Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
Week Beginning 25 March 2002
Food Allergy Prevalence Very Small
The risk of children dying from food allergies is very small, a study of death records from 1990 to 1998 has shown. In the study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, Andrew Cant of Newcastle General Hospital and his colleagues say that, in that period, eight children under the age of 16 died as a result of a food allergy. Milk allergy was responsible for four of the deaths. No child under the age of 13 died of a nut allergy, in spite of fears among both the public and the medical profession that such deaths are relatively common.
The Evolving Thumb
Text messaging, e-mailing and computer games have all helped make the thumb the most dextrous digit on the hand, according to research from Warwick University. Research carried out on under-25s from nine cities across the world revealed that the thumb is the preferred digit of young people, when typing a text message for example, and is used ambidextrously. The study provides evidence that technology can cause physical changes that would previously have occurred over generations.
IQ Boosted By Breast-Feeding
New study findings suggest that breast-feeding for the first six months of life may boost the IQ of full-term babies weighing less than 6 pounds. Small babies who received only breast milk for the first six months of life scored an average of 11 points higher on IQ tests at age five than babies who received formula and solid food in addition to breast milk. The research team included investigators from the US National Institutes of Health and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.
The Daily Mail
Signs Of Heart Disease Develop Early
Research shows that key telltale signs of heart disease in women develop while they are still teenagers. US research from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre found evidence that thickening of the heart or an increase in heart mass, an important predictor of heart disease in women, can develop as early as adolescence. Details of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta.
The Daily Mail
Heart Disease Exacerbated By Stress
Mental stress may be deadly for people with heart disease, say US researchers. The death rate among these patients is nearly three times higher than in others. Stress causes the constriction of blood vessels and raises blood pressure, as well as increasing the heart rate. These effects combine to increase the risk that the heart muscle will be starved of oxygen and become ischaemic. Dr David Sheps, from the University of Florida Health Sciences Center in Gainesville, says there is a growing body of evidence that links mental stress and bad outcomes in individuals with coronary artery disease.
Fruit & Veg Advice Provokes Scorn
Environmental campaigners have criticised plans to modify government health advice on the preparation of fresh fruit and vegetables. The Food Standards Agency is advising consumers that there is now no need to wash and peel them in order to get rid of traces of pesticides before eating. Friends of the Earth have described the agency’s advice as irresponsible because of the residues it says are found on most fruit and vegetables in the UK.
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