Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine

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Back To Work Blues

Latest research gives a greater insight into the end of holiday blues. An early return to work after the New Year may affect the mental health of millions of workers and be bad for the economy, according to a researcher at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.

Professor Cary Cooper, head of organizational psychology and health at the university, has diagnosed feelings of gloom felt by returning workers as post-bank holiday depression syndrome. The cure for the condition, he said, was to make January 2nd a bank holiday, as in Scotland: ‘People who start work on January 2nd feeling tired after the festivities could end up with the syndrome because they are returning before they are fully revitalized. This is compounded by the habit among more and more people not to take time off between Christmas and New Year. It cannot be good for business, since it may lower productivity levels. Having an extra day off on January 2nd could have significant long-term benefits.’

The Daily Telegraph

For more on stress at work go to Stress in the Workplace

For stress prevention go to Stressbuster series

The Milk Of Kindness

We might never take cow’s milk for granted again. A researcher investigating the diet of Masai tribesmen in East Africa has found that milk from Asian and African cattle breeds is healthier than milk from Western cattle. Bob Elliot, Professor of Child Health at the University of Auckland Medical School, noticed that despite drinking huge quantities of milk, Masai tribesman rarely develop problems usually associated with high-dairy diets, such as diabetes and heart disease. He believes this is because these diseases are caused by a variant of the protein beta carasein, an ingredient not found in the milk of Asian and African cattle breeds. A genetic change occurring sometime during the domestication of the cow means that Western cows produce a mixture of A1 and A2 beta caraseins, whereas goats, yaks, buffalo and African and Asian cows produce only A2 – the healthy variant in Professor Elliot’s view. Inspired by the theory, A2 Corporation, a New Zealand dairy company, has started selling milk guaranteed to be free of A1 beta carasein.

The Times

Urban Lifestyles Increase Asthma Incidence

Latest evidence shows that living in an urban area markedly increases the childhood risk of asthma. A group of scientists at the University of California investigated the effect of exposing rhesus monkeys to ozone, one of the primary components of city smog. They found that continued exposure reduced the efficiency of the lungs by affecting airway width and the production of mucus and other protective substances. Ozone also increased the sensitivity of the monkeys to dust mites, a key allergen found in the home. Because the lungs of monkeys and humans are very similar, the research suggests that urban air pollution could be a direct cause of childhood asthma.

The Daily Telegraph

For more go to Asthma

Check out The National Asthma Campaign (a CHC supporter)

Child Obesity On The Rise

It’s fact. Without doubt our British children are getting fatter according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. Researchers from King’s College London analysed over 3000 children aged between 4 and 11 in England and Wales. They found that although the average weight of children changed little between 1974 and 1984, the proportion of overweight children in the last decade has risen significantly. In 1994 1 in 10 Scottish boys were found to be obese, compared with 6.4 per cent 10 years previously, while 9 per cent of English boys were obese, up from 5.4 per cent.

These findings have serious implications for the future health of the population. Dr Sue Chinn, who led the research said: ‘Rising trends will almost certainly be represented in adult obesity and probably in an increase in associated adult illness.’ The cost to public health is potentially significant – problems related to obesity currently take up between 4 and 8 per cent of the health care budget.

The Daily Telegraph

For more go to Obesity

The Demon Fat

Could Sunshine Provide The Answer To The MS Riddle?

We all no how wonderful it is to feel the warmth of sunshine but now there is evidence that sunlight may help protect against multiple sclerosis (MS), heart disease and strokes. Scientists at the University of East Anglia discovered that at greater latitudes there is a 100 times greater risk of MS than in equatorial countries where the prevalence is nil. It has even shown a four-fold variation through the northern to southern states of America. It is thought that the UVB rays in sunlight, the body's main source of vitamin D, are responsible for the beneficial effect. Norwegians and Icelandics, who consume large amounts of vitamin D in their fishy diets, also displayed lower rates of MS than their northern European counterparts. Professor Bentham, who led the study, said: 'If the body has enough (vitamin D) then it protects against MS. More work is needed but it looks as if this could become an important method of preventing the disease.' He warned that the risk of cancer from over-exposure to UVB radiation is still higher than any associated protective effects.

The Daily Telegraph

For more go to: Multiple Sclerosis

Healthy Nutrition series

Check out The Multiple Sclerosis Society (a CHC supporter)

We’re Becoming More Depressed

The warning is here, according to a new report from the Mental Health Foundation. Depression affects one in four adults and could become the world’s second biggest killer with twenty years. Well over half of Britain’s student population exhibits the symptoms of depression, and there has been a 700 per cent increase in the prescription of antidepressants in the last ten years.

Professor Jeffrey Gray of the Institute of Psychiatry in London emphasised that depression doesn’t just kill through suicide. ‘It changes the structure of the brain and there is evidence now that links it to cancer, infectious diseases, premature ageing and undoubtedly dementia.’ He added that our brains are not designed to cope with the stresses of modern life: ‘We are designed to cope with acute stress, the kind that would see someone running from a lion. But modern stress is prolonged and evolution has not designed us to cope with that.’

Furthermore, a recent survey found that many employers would rather give a job to an ex-convict than to someone who admitted suffering from depression.

The Observer,4273,4113566,00.html

For more go to: Depression

Mood Boosters Q&A


Check out Depression Support Groups

Men – It’s Time To Get Healthier

Right chaps, get those bullworkers out and throw away those fags. It’s time to get serious or else, because your Government has just launched a new campaign to target what one minister has called ‘the greatest health inequality of all’ – men are much less healthy than women, and it’s not entirely their own fault. Every year, 20,000 more men than women die before the age of 65. The problem is compounded by other inequalities: an unskilled black man is likely to die 15 years earlier than a white, professional woman. Men are more likely to suffer from cancer, heart disease and HIV than women, to die in an accident, and to take their own lives.

Men are partly to blame. They are more likely to have a poor diet, smoke, abuse alcohol and other drugs, be fat, and expose themselves to the sun. Macho attitudes make them too reticent about visiting the doctor when faced with a health problem. But it’s not entirely their own fault. Eight times more money is spent on female health concerns. There are national screening programmes for breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, for example, but there is none for prostate cancer even though the death toll is four times that of cervical cancer.

The Government’s scheme will require local health authorities to monitor all health inequalities and take remedial action if necessary. Health awareness will be raised by targeting male hangouts such as pubs and betting shops. GPs’ surgeries will be asked to open in the evenings and at weekends, as men are more likely to work full-time. The Health Development Agency has appointed a new men’s health supremo to oversee the scheme, and men have at least two champions in the Government: female health ministers Tessa Jowell and Yvette Cooper.
The Observer,4273,4113643,00.html

Go to Healthy Nutrition series

Holisitc Living feature


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