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Weeds Hold Promise for Miracle Drugs

We’d like weeds if we knew them better, says John Roach for National Geographic News, especially if we realized they may contain wonder drugs.  “It’s often said that plants hidden in the tangle of the Amazonian rain forest may harbor an undiscovered cancer cure,” he writes; “John Richard Stepp thinks the same can be said […]

Active Adolescents Are Leaner, Fitter

The intuitively obvious sometimes holds up to experimentation.  Researchers at Medical College of Georgia found that, indeed, young people who are physically active are less likely to be obese.  Most adolescents need to double their physical activity, the researchers said, preferably an hour or more a day – and it needs to be vigorous.  In […]

Tissues Build Firebreaks to Avoid Disease

An article in the March 3 issue of Nature1 explains how tissues communicate to fight off infection.  As reported before, cells display samples of the proteins they contain on their outer membranes, a process called presentation.  Killer T cells wander around, like cops, looking at the presentations.  When they recognize alien proteins (antigens), they respond […]

Trail + Trail Mix = Health Mix

Peanuts, a staple ingredient in trail mix, are “rich in good chemicals,” reports the BBC News.  They have as many antioxidants as fruits, are high in protein and “good” monounsaturated fat.  So take some along and go on the trail, because, according to Southwestern Medical Center, “Exercise helps reduce symptoms of depression,” and EurekAlert reminds […]

A Proverb a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Short, pithy statements of wisdom can keep you on the right health track, according to a press release from University of Toronto.  Bernard Choi offers some examples, like “seven days without exercise makes one weak.” King Solomon had some pretty good ones: A joyful heart is good medicine (17:22) A wise man is strong (24:5) […]

Remember to Exercise, and You’ll Remember More

Old dogs can remember old tricks and learn new ones, say researchers from the National Institutes of Health.  According to an article on EurekAlert, the secret is a program of diet, exercise and stimulating environments.     Scientists got snoopy about old beagles, and found their brains could remain in tip-top shape with lifestyle adjustments.  […]

For Better Workouts, Head for the Hills

Science News1 reported on a study by the American Heart Association that shows hiking in the mountains is good for you.  Experiments on people hiking in the Austrian Alps showed that going uphill, the body improves the processing of fats called triglycerides, and walking downhill improves the processing of glucose sugar.  45 volunteers who were […]

Adult Stem Cells Continue to Work Miracle Cures

Chalk up two more amazing successes for adult stem cells (not derived from human embryos, like the controversial ES stem cells): 1. Blindness:  The BBC News reported that stem cells from the back of the eyeball might be able to restore sight to those afflicted with macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. 2. Parkinson’s […]

Ghost of Hitler Still Haunts Western Medicine

“During the 1930s, the German medical establishment was admired as a world leader in innovative public health and medical research.  The question we want to examine is: ‘How could science be co-opted in such a way that doctors as healers evolved into killers and medical research became torture?’”  The question was posed by Dr. Alan […]

Another Thing to Worry About: Synthetic Biology

Philip Ball is no alarmist, but as consultant editor of Nature,1 he had sobering words last week about things that could go wrong in the new field of synthetic biology, where scientists are tinkering with cells to create artificial life forms: The expanding toolbox of ways to re-engineer microbes – and even construct new ones […]

New Treatment for Hyperactivity: Nature Walks

Hiking in the woods seems to alleviate ADHD, say two researchers from University of Illinois, in two studies mentioned briefly in Science News.1  The article begins, “Does spending more playtime amid greenery improve behavior in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder?” (emphasis added).  Apparently, yes.  The setting, not just the activity, is part of the equation, […]

Bless Your Heart: Exercise for Senior Vitality

A study from UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas confirms what we all should know but need to be reminded of frequently: that prolonged, sustained exercise can build up the heart at any age, and provide insurance against heart failure.  The summary on EurekAlert warns, “a sedentary lifestyle, in addition to aging, puts older people […]

Germs and Venoms Can Heal

Three recent stories indicate that “nasty” things can be good, under the right circumstances: Germs and Aging:  Science Now reported that germs may prolong life.  A study on fruit flies showed that flies whose embryos were exposed to bacteria lived longer than those grown under sterile conditions.  Apparently the germs provide services in regulating genes […]

Parasitic Worms Regulate Immune System

Most people will not be ready to stomach a suggestion from the July 9 issue of Science1: parasitic worms can be good for you.  Yikes: what’s next– worm therapy?     According to Joel Weinstock of the University of Iowa, evidence is increasing that worms help regulate the immune system, and show promising results for […]

MRI Overtaking X-Rays

The British Medical Journal 12 June cover story1 says that recent advances in magnetic resonance imaging may soon make MRI supersede X-ray as the preferred technology for whole body imaging.  MRI avoids the damage caused by X-rays and provides more contrast and detail, especially in the detection of cancer.  MRI is also replacing traditional autopsy […]
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