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PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 August, 2007, 12:00am

Boost health with 15 minutes daily

Fifteen minutes a day of moderate exercise such as walking may be even better for some people than an intense workout such as jogging, Duke University researchers have found. In tests on 240 overweight, middle-aged people, moderate exercise significantly improved their levels of blood fat, whereas vigorous exercise didn't, Reuters reports. And the duration rather than intensity of the exercise boosted levels of so-called good cholesterol. The bad news for confirmed couch potatoes: those who remain sedentary grow even fatter.

Alzheimer's link to glaucoma

British researchers have found that a protein that damages brain tissue of Alzheimer's sufferers is also the main cause of glaucoma - which may lead to better treatments for both diseases. 'This is the first time anybody has provided evidence that the same protein in Alzheimer's causes retinal nerve cell loss,' says Francesca Cordeiro of London's University College. Scientists don't know what causes glaucoma, which affects about 65 million people worldwide, Reuters reports.

Adults prefer beer for bingeing

Beer is the tipple of choice for binge-drinking adults, whereas teenagers prefer the hard stuff - and it's probably largely a matter of convenience, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reports. About 15 per cent of American adults, mostly male, are binge drinkers (defined as having had five or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion within the past 30 days). Binge drinking is said to be responsible for 750,000 deaths a year in the US, AP reports. Of 14,000 adult binge drinkers surveyed, three out of four drank mainly or exclusively beer, probably because it's cheap and easy to find. Of 4,000 high school students surveyed, as many as 49 per cent drank liquor, probably because it's easier to hide or disguise, or to pilfer from their parents' supplies.

Pollution cuts life expectancy for cops

Traffic police in major Chinese cities have an average life expectancy of 43, mainly because of pollution, according to a survey of officers in eight urban areas. Guangzhou was the worst, with nine out of every 10 traffic police suffering some form of nose or throat infection, Reuters reports, quoting China Daily. 'Vehicle emissions and excessive heat were the major contributors,' Liu Yimin, vice-president of the Guangzhou Hospital of Vocational Disease Control and Prevention, said.

Vinegar used to detect cervical cancer

A cheap method of detecting cervical cancer using vinegar could save the lives of millions of women in developing countries, based on a three-year study of more than 49,000 women by French and Indian researchers, who found that a simple visual screening test cut the number of cases by a quarter. Although cervical cancer is usually preventable, it causes about 250,000 deaths every year, mainly in the developing world, AP reports. The test is done by a trained health-care worker, who washes the woman's cervix with vinegar and gauze. After one minute, any pre-cancerous lesions turn white and can be seen with a halogen lamp.

Money loss causes pain and fear

Losing money hurts - literally, according to University College London researchers who found that losing money triggers activity in an area of the brain associated with pain and fear. Such activity in the striatum typically enables the brain to predict imminent harm and take defensive action, WebMD reports. The researchers say the results may help in understanding why some people become addicted to gambling and others don't.

Jason Sankey is a tennis professional