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Mon, 02 Oct 2023
The World for People who Think

Health & Wellness


Body absorbs 5lb of make-up chemicals a year

Women who use make-up on a daily basis are absorbing almost 5lb of chemicals a year into their bodies, it is claimed.

Many use more than 20 different beauty products a day striving to look their best while nine out of 10 apply make-up which is past its use by date.

Dependence on cosmetics and toiletries means that a cocktail of 4lb 6oz of chemicals a year is absorbed into the body through the skin.

Some synthetic compounds involved have been linked to side effects ranging from skin irritation to premature ageing and cancer.

Richard Bence, a biochemist who has spent three years researching conventional products, said: "We really need to start questioning the products we are putting on our skin and not just assume that the chemicals in them are safe.

Magic Wand

Blackcurrants are the berry best fruit for you

It may not be as fashionable as its more exotic cousins but the humble blackcurrant is the healthiest fruit of all. Research shows that the common or garden blackcurrant is more nutritious than other fruits, from home-grown apples and strawberries to tropical mangoes and bananas.

Blackcurrants also contain the highest levels of health-boosting antioxidants - natural compounds credited with the ability to stave off a range of illnesses from heart disease to cancer. Researcher Dr Derek Stewart said his findings, which come amid a growing appetite for exotic berries, colourful juices and other superfoods, prove the British blackcurrant is the healthiest fruit of all.

Dr Stewart, who came to his conclusion after comparing the properties of 20 popular fruits, said: "The motivation for the research came from the huge publicity surrounding superfoods, coupled with lack of consumer knowledge. "We wanted to find out which fruit came out on top.

"The combined beneficial composition and impact in health-related studies mean that blackcurrants can claim to be the number one superfruit." Dr Stewart reached his conclusions by analysing the findings of dozens of research papers published by other scientists. Lack of published data on fruits which have only recently become popular, such as raisin-sized goji berries, means they could not be included in the analysis.

Bizarro Earth

Human bite wounds 12 times more common in men

Men are 12 times more likely than women to sustain severe human bite injuries for which surgery may be necessary, according to a study published in the July issue of the Emergency Medicine Journal.

Injuries are most likely to occur during brawls at weekends or public holidays and in most cases alcohol is involved.

The researchers reviewed the 92 patients requiring assessment for human bite wounds by the plastic surgery service at St James's Hospital Dublin, Ireland, between January 2003 and December 2005. Eight five of them (92%) were men and the 92 patients had a total of 96 bites.

Alcohol was implicated in 86% of the injuries and illicit drugs in 12%. Seventy per cent of incidents resulting in a bite wound had occurred during the weekend or on a public holiday.


France: Sports doping seen among pre-teens

Just over one per cent of 11-year-olds admit to using drugs to boost their athletic performance, a new study from France shows.

Furthermore, four years later, three per cent said they had used doping agents at least once during the previous month.

"This result shows that doping does exist among very young athletes, whatever their level of sports participation, including leisure," Drs Patrick Laure and C. Binsinger of the Direction regionale de la Jeunesse et des Sports de Lorraine in Saint-Max conclude in the June issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Dr Laure and his colleagues had previously demonstrated that as many as 4 per cent of teens in southern France had used doping agents.


Surgery for China's elephant man

Doctors in southern China are preparing to operate on a man who suffers from the world's most extreme case of elephantiasis of the face.

Huang Chuncai, 31, also known as China's elephant man, plans to undergo surgery in Guangzhou that will remove the 15kg tumour that has crippled him and left him ostracised from society.

The weight of carrying the tumour on his face has deformed his backbone, stunted his growth and left him in continual pain.

Mr Huang has had the condition since he was born and the tumour has grown as he grew older.

If the operation is successful, his quality of life will improve tenfold. But the procedure is very risky.

Mr Huang's doctor explained: "The tumour is huge and there are many blood vessels inside which makes the operation very difficult. If we cannot stop the bleeding during the operation, Huang will die."


An Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in the U.S.

The percentage of Americans disabled by mental illness has increased fivefold since 1955, when Thorazine - remembered today as psychiatry´s first wonder drug - was introduced into the market.

There are now nearly 6 million Americans disabled by mental illness, and this number increases by more than 400 people each day. A review of the scientific literature reveals that it is our drug-based paradigm of care that is fueling this epidemic. The drugs increase the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill, and induce new and more severe psychiatric symptoms in a significant percentage of patients.

Red Flag

UK: A million children now suffer from mental health problems

More than a million children have mental health problems, a doubling of the number in a generation, devastating research reveals today.

An epidemic of disorders ranging from depression, anxiety and anorexia to violent delinquency has struck one in ten youngsters.


Chewing gum with aspartame habit 'poisons' woman

Abigail Cormack thought she was dying from a mystery illness. She never realised her daily chewing gum habit was probably poisoning her.

The sugar-free gum contained aspartame, a food additive widely used in thousands of products, including gum, diet soft-drinks and tea and coffee.

Comment: The New Zealand Food Safety Authority shoud use the SOTT search engine:

Aspartame Causes Cancer in Rats at Levels Currently Approved for Humans


New aspartame data to be presented


Nations starting to Ban Aspartame


Male circumcision overstated as prevention tool against AIDS

In new academic research published today in the online, open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS ONE, male circumcision is found to be much less important as a deterrent to the global AIDS pandemic than previously thought. The author, John R. Talbott, has conducted statistical empirical research across 77 countries of the world and has uncovered some surprising results.

The new study finds that the number of infected prostitutes in a country is the key to explaining the degree to which AIDS has infected the general population. Prostitute communities are typically very highly infected with the virus themselves, and because of the large number of sex partners they have each year, can act as an engine driving infection rates to unusually high levels in the general population. The new study is entitled "Size Matters: The Number of Prostitutes and the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic" and is freely available online at the PLoS ONE publication website.

The study has a number of important findings that should impact policy decisions in the future. First, male circumcision, which in previous studies had been found to be important in controlling AIDS, becomes statistically irrelevant once the study controls for the number of prostitutes in a country. The study finds that the more Muslim countries of North Africa do indeed suffer much less AIDS than southern and western Africa, but this lower prevalence is not due to higher numbers of circumscribed males in these Muslim communities, but rather results from the fact that there are significantly fewer prostitutes in northern Africa on a per capita basis. It appears that religious families in the north, specifically concerned fathers and brothers, do a much better job protecting their daughters from predatory males than do those in the south. A history of polygamy in these Muslim communities does not appear to contribute to hi gher AIDS prevalence as previously speculated. In a frequently cited academic paper, Daniel Halperin, an H.I.V. specialist at the Harvard Center for Population and Development and one of the world's leading advocates for male circumcision, weighted results from individual countries by their population. When this artificial weighting was removed Talbott found that circumcision was no longer statistically significant in explaining the variance in AIDS infection rates across the countries of the World.


Hepatitis C a growing problem in NWT, Canada

Hepatitis C, a relatively new disease in the North, is becoming a bigger problem in that part of Canada than HIV or tuberculosis, the Northwest Territories' chief medical officer said during a national conference in Yellowknife.

Dr. Andre Corriveau told CBC News on Monday he hopes to raise awareness about hepatitis C to curb its spread in the territory.

About 300 N.W.T. residents have been diagnosed with the disease - one of the highest infection rates in Canada - and about 30 new cases are found every year. The infection numbers are evenly split between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.