Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine

Monthly Archive

News Beginning Wk 27 Aug 2001

Anxiety Is In The Genes

Scientists have identified a variant gene that may be the cause of most panic attacks and anxiety disorders. A team of Spanish researchers studied families with a history of panic disorders, agoraphobia and social phobia. The scientists found that in 90 per cent of affected family members, a small area of chromosome 15 was duplicated. They also showed that this abnormality, now called DUP25, was manifested in 97 per cent of another 70 people studied who suffered from panic attacks. The region in question apparently contains over 60 genes, of which 23 have been identified so far. Some of these are related to proteins known to control communication between nerve cells: the researchers hypothesise that the wrong quantity of these proteins may make the brain hypersensitive in some situations. One team member, Monica Gratacos, said that it could 'take at least five or 10 years' before the genes were identified and a drug-based treatment could be developed.

The Daily Telegraph

Heart Disease & Filtered Coffee

Cutting coffee out of your diet could reduce the risk of heart disease by 15 per cent, according to researchers from the Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo. Experts believe that unfiltered coffee can raise levels of cholesterol and homocysteine – both associated with heart disease and strokes. The latest study shows that even filtered coffee could be linked to cardiovascular disease.

Daily Mail

Bone Thinning Linked With Cola

Having too many caffeinated drinks can cause calcium deficiency and brittle bones in later life, according to a new study. The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said previous studies had linked fizzy drinks to weakened bones and fractures in later life, but had not established a reason for this. Dr Robert Heany and Dr Karen Rafferty of the Creighton University Osteoporosis Research Centre in Omaha, Nebraska found that caffeinated products appeared to cause ‘small but significant increases in urinary calcium extraction.’ The experts concluded that the main cause of calcium loss associated with carbonated drinks was their lack of bone-building nutrients.

Daily Telegraph

Love Apples Help Fight Prostate Cancer

Tomato pills could be effective in the fight against prostate cancer. A pill sold over the counter as Lyc-O-Mato, containing 15mg of tomato lycopene, the substance which makes tomatoes red, were tested on 30 men with prostate cancer. Half of the group took the pill twice daily for three weeks before they were due to have surgery. After their operations, it was discovered that the group of men who had taken the pill had smaller tumours than the others, and that the tumours were less likely to have spread. An expert at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Professor Omer Kucuk said: ‘Our findings suggest that lycopene as tomato extract may not only help prevent prostate cancer, but also may be useful in treating prostate cancer.’

Daily Mail

Maths Prowess All In The Little Grey Cells

Scientists have found a structural basis for mathematical ability. The study was published in the journal Brain and carried out by researchers at the Institute of Child Health in London. The team analysed the amount of grey matter in certain parts of the brains of adolescents who were very premature babies, weighing less than 3lb 3oz. They found that children who were weak at maths has less grey matter in the left parietal lobe (an area towards the back of the brain), whereas children who were able to do sums competently had a normal amount of grey matter in that area. The report suggests that the smaller lobe may be caused by premature birth that stunted growth. Research leader Dr Elizabeth Isaacs said: ‘This is the first report establishing a structural neural correlate of calculation ability.’

The Independent

Noise Affects Health

Britain is three times noisier today than 30 years ago and it is having implications on people’s health, according to research issued by painkiller firm Anadin. In this survey 2000 people were interviewed in a test to find out what sounds made people stressed. Mobile phone ringing, traffic, car alarms and screaming babies could make as much noise as a Concorde taking off - 120 decibels. Researcher, Tony Hale said that if all these sounds occur simultaneously, people listening to the noise will suffer from hearing loss, pain and stress. Today’s society is deafer than it used to be, says Mr Hale. Levels of sound were measured on Oxford Street, central London, and compared to 30 years ago. The results show that today, the noise reaches 90 decibel, while it was only 50 or 60 before. Just listening to a Walkman for hours can damage children’s hearing said Mr Hale.

Daily Express


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