Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
News Beginning Wk 13 Aug 2001
New Health Warnings With Mobiles
The latest in the mobile phone health scares this week. It is now official: all mobile are to be sold with printed warnings on handsets concerning the levels of radiation they emit. The decision was triggered following insistence from the European Union and has since been backed by the UK Government. The information provided will show the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), a measure of how much radiation is absorbed by the body when the phone is used, as well as an explanation of the rating scale. The upper safety limit is 2.0, while the safest phones have SARs less than 1.0. A spokesman from the Department of Health praised the ruling, explaining that SARs had previously been measured in different ways, making it difficult for the consumer to compare radiation and safety levels. He said: This means that for the first time customers will be able to directly compare the SAR values of different phones.
Bad Fats For The Heart
New findings concerning dietary fats were published this week, and they are not good for margarine manufacturers. According to researchers at the Hospital European Georges Pompidou in Paris fats from margarine and some cooking oils can cause a higher risk of sudden death in middle-aged people who consume too much of these products. The polyunsaturated fats can cause an abnormal heartbeat which may lead to a sudden cardiac death, doctors warn. The study says that sudden cardiac death can be caused by a build-up of free fatty acids in the bloodstream. The so called Omega-6 fatty acids, found in margarine, foods fried in polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as sunflower and corn oil and some processed food, are believed to be harmful. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, tofu and rapeseed oil are more beneficial. The research team concludes that high levels of fatty acids show more than 30 per cent risk of sudden cardiac death. Nutritionist Lyndel Costain says polyunsaturated fats are necessary for our health. Cutting back on Omega-6 and giving more room for Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet will minimize the risk of sudden cardiac death she says.
The Daily Mail
Botulism In Baby Milk
Big scare this week in the baby feed world. SMA, the UKs largest baby food manufacturers were forced to recall over 400,000 cans of baby milk last night, after a child fell ill with infant botulism, a deadly form of food poisoning. The company has warned parents to check the expiry dates on tins of SMA Gold and White brands and to destroy all cans with expiry dates between October 2001 and 28 November 2001. The batches being withdrawn were produced three years ago and it is unlikely that there are more than a few tins still in circulation.
The move comes after traces of C botulism type B were found in a can of SMA Gold. A five month old girl fell seriously ill with the virus in June and exhaustive tests by the Public Health Laboratory Service pointed to the infant formula as the most likely cause of the disease. The baby is now on the road to recovery. Infant botulism attacks the central nervous system and can be fatal, causing death by heart or lung failure. Symptoms include constipation and weakness.
Even Small Amounts Of Alcohol Are A No No In Pregnancy
Latest research from the USA suggests that even small amounts of alcohol drunk during pregnancy can be harmful to the growing foetus. The existing guidelines suggest that pregnant women drink no more than four glasses of wine per week. Now scientists have found that the brain and nervous systems of young monkeys are adversely affected by small amounts of alcohol ingested by their mothers. Alcohol led to a noteworthy decrease in attention span and reflex speed, and early exposure was as harmful as exposure throughout pregnancy. Women of childbearing age should abstain from consuming alcohol if they are considering pregnancy, warned the research leader Mary Schneider.
More Evidence For Passive Smoking Effects
Further evidence for the detrimental effects of passive smoking on non-smokers this week. A research group at the University of Dundee discovered that non-smokers exposed to cigarette fumes at work had their lung function reduced by as much as 10 per cent, and that passive smoking at home and in the workplace did not have the same impact. Three hundred men and women who had never smoked before were physically examined, questioned about their exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and had their health records examined. The results, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, showed lung function was significantly reduced by passive smoking, with tobacco smoke inhaled at work having the biggest impact.
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