Study finds acupuncture effective treatment for chronic pain in children

It is upsetting to see anyone in pain, but it's especially heartbreaking to watch a child endure chronic pain.
In addition to the suffering itself, chronic pain can cause traumatic effects on a child's quality of life, and it can have significant physical, psychological and social consequences. Making matters worse, chronic pain greatly can affect the child's parents or caregivers by causing feelings of helplessness and inadequacy.
Treating children with chronic pain can be complex, due to kids' vulnerability while they're growing and fear of causing long-term effects. Data about the safety and efficacy of therapeutic options for children is limited.
"Effective treatment of pain can be particularly difficult because it's subjective; but with children, it is increasingly difficult because a child may not be able to communicate effectively depending on the age and accurate recognition of pain," says Angela Johnson, MSTOM, MPH, practitioner of Chinese medicine of Rush's Cancer Integrative Medicine Program.
Johnson led a recent study at Rush that found that acupuncture may be a safe and effective adjunctive integrative medicine treatment for chronic pain in pediatric patients. Results of the study were published in the December 2015 issue of Alternative and Complementary Therapies.
"While acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain in adults, there is very little data on whether it's effective in children." Johnson says. "This study looked at the effect of acupuncture in children directly, rather than examining data collected from adults. This focus is especially important, since children experience pain in different ways than adults."

How complementary therapy 'can help with the roller-coaster of coping with cancer'

What do you do if a chemotherapy patient is scared of needles? Or extreme pain because of surgery? Can’t sleep because of the fear of never waking up?
One of the ways the staff at Velindre have adapted their service over the years is to offer complementary therapy. The treatments on offer include aromatherapy, reiki or reflexology. The results are impressive, a patient survey found 82% of people felt their symptoms were improved by using the service. It all began 18 years ago when a patient left in his will a legacy for one therapist to work one day a week.
Slowly but surely it has grown. Now there is a full-time clinical lead, Angela Green, and 12 therapists covering 60 hours a week. The services are offered across the centre to staff, families, carers and patients and help people both physically and emotionally cope with the stress and strain cancer throws at them.

Why drinking hot lemon in the morning DOES improve your health

If you are on the path to better health, this daily trick to alkalise your water could hardly be an easier place to start.
A new infographic by health website DYLN reveals the ways drinking lemon water daily can improve your health.
The graphic lays out the top ten scientific explanations as to why lemon water is so good for you, including helping to keep skin youthful, supercharging your immune system and aiding weight loss. 
According to the site, lemon water gives an alkalising, energising and revitalising boost that will help you fight common illnesses and signs of ageing.

Immune system supercharge   - If you’re going to be catching a flight or spending time with lots of children, you can avoid the flu or the common cold by loading up on Vitamin C beforehand.

Youthful skin  - Lemons also contain antioxidants which help fight against skin damage from free radicals, sunlight, pollutants and toxins in your body. Vitamin C also helps your fight against the ageing process, boosting collagen synthesis in the skin.

Source - Daily Mail

Could walnuts prevent heart attack?

Two handfuls of walnuts a day could help stave off heart disease, a new study has revealed.
The tree nuts lower total cholesterol levels in the body, thus reducing the chances of a person suffering a heart attack. The snack contains important nutrients such as unsaturated fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, researchers said.
Dr Michael Falk, one of the authors from the Life Sciences Research Organisation, said: 'Our study results further support the growing body of research that tree nuts, such as walnuts, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

'Tree nuts contain important nutrients. Walnuts are the only nut that provide a significant amount - 2.5g per one ounce serving - of alpha-linolenic (ALA), the plant-based form of omega-3.'

Dr Falk and his team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 61 controlled trials to arrive at their conclusions. They found walnuts are effective in lowering total cholesterol, LDL, so-called 'bad' cholesterol, and ApoB, the primary protein found in LDL cholesterol. These are key factors that are used to evaluate a person's risk of cardiovascular disease.

Source  - Daily Mail

Could an ear piercing cure migraines?

Living with migraines can make daily life a nightmare for some. Now, sufferers claim they have found relief through a simple treatment that doctors have likened to acupuncture.
A £50 piercing of the inner ear – known as a daith piercing – helped reduce the symptoms of migraines or cured their headaches altogether, some people claim. They have taken to social media to share stories of how the piercing helped ease their headaches.
Dr Thomas Cohn, a US doctor who specialises in pain relief, said a daith piercing may cure migraines in the same way as acupuncture can help the headaches.
Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted into specific points on the body to ease pain. It works by stimulating nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue, according to the NHS. This results in the body producing pain-relieving substances, such as endorphins.
Writing on his blog, Dr Cohn said: 'Visit an acupuncturist and see if needles in certain parts of your cartilage provide some relief. If you find that it works, maybe it's worth considering a permanent piercing. For those of you who are needle-adverse, locating the daith piercing location may still help provide relief.
If you begin to have a migraine, take your thumb and middle finger and gently massage that location on your ear. Switch ears after a few minutes, or massage both at the same time. If you notice significant relief, and you deal with regular headaches, a daith piercing could be a worthwhile solution.'

Homeopathy 'could be blacklisted'

Ministers are considering whether homeopathy should be put on a blacklist of treatments GPs in England are banned from prescribing, the BBC has learned.
The controversial practice is based on the principle that "like cures like", but critics say patients are being given useless sugar pills. The Faculty of Homeopathy said patients supported the therapy.
 A consultation is expected to take place in 2016. The total NHS bill for homeopathy, including homeopathic hospitals and GP prescriptions, is thought to be about £4m.
Homeopathy is based on the concept that diluting a version of a substance that causes illness has healing properties. So pollen or grass could be used to create a homeopathic hay-fever remedy. One part of the substance is mixed with 99 parts of water or alcohol, and this is repeated six times in a "6c" formulation or 30 times in a "30c" formulation.

Why red meat can be good for your health

Worried by the flurry of warnings about eating meat? Have you vowed to cut down on bacon sarnies and steak or even contemplated going veggie?
One in ten adults - and one in five 16 to 24-year-olds - follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, according to research published last year by market research firm Mintel.
Many more have turned 'flexitarian' - limiting their meat intake, but not reducing it entirely, or giving up red meat, but still eating white. Indeed, chicken accounts for around half of all meat intake in Britain, up from a third in the early Nineties. The numbers are likely to rise further following last week's alarming report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which classified processed meat such as bacon and sausages as 'carcinogenic to humans' and red meat as 'probably carcinogenic'.
And yesterday, researchers at Oxford University warned that just two portions of red meat a week increases the risk of bowel cancer by a fifth. But before you rush off to stock up on tofu and quinoa, it's worth noting that the average risk of developing bowel cancer is 6 per cent - so the increase in risk calculated by the WHO and by the Oxford researchers would mean an overall risk of around 7 per cent. Furthermore, many health experts advise against giving up red meat altogether. That's because in its natural state it is a rich source of energy and essential nutrients.

Source  - Daily Mail

Pet dogs 'may help children avoid asthma'

Young children who have a pet dog in the home are less likely to go on to develop asthma, a large Swedish study has found.
Exposure to a dog in the first year of life was linked to a 13% lower risk of asthma in later childhood among the 650,000 children the authors tracked. The findings, in JAMA Pediatrics, support the idea that pets can bolster the immune system and prevent allergy. More evidence is still needed - past studies have found conflicting results. Certainly, for a child who is already allergic to dogs, buying a puppy would not be a good idea, say the Swedish researchers.
Pets are a common cause of allergy, with half of all asthmatic children allergic to cats and 40% allergic to dogs, according to the charity Allergy UKWhen animals groom themselves, they lick. Skin cells covered in saliva - animal dander - are shed along with loose fur. It's the dander to which some people become sensitised.
The findings of this latest study suggest exposure to dog dander in infancy might actually be beneficial. Children who had grown up with a dog in their home were less likely to have asthma at the age of seven than children without dogs. Living on a farm with lots of animals seemed to confer even more protection, cutting the risk of asthma by about 50%.
Lead scientist Prof Tove Fall, from Uppsala University in Sweden, said: "Our results confirmed the farming effect and we also saw that children who grew up with dogs had about 15% less asthma than children without dogs."

Eat your greens!

People who ate large amounts of fruit and veg in their early 20s were found to be a quarter less likely to have blocked or restricted arteries in their 40s.
Having arteries partly blocked by plaques is a condition known as atherosclerosis. It is a potentially life threatening condition as the plaques cause affected arteries to harden and narrow, which can dangerously restrict blood flow damaging organs and stopping them functioning properly.

If a plaque ruptures, it can cause a blood clot which blocks the blood supply to the heart, triggering a heart attack, or it can block the blood supply to the brain, triggering a stroke.

Previous studies have shown the benefit of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables reduces heart disease risk among middle-age adults but the new study is the first to examine whether eating more fruits and vegetables as young adults could produce a measurable improvement in the health of their heart and blood vessels years later.
The Minneapolis Heart Institute in Minnesota found those who ate such a diet had less calcified coronary artery plaque two decades later which can be measured in CT scans.

Source  - Daily Mail

Diabetes? Herbal tea could help

Three cups of camomile tea a day could improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, according to a new study.
Researchers gave 64 people with diabetes either camomile tea or water to drink three times a day after meals for two months.

The participants had regular blood tests - and results published in the journal Nutrition showed that, after just eight weeks, the regular camomile tea drinkers had lower blood sugar levels and higher antioxidant levels compared with those who drank water.
The researchers, from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, in Iran, suggest the antioxidant quercetin has an effect on enzymes that play a role in the development of diabetes.

Source  - Daily Mail

ME can be beaten by taking more exercise and positive thinking, landmark study claims

Many patients with chronic fatigue syndrome are being held back by a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’, according to a leading researcher.
Oxford psychiatrist Professor Michael Sharpe said that some people with the condition do not push themselves to recover. His team today publishes findings which suggest a form of counselling is the most effective way to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, which is also known as ME. The findings are likely to reignite the debate about whether it is a psychiatric condition or a physiological disease.
Professor Sharpe insisted that he views the condition to be ‘a real illness’ with serious consequences.  But he said patients become terrified of exercise and physical activity for fear that it will make their illness worse.
These fears can be overcome by cognitive behavioural therapy or a gradual increase in exercise, he said.
‘They get locked into a pattern where they do less, they get more concerned about doing more,’ he said. ‘If you live within your limits that becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.’
The ME Association last night dismissed his claims as ‘bunkum’. 
Dr Charles Shepherd, medical adviser to the charity, said there is clear evidence the disease is rooted in neurological dysfunction and that cognitive behavioural therapy ‘has no role to play in the management of ME’.

Source  - Daily Mail

Back pain?

Most of us have aches and pains: a niggling crick in the neck, tightness in the lower back. A keen walker and horse-rider, I have always put the twinges that afflict me down to physical exertion.
The tennis elbow in my left arm? Driving a 4x4 every day. Stiff neck? Sleeping in the wrong position. Gnawing tightness in my lower back? Trotting up and down in a saddle up to four times a week - right?
Wrong. According to holistic therapist Sophia Kupse, backache is caused by emotional rather than physical injury. Painful experiences - even those as far back as childhood - can be stored in our muscles, causing them to ache.

The self-styled Muscle Whisperer has pioneered a technique called Langellotti Tri-Therapy, LT therapy for short. Favoured by celebrities such as Liv Tyler, it combines psychotherapy with massage. Just another celebrity fad or a groundbreaking new treatment for an affliction that blights a third of Britons?
While I'm sceptical, I'd love to do away with the Voltarol, Deep Heat and boiling hot baths, so decide to give it a go.

Source  - Daily Mail

The truth about KALE

Its green leaves are all the rage, flying off supermarket shelves and into the hands of the health-conscious like there's no tomorrow.
Gwyneth Paltrow advocates whizzing its bitter leaves into a morning smoothie, while Jennifer Aniston says pairing it with lean meat got her in 'stripper shape' for a film role. In fact, as demand for kale has soared in recent years, farmers have warned of a worldwide shortage. 

The dark-green plant, which is a member of the cabbage family, has curled leaves and a bitter taste. Its advocates call it a ‘superfood’ due to its high levels of vitamins, and fibre and protein content.
And with only 50 calories per 100g, and zero fat, it is said to be the friend of slimmers.

However, since its popularity peaked, kale has faced a backlash, with experts warning it can cause digestive problems, kidney stones, thyroid problems and possibly even a heart attack. Below, we asked dietitians and nutritionists whether kale really does deserve its superfood status and whether concerns voiced by critics are worth listening to..

Source  - Daily Mail

Fidgeting 'can help you live longer'

Fidgeting can off-set the unhealthy effects of sitting for long periods and may even help you live longer, research has shown. Scientists who analysed data on more than 12,700 British women found that too much time spent sitting still increased the risk of dying. But the association did not apply to participants who rated themselves as "moderately or very" fidgety - even those who sat for long periods.
Professor Janet Cade, from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds, who co-led the study, said: "While further research is needed, the findings raise questions about whether the negative associations with fidgeting, such as rudeness or lack of concentration, should persist if such simple movements are beneficial for our health."
Even among adults who are physically active, it is possible to spend up to 15 hours a day sitting down, said the researchers. Breaks in sitting time have previously been shown to improve markers of good health, such as Body Mass Index (BMI) and glucose and insulin responses.

How climbing helps people with traumatic brain injuries find their feet

Extreme sports perhaps wouldn’t be your first port of call when rehabilitating a traumatic brain injury (TBI), but then Sophie Charles isn’t the kind of person to let a little matter of height, exposure and intricate rope work dampen her enthusiasm for evangelising the therapeutic benefits of rock climbing for anyone, especially those living with specific neurological challenges. Together with the Castle Climbing Centre in London she, an experienced rock-climbing instructor, has crafted a series of sessions aimed at anyone who struggles with the activities of daily living many of us take for granted. “I love climbing because everyone can do it,” she says.”‘And what I like about getting other people into climbing – especially people who have physical and mental challenges – is showing them what they can do. I simply don’t like the word can’t,- and a lot of people with disabilities hear that word frequently.”
The sessions, which begin on 23 October, will run twice a month, with a maximum of four people per session and cost £30 a person for one-and-a-half hours’ instruction. There’s also the opportunity to progress to one-on-one customised “fun and therapy” sessions, combining climbing with input from a personal trainer and chiropractor.

Chiropractic and osteopathy – how do they work?

For the past few years I’ve had a guilty pleasure. I’ve visited osteopaths and and chiropractors. Guilty, because I’m a science writer and know about the scientific question marks hanging over both professions. A pleasure, because I’m a science writer and spend much of my time hunched over a laptop – when you’ve got a bad back, there are few things more satisfying than having your spine popped like bubble wrap. Then cranial osteopathy happened.
Lying down wearing only my underwear in an osteopath’s front room, I was waiting expectantly for the back-popping to begin. Instead, to my toe-curling horror, he started lightly fingering my head and telling me he was channelling energy through the plates of my skull. With his touch, apparently, he’d reset my “internal rhythms” and cure my pain. I didn’t think my back could get much stiffer. It turns out I was wrong. With this unsolicited venture into a wacky branch of both osteopathy and chiropractic came a question I should have asked a long time ago: how much of these professions is scientifically legitimate and how much, as others have asked before me, is bogus?
I got an answer I was secretly not expecting. “Even in the case of low-back pain where the claims are most plausible,” says David Colquhoun, a pharmacologist at UCL and outspoken critic of pseudo-medicine, “there is little reason to believe that manipulation works. People get better at much the same rate regardless of treatment.”
Source  - Guardian

Why do British universities still give 'scientific' credibility to homeopathy?

On the face of it, last week's revelation that the Prince of Wales wrote to the government in defence of homeopathy is probably one of the lesser lobbying scandals of our time. There may be no scientific evidence for homepathy's claims whatsoever, but if the Prince and others with more money than sense want to waste their cash on harmless quackery, at least no-one else comes to grief.
Or do they? Next time he writes one of his "black spider memos", the Prince might like to think about one of the other converts to British homeopathy: President Yahyah Jammeh, the dictator-in-residence of the tiny West African state of Gambia.
Like the Prince of Wales, Mr Jammeh, who rejoices in the official title of "Excellency Sheikh Professor Doctor President", has long been a fan of "alternative medicine", although it's fair to say he represents the disreputable end of the market.
A few years ago, he horrified international medical opinion by opening his own clinic offering a herbal cure for HIV. And in 2009, he was accused of forcing 1,000 villagers to eat a potion of hallucinogenic plants - not for its herbal "healing" properties, but as a punishment for a curse that a local witchdoctor is said to have put on his aunt.

Omega-3 for depression and magnesium to calm anxiety

What we eat is vital to our overall health.
The nutrients we consume, as part of our diet, are critical for brain structure and function.  And, as a result they have a potentially profound impact on our mental health, Jerome Sarris, a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne writes for The Conversation. 

An increasingly robust body of research points to the detrimental effect of unhealthy diets and nutrient deficiencies. And it highlights the protective value of healthy diets – along with select nutritional supplements as required – for maintaining and promoting mental health. Research literature suggests dietary improvement and nutritional interventions may help reduce the risk, or even arrest the progression, of certain psychiatric disorders. 

Clinical studies support the use of certain nutrients, which influence a range of neurochemical activities beneficial for treating mental disorders, as medicinal supplements. Evidence from clinical research supports the use of several nutritional medicines for certain psychiatric disorders: omega-3 fatty acids; N-acetyl cysteine (NAC); S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe); zinc; magnesium; vitamin D; and B vitamins (including folic acid). 

Source  - Daily Mail

Dietary supplements 'send tens of thousands to ER each year suffering heart complications and chest pain' supp

Negative reactions to dietary supplements are sending tens of thousands of people to emergency departments across America, a new study has warned.
More than 23,000 visits occur due to complications, including heart palpitations, chest pain and tachycardia - a faster than normal heart rate - according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug AdministrationScientists from the two government bodies warned of those visits, 2,154 patients are admitted to hospital each year.

Weight-loss supplements and those designed to boost energy levels were found to account for 71.8 per cent of all adverse complications, with 58 per cent of those, aged 20 to 34 years old.  Dr Andrew Geller, lead author of the study, and medical officer in the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion told CBS News:
 'People may not realise dietary supplements can cause adverse effects but each year thousands of people are treated in emergency departments because of adverse events related to these supplements.' 
The health supplement market is a lucrative one, flush with pills and powders.

Source  - Daily Mail

Tai Chi 'could be prescribed' for illnesses

Tai Chi is a suitable exercise for older people with conditions like arthritis, a study has found.
The ancient Chinese art improves physical performance and enhances quality of life, say researchers. Tai Chi combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements.
The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggests the exercise helps with pain and stiffness in arthritis. It can also help improve quality of life in the lung condition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). And it may have some physical benefits for people with breast cancer or heart failure, according to researchers from the University of British Colombia, VancouverIn the future, it might even be possible to consider prescribing Tai Chi for patients with several illnesses, they said.

Mediterranean diet with extra olive oil 'slashes the risk of breast cancer by two-thirds'

A Mediterranean diet - with added olive oil - can reduce the risk of breast cancer in women by two-thirds, a study has suggested.
The diet, which involves a combination of food groups from countries including Italy and Greece, typically advocates swapping butter for oils and reducing meat intake in favour of more fish. An increased amount of fruit and vegetables is also central to the diet.
Researchers compared two groups of women, with one group assigned to follow a Mediterranean diet with either extra olive oil or nuts and the other advised to follow a low-fat diet.
The study found that the women, aged between 60 and 80, who followed the Mediterranean diet with added extra virgin olive oil had a 68 per cent lower risk of malignant breast cancer than those following the low-fat diet. Those following the Mediterranean diet with added nuts showed a “non-significant risk reduction”.

Fish diet could ward off depression

Eating a lot of fish may help protect against depression, research suggests.
An analysis of 26 studies of more than 150,000 people in total indicated a 17% reduction in the risk of depression among those eating the most fish. One potential reason given by the researchers was the fatty acids found in fish may be important in various aspects of brain activity.
Mind, the mental health charity, said the study supported other work showing links between diet and mood.
Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the Chinese researchers said many studies had been done looking at fish consumption and depression, but the results had been mixed. When they looked at different study types, they found that the apparent protective effect of eating lots of fish was specific to studies done in Europe and not those from other areas of the world.
To try to come to a conclusion on what they said had been a controversial issue, they collated the data from all the relevant studies they could find conducted since 2001. Their calculation did show a significant link between the two, and it was true for men and women.

Wasp venom 'a weapon against cancer'

The venom of a wasp native to Brazil could be used as a weapon to fight cancer, scientists believe.
A toxin in the sting kills cancer cells without harming normal cells, lab studies suggest. The University of Brazil team say the experimental therapy latches to tumour cells and makes them leak vital molecules. The work is at an early stage and more studies are needed to check the method will work safely in humans.
Polybia paulista is an aggressive social wasp endemic in south-east Brazil. Though its sting is largely seen as unwelcome, scientists increasingly believe it could be put to good use. It contains an important toxin called MP1 which the insect uses to attack prey or defend itself. And recent studies in mice suggest it may target and destroy cancer cells.

Coffee makes you a better, healthier person

Drinking coffee could help people become more ethical at work, and stave off diabetes, according to two new studies.
Tired workers are less likely to resist unethical influence from senior colleagues, and the equivalent of a large cup of coffee could help stave off tiredness that can lead to immoral behaviour, claims a new study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
Sleepy workers are more likely to give into unethical or deceptive requests from their bosses, the study claims. Providing caffeine in the workplace and reducing long hours could help workers avoid ethical lapses, the authors of the study said.
“When you’re sleep deprived at work, it’s much easier to simply go along with unethical suggestions from your boss because resistance takes effort and you’re already worn down,” said David Welsh, one of the authors of the study. “However, we found that caffeine can give sleep-deprived individuals the extra energy needed to resist unethical behavior.”

A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'

Just 25 minutes of brisk walking a day can add up to seven years to your life, according to health experts.
Researchers have found that moderate exercise could halve the risk of dying from a heart attack for someone in their fifties or sixties. Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer, causing one death every seven seconds, and exercise has long been seen as a way to reduce the risks by cutting obesity and diabetes.
A new study presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress suggested that regular exercise can increase life span. A group of 69 healthy non-smokers, aged between  30 and 60, who did not take regular exercise were tested as part of the study at Saarland University in Germany.

Do fish oils REALLY keep the brain young?

Fish oil supplements are taken by millions of people to keep their wits sharp as they age. But doubts have emerged as to whether the capsules actually do anything to slow mental decline.
A study of 4,000 people found no evidence omega-3 supplements helps people maintain their brain power. Scientists tracked the patients for five years, finding that the whole group declined at roughly the same rate, no matter whether they had taken the supplements.

Previous studies have associated regular fish consumption with lower rates of dementia and larger brain volumes.  It is also linked to better heart health, stronger bones and lower risk of eye conditions.
It has been widely assumed that omega-3 fatty acids were behind the dietary benefits of fish. They are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for the growth and repair of nerves.
But the research, by Harvard Medical School and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, suggests that fish oil supplements on their own are not enough to keep the brain young.

Source  - Daily Mail

Saturated fats in meat and dairy not as bad for health as previously thought, study finds

The saturated fats found in meat and dairy produce are not as bad for health as previously believed, a study has found. However, the scientists who conducted the research have warned against reaching for the butter dish.
A major study into the health implications of dietary fats has failed to find a link between food containing saturated fats, such as eggs, chocolate and cream, and an increased risk of dying from heart disease, stroke or type-2 diabetes.
The study nevertheless did find that industrially-produced “trans-fats” made from hydrogenated oils, and once used in margarine, snack foods and packaged baked foods such as some cakes and crisps, are linked with a greater risk of death from coronary heart disease.
The latest findings, published in the British Medical Journal, appear to confirm the growing realisation that the prevailing health advice for the past half century to cut down on foods that are rich in saturated fats such as butter and cheese may have been misguided.
The study, carried out in Canada by Russell de Souza of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and colleagues found no association between saturated fats and ill health, but did find a link with the consumption of foods containing trans-fats, such as margarine.

Is butter bad for you?

Butter is rich in saturated fats and a recent study has shown that the supposed link between moderate intake of saturated fats and coronary heart disease does not appear to exist – contradicting about 50 years of health advice.
So what does the latest research say?
It was an “observational” study which means it analysed people’s memory of what they ate and compared this to whether they suffered or died from coronary heart disease, stroke or type-2 diabetes. It found no link between these diseases and saturated fats but did find a link with trans-fats, which are the fats made industrially by the hydrogenation of vegetable oil, for instance to make margarine.
What does that mean?
It does not mean that we can now reach out for the butter dish and forget all previous warnings about saturated fats – even the scientists who carried out the study say this. High amounts of saturated fats in the diet are probably not good for us, but the risk almost certainly varies between people.

Fish oil pills may help teenagers stave off schizophrenia

There may finally be a way to stop people progressing beyond the first signs of schizophrenia – fish oil. When people with early-stage symptoms took omega-3 supplements for three months, they had much lower rates of progression than those who did not, according to one small-scale trial.
People with schizophrenia are usually diagnosed in their teens or 20s, but may experience symptoms for  years beforehand, such as minor delusions or paranoid thoughts. Only about a third of people with such symptoms do go on to develop psychosis, however, and antipsychotic drugs can cause nasty side effects, so these are rarely given as a preventative.
Fish oil supplements, which contain polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3, may be a benign alternative. These fatty acids may normally help dampen inflammation in the brain and protect neurons from damage, and lower levels in the brain have been implicated in several mental illnesses.

Lycopene supplements may protect from 'ageing' infrared A rays

The recent heat sent many of us reaching for the sunscreen. But now, some experts are warning this may not protect us against a potentially harmful sunray: infrared.
Conventional sunscreens are designed to block out ultraviolet light - UVA and UVB - the rays that damage and burn the skin. However, these products do not block out infrared rays. These rays, which were discovered in 1800, transmit heat, raise skin temperature and are responsible for the warmth you feel when sitting in the sun.
Infrared rays make up to half of the sun's energy (UVA and UVB combined make up between 5 per cent and 7 per cent) and one type in particular, infrared A, can penetrate the deepest layers of the skin - deeper than ultraviolet.
Recent research in animals has suggested infrared A may play a role in skin cancer when combined with exposure to UVB. Infrared A may also contribute to ageing of the skin - scientists suggest it alters some of the biological processes involved in maintaining healthy skin cells, affecting the production of collagen, the protein that acts as scaffolding for the skin. This could ultimately result in wrinkles, sagging and ageing.

Iodine supplements during pregnancy could save the state money, says new research

The introduction of universal iodine supplements for pregnant women could save countries thousands of pounds in future health costs for each child, even in nations with only a mild iodine deficiency such as the UK.
According to new research the NHS could save around £200 per child if it gave small doses of iodine to expectant and breastfeeding mothers. The findings suggest the wider benefits to society could be worth around £4,500 for every child due to the likeliness these children would earn more and cost the public sector less to support. The World Health Organisation has described iodine deficiency as ”a serious public health threat for two billion people”, 241 million of whom are children.
In pregnancy, the problem “remains the leading cause of preventable retardation worldwide”, the report published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology says. Iodine deficiency is also implicated in stillbirth, miscarriage, physical impairment and thyroid dysfunction and thus is crucially important in pregnant women and young children especially. 

Alternative menopause therapies not best choice

Are you a woman in mid life struggling with menopause symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats?
If you're using complementary and alternative medicines like phytoestrogens, evening primrose oil,black cohosh or ginseng to help, you're wasting your money, the authors of a new study say.
It's estimated nearly 500,000 women a month are using these medicines to control so-called vasomotor symptoms like night sweats, vaginal dryness and hot flushes says Dr Roisin Worsley, from Monash University's School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, who co-authored the study in the Medical Journal of Australia.
(Vasomotor symptoms relate to constriction or dilation of blood vessels and are generally regarded as "the most bothersome" of menopause problems.) "But none of these [remedies] have been proven in scientific studies to actually be of any benefit," Worsley says.
The study is the first to provide good quality data on how many Australians suffer these problems and what they are doing about it.

Whole Foods' asparagus water: do fruits and vegetables add health benefits?

The latest craze of flavoured water reached a new level this week when a Whole Foods store placed three stalks of asparagus in water and threw a $6 price tag on the side. Shortly after, they admitted the product was a mistake.
But the episode did raise the question: are any of these flavoured waters actually better for you than what comes from the tap? The Guardian spoke to nutritionists and the consensus seemed to be that adding fruit or vegetables gave “slight benefits”, and some additions are superior to others.
Leslie Bonci, a sports nutrition consultant based in Pittsburgh, said people have added everything to water, including artichokes, maple and now, asparagus. “Everyone is always looking for something new. Water alone isn’t good enough any more,” she said. “We know we need water, but it becomes boring.”
Although Bonci supports people keeping hydrated, she said asparagus in water at $6 a bottle is probably not the best way to go about it. 

Spicy food 'can lower the risks of early death'

Gastronomically speaking, adding a touch of spice to your daily meal has well-established advantages. But could it be that those who like it hot are also improving their health?
Researchers in China are reporting findings from an extensive study which found that those who regularly consume spicy food had a slightly lower mortality risk over seven years of follow-up, than those who ate them less than once a week.
Out of 487,375 participants, 20,224 died over the average seven year study period.
A similar pattern was seen in mortality risk for particular conditions, including cancer, and heart and respiratory conditions, according to the research, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
When the results were adjusted for age and other influential factors, those who had spicy food – usually in the form of chilli peppers, chilli sauce or chilli oil – six or seven times a week, were found to have a 14 per cent lower mortality risk than those who rarely consumed such foods.

Sugar: Can we trust industry?

Imagine a kilo of sugar - the large bag that you might buy in a supermarket.
It's a lot, isn't it? But that's exactly how much sugar the average adult consumes in a fortnight. Teenagers have even more. This is the reason why the sweet stuff is the new frontier in the campaign to get people to live healthier lives.
One of the problems is that it's often hidden in the foods we eat. While fizzy drinks and confectionery are obvious sources, you may be surprised to learn that tinned soups, salad dressing and tomato ketchup all contain pretty high levels of sugar. Government advisers have recently suggested no more than 5% of daily calories should come from added sugar - half the level of the previous recommendation.
But that is going to be a tough ask. No age group was meeting the old guideline, never mind getting close to the new one.

Everyone 'should take vitamin D pills'

Everyone should consider taking vitamin D supplements to counter the lack of sunshine in the UK, government experts are proposing.
The draft Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition guidelines suggest, from the age of one, 10 microgram pills be taken to ensure people get enough. The plans are now being consulted on until 23 September.
Current advice is only at risk groups - including pregnant women, under fives and over 65s - should take supplements. But as there is no easy way of assessing who is getting enough vitamin D, SACN has proposed a blanket recommendation for everyone because of the benefits it would bring. The risk of getting too much vitamin D is considered to be extremely low.

Source  - BBC

How green tea could help you stay slim

Drinking green tea may help you keep slim, say scientists.
An extract from the tea was found to reduce the amount of starch – a type of carbohydrate – absorbed from food during meals. It means the drink could be used to help treat people suffering from obesity and diabetes.

Researchers gave 28 participants aged 19 to 28 a bowl of cornflakes to eat, having asked them to fast for the 12 hours before the test. They then asked them to eat a wafer – some of which contained around four grams of green tea extract, while others contained none.  This was equivalent to drinking ‘several cups of green tea’, said researchers.
The scientists then tested participants’ breath for the presence of starch. When starch is broken down during digestion, the amount can be picked up by testing how much carbon dioxide is in the breath. Led by Jaroslaw Walkowiak of Poznan University in Poland, the researchers found the dose of green tea extract decreased starch digestion and absorption compared to the placebo group.

Writing in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, the study’s authors said: ‘This plant extract is widely available, inexpensive, and well tolerated, so it has potential utility for weight control and the treatment of diabetes.’

Source  - Daily Mail

Want to boost your brain power? Try climbing trees.

If crosswords are too easy and Sudoku a touch boring, why not go and climb a tree?
A study found that childish pastimes such as climbing trees, running barefoot and crawling dramatically boost memory. Working memory - the type of memory we use every day to remember phone numbers, follow directions and use a shopping list - improved by 50 per cent.

Those who don’t want to find their inner child will be glad to hear that squash, tennis and football are likely to have a similar effect. Like climbing a tree, they feed the brain with information about everything from balance to orientation and give it a good workout.

The University of North Florida researchers put 72 men and women aged between 18 and 59 through a test of working memory, in which they had to remember lists of numbers in reverse order. Some then spent two hours doing a range of obstacle course-like activities.

Source  - Daily Mail

Mobile phones ARE linked to cancer, study claims

Mobile phones pose a 'very real risk' to human health, a new study claims.
Radiation from wireless devices such as phones and tablets could be linked to a number of health risks, from cancer to diseases of the brain such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, the researchers state. They claim this is because the radiation causes an 'imbalance' - or oxidative stress - in the body.  Oxidative stress is a damaging process thought to be closely linked to degenerative diseases. 
The new study is a review of experimental data on the effects of radiofrequency radiation in living cells - basically how mobiles phones may damage a person's DNA. 

Dr Igor Yakymenko, from the The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, claims the oxidative stress due to radiofrequency exposure could explain the link between wireless devices and cancer. After long-term exposure, it is also linked to other minor disorders such as headache, fatigue, and skin irritation, he says. 
His argument is based around reactive oxygen species - chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen.
They play an important role in cell signalling  and the control of internal conditions such as temperature.

Source  - Daily Mail

Could one glass of red wine a day keep bowel cancer at bay?

Raising a glass of red wine and offering a toast to ‘good health’ may be far more than merely a charming tradition.
British scientists have discovered that a ‘miracle ingredient’ in red wine called resveratrol protects against bowel cancer. And what’s more, one large glass contains enough to have ‘amazing’ effects.
In fact, the tiny amount of resveratrol in a single drink is even more powerful than the much higher doses found in supplements sold in health food shops.
Researchers from Leicester University said some compounds may work best when taken at the sort of doses found in nature.
Resveratrol, which is found in the skin of red grapes and gives the fruit its colour, is credited with a host of other health benefits, from staving off heart disease to keeping the mind sharp.  Animal studies have even hinted that it can extend life.
But although human trials are being carried out, the results have been mixed.

Source  - Daily Mail