Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine

Monthly Archive


Boost Brain Power With Exercise

Walking, jogging and cycling can prevent memory and mental skills declining with age, according to new research. Scientists at Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina have reported that middle-aged and elderly people who do thirty minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week show improvements in memory and the ability to cope with several intellectual tasks simultaneously. Previous research by the same group has shown that exercise is an effective treatment for depression. Dr James Blumenthal who headed the research, believes that the effects are due to exercise increasing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
The Daily Telegraph

For more go to Holistic Living feature

Overweight Linked To Asthma Risk

Overweight children are more likely to suffer from asthma, according to researchers at King’s College, London. The link could be due to the growing ‘couch potato’ culture, with children preferring to stay indoors rather than exercising. A recent report said the number of children with weight problems in the UK has doubled since the 1980s, while asthma rates among under-fives have also doubled in the last ten years. Around 1.5 million children in the UK suffer from the disease.

The latest study at King’s College looked at 10,000 children aged between four and 11 in England and Scotland. The data, collected between 1993 and 1994, found that 17 per cent were asthmatic. The children who weighed the most were more likely to have the disease, with girls more prone to the problem than boys.

Scientists are still unsure whether obesity causes asthma or whether asthma causes weight problems, possibly because of less exercise. Work in the US has indicated that obesity precedes asthma. However, Dr Jose Figuera-Munoz, who led the study, said: ‘Asthma may be a risk factor as many parents believe a child with asthma should not exercise.’ It is also unclear why overweight girls were more likely to have asthma than boys. Some experts have also said asthma may be linked to nutritional problems. The National Asthma Campaign recommends fresh fruit everyday to reduce the risk of lung disease.

Daily Express

For more go to Asthma


Breathe Your Stress Away

Check out The National Asthma Campaign (a CHC supporter)

Healthy Bones Need Exercise

A couch potato lifestyle can lead to more bone fractures in later life, according to researchers in Cambridge. Exercise, especially 'high impact' activities, increases bone strength and reduces the risk of bones succumbing to diseases such as osteoporosis. Playing sports like squash, football, tennis and aerobics, can help women defer bone problems for four years compared with those who are physically inactive. Researchers studied the lifestyles of 5000 people living in Norfolk. They used ultrasound scans of the heelbones to compare bone mineral density of those who participated in sport and those who did not. They recommend that younger women should take up high impact activities to build up bone density and slow down the natural bone loss that occurs after the menopause.

Daily Mail

For more go to Bone Health Q&A

Osteoporosis - The Silent Killer

Holistic Living feature

Agnus Castus – The Ultimate Alternative To HRT

A herbal treatment first used by Hippocrates over 2,500 years ago could cure the monthly misery of premenstrual tension suffered by thousands of women. Scientists tested the effectiveness of agnus castus, better known as chasteberry, in a German trial of 170 PMT sufferers. The participants all regularly suffered from severe symptoms, including irritability, anger, headache, breast fullness, bloating and mood swings. Of the women participating, 86 were given the herbal extract, whilst 84 received an inactive placebo. Those receiving the agnus castus showed an improvement of about 50 per cent in five of the symptoms. Only bloating remained unchanged. No significant adverse side effects were reported. Researchers believe the key may be in natural compounds in the berry related to human sex hormones.

Daily Mail

For more go to Natural Hormones feature

Sort Out That Dietary Fibre Labelling!

The Food Commission, Britain’s leading independent food watchdog, has accused dietary fibre labelling of being almost useless and set to become even worse. A new method that was approved by the Government two years ago is in use alongside an old procedure, which both give different results. This means that it is impossible for consumers to compare products. However, plans to drop the old method, which is linked to Department of Health guidance on healthy eating, have been criticised as the new system makes some low-fibre foods out to have much more fibre than they do. Dr Tim Loebstein, director of the Food Commission, accused the Government of putting the food industry’s interests before consumers.

The Times

For more go to Healthy Nutrition series

Milk Back On The School Timetable

Local authorities are planning to distribute milk treated with fluoride to schoolchildren. The first schools to try the milk will be in South Yorkshire. This move follows the discovery that less than two-thirds of children are registered with an NHS dentist and 17 per cent of all children have decayed teeth. It is hoped the 'dental milk' will reduce these figures. The milk is to be introduced in areas whose water supply is not already treated with fluoride. Some parents think the new milk is a bad idea because of the side effects that fluoride can cause. However, parental consent will be sought before distributing the milk within schools, although this may also cause problems if children try other milk or swap milk given to them by their teacher.

The Independent on Sunday


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