Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
Week Beginning 26 August 2002
Discovery shows how cancer spreads
A discovery by scientists at the Beatson Institute in Glasgow makes it clearer how cancer spreads through the body. They have found that a key protein molecule – called Src – helps to loosen the structure of tissues surrounding a tumour, allowing cancer cells to move around the body. Lead researcher Professor Margaret Frame says, 'We’ve now found that the molecule triggers several different chemical signals, affecting cells in a variety of ways. Designing drugs to intercept these signals could be an important way of preventing bowel cancer from spreading.'
Microwave cooking 'may be hazard'
Research by scientists in Sweden indicates that microwave cooking leads to the creation of a cancer-causing substance recently associated with potato. Dr Margareta Tornqvist of Stockholm University, who first discovered the danger posed by acrylamide, says the chemical forms in food heated to temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius, and believes the only safe food is that which has been boiled. The original research was confirmed by work done at the Food Standards Agency in the UK.
Cold risk for air passengers
US scientists say holidaymakers are seven times more likely to catch a cold if they travel by air. A study at the University of California shows that as many as one in five passengers develops a cold within a week of flying because of bacteria circulating inside aircraft cabins. The low humidity of the air in aircraft could be a key factor because this weakens the body’s defences against infection, but the researchers admit that the loss of sleep experienced by passengers crossing time zones could also be a factor.
Farm sludge danger
US research indicates that people living near farmland fertilised with some biosolids – a byproduct of the human waste treatment process – are at risk of health problems including eye and lung irritation and skin rashes. Scientists at the University of Georgia found in a study covering people in six US states and the Canadian province of Ontario that many residents had Staphylococcus aureus infections of the skin and respiratory tract. About a quarter of the people in the study were infected, and two died of septicaemia and pneumonia.
Fruit supplement may reduce heart risk
A supplement extracted from tomatoes which can help prevent heart disease is expected to net Scottish scientists millions of pounds. The substance, found in the clear juice of the fruit, has been found to have 'extraordinary' benefits and the scientists, from the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, have set up a commercial venture to market the extract, called CardioFlow. The scientists found that 80 per cent of people who drank the extract show a marked thinning of the blood.
The Daily Express
Children’s ability to communicate getting worse
Children’s ability to communicate has deteriorated over the past five years, with toddlers who spend too much time watching television being unable to speak properly in sentences or use the right words to express themselves, according to the National Literacy Trust and the National Association of Head Teachers. The organisations are pushing for parents to take a bigger role in developing children’s speech skills, and campaigning for them to switch off the television and talk to their children instead.
Stressed men 'avoid sex'
More men are foregoing sex in favour of a cup of cocoa and an early night, researchers say. Almost half of UK men questioned said they were too stressed for sex at the end of the working day, compared with just a third of women. Some three-quarters of men feel their life is more stressful than five years ago, and 44 per cent are too tense for sex before sleep, the survey found.
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