Health & Wellness


Prostate cancer 'wonder pill'

British researchers have made a dramatic breakthrough against a lethal form of prostate cancer.

Trials of a new pill have shown that it can shrink tumours in up to 80 per cent of cases, and end the need for damaging chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Experts hailed the advance as potentially the biggest in the field of prostate cancer for decades, capable of saving many thousands of lives.

Fibromyalgia improved by balanced exercise program

A recent fibromyalgia study reveals that an exercise program that incorporates walking, strength training and stretching may improve daily function and alleviate symptoms in women with fibromyalgia, as reported in the November 12, 2007 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. These benefits appear to be enhanced when the exercise is combined with education about managing fibromyalgia.

UK: Mother wins £800,000 payout after 'four pints of water a day' detox diet leaves her brain damaged

Mother-of-two Dawn Page has won more than £800,000 in damages at the High Court after a radical new detox diet left her brain damaged and epileptic.

The 52-year-old was told to drink an extra four pints of water per day and reduce her salt intake in a bid to prevent fluid retention and lose weight.

She began vomiting uncontrollably within days of going on 'The Amazing Hydration Diet'.

But nutritionist Barbara Nash assured her it was all 'part of the detoxification process'.

Mrs Nash even urged her to increase the amount of water she drank to six pints per day and eat fewer salty foods.

But Mrs Page - who weighed just 12 stone - suffered a massive epileptic fit brought on by severe sodium deficiency less than a week after she started the diet in 2001.

She was rushed to intensive care, but doctors were unable to prevent permanent brain injuries.

Dawn Page was told to drink four extra pints of water a day and reduced her salt intake
Magic Wand

How carrots help us see the color orange

One of the easiest ways to identify an object is by its color -- perhaps it is because children's books encourage us to pair certain objects with their respective colors. Why else would so many of us automatically assume carrots are orange, grass is green and apples are red?

In two experiments by Holger Mitterer and Jan Peter de Ruiter from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, perception of color and color constancy (the ability to see the same color under varying light conditions) were examined using different hues of orange and yellow. By using these hues on different objects, the researchers hoped to show that knowledge of objects can be used to identify color.

Using tobacco plants to fight cancer

The divine tobacco plant
A personalized vaccine made using tobacco plants -- normally associated with causing cancer rather than helping cure it -- could aid people with lymphoma in fighting the disease, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

The treatment, which would vaccinate cancer patients against their own tumor cells, is made using a new approach that turns genetically engineered tobacco plants into personalized vaccine factories.

"This is the first time a plant has been used for making a protein to inject into a person," said Dr. Ron Levy of Stanford University School of Medicine in California, whose research appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This would be a way to treat cancer without side effects," Levy said in a statement. "The idea is to marshal the body's own immune system to fight cancer."

Comment: Or you could skip all that and just smoke the plant! Nicotine is best infused through smoking.


British study links IMF loans to tuberculosis

Austerity measures attached to International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans may have contributed to a resurgence in tuberculosis in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, researchers said on Tuesday.

Governments may be reducing funding for health services such as hospitals and clinics to meet strict IMF economic targets, the British researchers said.

©REUTERS/Thomas Peter
An inmate sits in the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) ward in a prison hospital in the Siberian city of Tomsk, about 3500 km (2175 miles) east of Moscow, in this file photo from June 4, 2008.

The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine, found that countries participating in IMF programmes had seen tuberculosis death rates increase by at least 17 percent between 1991 and 2000 -- equivalent to more than 100,000 additional deaths. About one million new cases were recorded during the same period.

Breakthrough In Fight Against Deadly Superbug: Early Detection Method Greatly Increases Chances Of Survival

A research team led by University of Sunderland scientists has made a major breakthrough in the fight against a deadly hospital infection which kills tens of thousands of people every year, and it will be available within the next year.

Alexandre Bedernjak
©University of Sunderland
University of Sunderland PhD student Alexandre Bedernjak takes a closer look at the new superbug test that could save thousands of lives.

Experts have discovered a technique for the early detection of the superbug pseudomonas aeruginosa which particularly infects patients with cystic fibrosis. 70,000 people worldwide are affected by cystic fibrosis and on average around 50 percent of those will be infected with the superbug - 50 percent of those will die.

Although the research concentrated on the superbug's relation to cystic fibrosis, pseudomonas aeruginosa also attacks patients with localized and systemic immune defects, such as those suffering with burns, patients with AIDS and cancer.

UK government warns world over killer flu pandemic

The world is failing to guard against the inevitable spread of a devastating flu pandemic which could kill 50 million people and wreak massive disruption around the globe, the Government has warned.

In evidence to a House of Lords committee, ministers said that early warning systems for spotting emerging diseases were "poorly co-ordinated" and lacked "vision" and "clarity". They said that more needed to be done to improve detection and surveillance for potential pandemics and called for urgent improvement in rapid-response strategies.

Decisions under pressure: it's all in the heart beat

A person's heart rate can reveal a lot about how they make decisions when feeling stressed, a Queensland University of Technology academic says.

Economics Associate Professor Uwe Dulleck, from the QUT Business Faculty, said stress in the workplace wasn't necessarily a bad thing, because it was, in fact, a natural reaction that had been given a negative connotation.

Professor Dulleck is leading the Australian arm of a study that was awarded an Australian Research Council grant to study the effects of both positive and negative stress on employees' decision-making.

"The study will use heart rate monitors to measure the stress of people 'on the job' and in the controlled environment of an experimental economics computer laboratory as they interact and communicate," Professor Dulleck said.

How emotional pain can really hurt

Love really does hurt, just as poets and song lyric writers claim. New brain scanning technologies are revealing that the part of the brain that processes physical pain also deals with emotional pain.