The home health remedies that science has proven to work

There are few worse experiences in life than sitting in a GP waiting room, watching endless reruns of Jeremy Kyle (muted, of course), praying for the buzz of your name to whisk you away from the hellscape of other glum-looking patients and their potentially contagious problems.

Whilst many of us would prefer to not have to spend our time at the local doctor’s surgery, it’s inevitable that at some point or another, our bodies will get the better of us – be it warts or the flu.But are all our visits warranted? Could they be treated in the comfort of our own home, cutting out the middleman entirely?

Earlier in the year,NHS England issued a plea to the public to take their children to a pharmacist before consulting a GP. And now, new guidance from the NHS suggests we should try honey for coughs and colds before visiting a healthcare professional Further figures show that 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million A&E visits could have been treated at home.

Which raises the question: what other homemade health hacks could we use to treat minor ailments? And how can we parse effective remedy from old wives' tale?

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Low-carb diets could shorten life, study suggests

A low-carb diet could shorten life expectancy by up to four years, a study suggests.

Low-carb diets, such as Atkins, have become increasingly popular for weight loss and have shown promise for lowering the risk of some illnesses. But a US study over 25 years indicates that moderate carb consumption - or switching meat for plant-based protein and fats - is healthier. The study relied on people remembering the amount of carbohydrates they ate.

In the study, published in The Lancet Public Health, 15,400 people from the US filled out questionnaires on the food and drink they consumed, along with portion sizes. From this, scientists estimated the proportion of calories they got from carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

After following the group for an average of 25 years, researchers found that those who got 50-55% of their energy from carbohydrates (the moderate carb group and in line with UK dietary guidelines) had a slightly lower risk of death compared with the low and high-carb groups.

How the humble cabbage can stop cancers

Scientists say they have discovered why some vegetables - including cabbage, broccoli and kale - can reduce the risk of bowel cancers.

That cruciferous veg is good for the gut has never been in doubt but a detailed explanation has been elusive. The team at the Francis Crick Institute found anti-cancer chemicals were produced as the vegetables were digested. Cancer Research UK said there were plenty of reasons to eat more veg.

The work focused on how vegetables alter the lining of the intestines, by studying mice and miniature bowels growing in the lab. Like the skin, the surface of the bowels is constantly being regenerated in a process that takes four to five days. But this constant renewal needs to be tightly controlled, otherwise it could lead to cancer or gut inflammation.

And the work, published in the journal Immunity, showed chemicals in cruciferous vegetables were vital.

Complementary cancer therapies linked to reduced survival

Cancer patients who use complementary therapies may be more likely to shun conventional treatments and risk their chances of survival, research suggests.

A study of 1,290 patients in the US found people who received such therapies often refused life-saving care such as chemotherapy or surgery. Fewer of them survived five years after starting treatment compared to those on standard care, researchers found. Experts urged patients not to ditch proven cancer medicines.

Researchers said the use of complementary therapies, which range from diets, minerals and vitamin infusions to yoga and acupuncture, was growing in the US but there was limited research on how effective they are. Their study, published in JAMA Oncology, looked at 258 patients who had used complementary therapies with at least one standard treatment, compared to 1,032 who only received conventional care.

Fish oil supplements for a healthy heart 'nonsense'

Taking omega-3 fish oil supplements is often touted as a simple way to protect your heart - but experts say the evidence that it does any good is flimsy at best.
Cochrane researchers looked at trials in over 100,000 people and found little proof that it prevented heart disease. They say the chance of getting any meaningful benefit from taking omega-3 is one in 1,000. Eating oily fish, however, can still be recommended as part of a healthy diet.
The review mainly looked at supplements rather than omega-3 from eating fish. Experts still believe the latter is good for the heart as well as general health. The NHS says people should try to eat two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily fish, such as salmon, fresh tuna or mackerel, to get enough "good" fats.

Air pollution linked to spikes in hospital and GP visits


Air pollution leads to spikes in health problems and drives up hospital admissions and visits to the GP, according to a new study.

The report proves an “absolutely clear” link between poor air quality and health problems and researchers said it should serve as a warning to politicians about the serious impacts of toxic air on public health.
“The patients we looked at, who all suffer from lung conditions, are to my mind the canary in the coalmine on this issue,” said one of the report’s authors, Prof James Chalmers, from the respiratory research in the school of medicine at Dundee. “They are the first and most seriously affected by air pollution but it can affect us all.”
The findings come amid growing concern about the illegal levels of air pollution in the UK and the impact on people’s health - particularly children. Last week a medical expert said the hospital admissions of a girl who died in an asthma attack at the age of nine showed a “striking association” with spikes in illegal levels of air pollution around her home in London.

Multivitamins do nothing for your heart health and don't prevent heart attacks

The vitamin industry is booming, having successfully persuaded millions of people that a few supplements a day could stave off all kinds of life-threatening health issues. But more and more studies are calling these promises into question.

Now, a new study has taken aim at one particularly popular myth: that multivitamins prevent heart attacks, strokes and other causes of cardiovascular death. The paper by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked at data on 2,000 people over 12 years and found supplements had no impact at all on heart health.

If anything, it could be detrimental, said lead author Joonseok Kim, MD, in a withering attack on the vitamin industry. Those who took multivitamins seemed to feel they were doing something to improve their health, while continuing to smoke and eat junk food, he warns.

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Kim's study is an analysis of 18 published studies that have been published by the American Heart Association journal Circulation.


Tai chi recommended to fight fibromyalgia

Tai chi is as good as - or even better than - aerobic exercise for aiding people with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia, a study has suggested.

The US trial of 226 adults with the condition showed that those who practised the martial art improved significantly more than those doing aerobic exercise over a 24-week period. Its low-impact movements mean people of any age or fitness level can take part. Aerobic exercise is currently a standard treatment for the condition. But some patients find it hard to do because their symptoms keep changing.

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body and can also lead to increased sensitivity to pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness, memory problems and sleeping difficulties. Aerobic exercises such as walking, cycling and swimming, together with resistance and strengthening exercises, like lifting weights, are recommended to help people who have been diagnosed.

But this study, published in the British Medical Journal, says the findings suggest "it may be time to rethink what type of exercise is most effective for patients".

Woman dies after having bee-sting therapy

A woman has died after undergoing bee-sting therapy, a form of treatment backed by Gwyneth Paltrow.

The 55-year-old Spanish woman had been having live bee acupuncture for two years when she developed a severe reaction. She died weeks later of multiple organ failure.

Researchers who studied the case say live bee acupuncture therapy is "unsafe and unadvisable". It is thought to be the first death due to the treatment of someone who was previously tolerant of the stings.

The woman's case has been reported in the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, by doctors from the allergy division of University Hospital, Madrid. She had been having the treatment once a month for two years at a private clinic to improve muscular contractures and stress.
During a session, she developed wheezing, shortness of breath, and sudden loss of consciousness immediately after a live bee sting.

She was given steroid medication but no adrenaline was available, and it took 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. 
The woman had no history of any other diseases like asthma or heart disease, or other risk factors, or any previous allergic reactions.

Vitamin D is an 'inexpensive solution' to heart drugs

Vitamin D is an 'inexpensive solution' to drugs as scientists discover the sunshine supplement repairs and prevents damage to the heart caused by diabetes and high blood pressure.

The sunshine supplement stimulates the production of nitric acid, which is involved in regulating blood flow and preventing the formation of blood clots, according to the first study of its kind. It also reduces 'internal stress' in the cardiovascular system, which could avoid heart-related incidents, the research adds.

Study author Dr Tadeusz Malinski from Ohio University, said: 'There are not many, if any, known systems which can be used to restore cardiovascular cells which are already damaged, and vitamin D can do it.  This is a very inexpensive solution to repair the cardiovascular system. We don't have to develop a new drug. We already have it.'


Source  - Daily Mail