Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine

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Food Poisoning On The Rise

Five million people in the UK were struck down with food poisoning last year but only in one in five reported their illness, according to a new survey. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reported that less than half of the population is happy with current food safety measures. The survey interviewed 3153 Britons and found that three in five were worried about food poisoning, particularly in the hygiene standards of fast food outlets and the way butchers handled raw meat. A higher percentage of English people had suffered food poisoning than in the rest of the UK. The survey also discovered that people are more likely to report their poisoning to their GP than to the food outlet responsible. In addition, up to two thirds of respondents admitted they did not understand what food labelling means. Sir John Krebs, chairman of the FSA, said the survey revealed that public confidence in safety measures was ‘unacceptably low’.

Daily Express

Unhealthy Teenagers

Teenage girls do not match the amount of food they eat to their levels of physical activity, according to a new report. The result is that they are becoming fatter despite eating less than ever before. The study of 2000 children in Western countries found that boys consume almost twice as many calories as girls, eat nearly half as many fruit and vegetables, and eat up to three times more meat. Despite having healthier eating habits, girls often weigh more than their male contemporaries because they do not get as much exercise.

The Times

See Better With Oily Fish

Eating oily fish during pregnancy may help the baby have better eyesight, according to researchers at Bristol University. Fish such as mackerel and sardines are high in DHA, a fatty acid that is an essential component of nerve membranes and essential for neural development. DHA is also found in breast milk, but not in standard formula milks. The study about diet during pregnancy shows that of the 14,000 three-and-a-half years olds tested, one third had the same ability to focus on small detail and judge in three dimensions as adults. Author Dr Cathy Williams said: 'Our results suggest that children whose mothers ate oily fish in pregnancy or who were breast-fed reach the adult grade of depth perception sooner.'

The Daily Telegraph

For more go to Healthy Nutrition series

Turning Down Brain power After Bypass

People who have heart bypass operations have lowered mental abilities after the operation, according to study from the US. More than 40 per cent of patients who have had a bypass showed a decline in mental performance five years later and the decline was greater than would have been expected simply through the ageing process. Doctors' have long suspected that bypass operations cause adverse effects, and the new study suggests recovering patients suffer greater short-term memory loss and lower attention levels.

The Times

Childhood Obesity On The Rise

The number of overweight toddlers has nearly doubled in the past ten years. More than one in five children aged under the age of four is overweight and nearly one in ten is classified as obese, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal yesterday. Researchers from Liverpool University and West Hertfordshire Health Authority studied the weight and height of more than 50,000 babies and children under four in the Wirral Health Authority area between 1989 and 1998.

They used the accepted method of the body mass index (BMI), which is obtained by dividing weight in kilogrammes by height in metres squared. A BMI of more than 25 for adults is classified as overweight and more than 30 as obese. The study shows that in 1998 nearly a quarter of children under four were overweight, compared with 14.7 per cent in 1980. The same study found no change in the average height of children of the same age, suggesting that the results were not caused by children growing faster than in the past.

Reader in Primary Care at the University of Liverpool and leader of the study team, Peter Bundred gave a warning that a change in lifestyle was needed. Overweight toddlers are more likely to grow up into fat adults, prone to heart disease, diabetes and early death. Toddlers should be given fewer ready-meals and should be encouraged to exercise rather than sit in front of a TV set.

Daily Mail

For more go to Obesity

Health Nutrition series

Breast Is Best For Baby’s Heart

A study published in The Lancet yesterday shows that breast-fed babies grow up to have lower blood pressure as teenagers and therefore less risk of cardiovascular disease in later life. Researchers from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London measured blood pressure in 216 children aged from 13 to 16 who had been born prematurely and whose parents has agreed to taking part in a trial testing the benefits of breast milking. When the researchers tested the teenagers’ blood pressure, they found that breast-fed babies had a measurement that was on average four points lower. Studies show that a three-point decrease on the blood pressure scale in the population could result in a 17 per cent fall in high blood pressure rates, a 15 per cent drop in stroke risk and a 6 per cent fall in coronary heart disease risk.

Daily Mail

Get Shorter, Live Longer

US Scientists at the University of Chicago and at the International Longevity Centre have identified the major engineering faults of the human body and suggested solutions. The team, led by Professor S. Jay Olshansky, concluded that the human body is at present designed to die soon after middle age. However, as we are now living longer, otherwise healthy elderly people are suffering from the short warranties on parts of their bodies.

The improvements suggested for a better and longer life included shorter bodies to put less strain on the cardiovascular system and the joints, large mobile ears for better hearing and rewired eyes to strengthen the link between the optic nerve and retina. The report was published in Scientific American. President of the International Longevity Centre in New York, Dr Robert Butler, said: ‘Despite the limitations and flaws about which we write, there is much power we as individuals have to maintain our health.’

Daily Express

Boost Sperm Count With Folic Acid

A leading toxicologist has proclaimed folic acid can increase the quantity and quality of sperm in men suffering partial infertility. Usually recommended to pregnant women in order to prevent certain birth defects research soon to be published will indicate its importance in the male diet. Dr Bruce Ames from the University of California claims a deficiency in folic acid can cause a 90 per cent reduction in sperm count. Experiments were initially conducted on rats but the same has been found in humans. The best way to increase folic acid intake is through an improved diet including fresh fruit and vegetables and possibly a supplement.

The Daily Telegraph


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