Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
WEEK BEGINNING 4 June 2001
The Secret To Longevity
Want to know how to live longer? Well, medical scientists believe they have the solution – and it was a chance finding. The discovery was made after studying the individual health of over 700 men for a period of more than 60 years, a study which involved physical investigations every five years and psychological assessments every two. Privileged Harvard graduates were compared with socially disadvantaged men. The keys to a long life proved to be moderate drinking, not smoking, exercising, not being overweight, looking on the bright side, not suffering from depression, and getting a good education. The health of those who lived in inner-city areas declined more rapidly, except for those had gained a university degree. This indicated that education was more important than income or social position. An unhappy childhood and parental age had no effect on longevity. According to expert Professor Tom Kirkwood, "Three-quarters of it is down to non-genetic factors which we can control, such as nutrition and lifestyle". A case of the interaction of both genes and environment.
Watch Those Hormones To Save Your Marriage
Never allow stress to raise its ugly head on your wedding day. Why? Because new evidence shows that raised levels of stress hormones when you get married could mean that your union is destined to fail. In a landmark study a team at Ohio State University set out to measure the levels of stress hormones in newlywed couples while relaxed and when discussing sensitive subjects, for instance money or their dreaded in-laws. After a period of ten years later the scientists reassessed the married couples to ascertain how they were fairing. Research leader, Dr Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, concludes that specific stress hormone levels were far superior predictors of the probability of divorce than any particular behavioural traits. Furthermore it was women who tended to have significantly higher hormone levels than men during a marital conflict.
Save Your Prostate With A Can Sardines
One for the men this. The incidence of prostate cancer has risen in the last twenty to thirty years. But here’s an opportunity to fight back – with the humble sardine as your weapon. Sound ridiculous? Well, new research has shown that men who eat oily fish twice a week are half as likely to develop cancer of the prostate gland. The findings, published in The Lancet, were based upon a study of more than 6000 men in Sweden, where fish consumption is traditionally high. The report also finds that people eating oily fish have a 70 per cent less chance of dying from the disease. Professor Alicja Wolk of the Karolinska Institute in Stokholm, said: ‘Men who ate no fish, or ate it very rarely had a three times higher risk of dying of prostate cancer. Switching this into a more positive message, those who eat fish have 70 per cent less risk of dying from the cancer and a 50 per cent lower incidence of the disease.’ It is widely accepted by scientists that oily fish can help to prevent heart disease, but professor Wolk said that this is the first large-scale epidemiological study to show that eating fish such as sardines can help to fight prostate cancer.
Zyban Has Risks Say GPs
The new anti-smoking drug, Zyban, has run into further controversy this week. Leading medical organisation, the British Medical Association has remonstrated with the Government over its failure to protect patients from the potential side-effects of the drug. The BMA argues that ministers were negligent in not emphasising the dangers of Zyban before its launch as a UK prescription drug last year. BMA spokesperson Dr Chaand Nagpaul stated this week: ‘The Government didn’t forewarn the profession about the drug and how to manage this surge of demand. As a result, people were probably prescribed the drug without a full discussion about its potential hazards.’ The latest figures show that 40 the deaths of at least 40 people in the UK could be linked to use of Zyban. Over 12 million people in the UK smoke.
The Mail on Sunday
Peanut allergy link to skin creams
Warnings were delivered this week regarding the potential link between eczema creams and peanut allergy. New research by medical scientists at St Mary’s Hospital. London, provides strong evidence that peanut allergy in youngsters could be due, at least in part, to the use of skin creams containing peanut oil. The findings are the conclusion of a study spanning ten years. The study also revealed that nut allergy is not linked to the mother’s diet during pregnancy or breast feeding. Nine out of 10 children who developed this dangerous allergy had also suffered from eczema. The research was lead by Dr Gideon Lack. He explains how significant disruption to the skin by eczema may act as a portal for foreign peanut proteins to enter the body, setting up a sensitisation reaction in a child’s immune system. On many lotions and medications peanut oil is also known as monkey nut or groundnut oil, Arachis hypogaea or Arachis oil.
The Daily Telegraph
Not Just The Spice Of Life: Variety Linked To Obesity
We may glory in the rich variety of foods now available us to in our Western world but it could be just this veritable cornucopia of culinary delights that is slowly leading us to an early grave via obesity. New research from the University of Buffalo in New York made comparisons of over 50 existing individual studies and their conclusion was a simple one: too much choice leads to overeating and subsequently overweight. In a typical study, when four courses involving different dishes were served to healthy volunteers, the same volunteers managed to eat over 44 per cent more than a control group which was served up four courses of the same dish. The conclusion of the Buffalo team? Stay well clear of buffets if you are trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight by eating simple foods.
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