PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 July, 2006, 12:00am

Asian women's 'hidden' cancer

Cervical cancer kills more women in Asia-Pacific than anywhere else, and is the second most common cancer among women in countries such as mainland China, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, a conference in Bangkok has been told. Describing it as the region's hidden cancer, the head of Chiang Mai University's gynaecological and oncology department, Jatupol Srisomboon, said the region accounted for about 266,000 of the world's 500,000 annual fatalities from cervical cancer - largely because of less effective screening, AFP reports.

Alzheimer's cure may be closer

Australian researchers have developed a daily pill that may slow and even block Alzheimer's disease, with human trials about to start after successful tests on mice. 'We think the drug can help best at an early phase of the disease ... nipping it in the bud,' says Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria director George Fink. The medication, PBT2, significantly and quickly reduces the amyloid protein, which is thought to cause Alzheimer's - cutting it by 60 per cent within 24 hours. In trials, mice given the drug showed improved memory performance after four days, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, Swedish researchers report reduced side effects such as nausea and vomiting with the first patch designed to deliver a widely used daily Alzheimer's medication, rivastigmine, reports.

Ring the changes on volume

People who listen to MP3 players loudly and for long periods risk going deaf 30 years earlier than they might otherwise, according to charity group Deafness Research UK. In a survey of 1,000 Britons aged 16 to 34, more than a third say they get ringing in the ear, a sign of damage, after listening to loud music, and 14 per cent say they use their music players for 28 hours a week. Deafness Research recommends its 60-60 rule: don't play an MP3 device at greater than 60 per cent of maximum volume, and don't listen for more than 60 minutes at a time.

Lead levels warning

As many as one in every two cans of paint sold in mainland China, India and Malaysia may contain lead levels 30 times higher than is allowed in the US - and some are as much as 300 times the US limit, according to a two-year University of Cincinnati survey of several Asian countries. Limits were introduced in the US in 1978, after studies showed that children who eat flakes or breathe dust from high-lead paint can suffer brain damage and other health problems, AP reports. The survey results are published in Environmental Research.

Impotence signals heart trouble

Male impotence may be an early warning sign of severe coronary artery disease, according to an Italian study of almost 300 men, which found that erectile dysfunction typically manifests two to three years before major heart problems. As many as one in two men over 40 in the US reportedly suffers from some form of erectile dysfunction, with more than 320 million men affected worldwide, according to

TV viewers going under the knife

Celebrity obsession and television makeover shows are helping trigger a boom in cosmetic surgery in Britain, with bigger breasts, Botox injections and chemical face peels being among the most popular procedures, according to market researcher Mintel. It claims that 25 per cent of British women and one in 10 men now say they would consider going under the knife - although nearly a third of those surveyed object to cosmetic surgery in principle, Reuters reports.

Jason Sankey is a tennis professional


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