Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Olive oil's heart effect located

Scientists say they have pinpointed the micronutrients in olive oil that make it a good heart protector.

Mediterranean diets have long been hailed as cutting heart attack risk.

A team of Spanish researchers believes this is partly down to compounds called phenols that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and clot-preventing powers.

Virgin or extra virgin olive oils are best because they have the highest phenol content, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports.

Source: BBC News

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Cranberries 'block tooth decay'

Cranberries may help prevent tooth decay and cavities, research suggests.

Scientists have found a compound in the fruit can stop bacteria from clinging to the teeth, blocking the formation of damaging plaque deposits.

However, researcher Dr Hyuan Koo warned many cranberry-containing products were loaded with sugar and consuming large amounts could lead to tooth decay.

The study, by the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, will be published in Caries Research.

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Chinese medicine outlets probed

A recent BBC investigation has found that scores of traditional Chinese medicine stores in Britain's high streets are being investigated for selling illegal medicines. The BBC discovered that 67 outlets selling Chinese medicines are under suspicion.

It is estimated that 6,000 stores across the country offer treatment for conditions ranging from eczema to the menopause. But the industry, although growing in popularity, is largely unregulated.

At the Herb Garden store in Leigh on Sea, Essex, an undercover reporter from the BBC was sold a herbal slimming pill and told it contained rhubarb and honeysuckle. Tests showed it contained fenfluarmine - an illegal pharmaceutical considered to be so dangerous that it is banned in most countries worldwide, including the UK.

The owner of the store was prosecuted earlier this year for illegally selling the same drug. She was fined £30,000 with another £20,000 in court costs. The maximum sentence for selling an illegal medicine is two years imprisonment.

(Not long enough.)

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Plant oil 'acts like cancer drug'

Scientists have pinpointed how evening primrose oil fights breast tumours.
It is down to a substance in the oil called gamma-linolenic acid that acts on the same receptor in tumours as the powerful breast cancer drug Herceptin.

Unlike Herceptin, which blocks the Her-2/neu receptor, GLA interferes with the gene carrying the DNA code needed to make the receptor work.

The US work in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute applies to about 30% of breast cancers.

Source BBC News.


How singing unlocks the brain

As Bill Bundock's Alzheimer's progressed he became more and more locked into his own world.

He withdrew into himself and stopped communicating with his wife, Jean.

Jean said Bill lost his motivation, and his desire and ability to hold conversations, but all this changed when the couple started attending a local sing-song group, aimed especially for people with dementia.

Jean said Singing for the Brain had unlocked Bill's communication block.

New study is boost to homeopathy

A six-year study at Bristol Homeopathic Hospital shows over 70% of patients with chronic diseases reported positive health changes after treatment.

More than 6,500 patients took part in the study with problems ranging from eczema to menopause and arthritis.

The biggest improvements were seen in children - 89% of under 16s with asthma reported improvement.

Of the group 75% felt 'better' or 'much better', as did 68% of eczema patients under 16.

The results contradict a study published earlier this year in The Lancet, which concluded that using homeopathy was no better than taking dummy drugs.

Fungi 'new tool' against malaria

Fungi native to East Africa could be used as a new tool in the fight against malaria, recent studies suggest.

An international team of scientists from the Netherlands, Tanzania and the UK say their technique could significantly reduce malaria cases.

Their research has been presented at the Fourth pan-African Malaria Conference in Yaounde, Cameroon.

Source - BBC News