries that nourish the heart muscle. It can cause angina or even lead to a heart attack if the blood vessels become completely blocked.
Scientists at the University of Oxford analysed data from 15,100 vegetarians and 29,400 people who ate meat and fish.

Source   - BBC

'Few complementary therapies help arthritis'

Few complementary therapies appear to help musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis, say experts who have looked at the available trial evidence.
Most alternative treatments have either not been scientifically tested or subjected to limited investigations, says Arthritis Research UK.  Of 25 therapies, only a handful were judged to have enough medical evidence to support their use.  These included acupuncture, massage, tai chi and yoga.
Very little evidence was found in support of commonly-used therapies such as copper bracelets and magnetic therapy for arthritis, fibromyalgia or lower back pain.
For their analysis the researchers searched for randomised controlled trials - comparing the given therapy with a placebo, usual care or another treatment - that had been written up in English and published before the end of May 2011.

Source  - BBC

Bikram – is it too hot to handle?

Just when you thought yoga couldn’t get any hotter – because it seems everyone is doing it – here comes a New York insider’s guide to the practice that is causing devotees to think again. In his investigation into Bikram, the most fashionable and extreme form of yoga, that is conducted in rooms of scorching heat, writer Benjamin Lorr warns that potential followers must go into it with eyes open: this is a fitness regime that should come with a health warning. Yes, it can it help you get into the leanest and most flexible shape of your life: but if you do as he did and follow the regime to its limit you are entering a world of almost addictive pain and taking huge risks with your body.
Lorr’s book Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga, is making waves in the US with its shocking descriptions of 12-year-olds able to bend their bodies into perfect O shapes, women who exist on diluted grapefruit juice (fasting is part of the culture) and fans habitually starving and dehydrating themselves to fulfil the demands of their monstrously strict-sounding yogis (teachers).

Source  - Telegraph

Call it 'quackery', but my alkaline diet did help me survive breast cancer

I may never know why I developed breast cancer. Just like a slot machine when all the same fruits are lined in a row, I believe that the disease takes hold when there is a line-up of lifestyle and genetic factors. But which applied to me?
None of the women in my family has ever had breast cancer. In his early middle age, my father had intestinal cancer, which was removed – and he lived into his 80s.
As I was over 50, an invitation to have a mammogram arrived but, in the business of life, was ignored. Certainly, my family and friends were surprised that the disease struck me because I have long been an advocate of healthy food.
Due to intensive farming, soil provides 50 times less minerals than it did after the Second World War, so I try to avoid produce fed with chemical fertilisers, or sprayed with pesticides. Food farming is in the grip of corporate giants, which control its production, processing, wholesale and retail industries.
My documentary, Pig Business, which has aired numerous times since 2009, exposes the true cost of cheap meat from factory pig farming. The animals are crammed into crates in unhealthy, overcrowded sheds, and shot full of  antibiotics to keep them alive.

Source  - Daily Mail 

A Mediterranean diet WON'T stave off dementia

A Mediterranean diet does little for the brain and won’t prevent dementia, researchers claim.
French scientists say there is no evidence that eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and oily fish boosts concentration in old age.
Inspired by traditional eating habits in Italy, Spain and Greece, the diet has been shown to prevent heart disease and cancer as well as increase life expectancy. And recently a number of studies have implied it may be just as beneficial for the brain and could stave off Alzheimer’s.
Some scientists believe that because the diet is low in saturated fat, it prevents the blood vessels that supply the brain becoming blocked.  But academics from Paris Sorbonne University say there is no evidence for such a link.

Diet rich in fruit and veg makes young people calmer and more energetic

According to nutritional wisdom, an apple a day can help keep your body healthy. Now researchers say it can also improve your state of mind.
A team from the psychology department at the University of Otago in New Zealand asked 281 young people to complete a 21-day online food diary. At the end of the trial period, those who ate plenty of fruit and vegetables reported feeling calmer, happier and more energised. Those who ate junk food reported no difference in mood.
Head researcher Dr Tamlin Conner said: ‘On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did.  After further analysis we demonstrated that young people would need to consume approximately seven to eight total servings of fruits and vegetables per day to notice a meaningful positive change.'
One serving of fruit or vegetables is approximately the size that could fit in your palm, or half a cup.

Source  - Daily Mail

Homeopathy is 'rubbish'

Homeopathy was condemned as ‘rubbish’ by Britain’s chief medical officer yesterday, who admitted she is ‘perpetually surprised’ it is available on the NHS.
Professor Dame Sally Davies also described homeopaths as ‘peddlers’ and spoke of her concern that they can prescribe pills and potions to treat malaria and other illnesses. Giving evidence to an influential committee of MPs, Dame Sally said that homeopathy doesn’t work past the placebo effect.  In other words, any benefits patients perceive are simply caused by them receiving attention and simply expecting to feel better.
Her outspoken views are in conflict with the policy of the Health Service, which spends around £4million a year on funding homeopathic hospitals and on prescriptions and referrals.
Homeopathy, which has the backing of Prince Charles, claims to prevent and treat diseases using diluted forms of plants, herbs and minerals.  It is based on the principle that an illness can be treated by substances that produce similar symptoms.

Source  - Daily Mail

Snowdrops can fight dementia

Flowers have long been used as traditional remedies, but they’re now being used to treat a conditions from depression and insomnia to cancer.
A third of new pharmaceuticals since 2008 originated or were inspired by natural products including flowers, says the Society of Chemical Industry. What makes the chemicals in flowers so potent — even on something as complex as brain functions — is not clear.  But it could be due to the sophisticated processes they’ve evolved to deter predators or attract pollinators.
Here, we identify the flowers that are finding their way into mainstream medicine . . .


This small, white flower blooms in the late winter. 

Traditional uses: Rub-on treatment for headaches, painkiller and poison antidote. 

Modern uses: Reminyl, one of the main type of drugs used to treat mild to moderate dementia, is derived from galantamine, a compound found in snowdrop bulbs.

It helps increase levels of acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in the transmission of messages from nerve cells.  Alzheimer’s is associated with a drop in acetylcholine levels — galantamine stops or delays the decline, helping to maintain memory.
‘Galantamine was originally tested for use in conditions such as eye, gastric and heart disorders.
'It wasn’t until the Eighties that it was explored for potential benefits in dementia,’ says Dr Melanie-Jayne Howes of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Source  - Daily Mail

Why frozen raspberries are good for you

There's nothing like raspberries to brighten up a cold, dark January day. Of course, the fresh sort will be jet-lagged, scarily expensive and disappointingly flavour-free. But at this time of year frozen, preferably British, raspberries really come into their own.
The freezing process accentuates their sharp, fresh flavour, and they retain their seductive perfume, providing a refreshing contrast to stick-to-the-ribs winter food. They're perfect after Christmas when you can't work up any enthusiasm for autumn's apples and pears, and clementines and satsumas are turning dry and fibrous.

Source - Guardian

Will 50 cloves of garlic kill your cold

According to folklore, it keeps vampires at bay. And it will definitely keep your loved ones at arm’s length.
But could a soup made with more than 50 cloves of garlic protect you from  colds, flu and even norovirus?  As Britain sneezes and coughs its way through these dark months of contagious nasties, garlic is being hailed for its powers to halt viruses in their tracks. It has gained its reputation as a virus buster thanks to one of its chemical constituents, allicin.
‘This chemical has been known for a long time for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal powers,’ says Helen Bond, a Derbyshire-based consultant dietitian and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association.
‘Because of this, people assume it is going to boost their immune systems. Lots of people I know are simply mashing up garlic, mixing it with olive oil and spreading it on bread. But how or whether it may actually work has still not been proven categorically.’

Source  - Daily Mail

Just two cups of coffee a day could cause male incontinence

The amount of caffeine typically found in two cups of coffee could exacerbate, if not cause, male incontinence.
New research suggests men who consume the most caffeine are more likely to have the problem than those who drank the least.  Published in The Journal of Urology, it suggests caffeine may irritate the bladder, if not causing then exacerbating the problem. Plenty of research has linked caffeine to incontinence among women. But little is known about whether there is a similar connection for men.
'We wanted to see if caffeine had an impact on them as well,' said Dr. Alayne Markland, the study's senior author, from the University of Alabama, told Reuters Health.  The NHS estimates that up to six million people in the UK have some degree of urinary incontinence.
Dr Markland's team used responses from about 4,000 men to a national health survey between 2005 and 2008.  The researchers looked at how many had urinary incontinence and how much caffeine they ate or drank, as well as how much water they took in from both foods and drinks.  

Source  - Daily Mail

Could herbal medicines REALLY be as good as for menopausal women as HRT?

Herbal and complementary medicines are a viable alternative to hormone replacement therapy for postmenopausal women who fear the possible side effects, according to new research.
Soy for instance, the most common plant containing oestrogen, can reduce hot flushes by more than half, says a scientist who carried out a review into previous studies. Red clover, a legume also containing the female hormone, and black cohosh, a plant originating in the US and Canada, also ease symptoms.
Women's primary care specialist Dr Iris Tong, of Brown University, Rhode Island, who led the review, said: 'Up to 75 per cent of women use herbal and complimentary medicines to treat their postmenopausal symptoms.
'Therefore, it is vitally important for healthcare providers to be aware of and informed about the non-pharmacological therapies available for women who are experiencing postmenopausal symptoms and who are looking for an alternative to HRT.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Can coconut oil ease Alzheimer's?

One morning last month, Vrajlal Parmar got up, washed and dressed himself, and at 10am boarded the council minibus to a nearby leisure centre.
In the evening, the 67-year-old former production line worker from London took the bus home.  Nothing remarkable there — except that nearly a year earlier Mr Parmar had been diagnosed as being in the late stages of Alzheimer’s.
He’d been given the standard pencil and paper test — called the Mini Mental State Examination — that doctors use to diagnose Alzheimer’s and measure how it’s progressing.  A healthy person would score 30.
The letter Mr Parmar’s family got back from the Cognitive Disorders Clinic at University College London stated that he was ‘too severely affected to score anything at all’. Any drug treatment would be ineffective. 

Source  - Daily Mail

How deadly peanut allergies can be cured

A new treatment could help peanut allergy sufferers get over their potentially deadly intolerance to the popular pub snack.
Trials of sublingual immunotherapy treatments, where patients are given doses of allergens in gradually increasing amounts, suggest the technique could one day be used as a cure for the allergy. However, experts carried out the tests under strict conditions and have warned people not to try a similar experiment themselves.
Around one in a 100 people in the U.S. and UK is allergic to peanuts, and reactions range from mere watery eyes to potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. For sufferers even eating a tiny amount of peanut can lead to a deadly reaction. Many must carry around special medicines like epinephrine-containing pens for emergency treatment in case they eat contaminated food. The prevalence of peanut allergy is increasing, however there is as yet no clinical treatment available for sufferers other than strict dietary elimination.
New research published in the the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology this month however shows that giving patients gradually increasing doses of a liquid containing peanut powder could help them to build up a tolerance.

Source  - Daily Mail

Research claims herbal remedy really does work

It's long been used by the Chinese as an aphrodisiac, but new research claims tablets made from ginseng really can perk up a man's love life.
A South Korean study found men with erectile dysfunction improved their performance in the bedroom after taking the tablets for just a few weeks. Although some previous studies have suggested ginseng can help tackle impotence, many have been conducted in mice.
The latest research involved more than 100 men who had been diagnosed with erection problems. Impotence affects one in ten men in the UK at some point in their lives. Although drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra have revolutionised treatment in the last ten years, around 30 per cent of men who take them see no improvement.
For these men, the only other options are to inject drugs straight into the penis, or use a pump that manually increases blood supply to the organ.  Neither is very popular.
While herbal remedies like ginseng have been touted as alternative treatments, the evidence to support their use has been lacking. Ginseng is a plant that has been used for thousands of years to bolster overall health. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Eating a fatty diet could reduce a man's sperm count by 40%

Eating a diet rich in saturated fats doesn't just increase the risk of heart disease - it can also lower sperm count in men, a study says.
Danish researchers found men who ate the most saturated fat had significantly lower sperm counts and poorer quality sperm than those who consumed the least.  It comes amid concern that both the quantity and quality of sperm appears to be declining in Western countries, with some studies showing average sperm counts have fallen by more than half over the past 60 years. Estimates suggest around 30 per cent of men in couples seeking IVF treatment are what is called sub-fertile and 2 per cent are ‘totally’ infertile.
For the new study, a team from Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen surveyed and examined 701 young Danish men who were about 20 years old and getting checkups for the military between 2008 and 2010.
Significantly, the participants were not seeking fertility treatments, unlike previous studies looking at diet and fertility.
They were asked about the food they ate over the prior three months, and then asked for a semen sample.

Source  - Daily Mail

A daily tomato pill to cut heart attacks

No one would much like the idea of eating 6lb of tomatoes a day.
But if their goodness was popped in an easy-to-swallow pill that you were told might prevent strokes and heart attacks you would probably be putting in an order tomorrow. Researchers believe they may have come up with just that after trials on the supplement Ateronon.
 The daily pill contains a chemical called lycopene which makes tomatoes red and is known to break down fatty deposits in the arteries.

Source  - Daily Mail

Which vitamins and supplements actually work?

There’s a tendency to divide the world of pills in two: evil pharmaceuticals and nice supplements. When we’re looking at the outrageous claims on the labels of supplements—that they’ll help us lose weight, clear-up acne, live long lives—we somehow forgot that the natural-health business is a business like any other, and that in Canada, while there are loose regulations around these products, they are not necessarily safe or effective.
Unlike pharmaceuticals—which admittedly have their own evidence problems—”natural” pills don’t undergo rigorous testing before they reach the market. So some of the claims about them are simply lies or not based in good science. As Dr. Edzard Ernst, one of the world’s foremost experts on the evidence for alternative complementary medicine, told Science-ish: “It is a myth to assume that the supplement industry behaves any differently from any other industry. It is about making money, and all too often people are less than responsible in the pursuit of this aim.”
The good news is that there is strong evidence to either back or refute some common notions about supplements. Science-ish sifted through the research to identify indications for capsules that have compelling science behind them. Here’s the Science-ish guide to supplements:

Source  - Macleans

Keep calm and live a bit longer

No question about it, I am cross. I know this isn’t in the spirit of the goodwill-filled New Year, but there it is. For five minutes, I have been sitting in the drizzle on a park bench next to a girl eating a foul-smelling hamburger and shouting into her mobile about the “Chrissie” presents she got.
No sooner has she gone than a young man sits down and starts a noisy conversation on his phone about how he’s “going to get so wasted” tonight. What with the snowballing list of jobs to be done in 2013 and the flatness I’m feeling now Christmas is over, I am in a rage.
“Now hold on a minute,” says a soothing voice from the next bench. I look up to see a figure with twinkling eyes and a long, Gandalf-like mane of white hair. Is it a spirit, come to thaw out my cold, hard heart? No, it’s Mike Fisher, 55, originally from South Africa, and my anger management consultant for the day.
He’s written books on the subject, given numerous lectures, and, as founder of the British Association of Anger Management, conducts group and one-to-one counselling sessions.

Source  - Telegraph

Stay well with simple meditation

While it seems a good idea to take a few minutes out every day for relaxation and meditation, the benefits for the emotionally labile, who tend to be a bit ''up and down’’, turn out to be substantial. Last week, writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr Willem Kuyken of the Mood Disorder Centre at the University of Exeter reported that ''mindfulness’’, for those prone to the blues, provides the “long term skills for staying well”.
This involves little more than sitting comfortably and focusing on something as simple as the pattern of respiration, breathing in and out.
The process of observing such sensations changes the way one responds to the maelstrom of subconscious thoughts in one’s head, and has been described as “a way of concentrating on the here and now, so as to become more aware of how the here and now is affecting you”.

Source  - Telegraph

New Year's Eve partygoers in rush for herbal hangover cure

Its supposed medicinal qualities have been in demand for two millennia. Used by the Romans to treat the victims of snakebites and sickly children, legend has it that the white veins of milk thistle's leaves were created from drops of milk shed by the Virgin Mary.
Marketed as a liver tonic more than half a century ago, capsules made from the plant extract have sold steadily for decades. But now a new generation of partygoers, desperate to avoid the aftermath of festive over-indulgence, are discovering the plant, which is related to the daisy family and is native to the Mediterranean region.
Supermarkets and pharmacies report that demand for milk thistle before New Year's Eve is soaring as discussions on social networking sites extol its qualities as a potent hangover cure.

Source  - Guardian

The menopause 'can cause memory loss'

Women of a certain age who feel their memory is letting them down may not be imagining it.
It is a sign of the menopause, say researchers.
A study has confirmed that around the time of the change many women struggle with memory and other brain skills. Fluctuating levels of female hormones are the likely cause of the problem, which affects women most badly during the first year of the menopause. But the good news is it is not linked to depression or sleep problems and the effects are unlikely to be permanent.
Dr Miriam Weber, a neuropsychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Centre, who led the study, said the findings would strike a chord with millions of women going through the menopause.

Source  - Daily Mail