Health

Medi watch

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 November, 2007, 12:00am

Beta carotene boosts memory

Taking beta carotene supplements for 15 years or more may reduce the loss of cognitive ability associated with conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, say Harvard Medical School researchers, based on studies of almost 6,000 men dating from 1982. Beta carotene is an antioxidant in carrots and other vegetables, healthday.com reports. Team leader Francine Grodstein says men in the trial had memories equivalent to those about a year younger. Women should get the same results.

Mind the maturity gap in ADHD kids

The brains of children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) mature up to three years slower than normal, National Institute of Mental Health researchers have found, using new scanning techniques. The relevant parts of their brains are associated with suppressing inappropriate action, focusing and short-term memory, AP reports. The research may explain why many, but not all, youths grow out of the disorder, says team leader Philip Shaw. As many as 5 per cent of school-age children may suffer from ADHD.

Golden staph becomes more virulent

US researchers say they've found how a new strain of the golden staph superbug is able to evade the immune system. Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or CA-MRSA, is the cause of most infections now seen in US hospital emergency rooms. It can cause so-called flesh-eating infections and potentially fatal blood poisoning, AFP reports. From tests on mice, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases researchers say CA-MRSA secretes a higher level of small protein fragments that worsen inflammation and kill red blood cells and immune cells.

Candy for the randy ain't dandy Norway's biggest erotic chain store has been told to clean up its act ... by the country's food-safety authority, which found that many products such as penis pasta, candy cuffs and chocolate body painting did not comply with food label regulations. 'We were a bit surprised,' a spokesman told local tabloid VG, according to Reuters, which didn't name the chain. 'Food is not really our core product.'

Tree hazard nothing to sneeze at

Christmas is now officially a health hazard. Intrigued by a consistent and dramatic rise in asthma and sinus complaints during the holiday season, researchers have blamed live Christmas trees, because of associated mould growth. Allergist John Santilli says spore counts rose from the normal 500-700 per cubic metre of air to as much as 5,000 within a fortnight, WebMD reports. Mould allergies affects as many as three out of every 200 people.