Health & WellnessS


Fifteen genes link to long life discovered

The quest for an anti ageing pill is boosted today with the discovery of 15 genes linked with a long life. The find suggests that scientists may be able to target those genes to help slow down the aging process and treat age-related conditions.

Arrow Up

Your height dictates how jealousy strikes

Jealous lovers will wish they could adjust the height of their heels, for the power of the green-eyed monster depends on how tall you are.

So say researchers from the Universities of Groningen and Valencia who asked 549 men and women in the Netherlands and Spain to rate how jealous they felt and to identify the qualities in a romantic competitor that were most likely bug them.

Men, who generally felt most nervous about attractive, rich and strong rivals, were increasingly relaxed, the taller they were themselves. Women, on the other hand, were most jealous of others' beauty and charm, but least so if their own height was average.


Chef with a fear of food has survived for 25 years by eating biscuits

Every day, Andrew Forster toiled in the restaurant kitchen to produce delicious dishes - chicken with a mango salad, skewered king prawns, handmade pasta and pizza, and all manner of tempting concoctions.

Yet the talented chef never tasted the results of his labours... because he suffered from a food phobia.

Instead, he claims that for around 25 years he survived on biscuits, mostly Blue Riband, Club and rich tea.

"I used to get through two packets of biscuits a day," 27-year-old Mr Forster said yesterday.

©North News
Cookie monster: For the last 25 years, chef Andrew Forster has had a diet of mainly biscuits


Schools in Hong Kong close over mysterious flu outbreak

All schools and kindergartens in Hong Kong have been closed following a mysterious flu outbreak that killed three children recently in the former British colony, local media reported on Thursday.

A three-year-old child is in intensive care with flu-like symptoms. Three children, aged two, three and seven, died of the mysterious virus in the past two weeks, with the most recent death of a seven-year-old boy, Law Ho-ming, reported on Tuesday.

Red Flag

Flashback Doctor Warns Consumers of Popcorn Fumes

Consumers, not just factory workers, may be in danger from fumes from buttery flavoring in microwave popcorn, according to a warning letter to federal regulators from a doctor at a leading lung research hospital.


US Study: Popcorn Ingredient Causes Lung Disease

A chemical used to give butter flavor to popcorn can damage the lungs and airways of mice, U.S. government experts reported on Thursday.


Australia: Mystery illness plagues QFRS training facility

Queensland Health is investigating the cause of a mysterious illness that has gripped staff at the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) training facility in Brisbane's east.


US: Smog rule tightened - 345 counties fail

WASHINGTON - The air in hundreds of U.S. counties is simply too dirty to breathe, the government said Wednesday, ordering a multibillion-dollar expansion of efforts to clean up smog in cities and towns nationwide.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it was tightening the amount of ozone, commonly known as smog, that will be allowed in the air. But the lower standard still falls short of what most health experts say is needed to significantly reduce heart and asthma attacks from breathing smog-clogged air.

Smog in the US
©(AP Photo/Adam Rountree, File)
Smog covers midtown Manhattan in New York in this July 10, 2007 file photo. Some of the biggest lobbying forces in Washington are waging an intense campaign to head off tougher regulations on smog that health experts blame for hundreds of premature deaths to asthma and other respiratory diseases. The EPA within weeks will decide whether it should further reduce the allowable amount of ozone, a precursor of smog, in the air. The tougher standard would require hundreds of counties across the country to find new ways to reduce the smog-causing emissions to meet the revised federal health standard. Groups representing manufacturers, automakers, electric utilities, grocers and cement makers, met with White House officials recently in a last ditch effort to keep the health standard unchanged.

Comment: Interesting how smoking is always blamed as the key cause for respiratory diseases. Coincidence?


Scientists claim cannabis can offer hope for Alzheimer's sufferers

Cannabis: Opinion is divided over the health benefits of the plant

New cannabis-based treatments could improve memory loss in Alzheimer's sufferers, scientists claim.

One of the 400 compounds in the drug can significantly slow memory problems caused by the disease, tests show.


Protecting Yourself (Or a Loved One) in the Hospital

Julia Hallisy recently sent me her book, The Empowered Patient (, 2008). It is at once one of the most pragmatic and one of the most moving healthcare books that I have ever read.

Hallisy's daughter, Kate, was diagnosed with an aggressive eye cancer when she was five months old. Over the next decade, she went through radiation, chemo, reconstructive surgery, an operation to remove her right eye, a hospital-acquired infection that led to toxic-shock syndrome and an above-the-knee amputation. Kate died in 2000. She was eleven years old.

Remarkably, The Empowered Patient is not an angry book. It is not maudlin. To her great credit, Hallisy manages to keep her tone matter-of-fact as she tells her reader what every patient and every patient's advocate needs to know about how to stay safe in a hospital.