Friday, March 31, 2006

Detox's medical claims face probe

The marketing of detox products is to be investigated by the government after the BBC drew its attention to some of their medical claims.

The Medical Health Care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is taking action based on investigations by Real Story's Doctors on a Detox programme.

Some detox products claim to enhance the immune system, relieve pain, flush out toxins and stimulate circulation.

But the programme said they had not undergone proper medical tests.

Medical claims can only be made after rigorous testing.

Calcium may cut severe pregnancy complications: study shows

Pregnant women taking calcium tablets are less likely to have severe complications of preeclampsia, a condition in which a woman's blood pressure rises dramatically, according to a new international study.

However, the extra calcium did not significantly reduce the number of women who got preeclampsia, according to Dr. Jose Villar of the World Health Organization, lead author of the study.

Reporting in the March issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the research team spread across the globe tracked the progress of 8,300 women selected for the study.

Studies Find B Vitamins Don't Prevent Heart Attacks

A widely promoted B vitamin regimen for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes has shown no beneficial effects in people at high risk, researchers are reporting today.

The hypothesis was that B vitamins — folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 — can protect people against homocysteine, an amino acid that some doctors said was as important and dangerous a risk factor for heart disease as cholesterol.

B vitamins, which are found in a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, have no known harmful effects. And if people take them as supplements, their homocysteine levels plummet.

So it seemed reasonable to many doctors and patients to expect that taking the vitamins would be protective. It might be even better than taking statins, some said, which are well established to prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels.

It was not, the new studies find.

Source - New York Times

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Gene spells danger for coffee addicts

A gene that controls how fast your body breaks down caffeine might explain why some people can get away with drinking lots of coffee and others can't, new research suggests.

People with a genetic variation linked with slow caffeine metabolism are more likely to have a nonfatal heart attack, the researchers write today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers looked at 4024 people who lived in coffee-rich Costa Rica between 1994 and 2004. Half had had a nonfatal heart attack, and half had not.

They found that slightly more than half had the slow version of the gene while the others had the fast form.

"We found in individuals who had the slow version of this gene, as little as two cups of coffee a day is associated with an increased risk of heart disease," says study author Dr Ahmed El-Sohemy of the University of Toronto.


Wine 'can help treat gum disease'

Chemicals in red wine can help prevent and treat gum disease, a study says.

Canadian scientists believe the polyphenols can block production of free radical molecules, high levels of which can damage gum tissue.

The research, by Quebec's Universite Laval, was presented to the American Association for Dental Research.

However, dentists warn there are other risks associated with drinking wine, and people should not think it was good for their teeth.


Doctors 'recommend cannabis use'

One in six people who take cannabis for pain relief say their doctor advised them to use it, a survey suggests.

The UK survey, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, asked just under 1,000 people about their use of the drug.

Almost 70% said cannabis significantly relieved their symptoms - 45% said it worked better than prescribed drugs.

But the British Medical Association said it had never heard of a doctor recommending the drug.