Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
WEEK BEGINNING APR 30
Work Panic Increases Illness
Stress is ruining our working lives and our health. In a recent survey carried out by the Industrial Society, over 74 per cent of workers agreed that stress is the number one up-and-coming health safety issue. Despite this, only one in three companies monitor stress levels among their employees, with a mere 8 per cent providing training in health promotion for their managers.
The high stress levels are particularly worrying in the face of a new study which shows for the first time that infections can be directly linked to stress. A survey of 217 employees at a market research firm found that a feeling of powerlessness over your working life can increase the chances of getting an infection. The American research team behind the study found that workers who reported high stress levels had lower levels of antibacterial and antiviral antibodies in their blood. They also found that senior executives who apparently have a tight grip on their daily tasks often lack the confidence to deal with the unexpected.
The team warns that regularly suffering from colds and flu could be a sign that stress is beginning to take a serious toll on the immune system. Professor Cary Cooper of the University of Manchesters Institute of Science and Technology said: The message is: if you panic, you get ill. Pressure can help you get things done. But when theres too much pressure you become stressed and signs may appear that youre not coping.
Stop Calling Us Names
It could be an end to those eponymous diseases because doctors are calling for an end to the age-old practice of naming a disease after the person who discovered it or the place it was first identified. The Finnish delegation at the forthcoming meeting of the World Medical Association in France wants to outlaw terms such as German measles, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and West Nile encephalitis. Slang terms for diseases have also had a jingoistic tone: English disease is an old French term for syphilis, and French disease a similar term in English. Several less well-known diseases are named after small villages in Finland, and the doctors believe that the practice could have a negative impact, pointing out that diseases are very seldom restricted to a certain area.
Love Fruit And Heart Disease
Tomatoes could significantly reduce your risk of a heart attack. The genetically modified tomatoes developed by scientists at Unilever in Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, have 80 times the levels of a chemical known to fight against clogging the arteries. The scientists have added to the tomato seed a gene from the petunia plant, which boosted the production of flavonols, a natural oxidant that is thought to protect against heart disease, slow the ageing of cells, help combat inflammation and inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells. Tomatoes naturally contain the anti oxidant but at lower levels. The engineered tomatoes looked and tasted the same as normal ones, according to research leader, Dr Martine Verhoeyen. All the flavonols were found in the skin, but even after tomatoes were processed into paste, two thirds of the anti-oxidant were retained. Genetic manipulation can be used to produce plants with improved nutritional traits, Dr Verhoeyen said.
But anti-GM campaigners condemned the research saying consumers should improve their lifestyles in order to fight the risk of heart disease, taking exercise and stopping smoking. A campaigner from Friends of the Earth, Adrian Bebb, said: We dont even know if eating GM food is safe so it is very premature to be saying that these GM products are going to be healthier.
Recent studies have shown that tomatoes have a substance called lycopene that can prevent against certain cancers. Harvard Medical School found that eating more than two tomatoes a week reduces the risk of prostate cancer by up to 34 per cent.
Walk This Way For Healthy Bones
Walking really can boost bone health. An extra 35 minutes walking a day may give children greater bone density and offer more protection against osteoporosis later in life, scientists have claimed. A study of 58 children aged eight to 11 showed that those in a higher activity group had greater bone density than those in the lower group. Children who took 14,800 steps a day had 6 per cent higher bone density than children who took only 9600 steps in day. The extra 5000 steps is the equivalent to around 35 minutes walking time. The study was conducted using pedometers, which record the number of steps taken during walking. It is the first time a link has been found between exercise and bone density in children. Scientists were already aware that athletes are capable of increasing their bone density with more training. A greater density can help protect against the thinning of the bones in old age.
Live Longer & Merrier
A claret a day keeps the doctors away. Drinking half a bottle of claret a day will do more to increase the chances of surviving to old age than a couple of pints of Old Peculiar, say doctors. Wine drinkers gain greater health benefits, compared to beer and spirit drinkers and can consume more. Their death rate is lower than teetotallers and substantially lower than the beer or spirit drinkers. Moderate drinking is well known to be good for health, but whether the type of alcohol makes a difference has been less certain. The survey, published in the print and internet journal Bandolier, shows deaths from all causes were cut by 18 per cent among those who had up to 21 drinks a week and heart disease by half. But cancer deaths increased by a third on more than 22 drinks a week compared with teetotallers.
Low Down On Weight Best Sellers
Those diet books arent all theyre cracked up to be. Only three out of 14 top seller diet books were found to offer complete safe advice to readers, nutritional experts have claimed. Among the worst titles promoting fad diets were New Diet Revolution by Dr Robert C Atkins, Protein Power by Dr Michael R Eades and Dr Mary Eades the latter being labelled potentially dangerous, giving advice to exercise on an empty stomach. Other books that were off balance were the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet by Dr Richard F Heller and Dr Rachel Heller as well as The Diet Cure by Julia Ross. The New Cabbage Soup Diet by Dr Margaret Danbrot was said to produce short-term weight loss mainly from fluid.
The only three completely safe books were Fighting Fat, Fighting Fit by Janette Marshall and The New Body Plan and Red Wine Diet by Rosemary Conley. A senior lecturer in nutrition at the University of North London, Maggie Sanderson, said: A number of these diet books do not lead to long-term weight loss and can produce yo-yoing in weight. Many are also not very good at creating healthy eating patterns. But it must be said that some books are extremely good.
Obese Kids Rising & Rising
Children are getting fatter. The number of children in some age groups classified as obese has tripled in the last 10 years, said a report in the British Medical Journal. Based on a study of almost 700 children, the research sound that one in three girls aged 11 was overweight, and one in eight was obese. The figures for boys were similarly bad with a quarter overweight and a fifth obese. Overall, 22 per cent of children aged seven to 11 were overweight, and 12 per cent were obese. In 1990, it was estimated that the figures were 15 per cent, and five per cent respectively. Researchers from the Leeds Community and Mental Health Trust have blamed the findings on poor diets, and poor levels of physical activity. The Government has been called on to create more affordable exercise facilities, and educate children in the risks of overweight and obesity.
The Daily Telegraph
Cities Are Bad For You
City life is bad for you. New research carried out by the Governments committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution has found that living in a city could cut your life by up to six months. Long-term exposure to toxic particles in the air from traffic and industry lead to a higher chance of heart attack, they say. Severely polluted cities are 20 per cent more likely to shorten life expectancy than cleaner cities, and the people most at risk are those already with heart or lung disease. The committee has previously estimated that short-term exposure to airborne pollutants cost 24,000 deaths a year, caused by the particles finding their way into the blood stream, and making it more likely to clot.
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