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Health & longevity news archive: May-June 2007





using an inhaler
Breathing technique 'aids asthma'
(Jun 29, 2007)


An old-fashioned breathing and relaxation technique could help those with asthma, research suggests. In a trial of 85 people with mild asthma, the symptoms of those using the Papworth method alongside drugs were significantly eased, Thorax reports. The 1960s technique involves focusing on the diaphragm while breathing, and emphasises breathing through the nose, accompanied by relaxation training.

Read more. Source: BBC

hormone replacement therapy
HRT may protect brain against effects of ageing
(Jun 26, 2007)


Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may protect the brain cells of post-menopausal women from memory loss and other effects of ageing if it is given early enough, a study in primates suggests. John Morrison at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and colleagues gave injections of the hormone oestrogen to rhesus macaques – which have a menstrual cycle and menopause similar to humans.

Read more. Source: New Scientist


echinacea purpurea
Echinacea 'can prevent a cold'
(Jun 25, 2007)


Taking the herbal remedy echinacea can more than halve the risk of catching a common cold, US researchers say. They found it decreased the odds of developing a cold by 58% and the duration of colds by a day-and-a-half. The results in The Lancet Infectious Diseases conflict with other studies that show no beneficial effect.

Read more. Source: BBC

injecting insulin
'Insulin pill' hope for diabetes
(Jun 22, 2007)


Diabetes patients may soon be able to take a pill to control their condition instead of repeated injections. UK company Diabetology, with experts at Cardiff University, says it has solved a crucial problem with oral insulin. The capsule's special coating protects the drug from acids in the stomach, allowing it to pass into the small intestine where it is absorbed.

Read more. Source: BBC

brothers
First-borns have higher IQ scores
(Jun 22, 2007)


The child raised as the eldest in a family is likely to have a higher IQ than his or her siblings, work reveals. A Norwegian team found first born children and those who had lost elder siblings and had hence become the eldest, scored higher on intelligence. The link, reported in Science, was found by looking at more than 250,000 male Norwegian conscripts.

Read more. Source: BBC

rose-hips
Rose-hip 'remedy' for arthritis
(Jun 18, 2007)


Rose-hips could offer a cheap and effective way of treating debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, research from Germany and Denmark has suggested. Seventy-four sufferers, mostly females, took part in the six-month trial. Just under half took the rose-hip remedy LitoZin while the others took a placebo. Both groups continued to take their usual medication.

Read more. Source: BBC

eye
Eye flickers key for fine detail
(Jun 14, 2007)


Tiny, involuntary movements made by our eyes when we focus on something could be more useful than we might think, scientists have found. We may not be aware that our eyes are making these movements, but without them our vision fades. And scientists have now found that they could also be important in helping us to see very fine details.

Read more. Source: BBC

polymer solution around brain cells
Molded connections could improve brain implants
(Jun 14, 2007)


A liquid that sets into a conducting web around brain cells might solve the problem of wiring up medical implants to nerves or the brain, US researchers say. Connecting electrodes to the nervous system is difficult because the tissue becomes inflamed when in contact with metal. This creates a layer of electrically insulating scar tissue that makes it harder to send or receive signals.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

cod
Cod liver oil 'treats depression'
(Jun 13, 2007)


It may make the stomach turn, but scientists in Norway suggest that taking a spoonful of cod liver oil each day could stave off depression. In a study of almost 22,000 people aged over 40, those who regularly took the oil were less likely to suffer depression than those who did not. The study in the Journal of Affective Disorders also suggested the longer one took it, the less depressed one became.

Read more. Source: BBC

arthritic hands
Arthritis 'hope' over new drugs
(Jun 13, 2007)


A new generation of drugs could revolutionise treatment for people with rheumatoid arthritis, experts believe. Austrian researchers said trials show MabThera, Tocilizumab and Orencia slowed progression of the disease and reduced symptoms, the Lancet reported. They work by targeting the immune system, but have side effects, the Medical University of Vienna said.

Read more. Source: BBC

DNA helix
Serious diseases genes revealed
(Jun 7, 2007)


A major advance in understanding the genetics behind several of the world's most common diseases has been reported. The landmark Wellcome Trust study analysed DNA from the blood of 17,000 people to find genetic differences. They found new genetic variants for depression, Crohn's disease, coronary heart disease, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 and 2 diabetes.

Read more. Source: BBC

obese men
Fidgeters 'likely to be thinner'
(Jun 6, 2007)


Scientists working in Germany and the US say they have found a "fidget" molecule and if you have it in your genes you are less likely to be fat. Mice with the molecule are more likely to be primed athletic beasts, while those without laze around getting fat. It is the second time in recent months scientists have claimed to have located genetic material linked to body weight.

Read more. Source: BBC

man flexing arm
Low testosterone 'death risk'
(Jun 6, 2007)


Low levels of testosterone may increase the risk of death in men over the age of 50, US research suggests. A study of 800 men over 50 found that those with low levels had a 33% increased risk of death over an 18-year period than those with higher levels. At a Toronto meeting of The Endocrine Society, researchers said they did not recommend taking supplements. Experts warn there could be side effects and say men should keep active to help maintain testosterone levels.

Read more. Source: BBC

exercise
'Exercise after eating' diet tip
(Jun 5, 2007)


Exercising after meals can help promote weight loss by boosting hormones that suppress appetite, say UK scientists. Thanks to these hormones, active people feel less hungry immediately after exercise, and this carries through to their next meal, experiments suggest. Even when their meals were bigger, sporty people gained fewer calories overall because they burned off more.

Read more. Source: BBC

heart
Boost to artery block treatment
(Jun 2, 2007)


Scientists are working on ways to cut the risk of blood clots following treatment to unblock clogged arteries. Stents, which are tiny tubes used to hold open the diseased blood vessels of heart patients, can themselves become blocked following treatment. A team from Germany reports success in The Lancet with a new biodegradable prototype. And an Irish team is to begin testing a new coating for stents.

Read more. Source: BBC

foods rich in folic acid
Folic acid 'reduces stroke risks'
(Jun 1, 2007)


Adding folic acid to their diet can cut a person's stroke risk by a fifth, cumulative evidence suggests. Food advisors have already recommended to ministers that the vitamin should be added to flour or bread. This is to benefit pregnant women and those trying to conceive, by protecting the unborn child against birth defects.

Read more. Source: BBC

soft drink
Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health
(May 27, 2007)


A new health scare erupted over soft drinks last night amid evidence they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA. The problem – more usually associated with ageing and alcohol abuse – can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's.

Read more. Source: The Independent

breast cancer cells
New breast cancer genes discovery
(May 27, 2007)


Scientists have identified four more genes that increase breast cancer risk. Cancer Research UK scientists led an international team of experts in the world's first large-scale "whole genome search" for breast cancer genes. They sifted through the DNA of nearly 50,000 women, half of them breast cancer patients and half healthy. It is hoped their discovery, published in Nature journal, will lead to more genes being identified, and better testing to identify women most at risk.

Read more. Source: BBC

older person with weights
Exercise 'reverses' muscle ageing
(May 23, 2007)


A twice-weekly trip to the gym may not just give you stronger muscles – it may give you younger muscles as well. Research on over-65s has shown that regular resistance training appears to reverse signs of ageing in the muscles. Analysis of muscle tissue showed the molecular machinery powering muscle cells became as active as that in 20-year olds after exercise.

Read more. Source: BBC

skin wrinkles
Vitamin A cream 'cuts wrinkles'
(May 22, 2007)


A cream containing vitamin A managed to reduce wrinkles significantly in elderly people, scientists report. Not only did the cream make skin appear more youthful, tissue samples from 23 people revealed it boosted levels of important skin repair chemicals. Michigan University Medical School experts described their findings in the journal Archives of Dermatology.

Read more. Source: BBC

Captain Piccard
Gene find triggers baldness hope
(May 17, 2007)


Hair loss in humans might not be irreversible, suggest scientists who have helped create new hair cells on the skin of mice. It was thought hair follicles, once damaged, could never be replaced. But a University of Pennsylvania team, writing in the journal Nature, says hair growth can actually be encouraged using a single gene.

Read more. Source: BBC

fruit slices
Med diet 'cuts lung disease risk'
(May 15, 2007)


Eating a Mediterranean diet halves the risk of serious lung disease like emphysema and bronchitis, a study says. Grouped under the umbrella term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), they are expected to become the world's third leading cause of death by 2020. French researchers tracked almost 43,000 men for 12 years. The Thorax study suggests the key could be that the Mediterranean diet is rich in anti-oxidants, which reduce the risk of tissue inflammation.

Read more. Source: BBC

nematode worm
Gene clue to longevity uncovered
(May 3, 2007)


The mystery of how eating less boosts longevity is closer to being solved. Studies have shown that severe calorie restriction markedly extends lifespan in mice and many other species – but the reasons for this remained elusive. But now US research on nematode worms, published in Nature, has uncovered a gene linked to this unusual effect.

Read more. Source: BBC

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