Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
WEEK BEGINNING 12 Feb 2001
A biochemist from Exeter University has found a way to make proteins
sing. Dr Linda Long uses computers to generate music from the three-dimensional
structures of proteins - molecules such as hormones and enzymes
- that control most biological processes. Dr Long has won an award
of �,000 from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and
the Arts to develop her work as a tool for teaching and analysing
complex biological structures and to make music for therapeutic
purposes. The technique generates musical notes from the position
in space of amino acids, the chemical building blocks that make
up a protein molecule. These co-ordinates can then be fed into a
music synthesiser or played by musicians. The note sequences are
derived from the natural protein structure without manipulation.
Dr Long hopes to license the technology and concentrate on its educational
and musical potential.
Smoking Raises Arthritis Risks
A recent study has found that heavy smokers are at greater risk
of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The research, which was published
in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases yesterday, found that people
who smoked 20 cigarettes a day for more than 40 years were more
than 13 times more likely to develop this debilitating joint disease.
In addition, heavy smokers were more likely to develop the disease
in its most severe form. The link established by this particular
study is so strong, researchers suggest that heavy smoking could
in itself be a major cause of rheumatoid arthritis. However, although
the data was collated from several British centres, further investigation
For more go to Arthritis
Herbal Remedies for Arthritis
Smoking Cessation Q&A
Latest Obesity Research
Women in the lowest socio-economic groups are nearly three times
as likely to be obese as those in higher groups, a study has reported.
Scientists based at University College, London, surveyed 1,890 men
and women and asked them to decide whether they thought they were
obese, underweight, or about the right weight. They found that more
people in the higher social groups believed they were overweight
even when they were not. The figures recorded that 7.3 per cent
of women in the highest group actually were obese, compared with
18.5 per cent in the fourth and fifth social groups. Prof. Jane
Wardle, who led the survey, said: What we need to see now
is how closely peoples attitudes to their weight influence
the weight they are.
The Daily Telegraph
For more go to Obesity
Healthy Nutrition series
Daily Bread And Headaches
A report in the journal Neurology has said that cutting out bread
and other foods with cereal grains could help stop recurring headaches.
A trial involving ten patients found that when they stopped eating
grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats, nine of them found partial
or total pain relief. Researchers believe their headaches may have
been caused by gluten in the food. However, they stressed that medical
advice should be sought before turning to a gluten-free diet.
For more go to Headaches and Migraines
Not Just Holier Than Thou
People who regularly attend church have longer and healthier lives,
according to new research. Churchgoers consume less alcohol, take
regular exercise, smoke less and maintain stable marriages. Their
better lifestyles mean that they experience less depression and
anxiety, have lower blood pressure and stronger immune systems than
non-churchgoers. Analysis of the results suggests that frequent
attendance at religious services promotes a more abstemious lifestyle
rather than simply attracting people who already have good health
behaviour. It has previously been speculated that the friendship
and social support associated with being a member of a church was
responsible for the health benefits.
Suppliers of face creams have been banned from advertising that
their products reverse the signs of ageing. The Advertising Standards
Authority examined trial data for creams containing retinol, a pure
form of vitamin A that manufacturers say reduces the appearance
of wrinkles, and decided that their claims cannot be substantiated.
However, Will Finn, the UK marketing director of Johnson & Johnson
which makes Roc Actif Pu Eye Contour Cream, said: It is our
belief that the product does all of the things we claim it does.
Over �6 million is spent on anti-ageing creams in the UK each
Obesity is costing the UK �5 billion a year according to a report
that warns the problem has reached epidemic proportions. Figures
form the National Audit Office show that one in five adults is dangerously
overweight. Illnesses associated with obesity, such as coronary
heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and osteoarthritis, cost the
NHS at least �0 million each year. Obesity accounted for 18 million
days of sick leave and 30,000 premature deaths in 1998 and this
costs another �billion. The popularity of fatty, high-calorie
foods coupled to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle was identified
as the major cause of the problem.
Director of Health Value for Money at the National Audit Office,
Dr James Robertson, said that he hoped the report would raise awareness
of the problem and suggested that doctors should be offered guidance
on when to intervene with anti-obesity treatments. Services within
the NHS for treating obesity are described as patchy.
Dr Robertson said: This report is intended to start the debate.
We will not turn everyone who is obese into their ideal body weight
overnight. But even a 10 per cent reduction in weight can cause
quite dramatic health improvements.
The Daily Telegraph
Something For The Bald Pate
Scientists may have found the key to baldness. They have discovered
a protein, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, that increases blood
circulation to the scalp, improving the health of the hair follicle
and boosting hair growth. Professor of Dermatology at Massachusetts
General Hospital in Boston, Professor Michael Detmar, said: In
male pattern hair loss, its not that the follicles are gone
theyve just become miniature follicles. If we can make
the follicles bigger, men can grow hair again. The researchers
hope to produce an ointment containing the protein that can be rubbed
on the scalp.
For more go to Baldness
Late To Rise And Stroke Risks
Scientists have found that sleeping for more than eight hours a
night may increase the risk of suffering from a stroke. This maybe
due to a reduced blood supply to the brain if someone regularly
spends a long time asleep. In addition the researchers from the
University of Buffalo in New York State found that those who snore
or often feel drowsy during the day also have an increased stroke
risk. The US scientists investigated over 1300 adults' stroke history.
The scientists said that the three sleeping patterns, long sleeping
hours, snoring and drowsiness were not necessarily linked and could
be independent causes of strokes. However, both severe snoring and
drowsiness can be a sign of sleep apnoea, where sufferers stop breathing
for a short time during sleep causing a lack of oxygen to their
brain and other organs. Apnoea can cause snoring or sudden awakening,
which may lead to drowsiness during the day. Consultants of stroke
medicine have stressed that this study has only highlighted new
areas that should be investigated more carefully.
Diet Linked To Alzheimers
Research into Alzheimers has found that diet plays a major
role in causing the disease. Scientist from the US and Nigeria have
been studying two groups of elderly people, African Americans and
Nigerians, in the hope of revealing further information on what
causes the disease. Their research has show African Americans are
more than twice as likely to suffer from Alzheimers. One possible
explanation is the mainly vegetarian diet of Nigerians compared
to the fatty, high cholesterol diet of Americans. The report went
on to make a connection between heart disease and Alzheimers.
It said: Vascular disease may contribute both to dementia
and to the development, progression, and clinical severity of Alzheimers.
Other research has speculated over the link between heart disease
and Alzheimers; this report is further proof of the possible
For more go to Alzheimers Disease
More From Those Vikings
The Vikings, who raped and pillaged their way across northern and
eastern Britain for nearly 300 years, may have unwittingly left
a deadly legacy. In the first ever study of family heart disease,
sponsored by the British Heart Foundation and the Medical Research
Council researchers, have uncovered a series of genetic anomalies
in the north east of England. Experts believe it could be a deadly
inheritance resulting from three centuries of Nordic interbreeding.
Professor Alistair Hall, a consultant cardiologist and joint leader
of the �5 million Family Heart Study, believes that enduring Viking
genes partially explain the high level of heart disease in the north
east. Cardiovascular problems, especially coronary artery problems,
are prevalent in northern Europe, and clusters of heart disease
coincide with certain patterns of invasion. Genetic disorders that
can cause heart disease, such as familial hypercholesterolaemia
caused by the hyper cholesterol gene are passed down through the
generations in areas where the gene pool remains relatively undiluted.
Populations that remain isolated do not produce strong genes because
there is no free mix. A lack of inter-marriage in the
north east could help explain the high incidence of heart disease.
Increased demographic movements in the south, greater inter-marriage,
and a series of genetic invasions - particularly by the Romans and
Normans, who failed to reach more inaccessible parts of the country
- created a stronger gene pool. The aim of the Family Heart Study,
which began four years ago, is to challenge the idea that lifestyle
is the only cause of early heart disease.
The Independent on Sunday
Not A Time Team Find
Archaeologists working in the grounds of Oxford University's History
of Science Museum have found the remains of people who were dissected
by doctors over 200 years ago. Graham Hull, who led the excavation,
said that many of the bones showed signs of having been sawed and
subjected to chemical treatment. He said: 'The find shows the kind
of work carried out on corpses by students in a period when medicine
was making great strides.' Most of the bodies would have been deposited
in pit between 1752 and 1767. An Act of Parliament allowed dissection
to be added as an additional punishment following execution so that
'some further Terror and peculiar mark of Infamy be added to the
Punishment of Death'. Matthew Kaufman, a professor of anatomy at
Edinburgh University, said: 'People believed that the soul would
be in limbo unless the body was properly buried. Therefore the idea
of dissection was horrifying.'
The Sunday Telegraph
Statement | Terms
& Conditions | Telephone: 020 7243 1968
| Email: email@example.com
| Designed & Developed by SP
Internet Consultancy Ltd
| Health News
File | Q
& A | Features
| Support Groups
| About Us
Doctor | Events