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Fri, 24 May 2019
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MP calls for ban on unsafe sweetener

A member of the parliamentary select committee on food and the environment yesterday called for emergency action to ban the artificial sweetener aspartame, used in 6,000 food, drink and medicinal products.

The Liberal Democrat MP Roger Williams said in an adjournment debate in the Commons that there was "compelling and reliable evidence for this carcinogenic substance to be banned from the UK food and drinks market altogether". In licensing aspartame for use, regulators around the world had failed in their main task of protecting the public, he told MPs.


Painkiller liver failure warning

Scientists are warning about the risks posed by paracetamol after it emerged the painkiller had become the leading cause of liver failure in the US.

The annual proportion of cases caused by paracetamol - known in the US as acetaminophen - had risen from 28% in 1998 to 51% in 2003, researchers said.

The US team found just 20 pills a day - the recommended maximum is eight - was enough to kill, New Scientist reported.

Experts said restrictions on sales had helped cut the number of UK cases.

Since 1998 in the UK, pharmacies have been advised not to sell more than one pack of 32 paracetamol tablets to any individual.


Professor Loses Weight With No-Diet Diet

Salt Lake City, Utah - When Steven Hawks is tempted by ice cream bars, M&Ms and toffee-covered almonds at the grocery store, he doesn't pass them by. He fills up his shopping cart.

It's the no-diet diet, an approach the Brigham Young University health science professor used to lose 50 pounds and to keep it off for more than five years.


Decaff is the unhealthy option, say scientists

Decaffeinated coffee may be worse for drinkers' health than the caffeine-laden kind, scientists reported yesterday.

In the first randomised study of the two coffees, researchers found that the decaffeinated variety raises the level of fats and "bad" cholesterol in the blood more than caffeinated blends.

The finding was presented to a meeting of the American Heart Association after a study of 187 people by the Fuqua Heart Centre in Atlanta, Georgia.


Will a pastry a day keep the doctor away?

Thorkild Sørensen of Copenhagen University Hospital and his colleagues looked at data from the Finnish Twin Cohort Study, in which volunteers filled in questionnaires about their health and lifestyle, first in 1975 and again in 1981. These included questions about height, weight and motivation to lose weight. Even after controlling for smoking and excluding anyone with a chronic illness that could have led to weight loss, Sørensen found that overweight or obese people who intended to lose weight in 1975 and succeeded were nearly twice as likely to have died by 1999 compared with those who had no intention to lose weight and stayed about the same (Public Library of Science Medicine, vol 2, e171).


Mexico May Overtake U.S. as Fattest Nation Amid Junk Food Binge

Mexico probably will surpass the U.S. in obesity rates for the first time next year as the Latin American nation adopts the fast food and sedentary lifestyles of its neighbor to the north.


Teenager with peanut allergy dies after a kiss

Teenagers with allergies have to let their friends know.

A Quebec teenager with a peanut allergy has died after kissing her boyfriend who had eaten a peanut butter sandwich hours earlier.

Fifteen-year-old Christina Desforges died Monday. She went into anaphylactic shock and in spite of being given an adrenalin shot, could not be revived.

Desforges lived 250 km north of Quebec City in Saguenay.

The official cause of the teen's death has not yet been released.


Prescription for heart disease: pat a dog

Washington - Just a few minutes spent patting a dog can relieve a heart patient's anxiety and perhaps even help recovery during a visit to the hospital, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.


Suicides linked to Tamiflu - so is only weapon against bird flu safe?

European medicines regulators have ordered a safety check on Tamiflu after reports that two teenage boys died in Japan in apparent suicides after taking the anti-flu drug.

The link between the abnormal behaviour and the drug could not be ruled out, but at the same time the drug could not be singled out as the sole cause of the behaviour.


Wrapping up warm to beat a cold is not to be sniffed at

The latest experiment reinforces theories that existing, latent infection can be activated when parts of the body, particularly the feet and nose, get wet and cold.