Health & WellnessS


Study: Gene tied to long life wards off dementia

A gene that helps people live to age 90 and beyond might also help ward off Alzheimer's, a study suggests Tuesday.

People with this "supergene" have a much higher chance of living to the century mark without developing dementia, the confused thinking and memory loss that so often plagues the oldest of the old, says Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.


Psychological treatments reduce back pain: review

Psychological treatments may help lower the intensity of chronic low back pain, a review suggests.

Researchers evaluated 22 randomized trials published between 1982 and 2003 to evaluate the effects of psychological interventions on pain.

The approaches improve outcomes such as depression and health-related quality of life as well as patients' experience of pain, the team concluded in the January issue of the journal Health Psychology.

Eye 1

Head-butt by horse restores man's sight

A second World War veteran who was blinded in his right eye when he was hit by shrapnel can see again after being head-butted by a pedigree racehorse.

Doctors tried in vain for 64 years to restore Don Karkos's sight, until My Buddy Chimo stepped in.

Hours after the horse smacked the 82-year-old paddock security guard in exactly the same spot as the shrapnel gashed his forehead in combat in 1942, he realised his vision was returning.

"I was putting a collar around his chest, and he whacked me real hard with his head," Mr Karkos told the New York Daily News.


Controlling Confusion: Researchers Make Insight Into Memory, Forgetting

Why do we forget? Do memories decay on their own, or are they harmed by interference from similar memories? Using a technique called "transcranial magnetic stimulation" (TMS), brain researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison may have found the answer.


Top cancer scientist took secret payments from US chemicals company

A leading scientist who supposedly spent his career investigating the causes of cancer was regularly taking secret payments from an American chemicals company over a period of 20 years. Sir Richard Doll, a cancer expert, received money from Monsanto, a huge corporation that sells chemicals, including pesticides and fertilizers which are sprayed onto foods that we eat every day. The company also develops and sells genetically modified crops, The reason why the payments were kept secret is obvious: there is a blatant conflict of interests. This is a blatant case of corporate bribery and corruption in a major global industry. It is also a classic example of American-style capitalism in action.

Comment: Comment: Yay for the psychopaths!


Mental Exercise Helps Maintain Some Seniors' Thinking Skills

Certain mental exercises can offset some of the expected decline in older adults' thinking skills and show promise for maintaining cognitive abilities needed to do everyday tasks such as shopping, making meals and handling finances, according to a new study. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the Dec. 20, 2006, Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that some of the benefits of short-term cognitive training persisted for as long as five years.


Feeling stressed? You're not alone, new poll says

Stress, that tense feeling often connected to having too much to do, too many bills to pay and not enough time or money, appears to be a common emotion that knows few borders.

About three-fourths of people in Canada, the United States, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea and the United Kingdom said they experience stress on a daily basis, according to an AP-Ipsos poll.


Diabetes breakthrough - Toronto scientists cure disease in mice

In a discovery that has stunned even those behind it, scientists at a Toronto hospital say they have proof the body's nervous system helps trigger diabetes, opening the door to a potential near-cure of the disease that affects millions of Canadians.

Diabetic mice became healthy virtually overnight after researchers injected a substance to counteract the effect of malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas.

"I couldn't believe it," said Dr. Michael Salter, a pain expert at the Hospital for Sick Children and one of the scientists. "Mice with diabetes suddenly didn't have diabetes any more."


Drug maker accused of cover-up - Documents show side effects of Eli Lilly schizophrenia pill were played down in marketing

Drug maker Eli Lilly has engaged in a decadelong effort to downplay the health risks of Zyprexa, its best-selling medication for schizophrenia, according to hundreds of internal Lilly documents and e-mail messages among top company managers.

The documents, given to the New York Times by a lawyer representing mentally ill patients, show that Lilly executives kept important information from doctors about Zyprexa's links to obesity and its tendency to raise blood sugar - both known risk factors for diabetes.


Breast cancer may be sexually transmitted

Breast cancer could be sexually transmitted, says a researcher who has found the same virus that causes cervical cancer in breast cancer tumours from Australian women.

Emeritus Professor James Lawson of the University of New South Wales and colleagues have found the same form of the human papillomavirus (HPV) associated with cervical cancer in almost half the breast tumour samples they tested.

It's the first study of its kind in Australia, although international studies have also found cervical cancer-related HPV in breast cancer cells.