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