Spinal zap may help Parkinson's A 'spinal zap' may prove to be an effective way of treating Parkinson's sufferers, say US researchers who report radically improved movement in rats and mice within four seconds of applying electrical stimulation to their dorsal column. The treatment, devised by a Duke University team, is based on a technique used for people suffering chronic pain that entails a small implanted spinal-cord stimulator. The drug L-Dopa is the main treatment for Parkinson's symptoms but it becomes less effective over time, AP reports. Mushrooms 'lower cancer risk' Chinese women who eat mushrooms and drink green tea appear to have a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer, and for it to be less severe forms if they do, says an Australian researcher, based on a study of more than 2,000 women from Hangzhou, half of whom had breast cancer. Eating as little as 10 grams a day, or less than one button mushroom, appears to have a beneficial effect, says Min Zhang, of the University of Western Australia. 'An additional decreased risk from the joint effect of mushrooms and green tea was observed,' she says. Those who ate the most fresh mushrooms were two-thirds less likely to develop breast cancer than those who ate none, AFP reports. Green tea might foil gum disease Meanwhile, a daily cup of green tea may also protect against gum disease, say Japanese researchers, based on a study of more than 900 men aged 49 to 59 - and the more you drink, the lower the risk appears to be, but team leader Yoshihiro Shimazaki of Kyushu University says the relationship is not strong and needs more study. It's likely that antioxidants in green tea called polyphenols inhibit bacteria that lead to gum disease, Reuters reports. Little surprise, perhaps, that imports of tea into the US were up 7 per cent last year, to 117 million kilograms, with much of the increase attributed to teas such as green and oolong. Oxygen therapy aids autistic kids Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, similar to that used for divers suffering from the bends, appears to significantly benefit autistic children, say US researchers, based on a study of 60 two- to seven-year-olds. Those who were randomly assigned to 40 one-hour sessions in a low-level therapy room showed improved grasp of language, social interaction and eye contact, and less irritability, hyperactivity and repetitive behaviour, Reuters reports of the International Child Development Resource Centre study. Vasectomies rise due to downturn As the economy wanes, vasectomies are reportedly rising sharply, reports healthday.com, based on a sample of specialists. Increasing job uncertainty may be a deciding factor; not only because of the cost of having children but due to concerns their health insurance will disappear if they're laid off. One New York specialist says he's performing twice as many vasectomies compared with last year. And a centre in Cleveland, Ohio, says procedures are up 75 per cent during the past few months.