Health & WellnessS


When It Comes To Red Cabbage, More Is Better

Plant pigments called anthocyanins provide fruits and vegetables with beneficial blue, purple and red coloring. Now Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are learning more about these compounds and their absorption into the human blood stream.

red cabbage
©iStockphoto/Christine Balderas
Anthocyanins are a group of healthful compounds that fall within the flavonoid class of plant nutrients. ARS scientists have identified 36 anthocyanins in red cabbage, including eight that had never before been detected in the cabbage.


Certain Oral Contraceptives May Pose Health Risks, Study Suggests

The widely used synthetic progestin medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) decreased endothelial function in premenopausal women in a study done at the University of Oregon. The finding, researchers said, raises concerns about long-term effects of MPA and possibly other synthetic hormones on vascular health in young women.

©J. Meendering
Jessica Meendering, right, works with a young woman who participating in a study of MPA and its effects on the brachial artery.


How Frequency Of Meals May Affect Health

The health consequences of eating one large meal a day compared with eating three meals a day has not been established. Now two recently published journal articles are among the first to report the effects of meal skipping on key health outcomes, based on a study involving a group of normal-weight, middle-aged adults.

©Peggy Greb
ARS and National Institute on Aging studies looked into health consequences of eating one meal a day, which some people do, compared to the standard recommendation of eating three meals a day.


US: You can get paid to catch malaria

How far would you go to help wipe out one of the world's worst scourges?

Seattle-area residents will soon be able to go all the way: allowing themselves to be bitten by malaria-infected mosquitoes to aid in the quest for new vaccines and drugs.

Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (SBRI) is announcing plans today for a facility where volunteers will be exposed to the deadliest form of the disease, which kills at least a million people a year. Most victims are African children.

But scientists are quick to point out that participating in the clinical trials won't be a life-threatening experience.


Gulf War illness 'chemical link'

There is evidence linking chronic health problems suffered by Gulf War veterans to exposure to pesticides and nerve agents, US research has found.

A third of veterans of the 1991 war experienced fatigue, muscle or joint pain, sleeping problems, rashes and breathing troubles, the research found.

A US Congress-appointed committee on Gulf War illnesses analysed more than 100 studies in the research.


Single-gender schools: An idea worth going back to

Pity the poor school officials in Greene County, Ga. When they suggested last month that they wanted to become the first school district in the nation to segregate all public schools according to gender, you would have thought they'd announced their intent to revive racial segregation.


Study: More Women Can Cut Cancer Relapse Risk

Women who survive breast cancer are often haunted by the fear that it might come back. But new research indicates that many more women than had been thought can do something to protect themselves.


If both parents have Alzheimer's, your risk soars

Washington - If both your parents have Alzheimer's disease, you probably are more much likely than other people to get it, researchers said on Monday.

Their study focused on 111 families in which both parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia among the elderly, and assessed the risk for developing it among the offspring.


Placebo effect: Faith-based healing

Take a group of patients recovering from serious operations. They need morphine to dull their pain and some need diazepam to calm their nerves. They will get their medication by intravenous drip, but won't always be told when they will get it - it might just be pumped in automatically.

The Italian researchers who conducted this ingenious study five years ago found that not being told they were receiving morphine cut the effect of the pain relief on the patients in half. And only those who were told they were getting tranquillisers became calmer; those who received diazepam without being told got no relief whatsoever.


"Vast Array" of Drugs in Your Drinking Water

Water bubbles
©Marlon Felippe/Wikimedia Commons

Antibiotics. Anticonvulsants. Antidepressants. Anti-inflammatories.

Drink up. Eight glasses a day. Because that's what's in your tap water, according to an Associated Press investigation.