Sunday, June 30, 2002

Tomato-based repellent 'beats Deet'

A mosquito repellent that includes a compound from tomatoes could prove safer and more effective than current chemicals.

Preventing mosquito bites is a key part of efforts to prevent the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, particularly among travellers to tropical countries.

Deet (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), the active ingredient in the majority of repellent sprays and creams, has been linked with occasionally severe reactions.

The US Environmental Protection Agency no longer allows labels of products containing Deet to describe them as "safe for children".

The discovery, by scientists at North Carolina State University, US, could produce a repellent which is less toxic.

The tomato plant has an innate ability to fend off attacks from insects.

Source BBC News

Scientists design 'anti-cancer' tomato

A tomato has been engineered to contain higher levels of a chemical which may offer protection against cancer.

The tomato was developed at Purdue University in Indiana, US, by accident as scientists hunted higher quality strains that would ripen later.

Tomatoes, even in their processed form, are already considered to be beneficial to health.
This is because they contain various antioxidant chemicals which may be able to prevent cell damage in the body.

One of these chemicals is called lycopene, the pigment which gives the fruit its traditional red colour.

It has long been associated with good health - a study of thousands of men found that eating 10 or more servings of tomato sauce or tomatoes a week reduced prostate cancer risk by 45%.

Source BBC News


Safety checks on alternative medicine

The World Health Organization is to monitor the safety of traditional and alternative medicines.
The move follows a number of deaths linked to their misuse.

This can be down to use of the wrong medicines, or to using medicines in the wrong way.
WHO experts hope to establish a global monitoring system within four years.