Health bites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 October, 2013, 4:29pm

Labels don't tell whole story Canadian researchers have found that the majority of herbal products on the market - in North America, at least - contain ingredients not listed on the label. Using DNA barcoding technology to test 44 herbal products sold by 12 companies, University of Guelph researchers found that only two companies provided authentic products without substitutes, contaminants or fillers such as rice, soya beans and wheat. Nearly 60 per cent of the samples contained plant species not listed on the label, and 32 per cent had product substitution. "We found contamination in several products with plants that have known toxicity, side effects and/or negatively interact with other herbs, supplements and medications," says lead author Steven Newmaster.

Sealed with a kiss

A new Oxford University study suggests kissing is not only a way to stay in a relationship, but it also helps us size up potential partners. In an online survey of more than 900 adults about the importance of kissing in both short- and long-term relationships, the researchers also found that women rated kissing as generally more important in relationships than men.

Molecule boosts brain

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have identified a hormone with neuroprotective effects that is produced in the brain during endurance exercise. Testing mice, the scientists were able to artificially raise the levels of the hormone, called irisin, in the blood to activate genes involved in learning and memory. The findings were published in the online journal Cell Metabolism.