Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine

Monthly Archive

News Beginning Wk 3 Sept 2001

Coffee Stiffens The Blood Vessels

The chemical caffeine can be found in many of our favourite beverages – including that morning pick-me-up the cup of coffee. But now researchers are warning us that too much caffeine could be killing us slowly. There is growing evidence that caffeine causes the arteries of the heart to stiffen and may lead to high blood pressure and other heart problems. The effect of drinking a single cup of coffee could last two or three hours and the first morning cup may have the most severe effects.

In research was carried out by doctors from the department of cardiology of Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens and Athens University medical school, volunteers were either given capsules containing 100mg of caffeine (equivalent to a single cup of coffee) or ‘dummy’ capsules. On a later date, the same volunteers had their capsules swapped. Scientists measured the stiffening effect by observing a blood pressure wave in the forearm. As blood is pumped around the body, it creates a surge called a reflected wave. As it is known that a wave travels faster in a rigid tube, the researchers were able to calculate arterial rigidity. They found that those who took the capsules containing caffeine showed an increased stiffness in their arteries that lasted up to three hours. Those who took the placebo showed no such increase.

Daily Mail

Reduce Blood Clots With Chocolate?

Eating dark chocolate on long flights may reduce the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a new study suggests. A scientist at the University of California has shown a link between substances called flavonoids, found in chocolate, and a lowering of platelet activation and aggregation in blood, believed to be important risk factors in clotting. Carl Keen, Professor of nutrition and internal medicine at the University of California, claimed that ‘eating chocolate rich in flavonoids regularly and as part of a balanced diet can have positive cardiovascular effects and may even contribute to a lower risk of blood clots.’ However he pointed out that the results of his study did not prove that eating chocolate could help prevent DVT.

The Times

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,2-2001304763,00.html

Increased Incidence Of Heart Attacks Through Passive Smoking

Up to a fifth of heart attacks in non-smokers could be due to passive smoking according to the work of a Greek research group. The team studied 750 heart patients between January 2000 and March 2001 as well as a similar group of patients who had no history of heart disease. The non-smokers in both groups were questioned about their daily exposure to second hand smoke: the results showed a strong correlation between incidence of heart disease and amount of exposure. Passive smoking at home increased the risk by 15 per cent. At work, the risk was higher by 21 per cent. Non-smokers who inhaled the second-hand smoke of more than one pack of cigarettes a day showed a nearly 50 per cent higher risk. According to team leader Demosthenes Panagiotakos, from Athens University school of medicine, the chance of suffering from acute coronary syndrome for non-smokers depended on the number of hours a day and the number of years they had been exposed to second-hand smoke. He said: ‘>From our results we can say that passive smoking is responsible for one out of five non-smokers exposed to cigarette smoke who suffer a heart attack.’

Daily Mail

Eating Disorders On The Increase

According to a study from Canada up to 25% of teenage girls could be suffering from some form of eating disorder. The research, which studied 1739 girls between the ages of 12 to 18, says 27 per cent of them showed symptoms of binge eating, purging or excessive dieting. The scientists at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto said that many girls develop an unhealthy attitude to food and weight before the age of 14. In Britain, some 60,000 people suffer from eating disorders, 90 per cent of which are female. However, UK specialists believe the problems here are not so widespread as in Canada.

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=92383

Pesticides Contaminating Our Fruit & Veg

The modern methods of fruit and vegetable production could be doing more harm than good. This is the finding of a Which? Report published this week. In a study performed by the Pesticides Residue Committee, 20 per cent of lettuce showed traces of chemical residue over the legal limit. One sample contained eight different types of pesticides, including one called dimethoate that is not supposed to be used on lettuce. Grapes and strawberries persistently exceeded the maximum residue level (MRL) and tomatoes, carrots and plums also showed high levels of pesticide traces. The committee report stated: ‘The results of the last four years show many such [vegetables] as lettuce, celery and carrots persistently contain residues, exceed the MRL or contain multiple residues – potentially increasing the toxic effect.’

Daily Express

 

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