Acupuncture in cancer study reignites debate about controversial technique

One of the largest-ever clinical trials into whether acupuncture can relieve pain in cancer patients has reignited a debate over the role of this contested technique in cancer care.
Oncologists who conducted a trial of real and sham acupuncture in 226 women at 11 different cancer centres across the United States say their results — presented on 7 December at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas — conclude that the treatment significantly reduces pain in women receiving hormone therapy for breast cancer. They suggest it could help patients stick to life-saving cancer treatments, potentially improving survival rates. But sceptics say it is almost impossible to conduct completely rigorous double-blinded trials of acupuncture.
Interest in acupuncture has grown because of concerns over the use of opioid-based pain-relief drugs, which can have nasty side effects and are extremely addictive. Many cancer centres in the United States therefore offer complementary therapies for pain relief. Almost 90% of US National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centres suggest that patients try acupuncture, and just over 70% offer it as a treatment for side effects. That horrifies sceptics such as Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine and founder of the blog Science-Based Medicine. Acupuncture has no scientific basis, he says; recommending it is “telling patients that magic works”. 

Can magnets really ease the side-effects of chemo?

Could a simple magnet that you stick to your underwear really help with some of the unpleasant side-effects of breast cancer treatment?

It might sound extraordinary, not least because most doctors are sceptical about the health benefits of magnets. But this is not a marketing manager’s claim — it’s the belief of a breast cancer surgeon, and appears to be backed up by a small trial.

During breast cancer treatment, women who have yet to go through the menopause may develop such symptoms as hot flushes.
‘Chemotherapy can stop the ovaries from working, so the production of oestrogen is cut,’ says Tena Walters, a consultant breast surgeon at The London Breast Clinic and the Lister Hospital, Chelsea. ‘This has a similar effect to when oestrogen production falls at the menopause. The other big cause is hormonal treatments such as tamoxifen.’

These drugs are given to women who have had ‘oestrogen-receptor positive’ tumours — meaning their cancer is encouraged to grow and divide by the presence of oestrogen.

Source  - Daily Mail

Vitamin D could prevent rheumatoid arthritis

Vitamin D may prevent inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, new research reveals. 

The so-called 'sunshine supplement' strengthens the immune system, which helps to prevent the body from attacking healthy cells and causing autoimmune conditions, such as arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, which causes joint swelling, may also benefit from vitamin D's anti-inflammatory effects. 

Yet, as the painful joint condition reduces a sufferer's vitamin D sensitivity, patients may not benefit from taking such supplements once they have developed the disorder, or at least not at recommended doses, according to the researchers.

Study author Dr Louisa Jeffery from the University of Birmingham, said: 'Our research indicates that maintaining sufficient vitamin D may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
'However, for patients who already have rheumatoid arthritis, simply providing vitamin D might not be enough. Instead much higher doses may be needed'.

Source  - Daily Mail

Three cups of coffee a day 'may have health benefits'

Moderate coffee drinking is safe, and three to four cups a day may have some health benefits, according to a large review of studies, in the BMJ.

It found a lower risk of liver disease and some cancers in coffee drinkers, and a lower risk of dying from stroke - but researchers could not prove coffee was the cause. Too much coffee during pregnancy could be harmful, the review confirmed. Experts said people should not start drinking coffee for health reasons.

The University of Southampton researchers collected data on the impact of coffee on all aspects of the human body, taking into account more than 200 studies - most of which were observational. Compared with non-coffee drinkers, those who drank about three cups of coffee a day appeared to reduce their risk of getting heart problems or dying from them.

Source  - BBC

Coffee drastically lowers your risk of heart failure and stroke

Everyone can decrease their risk of stroke and heart failure just by drinking an extra cup of coffee a day, according to new research.

A study found that with every cup, the addictive beverage lowers the risk of stroke by eight percent and heart failure by seven percent. Adding just one extra cup of coffee a day may be enough to reduce the risk, and the research published by the American Heart Association found no limit to how much you can consume. This study adds to the growing body of evidence that the drink has valuable health benefits, as previous research has found it to fight certain cancers, relieve headaches, help lose weight and make you live longer. 

Researchers used a machine to analyze data from the long-running Framlingham Heart study, which has investigated heart disease for more than 60 years. The analysis by the University of Colorado was then compared with two other traditional studies to get the overall trend. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Woman, 48, develops high blood pressure after drinking three cups of liquorice tea every day

A 48-year-old woman developed high blood pressure due to her love of three cups of liquorice tea each day, a case report reveals.

The unnamed patient, believed to be from Sheffield, was plagued by dull headaches, nausea and dizziness for four months before becoming 
concerned. Doctors warned her daily habit for liquorice tea was to blame as it caused her to develop hypertension and low levels of potassium in her blood.

As soon as she stopped drinking so much of the sweet brew, all of her symptoms disappeared, medics wrote in the BMJ Case Reports

Upon initial inspection, doctors struggled to find a root cause for her high blood pressure. They sent her home with medication. However, drugs proved to have no effect and doctors grew increasingly concerned that her condition was worsening rapidly. That was when the woman realised her headaches, a symptom of hypertension, was likely due to her love of liquorice tea.
 She said her husband uncovered the link between liquorice and high blood pressure which made her highlight her habit to the doctors. 

Source  - Daily Mail

A type of vitamin E found in nuts may prevent asthma attacks by reducing airway inflammation

A type of vitamin E found in nuts may prevent asthma attacks by reducing airway inflammation.

Sufferers of the common breathing condition taking it as part of a US study were also found to have less sticky mucus in their lungs.  Experts say the findings raise the possibility of asthma being kept under control by changing diet or taking a supplement. 

The form of vitamin E that brought these beneficial effects is gamma-tocopherol, which is abundant in nuts such as walnuts and pecans and in the legume peanut, as well as seed oils such as corn, soybean and sesame.
This type has drawn little attention compared with alpha-tocopherol, the form most commonly found in vitamin E supplements.

'We started looking into vitamin E because epidemiologic data suggested that people with high amounts of vitamin E in their diet were less prone to asthma and allergic disease,' said senior study author Professor Michelle Hernandez from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Source  - Daily Mail

Dog ownership lowers early death risk

Dog owners have a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease or other causes, a study of 3.4 million Swedes has found.
The team analysed national registries for people aged 40 to 80, and compared them to dog ownership registers. They found there was a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in owners of dogs, particularly of hunting breeds.
While owning a dog may help physical activity, researchers said it may be active people who choose to own dogs. They also said owning a dog may protect people from cardiovascular disease by increasing their social contact or wellbeing, or by changing the owner's bacterial microbiome.
The microbiome is the collection of microscopic species that live in the gut. It's thought a dog may influence its owner's microbiomes as dogs change the dirt in home environments, exposing people to bacteria they may not have encountered otherwise.

The quackery cures of yesteryear

It was not unusual for Victorian women to be given orgasms by their doctors – in a bid to cure them of their 'hysteria', a common problem said to affect three in four.

Cocaine was also once used to soothe tooth pain – and was famously an ingredient in Coca Cola – while tobacco enemas were a form of first aid given to revive drowning victims in the 18th century. These and many more weird and wacky medical remedies from the past that were once considered the norm have been revealed in a new book, Quackery: A Brief History Of The Worst Ways To Cure Everything.

The tome also reveals how strychnine – used in rat poison – was the Victorian's answer to Viagra to treat impotence and in Medieval times, women believed carrying weasel testicles in their bosom worked as a contraceptive.

Source  - Daily Mail

Are you getting enough iodine?

Are you getting enough iodine? From sudden weight gain to constant fatigue and even a puffy face, a registered nutritionist reveals the warning signs as he blames 'clean eating' for people's plummeting levels of the nutrient.

Iodine is essential for producing hormones associated with weight control, with studies also revealing sufficient levels of the hormone during pregnancy plays a role in boosting children's IQ and reading abilities.

Despite its importance, recent studies have revealed up to 70 per cent of girls in the UK may be deficient in this nutrient. According to London-based registered nutritionist Rob Hobson, a growing trend to cut out dairy products is likely to blame. Milk is the most concentrated source of iodine and provides up to 40 per cent of a person's intake. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Why crying is good for you

People who cry might have a reputation of appearing weak or too emotional. This causes some to choke down their emotions instead to appear stronger and in control.

But experts insist that there are some unexpected health benefits for people who cry often, including lower stress levels, a decrease of toxins in the body, and greater emotional awareness.

Crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system in the body to signal to the glands in the eyes to release tears.  After the crying session is over, the body is able to slow down its breathing and heart rate to a more controlled pace. This entire experience sends a positive release throughout the body and gives off the feeling of relief for the person.  One study from the University of South Florida studied how people felt after crying. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Traditional Chinese medicine could cause liver cancer

Relying on traditional Chinese medicines could put you at risk of deadly liver cancer, new research suggests.

Singaporean scientists have uncovered evidence of a clear link between one herbal remedy and the deadly strain of cancer. They warned the danger stems from toxic chemicals called aristolochic acids (AA), derived from the woody vines of Aristolochia plants.

In regions that heavily rely on the plants as medicines, experts discovered up to 78 per cent of liver tumours 'were likely due to contact with the chemicals'. It backs up a host of research in recent decades that has shown AA to be harmful to humans, causing it to be banned in both the UK and US. 

The acids can be found in some traditional Chinese medicines that are given during childbirth, to prevent parasites, promote healing and treat insomnia. The report, published in Science Translational Medicine, looked at samples of liver cancer in Taiwan, China, Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia.

Source  - Daily Mail

Eat your greens for a healthy heart

Vitamin K, which is found in kale, spinach and broccoli, maintains the size of the vital organ's left ventricle, a study found, which is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood around the body.

Insufficient levels of the vitamin cause the left ventricle to enlarge, the research adds. Previous research reveals large hearts do not pump blood as efficiently as they should, which can result in fatal heart attacks. The more vitamin K a person has, the less likely they are to develop an enlarged heart, the study found.  Past research suggests vitamin K may activate a protein involved in maintaining heart size.

Researchers from Augusta University analyzed 766 healthy teenagers aged between 14 and 18. The study's participant's diet and activity levels were measured over seven days via self-reporting and devices that assess acceleration.  Their heart's structure and function was investigated via ultrasound scans.
The findings were published in The Journal of Nutrition

Source  - Daily Mail

Stressed and struggling to sleep? Beeswax could help

An ingredient found in beeswax and wheat germ oil may reduce stress and induce a sound slumber, according to scientists. 

The chemical – found in a variety of plants including sugar cane and rice bran – was found to decrease levels of a major stress hormone in mice. Experts say the compound, called octacosanol – which is used as a supplement for lowering cholesterol – could now be used as a new therapy for stress-induced insomnia.
They also say it is safe for humans because it is a food-based compound.

Many studies have shown that poor sleep is linked to a host of health problems including increased risk of obesity, depression, heart attacks and strokes.
Insomnia is thought to affect around one in every three people, and is particularly common in elderly people.

A team from the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine at the University of Tsukuba in Japan investigated the effect of octacosanol on sleep regulation in mildly stressed mice.

Daily magnesium supplements 'significantly' reduce blood pressure

Daily magnesium supplements significantly reduce blood pressure, new research reveals.

Taking a 300mg tablet, the recommended dose for males, lowers hypertension and boosts blood flow after just one month, a study review found. Researchers recommend magnesium supplements be considered for people suffering from, or at-risk of, high blood pressure. Yet, other experts argue dietary sources of the mineral, such as leafy greens, bananas and nuts, are sufficient to keep magnesium levels topped up. Excessive levels of the mineral can cause side effects, including diarrhea.

The researchers from Indiana University analyzed 34 studies with a total of 2,028 participants. Results reveal taking a 300mg magnesium supplement every day for one month is enough to significantly lower hypertension and improve blood flow. 

Lead author Dr. Yiging Song said magnesium supplements should be considered for lowering blood pressure in ‘high-risk persons or hypertension patients’.
The findings were published in the journal Hypertension

Source  - Daily Mail

Vegetarian diets can lead to higher risk of heart disease

Vegetarian food has been widely proclaimed to be healthier than a traditional ‘meat and two veg’ diet.

However, cardiologists have warned some vegetarian food can be just as bad for you after a study found eating a lot of sweet food and drink, refined grains and potatoes was linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

Writing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the researchers described how they had looked at information on the diet and health of tens of thousands of medical professionals who took part in regular surveys. They examined the effects of three different types of ‘vegetarian’ diets: one which emphasized plants but included some meat, a healthy vegetarian diet consisting of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables and an unhealthy version.

Dr Ambika Satija, of the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said: “When we examined the associations of the three food categories with heart disease risk, we found that healthy plant foods were associated with lower risk, whereas less healthy plant foods and animal foods were associated with higher risk."

Source  - Independent

Could strawberries keep you sharp?

Strawberries could help prevent age-related mental decline, new research suggests.

A compound in the fruit, known as fisetin, eases cognitive deterioration and inflammation in mice, a study found. Mice not treated with fisetin experience cognitive difficulties, as well as stress and inflammation, the research adds.
Previous research has linked fisetin with reduced memory loss in mice genetically-predisposed to develop Alzheimer's disease.

Senior author Pamela Maher, from Salk's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory in La Jolla, California, said: 'Mice are not people, of course. But there are enough similarities that we think fisetin warrants a closer look, not only for potentially treating Alzheimer's disease but also for reducing some of the cognitive effects associated with aging, generally.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Cranberries are super-foods

Cranberries have long been hailed a 'superfood' for their cancer-fighting properties but now they have been proven to benefit our gut health, say experts.

For the first time, certain friendly microbes have been found to grow when fed a carbohydrate in the fruit.  Good intestinal bacteria not only improves digestion but also our brain health, mood, emotions, energy levels, and weight loss.

Whats more, our microflora has also increasingly been linked to many aspects of health, including aging, arthritis, depression, cancer and heart conditions.  Now cranberries – in supplement form – may be a candidate to improve our gut health, says study author professor David Sela, nutritional microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Source  - Daily Mail

Swapping just one portion of meat for a handful of nuts a day slashes the risk of an early death by up to 17%

Swapping just one portion of meat for a handful of nuts a day slashes the risk of an early death by up to 17 percent, new research reveals.

A 20 percent improvement in people's diets reduces their risk of dying prematurely by between eight and 17 percent, a study found. This is the equivalent of swapping just one serving of meat for a handful of nuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter a day, the research adds. 

Lead author Dr Mercedes Sotos-Prieto from Ohio University, said: 'It's not necessary for people to conform to a single dietary plan to achieve a healthy eating pattern. The essential elements of a healthy diet include higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans, and lower intakes of red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and highly refined grains, like white rice and flour.' 

Source  - Daily Mail

Could tomatoes be a wonder cure for skin cancer?

Eating tomatoes each day could save the lives of skin cancer patients, new research suggests.

Compounds responsible for the Mediterranean fruit's bright red colour may protect against deadly damage from the sun's rays. A trial on mice showed those fed a daily diet of tomato powder, available in a range of supermarkets, had their tumours shrink. When skin cancer spreads in humans, genetically similar to mice, it can become fatal by proving hard to treat.

Ohio State University scientists fed mice a tomato powder-heavy diet for 35 weeks, while keeping a control group. All of the rodents were then exposed to ultraviolet light, a confirmed trigger of skin cancer in humans. They also discovered those who consumed the tomato powder had 50 per cent less deadly tumours. 

The latest study showed only carotenoid-full red tomatoes had any significant effect, helping to shrink tumours.

Source  - Daily Mail

Man suffered psychotic episode after drinking four cups of St John's wort-laced herbal tea a day

A man lost touch with reality during a psychotic episode after drinking four cups of herbal tea a day, it has been reported.

The Italian was hospitalised after suffering speech problems, delusions and paranoid thoughts – such as believing people could read his mind. Friends sought help for the unnamed 25-year-old who they say had been 'acting strangely' for a few days and behaving as if he were 'under the influence of an illegal drug'. 

For months previously, he had been drinking herbal tea laced with St John's wort – a popular over the counter remedy used to treat depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sleep problems, mild anxiety and jet lag.

The doctors who treated the man at AUSL Modena hospital in Italy say they could not rule out that the herb, known botanically as hypericum perforatum, did not contribute to the man's psychosis.
Source  - Daily Mail

A compound in cannabis is 'significantly' effective in destroying cancerous tumours in leukaemia

A compound in cannabis is 'significantly' effective in destroying cancerous tumours in leukaemia, research suggests.

A new study found that combining existing chemotherapy treatments with cannabinoids – the active chemicals in cannabis – had better results than chemotherapy alone.   The findings suggest that a lower dose of chemotherapy can be used on patients, minimising side effects of the treatment, say researchers.

Furthermore, scientists discovered that order the treatment was administered was crucial - using cannabinoids after chemotherapy resulted in a greater death of the blood cancer cells.

Lead author of the study, Dr Wai Liu, from St George's, University of London, said: 'We have shown for the first time that the order in which cannabinoids and chemotherapy are used is crucial in determining the overall effectiveness of this treatment.'

Eating red onions may help to fight cancer

Eating red onions may help to fight cancer, new research suggests.

The tasty vegetable, commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine, is full of powerful compounds that help to kill tumours. One type known as anthocyanins, which are responsible for its dark colouring, are believed in inhibit the spread of the disease. While a flavonoid called quercetin has the same effects by shrinking the size of cancerous masses, experts say. But any type of onion, regardless of its colour, may help to destroy cancer, Canadian scientists claim.

Study author Abdulmonem Murayyan, of the University of Guelph, said: 'We found onions are excellent at killing cancer cells. Onions activate pathways that encourage cancer cells to undergo cell death.  They promote an unfavourable environment for cancer cells and they disrupt communication between cancer cells, which inhibits growth. It makes sense that the red onions, which are darkest in colour, would have the most cancer-fighting power.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Could honey prevent heart attacks?

A natural sugar found in honey could prevent heart attacks, new research suggests.

The sugar, known as trehalose, activates a protein that causes immune cells to remove fatty plaque from arteries, the study found. Trehalose was found to reduce the size of plaque in mice by around 30 percent. 

Plaque builds up inside the arteries in a condition known as atherosclerosis. This causes the arteries to harden and become less elastic, putting people at risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and even heart attacks. Trehalose is also found in mushrooms, lobsters and prawns.  

Researchers from Washington University injected mice at risk of atherosclerosis with trehalose or a different type of sugar.  Some mice were also given trehalose orally. 

Results, published in Nature Communications, revealed that mice given trehalose had plaques measuring 0.25mm across, compared with 0.35mm in the animals not injected with the sugar. This is an approximate 30 percent decrease in plaque. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Arthritis may NOT be due to 'wear and tear'

High-fibre diets significantly reduce the risk of developing arthritis, according to new research.

Those with the greatest fibre intake are up to 61 per cent less likely to develop the condition than those consuming the lowest amounts, a review of two studies found.  Eating lots of fibre, found in brown rice, potato skins and other vegetables, may also prevent existing knee pain from worsening, the researchers said. 

These findings may debunk the theory that arthritis occurs due to 'wear and tear' as damaged cartilage is unable to properly repair itself.  Researchers from Tuft University, Boston and the University of Manchester conducted a review of two studies.  These included the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) trial, which had 4,796 participants and the Framingham Offspring Osteoarthritis Study, which comprised 1,268 people. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Are YOU depressed? Take up Tai Chi

Taking part in Tai Chi could help to combat depression, new research claims.

Going to classes in the ancient Chinese martial art for 12 weeks significantly reduced symptoms of the blues. It can work independently of treatment, suggesting it can scupper the need for an antidepressant prescription, the small study shows.  The findings hold promise amid soaring rates of depression worldwide, with drugs and therapy often proving ineffective. 

The meditative practice, which has been used for more than 1,000 years, combines deep breathing and slow and gentle movements. Those given Tai Chi were taught basic traditional movements and asked to practice three times a week.

All 17 volunteers in the martial art reported significantly greater improvement in depression symptoms than the other two groups. Follow up assessment after six months showed sustained improvement, the report published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry states.

Source  - Daily Mail

Three quarters of rice products sold as baby food found to contain illegal levels of arsenic

Parents should avoid giving rice to young children, scientists have said, after a new study found almost three quarters of rice-based products sold as baby food contain illegal levels of arsenic.

A maximum level of arsenic allowed in rice used for baby food was introduced by the EU in January 2016 to reduce children’s exposure to the harmful
toxin. But when researchers at Queen’s University Belfast tested 73 different rice-based products often given to babies, they found almost 80 per cent of rice crackers, 61 per cent of baby rice and 32 per cent of rice cereals flouted these regulations.

Inorganic arsenic contaminates rice while it is growing as a result of industrial toxins and pesticides and can impact the development of young children, Andy Meharg, who led the study, told The Independent.

“We’re talking about immune development, growth, IQ. They’re all impacted at the levels of consumption you’d get from rice consumption,” he said. “I’m not scaremongering. EU laws have been passed, and what we’re doing is saying these laws aren’t being met.”

Source - Independent

Just 10 minutes of meditation does wonders for your brain

Sitting down to clear your mind for just 10 minutes is enough to overcome stress and anxiety, a study claims.

New research revealed that a short stint of meditation will help block out the internal thoughts of restless people and allow them to concentrate. The report from the University of Waterloo in Canada is the latest to demonstrate the benefits of meditation. Past studies have found self-reflection and deep thinking can even slow ageing and help to fight off disease.

Source  - Daily Mail

Students can boost their exam grades by smelling Rosemary

Children facing exams could enhance their recall by inhaling the smell of rosemary.

The woody herb often used to add flavour garnish lamb has long had a reputation as being helpful to the memory. In ancient Greece, scholars wore sprigs of rosemary when taking tests to give their recollection a boost. Shakespeare also credited the herb with memory - enhancing powers, writing the line 'Rosemary, that's for remembrance' in Hamlet.

Now researchers at Northumbria University found that rosemary essential oil is helpful to children's recollection, following on from previous research that it boosts adult memories. Dr Mark Moss and Victoria Earle will outline their findings at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Brighton later this week.

Dr Moss said: 'Our previous study demonstrated the aroma of rosemary essential oil could enhance cognition in healthy adults. Knowing how important working memory is in academic achievement we wanted to see if similar effects could be found in school age children in classroom settings.'

Source  - Daily Mail

High doses of vitamin C weaken tumours

High doses of vitamin C could be a safe and potentially effective form of cancer treatment, scientists claim.

By injecting patients with it, they are able to get up to 1,000 times the amount than they would through eating. This amount of the nutrient, found in oranges, kale and peppers, actively hunts tumours when it enters the blood stream, research suggests.  It worked by weakening the cancerous cells, leaving them vulnerable to the effects of radiation and chemotherapy. 

Despite evidence showing the opposite, the high doses produced only mild side effects of frequent bathroom trips and a dry mouth. Vitamin C has been studied internationally as a potential treatment for cancer patients for more than four decades. Despite being known to help boost the immune system, proven results for its effects on cancer have been relatively scarce.

Previous research has even shown that it increases the risk of the disease by triggering a biological process that damages DNA.  Eleven brain cancer patients were given three infusions of vitamin C a week for two months for the study, which was published in the journal Cancer Cell.

Source  - Daily Mail

Deep breathing really does work

Yummy mummies have long sworn by breathing slowly to relax at their weekly yoga sessions.

Now scientists have found the idea of slow breathing is not mumbo jumbo, but actually works in the brain to create a sense of calm. An experiment found mice became significantly more blissful after their breathing was slowed down. While breathing exercises have been used for hundreds of years, and prescribed to panic attack victims, it was not known how they worked. 

Researchers led by Stanford University discovered the answer by accident after knocking out neurons in mouse brains which control breathing. A few days later, they noticed the animals, which were taking fewer fast, active breaths, were extraordinarily calm.

Source  - Daily Mail

Woman dies after being given Turmeric injection

A woman has died after receiving an injection of turmeric from a naturopath.
The common spice, used in curries, was partly responsible for the death of 30-year-old Jade Erick from San Diego in California, ruled a medical examiner. Ms Erick suffered a cardiac arrest caused by an adverse reaction to a turmeric solution administered intravenously.
A friend of hers told a local news channel she was interested in natural healing and her eczema had recently flared up, which could have led her to seek treatment. Turmeric is grown throughout India and in other parts of Asia and Central America. It is similar to ginger and its root can be ground into an aromatic yellow powder.

It has been used in traditional South Asian medicine for centuries for many conditions, and is often taken as a dietary supplement for conditions such as arthritis and stomach problems.

Source - Independent

More vegetables, less stress!

Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy lifestyle - and they relieve that end-of-the-day stress too.

Those who eat more vegetables throughout the day had less stress than those who didn't eat many, a new study found. Scientists say that people who eat between three and four daily servings of vegetables had a 12 percent lower risk of stress than those who only ate one serving or less. 

It builds on past research which found that particularly dark, leafy greens, such as spinach, are rich in folate, helping to increase the production of mood stabilizers in the brain including serotonin and dopamine.

The study, conducted at the University of Sydney in Australia, looked at 60,000 Australians who were age 45 or older. Researchers measured the participants' fruit and vegetable consumption, lifestyle factors and psychological distress at two time points: 2006-08 and 2010.

Source  - Daily Mail

Why yoga beats depression

Yoga can do more than just cure your back pain, it can also cure your depression. A new study has found that those with depression reduced their symptoms through the workout.

Previous studies have shown that yoga increases the production of serotonin - a mood stabilizer in the brain - and its emphasis in breathing, concentration and smooth movement helps reduce symptoms. Scientists say that this study underlines exactly why many doctors suggest yoga could even be a replacement for antidepressant drugs.

The study, conducted between Harvard University in Massachusetts and Columbia University in New York, held a 12-week integrative health intervention for 30 people, practicing yoga and breathing exercises.  Specifically, they practiced coherent breathing, where you take just five breaths per minute. The participants took classes in Iyengar yoga, which focuses on detail, precision and alignment in posture and breath control.

Subjects were split into two groups: one taking three classes a week and one taking two classes a week. All of them were diagnosed with major depressive disorder and were either on no antidepressant medications or on a stable dose of antidepressants for 3 months or less.

Source  - Daily Mail

Red wine compound can slow brain ageing

A substance found in red wine can help keep the brain young in a similar way to exercise and a low-calorie diet, scientists have discovered.
Resveratrol, which occurs naturally in the skin of fruits including grapes, blueberries and mulberries, can keep muscles supple and help protect connections between neurons in the brain, according to researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

Tests on elderly mice showed the compound significantly slowed brain ageing by preserving synapses called neuromuscular junctions, which relay movement signals from the brain to the muscles. Mice who had been given resveratrol from one year of age had more youthful neuromuscular junction synapses at two years old than those who had not.
“I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits,” said the study’s primary author, assistant professor Gregorio Valdez. 

 Red wine contains more resveratrol than white wine because it is fermented with the grape skins. However, wine lovers will be disappointed to hear that the alcoholic drink does not contain enough resveratrol to ward off old age.

Health warning over 'toxic' herbal tea after two people fall critically ill

Two people have become critically ill after drinking toxic herbal tea from the same Chinatown herbalist in San Francisco. 

A man and a woman were treated in hospital after consuming tea leaves bought from Sun Wing Wo Trading Company, the city’s public health department (SFDPH) confirmed.  They contained the plant-based toxin aconite, also known as monkshood, wolfsbane, devil’s helmet or the queen of all poisons.

The man in his fifties and woman in her thirties became gravely ill an hour after ingesting the plant, developing life-threatening symptoms including abnormal heart rhythms. Both grew weak and required resuscitation, remaining in hospital in intensive care. 

The pair fell ill on separate occasions, with the first incident occurring in February and the second in March. 

Health warning over 'toxic' levels of vitamin D sold in supplements

Hundreds of people in the UK are regularly taking toxic overdoses of vitamin D in supplements bought online, according to Britain’s leading testing laboratory.
Pills containing up to 2,250 times the recommended dose of the “sunshine vitamin” are putting people at risk of heart and kidney problems, according to the NHS lab, which said it sees two to three overdose cases every week.

Vitamin D, which is produced naturally by the body after exposure to sunlight, is needed for healthy bones. Around one in five people in gloomy Britain are thought to have a deficiency, which can lead to a range of symptoms from achey bones and fatigue to clinical depression. But taking too much of the vitamin can cause the body to absorb dangerously high levels of calcium, leading to other serious health problems including high blood pressure and nausea.

Source - Independent

Ditch the paracetamol and try acunpuncture

Acupuncture can be used to relieve pain in sufferers of repetitive strain injuries, new research suggests.

Currently patients with carpal tunnel syndrome - common in office workers - undergo physiotherapy or surgery to assist them. It is caused by a nerve in the wrist being squeezed and subsequently alters an area of the brain related to touch, scientists claim. But the new study found the ancient Chinese practice rewires the brain and helps to combat the aching and tingling sensations.

Participants were given brain scans after receiving electro-acupuncture - similar to the traditional method but instead uses electricity to generate impulses - on their affected hand. They were also assessed by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers after having the same treatment on their ankle opposite their injured hand. Others received 'sham' acupuncture - where placebo needles were placed near their affected region.

Both real and sham acupuncture patients said symptoms improved, the researchers also found.

Source  - Daily Mail

Artichokes, leeks and onions could improve sleep and relieve stress

Eat onions, leeks and artichokes if you're stressed and struggling to sleep.

For scientists have discovered that the popular vegetables could help humans to relax - allowing them a better night's sleep. They are known to be high in prebiotics, dietary fibers that act as food for good stomach bacteria. And a groundbreaking new study has found these help to boost gut health by aiding the growth of beneficial bugs.   They also release metabolic byproducts which influence the brain into overcoming worry and fear, research shows. 

Experts believe the findings strengthen the ever-growing link between gut bacteria and overall health. A lot is already known about probiotics - live bacteria designed to improve gut health - but research on prebiotics is relatively scarce. 

To test their effects, a team of US scientists fed three-week-old male rats a diet of either standard chow or chow that included prebiotics. They then monitored the rodents' body temperature, levels of stomach bacteria and sleeping cycles using a brain activity testing. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Vitamin D supplements 'the key to beating colds and flu'

More than three million people across the UK could stave off infections such as colds or flu every year if everyone took Vitamin D supplements, experts have said.

A new study has found that taking the supplements protects against acute respiratory infections. Vitamin D supplements have been a hot topic in medical circles in recent years with some experts arguing that their usefulness remains uncertain. But health officials say that vitamin D is vital for bone and muscle health.

Last year, Public Health England said that people were generally not getting the recommended 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day from sunlight in winter. The latest new study, published in The British Medical Journal, suggests that taking vitamin D - also known as the sunshine vitamin - may have benefits beyond bone and muscle health and protects against acute respiratory infections.

Hay fever symptoms can be significantly reduced after three years of treatment

Hay fever sufferers may be able to significantly reduce their symptoms such as itchy red eyes and a runny nose by having treatment for three years, new research suggests.

Scientists from Imperial College London found people with hay fever, an allergic reaction to pollen, were able to “suppress” the condition by taking pollen pills or undergoing injections. However, while a three-year course of treatment was shown to markedly lessen symptoms “for several years”, two years of treatment did not bring the same benefits.  

Past studies have shown that exposing patients to increasing amounts of grass pollen over time – a type of immunotherapy – is an effective way to reduce severe symptoms in the long term. Hay fever has been estimated to affect as many as one in four people across the UK. The majority of these cases are initiated as a reaction to grass pollen.

The new study, published in the journal JAMA, involved patient volunteers at Royal Brompton Hospital in London.

Vitamin D supplements 'the key to beating colds and flu', study finds

More than three million people across the UK could stave off infections such as colds or flu every year if everyone took Vitamin D supplements, experts have said.

A new study has found that taking the supplements protects against acute respiratory infections. Vitamin D supplements have been a hot topic in medical circles in recent years with some experts arguing that their usefulness remains uncertain.

Can coloured lights really stop that ringing in your ears?

A lamp that gives out coloured light is being tested as a new treatment for tinnitus, a condition characterised by a ringing, buzzing or constant roar in the ears.

Researchers at the University of Leicester are testing this approach following a serendipitous discovery from earlier research with migraine patients who also happened to have tinnitus. 

Using coloured lenses to treat their migraines also reduced their tinnitus. Further work found the coloured light reduced tinnitus symptoms in 40 per cent of the patients. Now the researchers are testing the treatment on a larger group.

An estimated six million people in the UK have tinnitus, with around 10 per cent of them seriously affected. This can have a detrimental effect on their quality of life and has been linked to depression, anxiety and sleeping problems.

Source  - Daily Mail

Can't sleep? Insomniacs should try camping, say scientists

Over the years, insomniacs have been offered pills, plants, “mindfulness”, and even special lamps to help them get off to sleep.

But it now turns out that a far simpler solution has always been at hand, and one that is, literally, all around: the great outdoors. New research suggests that rather than lying in bed miserably counting imaginary sheep, insomniacs should get out among some real ones and try a spot of camping.

According to a new study, just a couple of nights under canvas is enough to reset the body’s internal clock, enabling people to fall asleep more quickly. Modern living is increasingly depriving people of sufficient natural light, causing the timing of their circadian rhythm to slip.

However, a new experiment by the University of Colorado revealed how a stint in the countryside is able to rapidly shift the timing forward by two and a half hours, allowing campers to go to bed at a civilised hour once they returned home.

Can acupuncture relieve your baby’s colic?

Your baby is crying inconsolably, suffering from colic. Do you: a) cuddle it, b) give Infacol drops or c) stick needles into it? According to a paper in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, the answer may be c. Since colic affects up to at least 20% of babies, that could mean a lot of work for acupuncturists.
Colic starts in the first weeks of life and is usually over by three to four months. Babies are otherwise perfectly fine but cry in the early evening, and can yell for hours. No wonder parents feel desperate. The cause is unknown, with possible culprits including the mother’s diet during breastfeeding, cigarette smoke, the baby gulping too much air during feeding, inadequate burping and parental stress. Overstimulating babies has also been blamed. Super-sensitive pain signals and abnormal muscle contraction in the wall of the baby’s gut are the possible mechanisms that trigger the pain and bawling.

Standing up straight could treat depression

Good posture could help treat depression, a new study claims.

Previous research has showed that slouching can crush one's mood, and sitting straight does the opposite. But an upcoming paper by the University of Auckland is the first to examine whether something as simple as posture could work for people clinically diagnosed with moderate depression. 

'Compared to sitting in a slumped position, sitting upright can make you feel more proud after a success, increase your persistence at an unsolvable task, and make you feel more confident in your thoughts,' lead researcher Dr Elizabeth Broadbent explains.  'Research also suggests that sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, feel less fearful, and have higher self-esteem after a stressful task.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Yoga, walking and swimming don't help to improve symptoms of the menopause

We've just been told that yoga, walking and swimming, can help to combat symptoms of the menopause.

But after reanalyzing the findings, the same experts have found there's no point buying a mat if you're suffering from hot flushes.  No form of exercise helped to improve sleep for women who often were disturbed at night, scientists have confirmed. 

Initially, researchers from the University of Washington, found that they helped to make a small improvement in sleep quality of menopausal women. But a secondary analysis showed that neither 12 weeks of yoga or aerobic exercise had an effect. Although the women had no problem in falling asleep, disturbed shut eye was common in all participants. This remained after both interventions, with women in all groups waking up during the night for an average of nearly an hour.

Source  - Daily Mail