Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
Week Beginning 18 March 2002
Increasing Incidence Of Birth Defects
Evidence now shows that the incidence of birth defects amongst new-borns is dramatically on the increase. The number of babies born with deformities has risen by as much as 50 per cent in five years, according to the British Defects Foundation, a charity set up by parents and doctors. There have been large increases in three particular areas: cleft palate, gastroschisis - protruding intestines and hypospadias - a deformity of the penis. No clear explanation has emerged but it is possible that the use of recreational drugs by women may be a factor.
Moderate Caffeine Has Little Effect On Birth Outcomes
Swedish researchers have said that moderate caffeine consumption is not linked to low birth-weight. The research from the Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University followed over 850 women through their pregnancies between 1993 and 1998 and say there was no association between caffeine consumption and birth-weight, how far the pregnancy has progressed before the baby is born and poor foetal growth during pregnancy. The research is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The Daily Mirror
Hypertension Linked To Big Meals For Toddlers
New research shows that mothers who give their toddlers big helpings at mealtimes may be putting them at risk of high blood pressure later in life. The research, from the Medical Research Council at Southampton General Hospital, shows the risk of high blood pressure gets worse the quicker low-birthweight children put on weight when young.
The Daily Express
Brain Centre For Choosing Discovered
Scientists have found the part of the brain used to choose between options. A team from the Open University and London Business School has discovered that it is the right parietal cortex that becomes active, and they say the findings could reveal the brain processes behind the conscious decisions people make when it comes to important life choices. The scientists measured the minute magnetic fields around the brain using a technique called magnetoencephalography. Their results, to be published in the journal Neural Plasticity, could be used to help shape advertising and marketing strategies.
New Test For Coeliac Disease
Researchers from the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, in Havana, Cuba, have developed a new test for to detect the malabsorption disorder coeliac disease. The test, which works by detecting antibodies found in the blood of people with the condition, involves dipping a specially prepared strip into a blood sample, with a result produced after just 10 minutes. Trials of the test have produced impressive results, with samples from 50 untreated coeliac patients all producing positive results, while samples from 40 non-coeliac patients with other gastrointestinal disorders all proved negative.
The Daily Express
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