Thousand-year-old garlic ‘potion’ is better than antibiotics

Medicines from a thousand years ago aren’t usually much cop – and have an alarming habit of killing you. So researchers were astounded when a garlic ‘potion’ from an ancient Anglo-Saxon manuscript kills of the hospital superbug MRSA.
University of Nottingham researchers say that the vile-sounding treatment – containing cow bile – has ‘astonishing’ results. The find comes at a time when researchers are increasingly concerned about bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.
The apparently homespun recipe, originally concocted as a treatment for eye infections, was spotted in a copy of Bald’s Leechbook, a medieval medical text held at the British Library.
In what experts from the university’s School of English and Centre for Biomolecular Sciences acknowledge is an unusual research collaboration, tests have been conducted using a mixture of oxgall, wine and two species of Allium – garlic and onion or leek. Initial results of trials conducted in Nottingham and at Texas Tech University show that the eye salve, while not 100% effective, is ‘as good if not better’ than conventional antibiotics at tackling MRSA.

Natural extract shows promise for preventing breast cancer

In a new study, the extract from rosehips -- the fruit of the rose plant -- significantly reduced the growth and migration of cells from a type of breast cancer known as triple negative. This particularly aggressive form of cancer does not respond to most available treatments and tends to affect young women as well as those who are African-American or Hispanic.
"Doctors, patients and researchers are looking for alternative treatments for triple negative breast cancer, and people are always looking for ways to prevent cancer," said Patrick Martin, Ph.D., associate professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and leader of the study. 
"How awesome would it be to be able to say: Here, take a daily vitamin tablet from the rose plant to possibly help prevent or treat cancer? It's a natural product that we found to be effective, with no known side effects."
Triple negative breast cancer draws its name from the fact that the cancer cells in these tumours lack the three growth factor receptors that are normally targeted during breast cancer treatment. As a result, most existing treatments are ineffective against it, and triple negative breast cancer patients who do go into remission experience higher recurrence and death rates in the first three years compared with other types of breast cancer.

Can classical music really make your baby smarter?

The 'Mozart effect' phenomenon was first suggested by a scientific study published in 1993 in the respected journal Science.
It showed that teenagers who listened to Mozart's 1781 Sonata for Two Pianos in D major performed better in reasoning tests than adolescents who listened to something else or who had been in a silent room. The study (which did not look at the effect of Mozart on babies) found that college students who listened to a Mozart sonata for a few minutes before taking a test that measured spatial relationship skills did better than students who took the test after listening to another musician or no music at all.
The finding, by a group at the University of California whose study involved only 36 students, led crèches in America to start playing classical music to children and the southern US state of Georgia even gave newborns a free classical CD. Most recently Helena Bonham Carter has said that listening to Mozart and other classical music while pregnant has made my children 'unbelievably smart'. But there has been debate since about whether the effect exists.

Why seaweed is now at the top of the superfood table

It's the new superfood that's been steadily gaining popularity, especially with nutritionists and those in the know.  
Better known as algae or seaweed, kelp is now being touted as the latest nutritional powerhouse and is set to take over from kale as the trendy new ingredient to add to your diet. The vitamin-packed seaweed is not only a concentrated sourced of calcium and iodine, it has also been found to have natural antioxidant properties.
Geeta Sidhu Robb, nutrionist and founder of of Nosh Detox has been using kelp for some time now as it has some superior properties compared to kale. 
In fact Ms Sidhu-Robb said that it's kelp's high iodine content which makes it one of the best foods around.   According to Ms Sidhu-Robb, nearly 70% of UK women are said to be be iodine deficient.
She told Femail: 'Kelp has iodine, because only ocean products contain iodine. Iodine nourishes the thyroid gland, the powerhouse of the metabolism. It's the one thing that most people have out of balance when fatigued. Kelp and kale are different as they do different things,' she continued. 'But it does have iodine which kale doesn't and magnesium and calcium which kale does.

Source  - Daily Mail

Three glasses of milk a day 'to beat dementia'

Drinking three glasses of milk a day could help stave off diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, say researchers.
A new US study shows a link between milk consumption and higher levels of a naturally-occurring antioxidant called glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults.
The powerful antioxidant may minimise damage to brain cells from free radicals, destructive groups of atoms made as a by-product of metabolism that can damage cells. Antioxidants help to neutralise this type of oxidative stress in the body.
The study was carried out at the University of Kansas Medical Center by associate professor of neurology In-Young Choi and Debra Sullivan, professor and chair of dietetics and nutrition.
Dr Sullivan said ‘We have long thought of milk as being very important for your bones and very important for your muscles. This study suggests that it could be important for your brain as well.’
Altogether 60 adults enrolled in the study were asked about their diets in the days leading up to brain scans to monitor levels of glutathione in the brain. The researchers found those who said they had drunk milk recently had more glutathione in their brains.

Source  - Daily Mail

Can fish oils help fight prostate cancer?

Fish oils could help in the battle against prostate cancer, new research suggests.  Scientists have discovered a mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids prevent the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells.
However the findings are at odds with a 2013 study asserting that omega-3s increase the risk of prostate cancer. Despite this, the new research 'points the way to more effective anti-cancer drugs,' the researchers claim. 
Scientists have long known that omega-3s reduce inflammation and have anti-diabetic effects, and some recently discovered how this happens.
'But we're the first to show that they work this way in cancer,' said Kathryn Meier, a professor of pharmacy at Washington State University.   'The attention has mostly been on inflammation and diabetes but there has always been an interest in cancer, and we were the first to show this mechanism in any cancer cell at all. And we're using prostate cancer, which is the most controversial subject in omega-3s.'
A 2013 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that men with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Nature's answer to HRT

Many women are reluctant to take HRT, even the newer forms highlighted in yesterday’s Mail, which mimic the body’s own hormones. But are natural remedies an effective alternative?
Today, in the latest part of our series on sailing through the menopause, the experts give their view on which alternative approaches work — and which ones don’t. The conventional view is that herbal pills and other supplements are ‘much less effective at easing the symptoms of the menopause compared to HRT’, as the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians has reported. However: ‘The best ones can reduce the severity of symptoms by 50-60 per cent, compared with a reduction of 80-90 per cent with HRT,’ it said. 
And for many women that will be enough. Indeed, some natural remedies can be very effective for menopausal symptoms, says Dr Jane Johnston, a GP and specialist in women’s health at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Source  - Daily Mail

Controversial sweetener aspartame..... 'does NOT cause harm'

Aspartame, the controversial sweetener linked to a range of health problems, does not cause harm.
A study commissioned by Britain’s food watchdog found eating the sweetener had no impact on the body or behaviour of people who claimed to be sensitive to it. The artificial sweetener, used in fizzy drinks and diet products, has been at the centre of critical reports dating back decades linking it to everything from cancer to premature birth. Despite this, it has been ruled a safe food ingredient by food watchdogs in Britain, the EU, the USA and around the world.
These assurances have failed to convince many people, who continue to report adverse reactions, such as headaches and nausea after consuming foods containing the sweetener.
As a result, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) commissioned experts from Hull York Medical School to examine people who reported just such problems to establish if their fears were backed up by medical evidence.

Source  - Daily Mail

Do so-called 'superfoods' REALLY boost your health?

They are hailed as the key to good health, requiring the minimum of effort. But do so-called superfoods actually have an added health benefit - or are they simply an easy way to part with cash?
From kale to chia seeds, blueberries to broccoli, these foods are credited with preventing and treating a host of diseases, from dementia to cancer. Research last year found that 61 per cent of people have bought a food or drink because it had been labelled as a superfood.  Indeed, figures show we're buying three times more quinoa, spending double the amount on kale and eating three times as many almonds as five years ago.
The theory behind superfoods is that they are particularly rich in antioxidant chemicals. These are said to mop up dangerous oxygen molecules called free radicals, thought to have a hand in everything from ageing to diabetes and cancer.

Source  - Daily Mail

Meditation and scientific 'proof'

This nifty little video is an excellent way to understand that meditation can help you in all sorts of situations. Even if you only do a few minutes a day and feel that you 'can't', be patient. you can!


What do doctors say to 'alternative therapists' when a patient dies?

The consultation is over and I stand to escort her out. Through the open door, I notice the waiting row of patients staring drearily at the television. “But I am not done yet,” my patient says plaintively. “I still have questions.”
She’s already extended a 30-minute consult and I’m pushed for time. From her purse, she unfurls a long list. With its different colours, arrows and flags it looks like a complicated transit map.“Should I have my intravenous vitamins on the day of chemo or after it?” I don’t have a chance to answer before she continues: “Can you move my chemo appointment to fit in a colon cleanse? They are really busy, you know. Booked out weeks in advance.” It almost comes across as boasting and I feel mildly irritated.
“And my friend is having magnet therapy,” she continues. “She is nearly cured though the traditional doctors gave up on her.” I have to interrupt her: “Can we discuss this another time? I am afraid there are many patients waiting.” She is unfazed. “I need to feel heard, you know. I want to know about juicing therapy. It sounds so next generation.”
I nudge the door shut with my foot, and sit down. “I have lost patients to all of those treatments,” I tell her quietly. “If you really want my opinion, I’d say avoid them all. Your chemotherapy is going well.”

Safety of Herbal Supplements Pulls Prosecutors Together

A group of attorneys general is expected to announce on Tuesday that they are forming a coalition to crack down on fraud and quality control issues in the herbal supplement industry.
The coalition would signal a shift in the way law enforcement agencies ensure the safety of herbal supplements, a $5 billion-a-year industry that has been plagued by complaints of mislabeling. An investigation by the New York State attorney general’s office led to accusations last month that four national retailers were selling supplements that contained either little or none of the medicinal herbs advertised on their labels or, in many cases, included cheap fillers and contaminants like powdered rice, wheat and houseplants.
The retailers — GNC, Target, Walmart and Walgreens — were forced to pull the products from their shelves. The state attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, later issued subpoenas to the manufacturers of the products, demanding that they explain how they verify the quality of their products and what testing they do to support a variety of claims on their labels, like “gluten free” and “hypoallergenic.”
Source  - New York Times

Vegetarian Diet May Cut Colon Cancer Risk

A vegetarian diet, especially one that includes fish, significantly reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, a large new study reports.
Researchers recruited 77,659 men and women from Seventh-day Adventist churches nationwide. All filled out well-validated questionnaires that included more than 200 food items. Meat intake in the population was very low — an average of about two ounces a day. 
During an average of seven years of follow-up, the scientists found 490 cases of colorectal cancer. Over all, after adjusting for many health and behavioral variables, vegetarians had a 21 percent reduced risk of cancer compared with nonvegetarians. The results are in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Source  - New York Times

Too much sunshine 'could lead to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes'

Too long in the sun could be deadly as scientists reveal that too much vitamin D can lead to strokes or a heart attack.
While the health dangers of having too little of the sunshine vitamin are well known, the first ever study by the University of Copenhagen warned of the connection between high levels of vitamin D and cardiovascular deaths. Vitamin D is made by the skin in reaction to sunlight or found in oily fish, eggs, fortified cereals and spreads or supplements. It helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body keeping bones and teeth healthy.
A deficiency can lead to bone deformities, such as rickets or bone pain, and tenderness as a result of a condition called osteomalacia in adults. People taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period can cause more calcium to be absorbed than can be excreted, with the excess deposited in and damage the kidneys. Excessive vitamin D can also encourage calcium to be removed from bones, which can soften and weaken them.
The new study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism warned for the first time of the effect on heart health.

Homeopathy no more effective than placebos, a study .... finds.

Homeopathy is no more effective in treating health conditions than placebos, a study by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has found.
NHMRC released the findings after assessing 1,800 papers which examined the efficacy of the alternative "medicine". Homeopathic practitioners believe substances which may cause illness in a healthy person can, in very small doses, treat those symptoms. They also think molecules in a highly diluted form retain a "memory" of the original substance.
The NHMRC found of the studies examined, only 225 were included in the review, as the scientific quality of other studies was limited.The review found homeopathy was not any more effective than a placebo, or sugar pill, in treating common medical conditions such as headaches, asthma, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and ulcers.

The ten 'quack' cures that actually work!

He’s known as one of alternative medicine’s fiercest critics, devoting decades to debunking myths of what he calls ‘quack medicine’. In his new book, A Scientist In Wonderland: A Memoir Of Searching For Truth And Finding Trouble, no one from the world of alternative medicine is safe from Professor Edzard Ernst’s firing line.
He claims chiropractors and osteopaths are filling the public’s head with ‘bogus’ claims about the benefits of spinal manipulation. And he adds that homeopathy is at best useless, and at worst life-threatening.
But there are some alternative treatments that Prof Ernst, the world’s first professor of complementary medicine, says do get results.

Source  - Daily Mail

How NUTS could be nature's statin

Eating nuts and peanuts reduces the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, a new study claims.
Researchers found they were linked with a reduced risk of death from heart disease among people on low incomes. And they believe their findings suggest peanuts may be a cost-effective measure to improve cardiovascular health because they are so cheap. However experts cautioned today that salt-covered nuts would not have the same health benefits.
Nuts are rich in nutrients and peanuts, although classified as legumes, have nutrients similar to tree nuts.
The new study, led by Dr Xiao-Ou Shu, of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Tennessee, analysed various groups of people.  One involved 72,000 low-income black and white men and women living in the US, the other 134,000 men and women living in Shanghai, China. In both groups, men ate more peanuts than women. 
In the US group, about half of the nuts consumed were peanuts, and in the Chinese group only peanut consumption was assessed.

Source  - Daily Mail

Regular coffee drinkers have 'cleaner' arteries

Drinking a few cups of coffee a day may help people avoid clogged arteries - a known risk factor for heart disease - Korean researchers believe.
They studied more than 25,000 male and female employees who underwent routine health checks at their workplace. Employees who drank a moderate amount of coffee - three to five cups a day - were less likely to have early signs of heart disease on their medical scans. The findings reopen the debate about whether coffee is good for the heart.
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the effect of coffee on heart health. In heart disease, the arteries supplying the heart muscle can become blocked. Some studies have linked consumption to heart risk factors, such as raised cholesterol or blood pressure, while others suggest the beverage may offer some heart protection.
But there is no conclusive evidence either way, and the latest research from South Korea, which is published in the journal Heart, only adds to the discussion.