Broccoli breakthrough in fight to treat arthritis

An artificial version of a compound in broccoli could hold the key to treating arthritis, say researchers.
The broccoli chemical sulforaphane is known to block the inflammation and damage to cartilage associated with the condition. But patients would have to eat several pounds of the vegetable every day to derive any significant benefit. Sulforaphane in its natural form is also too unstable to turn into a medicine.
But UK drug company Evgen Pharma has developed a stable synthetic version of the chemical that offers the potential of a pill treatment.
A single dose of the drug, known as Sulforadex or SFX-01, is the equivalent of eating 5.5lb of broccoli in one day. In tests on mice affected by osteoarthritis, Sulforadex significantly improved bone architecture, gait balance and movement.
Professor Andrew Pitsillides, who co-led the research at the Royal Veterinary College in London, said: ‘These initial results are very positive for such an experiment and we have convinced ourselves that sulforaphane is a promising agent for the treatment of osteoarthritis.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Fertility guru reveals her secrets after helping a thousand women defy the odds to fall pregnant

Around one in seven couples suffer with infertility and an increasing number are seeking alternative therapies in the hope it will bring them a longed for baby.
Those who can afford it can turn to London's famous private medical haven Harley Street, where Dr Xiao-Ping Zhai has been helping women conceive for decades using only traditional Chinese medicine. Now she's invited BBC cameras inside The Zhai Clinic, which she opened in 1996, to reveal the secrets of her success.
'I'm a doctor who initially trained in western medicine, then I studied Chinese medicine as I realised lots of problems couldn't be overcome by traditional western medicine,' she explains to Vanessa Engle for the documentary Inside Harley Street, which airs tonight on BBC2.
Dr Zhai's methods include acupuncture and prescribing a bespoke combination of Chinese herbs which must be taken day and night. The herbs may be drunk as a tea or are provided as a vitamin tablet - 12 must be taken in the morning and 12 in the evening.
The vitamins contain natural ingredients such goji berries, Chinese yan and ginger. 
Dr Zhai says as a result of her natural remedies: 'I have brought more than one thousand babies into the world.' 

Source  - Daily Mail

Playing outside can save your child's eyesight

Hours glued to TV screens and electronic devices and not enough time spent outdoors is creating an 'epidemic' of eye conditions among children and teenagers, according to growing body of evidence.
It used to be thought that your chances of being short-sighted were largely down to genetics - now it seems children's lifestyles can play a key role.
The latest study published by Ulster University last week, found that the rate of short-sightedness among young people has doubled over the past 50 years. Twenty-three per cent of British 12 and 13-year-olds now suffer from myopia - the medical term for short-sightedness, which causes distant objects to appear blurred, while close objects can be seen clearly - compared to 10 per cent in the Sixties.
In East Asian countries, it is worse - with up to 90 per cent of schoolchildren short-sighted.

Source  - Daily Mail

Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer

Corn biscuits for breakfast; veggie dogs for lunch; okra, tomato and black-eyed peas for tea. It’s probably not a diet to tempt most Americans into shedding a few pounds. But swapping westernised eating habits for the high-fibre diet of millions of people living in rural southern Africa could dramatically cut the risk of bowel cancer in the West, according to an innovative ‘diet swap’ study.
In research which saw 20 Americans switching diets with 20 South Africans living in rural Kwazulu, scientists saw dramatic effects on bowel cancer risk indicators after just two weeks. 
Bowel cancer – one of the biggest cancer killers – is considered a ‘westernised disease’ and risk is heightened by a diet high in red and processed meat and low in fibre.
To test the true impact of diet, researchers led by cancer specialists at Imperial College London recruited 20 Americans from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and gave them a meal plan based on a ‘traditional’ African diet high in fibre and low in fat, centred on corn-based products, vegetables, fruit, and pulses.

Could BROCCOLI protect against cancer?

Broccoli has long been hailed as a superfood, and it could soon protect people from cancer of the mouth, throat, neck and head, a study claims.
Scientists are developing a new treatment known as 'green chemoprevention' in which broccoli and other vegetables are used to prevent the disease.
They explained that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and garden cress have a high concentration of sulforaphane – which is why they have a slightly bitter taste.
Previous studies, including large-scale trials in China, have shown sulforaphane helps 'undo' the effects of cancer-causing agents in the environment.
Now, lab tests have shown extracts made from broccoli sprout protected mice against oral cancer. American scientists now plan to carry out clinical trials on patients at high risk of having their head and neck cancer return.

Source  - Daily Mail

Two cups of coffee a day can HALVE the risk of breast cancer returning

Just two cups of coffee a day could halve the risk of breast cancer returning in women recovering from the disease, a study has found.
Researchers found coffee can stop the growth of tumours in women who have already been treated with the drug tamoxifen.
Tamoxifen is the main hormonal therapy drug given to women who have not been through the menopause, and is usually taken for five years or longer after treatment for breast cancer.
Most breast cancer tumours rely on the hormone oestrogen to grow, and tamoxifen blocks oestrogen from reaching the cancer cells.
This means the cancer either grows more slowly or stops growing altogether.
As part of the study, Swedish and British researchers looked at data from 1,090 breast cancer patients, in a follow up of a similar study carried out two years ago.

Source  - Daily Mail

Supplementary vitamins may increase risk of cancer

Supplementary vitamins may increase the risk of cancer, new research has claimed.
Scientists at the University of Colorado studied several trials, involving thousands of patients, over the past decade and found that those imbibing over-the-counter vitamins were more – not less – likely to have health problems.
The findings, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) over the weekend, were surprising admitted the centre’s associate director.
“We found that the supplements were actually not beneficial for their health. In fact, some people actually got more cancer while on the vitamins,” Tim Byers, associate director for cancer prevention and control at the CU Cancer Center, said.

Depression: 'Mindfulness-based therapy shows promise'

A mindfulness-based therapy could offer a "new choice for millions of people" with recurrent depression, a Lancet report suggests.
Scientists tested it against anti-depressant pills for people at risk of relapse and found it worked just as well. The therapy trains people to focus their minds and understand that negative thoughts may come and go. In England and Wales doctors are already encouraged to offer it.
Patients who have had recurrent clinical depression are often prescribed long-term anti-depressant drugs to help prevent further episodes. And experts stress that drug therapy is still essential for many.
In this study, UK scientists enrolled 212 people who were at risk of further depression on a course of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) while carefully reducing their medication. Patients took part in group sessions where they learned guided meditation and mindfulness skills.

Not drinking enough water has same effect as drink driving

Having as few as five sips of water an hour while driving is equivalent to being over the drink drive limit.
Drivers make more than twice as many mistakes when they are just mildly dehydrated, according to new research. The study revealed that drivers who had only had 25ml of water an hour made more than double the number of mistakes on the road than those who were hydrated - the same amount as those who have been drink driving.
Professor Ron Maughan, Emeritus Professor of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, who led the study at Loughborough University, said: "We all deplore drink driving, but we don't usually think about the effects of other things that affect our driving skills, and one of those is not drinking and dehydration. There is no question that driving while incapable through drink or drugs increases the risk of accidents, but our findings highlight an unrecognised danger and suggest that drivers should be encouraged to make sure they are properly hydrated."

Antibiotics given to babies in the first six months of life 'raise risk of obesity'

Babies given antibiotics in the first six months of life are more likely to be fat as toddlers, a large-scale study has found.
The researchers said say that just as antibiotics are used to make farm animals put on weight, the may also be fattening our children.
Writing in the respected medical journal Pediatrics, they said that the widely-prescribed drugs could be contributing to the obesity epidemic. A third of 10-11 year olds and more than a fifth of 4-5 year olds in England are overweight or obese, leading to fears that today's generation will be the first to die at an earlier age than their parents.
The Finnish researchers compared the weight and height of more than 12,000 healthy two year old with records on antibiotic prescription. By two years-old, one in five boys and one in ten girls was overweight or obese. And children who had taken antibiotics as young babies were particularly likely to be overweight.

Source  - Daily Mail

Horsetail for stronger nails, cinnamon to plump lips and honey for beating acne

From vampire facials to £500 space dust face creams, there's no shortage of weird and wonderful lotions and potions promising to boost your beauty regime.
But did you know that a simple - and cheap - herb or spice from your kitchen cupboard may be just as effective as an expensive cosmetic?
From slicing an orange and using it as a facial toner to slathering strawberries on your face to beat age spots, FEMAIL has rounded up the ten best all-natural beauty tricks that can be found in your kitchen.
3. Honey: The goopy substance is renowned for its moisturising, antiseptic and skin-conditioning properties. Because honey is a natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic substance, it has a whole host of skin-boosting benefits. Thanks to the hydrogen peroxide it contains, it is incredibly healing so can be slathered onto skin as a mask to treat infected acne spots and lighten skin.
8. Horsetail: Horsetail is packed with a whole host of great minerals and nutrients, including manganese, calcium and iron. Well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, it can be combined with olive oil and rubbed onto nails to boost growth and reduce white spots.
9. Cinnamon: Want a plump pout to rival Angelina Jolie's but don't want to use anything too potent? Cinnamon, which is known for its antioxidant effects, can be rubbed onto lips with a dab of Vaseline and when washed off, it will leave lips tingly and plumped. 

Source  - Daily Mail

More and more women are being left crippled by killer heels

Four years ago, a shopping trip was torture for Angela Kelly, 67. Though still a super-fit events organiser, the former over-50s All England badminton mixed doubles champion was reduced to hobbling at a snail's pace, hanging onto her trolley for support.
It may sound as though Angela was struggling with a debilitating disease or catastrophic accident. In fact, she was suffering from the painful legacy of a lifetime wearing high heels. Her story is a cautionary tale for those of us who blithely slip our feet into shoes several inches high on a daily basis.
Most women are well aware that wearing high heels for any length of time can result in sore feet, pinched toes and tight calf muscles. But a worrying new study by researchers in the U.S. suggests high heels can also put dangerous pressure on knee joints, wearing away cartilage - the body's built-in shock absorber - and increasing the risk of osteoarthritis. Some women need invasive knee replacement surgery.
In the study carried out by Stanford University's biomotion team, the knees of healthy women were scanned as they walked at normal pace in flat shoes, 1½ in heels and 3½ in heels. They found that in high heels, women's knees are held in such an awkward, bent position that their joints looked and performed like aged or damaged joints - increasing the risk of osteoarthritis.

Source  - Daily Mail

Prostate cancer detected by dogs with more than 90% accuracy

New research has supported the idea that dogs could one day be used to sniff out cancer, after a study found that trained German Shepherds were able to detect chemicals linked to prostate cancer from urine samples with incredibly high accuracy.
A study carried out by the Department of Urology at the Humanitas Clinical and Research Centre in Milan had two German Shepherds sniff the urine of 900 men, 360 of whom had prostate cancer and 540 who didn't. One dog was successful at identifying prostate cancer in 98.7 per cent of cases, while the other dog achieved 97.6 per cent accuracy.
It is the latest research in a series of studies stretching back decades, and boosts the hope that canines could help doctors identify various human cancers and diseases. 40,000 new cases of prostate cancer are reported every year, making it the most common type of the disease among British men.

Eating cheese may help you lose weight

A new scientific study has suggested that eating cheese may help individuals struggling to lose weight – and contribute to keeping the pounds off.
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry published a study this month that discussed the importance of something researchers labelled “cheese metabolism”.
Scientists from the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University compared urine and faecal samples from 15 men, who consumed a diet featuring milk and cheese or butter but no other dairy products for two weeks.
The small test, which was partially funded by the Danish Dairy Research Foundation, found that those who ate cheese (or milk) during the trial had a noticeable different composition of bacteria in their gut. The cheese-eating group had higher levels of the compound butyrate, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid that can increase energy production.

Hunching down looking at electronic devices leading to huge increase in people with neck and back problems

Sedentary lifestyles and repeatedly looking down at mobile phones and other devices have led to a huge rise in the number of young people who are experiencing back and neck pain, experts have warned. 
Forty-five per cent of the 16- to 24-year-olds surveyed by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) said they are currently living with neck or back pain, compared with 28 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds last year.
“When people use laptops or mobile phones in bed they tend to forget their posture, hunch over the screen and leave their spine unsupported, which can damage posture and cause back or neck pain,” said BCA chiropractor  Tim Hutchful.
He added that he was “concerned that the number of patients under the age of 30 coming through our doors is increasing”.
His colleague and fellow BCA chiropractor Rishi Loatey said he had seen a definite rise in the number of young patients.
“The only sort of neck pain we used to see with that age group was people who had been in car accidents,” he said. “But now the vast majority of neck pains are people from secondary school upwards.”

Why sleep is a vital weapon against dementia

No matter how young or old we are, most of us experience the odd memory lapse. Perhaps it will be forgetting where you put the car keys, or what you went to get from upstairs.
Thankfully, these moments pass. But for those with dementia there is no such relief. Imagine what it's like being unable to recall what you'd done an hour before. Or not remembering how to navigate around your own house or the names of your nearest and dearest. Or knowing what everyday things are for, such as a fridge.
Getting overtired: If the brain is tired, it affects the memory even for those without dementia. Recently, scientists have found out why. During deep sleep, brain waves move memories from the hippocampus - the area of the brain that is involved in short-term memory - to the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain, where long-term memories are stored.
If this doesn't happen, short-term memories get overwritten with new ones and the consequence is forgetfulness, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
It is a common misconception that we need less sleep as we get older - in fact we need just as much, the problem is that older people find it harder to reach a deeper sleep.

Short bursts of vigorous exercise helps prevent early death, says study

Short spurts of vigorous exercise that get you out of breath are better than longer bouts of gentle exercise when it comes to preventing an early death, according to a study of middle-aged men and women.
Scientists followed more than 200,000 people for six years and found that those who engaged in some kind of vigorous exercise such as jogging or aerobics lived longer on average than those who exercised gently.
The researchers believe the effect was statistically significant, lowering the risk of premature death by between 9 and 13 per cent compared to those who undertook moderate exercise only, such as gentle swimming or household chores.
The findings contradict the basic assumption of current health advice which is that two minutes of moderate exercise is roughly equivalent in terms of health benefits to one minute of vigorous exercise, said the researchers.

How the recommended low levels of salt in your diet might actually be dangerous

For years, the federal government has advised Americans that they are eating too much salt, and that this excess contributes yearly to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
But unknown to many shoppers urged to buy foods that are “low sodium” and “low salt,” this longstanding warning has come under assault by scientists who say that typical American salt consumption is without risk. Moreover, according to studies published in recent years by pillars of the medical community, the low levels of salt recommended by the government might actually be dangerous.
“There is no longer any valid basis for the current salt guidelines,” said Andrew Mente, a professor at McMaster University in Ontario and one of the researchers involved in a major study published last year by the New England Journal of Medicine. “So why are we still scaring people about salt?”
But the debate over dietary salt  is among the most contentious in the field of nutrition, and other scientists, including the leadership of the American Heart Association, continue to support the decades-old warning. The result is that as the federal government prepares its influential Dietary Guidelines for 2015, bureaucrats confront a quandary: They must either retract one of their oldest dietary commandments - or overlook these prominent new doubts.

Eating eggs and high fat dairy products reduces diabetes risk

Eating four eggs a week reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by a third, whilst consuming high fat dairy products can also lower your risk levels.
 A University of Eastern Finland led study has demonstrated that men who ate four eggs a week had a 37 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate just one.
The research, which examined the eating habits of 2,332 men, aged between 42 and 60, also found a connection between egg consumption and lowered blood sugar levels.
The scientists found that the links remained strong, even when variations in physical activity, body mass index, smoking and fruit and vegetable consumption were accounted for.
Eating more than four eggs a week was not shown to bring any extra benefits and those who already have type 2 diabetes should not increase their egg intake.
This research comes as another group of Scandinavian scientists claim that eating full-fat dairy products can also cut the risk of developing the disease. Those who eat high fat dairy products have a 23 per cent lower risk of developing the disease, according to researchers at Lund University, Sweden.

Garlic slows ageing and protects the brain from disease, study reveals

It may be handy for killing vampires, but garlic can keep humans alive in more ways than one, researchers have found.
They say a nutrient in garlic offers the brain protection against ageing and disease. It could even prevent age-related neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
The University of Missouri researchers found a carbohydrate in the superfood is key.
'Garlic is one of the most widely consumed dietary supplements,' said Zezong Gu, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at the MU School of Medicine and lead author of the study. 'Most people think of it as a 'superfood,' because garlic's sulfur-containing compounds are known as an excellent source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection.
'Scientists are still discovering different ways garlic benefits the human body,' he said.  'Our research focused on a carbohydrate derivative of garlic known as FruArg and the role this nutrient plays in protective responses.'

Source  - Daily Mail

How an apple a day really DOES keep ailments at bay

Eating an apple a day does not actually keep the doctor away - but it might stop you going to your pharmacist.
Researchers looked at data on 8,399 US adults and initially found evidence to support the proverb. They discovered that those who had one small apple a day had a nine per cent lower chance of visiting the doctor several times a year.
However when they adjusted their statistics for other factors, their conclusions changed.
The University of Michigan researchers adjusted for ways that ‘apple eaters might be very different from everyone else,’ such as how they were less likely to smoke and be more educated.
Considering those factors, the study found that people who eat an apple a day were just as likely as everyone else to go to doctors. They were also just as likely to stay overnight in a hospital or visit a mental health professional.
Apple eaters were, however, less likely to use prescription medication. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Cancer patients who eat oily fish or take omega-3 supplements 'may become resistant to chemotherapy'

Cancer patients who eat herring and mackerel or take omega-3 supplements may end up resistant to chemotherapy, a study has warned.
Researchers found these fish raised blood levels of a particular fatty acid in the blood. This, in turn, may reduce the effects of chemotherapy drugs, they say. 
As a result those undergoing chemo should avoid oily fish or fish oil supplements in the day before and after treatment until further research had been carried out, scientists suggested.
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines help against cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, age-related vision loss and dementia. They are also a rich source of Vitamin D, some B vitamins, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat good for health. The research was carried out after concerns were raised over the increased use of supplements while taking anti-cancer drugs and the possible effect on treatments.
Dr Emile Voest, of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, examined exposure to the fatty acid 16:4(n-3) after eating fish or taking fish oil. The study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, examined the rate of fish oil use among patients undergoing cancer treatment. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Paracetamol 'ineffective against lower back pain'

The commonly-used over the counter drug paracetamol is ineffective for lower back pain, new research has suggested.
The painkiller had little effect on lower back pain and was found to have "small but not clinically important benefits" for people with osteoarthritis, the study by The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney found. The team examined data from 13 clinical trials involving more than 5,000 people that looked at the effects of paracetamol use when compared with a placebo.
Paracetamol is currently recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) for both lower back pain and osteoarthritis.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found evidence that paracetamol has a significant but small effect in patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis, but said this was not likely to be meaningful for clinicians or patients.

Eating spinach once a day could halt mental decline by 11 years

Popeye may have eaten spinach to get his bulging muscles, but a new study has found that one portion of leafy greens a day could also be good for your brain.
Researchers at Rush University in Chicago discovered that adults who ate vegetables such as kale and spinach one or twice a day suffered considerably less cognitive decline than those who did not, regardless of other factors such as education, exercise and family medical history.
The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston. Researchers evaluated 950 people with an average age of 81 years, who participated in 19 different tests to assess their mental function. On average, it was found that participants who ate greens once or twice a day halted their mental decline by 11 years.

Chikungunya revives herbal remedies in Antigua

The acute ache started in her ankles before quickly spreading through her body, crippling her muscles, pounding her joints and leaving her hands and feet severely swollen.
Last summer, the 38-year-old from Antigua and Barbuda was struck down with the debilitating chikungunya virus which has swept across the Caribbean infecting more than 800,000 people since it was first detected in the region in December 2013. The mosquito-borne disease, which originated in Africa and has no known cure, is characterised by the abrupt onset of fever, deep joint and muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and a rash.
"I was fine when I went to bed," Ms Berzas says, "but when I woke up in the morning and tried to get up my ankles hurt so much I couldn't stand. It was very scary. After that I started getting different pains all over my body. Soon my hands were so swollen I couldn't hold anything."
In Antigua, where the minimum wage is just $3 (£2) per hour and a visit to a conventional doctor can set one back $44, herbalists specialising in "bush medicine" are often the first port of call.
"When I got desperate I went to Dr Amu, the naturopath. He gave me two teas to drink and an oil to rub on my skin. It soothed the rash and diminished the pain a lot. It didn't go away but at least it was manageable," Ms Berzas recalls.