Sunday, July 31, 2005

Bad behaviour 'linked to smoking'

Women who smoke in pregnancy may raise the risk of their child displaying anti-social behaviour, researchers say.

There was a "small but significant" link between maternal smoking and both unruly behaviour and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, they said.

The average symptom scores for both increased with the number of cigarettes the mother had smoked while pregnant, the study of 1,896 twins found.

The Institute of Psychiatry work is in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Source - BBC News

Bowel study backs cannabis drugs

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease may benefit from cannabis-based drugs, UK scientists believe.

The Bath University team found people with the gut disorder had an abundant number of a type of cannabinoid receptors in their body.

They believe this is part of the body's attempt to dampen down the inflammation and that giving a drug that binds to these receptors could boost this.

Their findings appear in the journal Gastroenterology.

Source - BBC News


Popular 'cold cure' herbs useless, study finds

MILLIONS swear by it, but according to a new study, the herbal remedy echinacea does nothing at all to help treat the common cold.

As part of the research, which took place in America, 399 healthy patients were given either extracts from an echinacea plant or a dummy preparation which did not contain any of the plant.

The patients were then exposed to the common cold virus and their symptoms recorded.

Scientists found patients who took an echinacea plant extract fared no better than those who took a dummy treatment.

Source - Western Mail

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Pineapple stem may combat cancer

Two molecules isolated from an extract of crushed pineapple stems have shown promise in fighting cancer growth.

One molecule called CCS blocks a protein called Ras, which is defective in approximately 30% of all cancers.

The other, called CCZ, stimulates the body's own immune system to target and kill cancer cells.

It is hoped the research, carried out by Queensland Institute of Medical Research, could lead to new anti-cancer drugs.

Source - BBC News


Europe backs vitamin controls

The European Court has decided to tighten rules on the sale of vitamins and minerals.

The proposals will ban around 200 supplements from sale and put restrictions on the upper limits of vitamin doses.

Some health experts wanted to see vitamins and minerals controlled in the same way as conventional medicines.

But critics argued the new rules were unnecessarily restrictive, and would deny consumers choice.

Source - BBC News

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Multivitamin warning for pregnant women

Expectant mothers have been warned that they could be harming their unborn child by taking multivitamins.

Trading Standards watchdogs and charity Birth Defects Foundation Newlife found a third of products do not carry clear labels showing they contain vitamin A.

Too much of this vitamin can interfere with organ formation in the growing foetus and therefore supplements should be avoided during pregnancy.

Mothers-to-be were told to heed the advice from day one of pregnancy.

Source - BBC News

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Rosemary makes a healthier barbie

Adding a sprinkling of rosemary and other herbs to meat before cooking could help to counteract potentially dangerous compounds that form when protein-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, according to a recent study.

While the research focused on rosemary, other herbs may offer similar health benefits to those who cook at temperatures 190°C and over, which can happen when meat is barbecued, grilled or fried.

"If you take a whiff of the spices in your spice rack, you'll find that basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary have somewhat similar aromas," says lead researcher Professor J Scott Smith, a food chemistry expert from Kansas State University.

"These herbs have some chemicals in common. If you sprinkle just a dash of rosemary and such herbs over your meats before cooking, you could achieve results comparable to what we found in our study."

Source ABC Net

Quit smoking to save your teeth

So, if cancer, ageing skin and bad breath weren't enough of an insentive for you there is now this:-

Smokers who give up are much less likely to lose their teeth prematurely than those who do not kick the habit, research shows.

A team at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne studied cigarette smokers with chronic gum disease - which can lead to loss of teeth - over one year.

They found some symptoms were more likely to improve in the people who quit during the study period.

The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

Source BBC News

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Vitamin E 'not a heart protector'

Vitamin E provides little protection against heart attacks, strokes and cancer - despite millions of people believing it does, a major study shows.

Some previous trials had suggested it might be beneficial, prompting one in 10 US women to take it as a supplement.

But a Women's Health Study of 40,000 women aged over 45, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, should settle the debate, say experts.

Source - BBC News

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Scientists dispel ageing theory

Drinking gallons of orange juice and popping vitamin pills may not make you live longer, say US researchers, contrary to previous reports.

In the past, scientists have suggested that taking antioxidants to combat free radical cell damage might delay ageing.

But a University of Wisconsin-Madison team has found no proof that highly reactive oxygen molecules are involved.

Instead, cells committing early suicide is key - at least in rodents - they told the journal Science.

Source - BBC News

(OMG kamikaze cells - now that is worrying.)

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Grapefruit heals stomach ulcers

Grapefruit extract can help to heal stomach ulcers, research suggests.

Polish researchers used an extract of the fruit's seed to reduce the size of stomach ulcers in rats.

They found the extract had strong antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which calm the gastric tract and aid the healing process.

Details of research, by Jagiellonian University, were presented at Digestive Disease Week - a conference of leading digestive experts in Chicago.

Source BBC News

(Problem is I don't like grapefruit. I had better not get any stomach ulcers!)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Prayer 'no aid to heart patients'

Well I could have told them that! Having cared for my terminally ill mother I know that if I had stood at the end of her bed mumbling away it would have really annoyed her. However, talking to her, feeding her, giving her drinks, looking after her personal needs, sorting out her medication, playing her favourite music, holding her hand and hugging her all made her last few months better. Pray for the soul by all means, but the body needs a more practical approach.

Here's the story:-

Praying for patients undergoing heart operations does not improve their outcomes, a US study suggests.

A study found those who were prayed for were as likely to have a setback in hospital, be re-admitted, or die within six months as those not prayed for.

The Duke University Medical Center study of 700 patients, in the Lancet, said music, image and touch therapy did appear to reduce patients' distress.

Heart experts said patients could benefit from feeling more optimistic.

Source BBC News