Is fasting a free health fix – or is it just a fad? | Life and style | The Guardian

Restricting the amount you eat is said to fight disease, extend lifespan and improve wellbeing. As well as dieters, people with diabetes and MS could benefit

Source: Is fasting a free health fix – or is it just a fad? | Life and style | The Guardian

Exercise rivals Medication for Heart Disease.

Exercise can be as good a medicine as pills for people with conditions such as heart disease, a study has found.

HeartDoing exercise regularly:

  • Can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%.
  • Can lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.
  • Can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy as well as keep weight off.
  • Moderate activity, such as cycling or fast walking, gives your heart and lungs a work-out

The work in the British Medical Journal looked at hundreds of trials involving nearly 340,000 patients to assess the merits of exercise and drugs in preventing death.

Physical activity rivalled some heart drugs and outperformed stroke medicine.

The findings suggest exercise should be added to prescriptions, say the researchers. Continue reading Exercise rivals Medication for Heart Disease.

“A Placebo Conundrum” by Michael Brooks

beyond-imagination-marina-harrisIT SEEMED like a good idea until I saw the electrodes. Dr Luana Colloca’s white coat offered scant reassurance. “Do you mind receiving a series of electric shocks?” she asked.

I could hardly say no – after all, this was why I was here. Colloca’s colleague, Fabrizio Benedetti of the University of Turin in Italy, had invited me to come and experience their placebo research first hand. Colloca strapped an electrode to my forearm and sat me in a reclining chair in front of a computer screen. “Try to relax,” she said.

First, we established my pain scale by determining the mildest current I could feel, and the maximum amount I could bear. Then Colloca told me that, before I got another shock, a red or a green light would appear on the computer screen.

A green light meant I would receive a mild shock. A red light meant the shock would be more severe, like the jolt you get from an electric fence. All I had to do was rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10, mild to severe. Continue reading “A Placebo Conundrum” by Michael Brooks

“Broccoli slows Arthritis” researchers think.

BroccoliEating lots of broccoli may slow down and even prevent osteoarthritis, UK researchers believe.

The University of East Anglia team is starting human trials following on from successful lab studies.

Tests on cells and mice showed that a broccoli compound – which humans can also get from Brussels sprouts and cabbage – blocked a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage.

They are asking 20 patients to eat a daily dose of “super-charged” broccoli. Continue reading “Broccoli slows Arthritis” researchers think.

Antibiotics could “Cure 40% of Chronic Low Back Pain”.

Up to half a million patients with chronic low back pain may be suffering from an infection that can be treated with antibiotics.

SpineIf proved true, the revolutionary theory about the cause of one of the commonest and most debilitating ailments should win its discoverer the Nobel Prize, one surgeon said today.

However, the paper describing the research based on just 162 patients was turned down by the leading medical journals such as the Lancet and BMJ. It was published today in the European Spine Journal.

Researchers claim the treatment could be suitable for up to 40% of patients with severe, long term pain for whom the only alternative is surgery.

However, it is not as simple as replacing the painkillers with antibiotics. The treatment requires an MRI scan to detect distinctive “Modic” changes in the spinal column – named after the doctor who first observed them in the late 1980s – which are indicative of bacterial infection. Continue reading Antibiotics could “Cure 40% of Chronic Low Back Pain”.

Most GP’s have given a Patient a Placebo Drug

PlaceboMost family doctors have given a placebo to at least one of their patients, survey findings suggest.

In a poll, 97% of 783 GPs admitted that they had recommended a sugar pill or a treatment with no established efficacy for the ailment their patient came in with.

The PLOS One study authors say this may not be a bad thing – doctors are doing it to help, not to deceive patients.

The Royal College of GPs says there is a place for placebos in medicine. Continue reading Most GP’s have given a Patient a Placebo Drug

Faecal Bacteria Cocktail treats superbug Infection

Super-BugsFeeding faeces to people with chronic infection can cure them, but who wants to eat poo? A synthetic alternative could provide a more palatable option.

Hospital superbug Clostridium difficile can wreak havoc in the guts of vulnerable people, especially those who have lost some of their protective gut flora as a result of antibiotic use. Once it takes hold, the bacteria can cause nasty diarrhoea and in some cases is fatal. The usual treatment for the infection, which affects over half a million people in the US each year, involves a strong course of antibiotics. But the infection returns in about 20 per cent of cases, and some people become chronically infected. Continue reading Faecal Bacteria Cocktail treats superbug Infection