Heart attack screening for siblings could save lives

Glasgow: Premature heart attacks could be prevented if close relatives of victims were screened and treated, say experts at Glasgow University.

Siblings of those with premature heart disease – which occurs in men under 55 and women under 65 – have at least double the risk of developing problems. The siblings’ children also have an increased risk.

Specialists believe routine screening for those at higher risk should be looked at.

the UK’s Glasgow University, said: ‘Family history of coronary heart disease significantly increases risk of the disease in all firstdegree relatives.’

Common genetic factors are behind the extra risk. But doctors also blame a ‘shared lifestyle’ within families, such as eating similar unhealthy foods and smoking.

Using a series of calculations, doctors worked out that 88 per cent of premature heart attacks in those with a family history that were treated in England Wales and Scotland in 2004, could have been prevented through family screening.

The Truth about Fats – by Flora



Did you know that FLORA spread was launched in 1964 when the bright minds in the government and medical profession came together and asked us to create a heart healthy alternative to butter, lard and hard margarines?

Since then we’ve kept working hard to create some of the heart healthiest yet tastiest spreads possible, which means we’ve learned a thing or two about good and bad fats. That’s why we thought we’d share what we’ve learned with you, so that you can unravel the myths surrounding fats and make the best choices to help keep your heart healthy.

Take polyunsaturated fats for example, which are important for maintaining a healthy heart as part of a balanced diet and are found in foods like seeds ,nuts & oily fish. The great news is that Flora spreads contain essential polyunsaturates, are low in saturates and are virtually trans fat free, so you can feel good about what you spread on your bread!


Even ‘lighter’ spreadable butters have at least 60% more saturated fat than Flora Light spread, which is low in saturated fat and is still a rich source of essential fatty acids. As a general rule of thumb, the harder the fat is at room temperature, the more saturated fat it contains, e.g. lard, butter & cheese, so try to ensure you don’t eat too much.


On the other hand, butter naturally contains trans fats, as well as saturated fats. As part of our commitment to improving the nation’s heart health, we’re committed to ensuring that the trans fat content of our products remains as low as possible. Both trans fats and saturated fats increase your levels of ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol, but trans fats are the superbaddies as they decrease your levels of ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol too.


And in the UK we eat more saturated fat than is good for us. The amount of butter normally spread on 2-3 slices of bread (20g) contains approximately 10g of saturated fat – that’s the same amount you’d find in 5 rashers of streaky
bacon! Whereas the same amount (20g) of Flora Original only contains 2.4g of saturated fat, that’s over 75% less than butter. Eating too much saturated fat can lead to increased cholesterol levels in the body, which has an adverse effect on heart health. All Flora spreads are low in saturated fat, virtually trans fat free and contain essential polyunsaturates so, as part of a balanced diet, they can help to keep your heart healthy.


Cholesterol deposits can start to build up in the arteries in early childhood, so it’s vital that children enjoy a healthy, balanced diet and an active lifestyle right from the word go. The ‘good’ fats found in Flora spreads are not only essential for healthy growth and development now they can also help to maintain good heart health from childhood through to adulthood as part of a healthy balanced diet. So it’s never too early to start looking after your family’s heart health – visit nevertooearly.co.uk for more information.


There’s a whole range of Flora products for you and your family, created to suit your requirements and appeal to your taste. Flora Original and Light are firm family favourites. Flora Extra Light is perfect for people looking to cut back on their fat intake, Flora No Salt is for those cutting salt from their diet, while Flora Omega 3 Plus contains more of the most effective form of Omega 3 (EPA/DHA from fish) than any other spread, which is good for your family’s hearts as part of a healthy balanced diet. And if you just can’t do without the taste of butter, there’s even Flora Buttery Taste!

At Flora, we’re committed to helping you make the right choices, which is why we’ve introduced a simple panel of information across the Flora range. We want you to know exactly what you’re eating when you choose Flora, which is why we provide you with Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) information for certain nutrients. Take a look at the comparison between Flora Original and butter below, and you’ll see why it’s essential to have all of the facts in front of you when you’re choosing what to eat. For more information about GDAs, click on florahearts.co.uk

Nine in 10 risk high blood pressure

London: About ninety per cent of Britons are at risk from high blood pressure increasing their risk of heart disease, strokes and kidney failure if current rates continue, according to a new report in the medical magazine The Lancet.

The report claims that poor lifestyle choices such as alcohol abuse, smoking, a salt rich diet and lack of exercise have seen the incidence of high blood pressure soar.

High blood pressure also known as hypertension is also being diagnosed in adolescents and children and a global epidemic is being predicted.

Obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, a poor diet and a lack of exercise all contribute to the condition.

The report says: “Lifestyle factors, such as physical inactivity, a salt-rich diet with high processed and fatty foods, and alcohol and tobacco use, are at the heart of this increased disease burden, which is spreading at an alarming rate from developed countries to emerging economies such as India and China.

“Many patients still believe that hypertension is a disease that can be cured, and stop or reduce medication when blood pressure levels fall. Physicians need to convey the message that hypertension is the first, and easily measurable, irreversible sign that many organs in the body are under attack.

“Perhaps this message will make people think more carefully about the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle and give preventative measures a real chance.”

High blood pressure is defined as a reading that exceeds 140/90 compared to a normal reading of about 120/80.

The first figure corresponds to the ‘surge’ of blood which occurs with each heart beat whilst the second is the ‘resting’ pressure between beats.

The medical experts also give advice on how best to treat high blood pressure.

They say that patients should take a combination of two or more drugs to control the hypertension plus statin drugs which will reduce cholesterol.

Life-saving heart podcast is a hit for British Heart Foundation


London: A podcast that could save lives is proving a huge success, sailing into the iTunes health chart top ten within 24 hours of being released.

The podcast has been produced by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) as part of today’s Chest Pain Awareness Day.

It is the first of its kind by the charity and it hopes it will save lives by helping people recognise heart attack symptoms and explaining why it’s important to call 999 promptly.

The podcast, which was created by Daisy Media, is available to download from the charity’s website – www.bhf.org.uk/doubtkills– It includes a nail biting mini-drama about a man suffering a heart attack, together with interviews from real life heart attack victims, that including:

Alec Keep, who was experiencing chest pain while driving home when he saw the BHF poster showing an image of a man with a tightened belt of skin around his chest and the words ‘a chest pain is your body saying call 999’. The advert prompted Alec to call 999 when he got home and had he not done so he would have died at home alone. Also interviewed is Lola Arch, one of the paramedics who attended Alec’s call out. She explains how they brought Alec back to life, and how glad they were that he called 999 so soon after suffering symptoms.

Kay McCaw, who dismissed her chest pain and was determined to get on with her day. It was a friend who encouraged her to get urgent medical help. She couldn’t believe it when doctors told her she had suffered a heart attack.

The podcast also includes advice from Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director of the BHF, on how to recognise symptoms and why it is so important to call 999 immediately.

Professor Weissberg says: “Calling 999 immediately is the only option when you have a heart attack because the second the artery blocks, which is the cause of the heart attack, heart muscle cells start to die. The longer it takes to get that artery open again, the more heart muscle will die, and therefore the more damage will be done permanently to the heart.

“Another reason why you should call 999 immediately is there is a high risk of having a cardiac arrest. If you have an ambulance crew standing by with a defibrillator they can put you back into a normal rhythm, and then you can go on to hospital and be treated as normal. If there’s nobody there with that expertise, then your heart will stop beating and you will die.

“By far the most common symptom for a heart attack is chest pain, but sometimes it doesn’t always occur in the middle of the chest. It can be in the back between the shoulder blades, sometimes it can just be in the arms, other people experience a bad pain in the jaw or the neck. The real message is that if something unpleasant is happening to you somewhere near the chest and you can’t explain it then you’d be wise to call 999.”

Visit www.bhf.org.uk/doubtkills to download the podcast, and for more information about the campaign.

The British Heart Foundation has launched This is the podcast that really could save your life…

To find out why calling 999 immediately if you feel chest pain is so important, please download our free podcast.

Central chest pain is the most common warning sign of a heart attack – but it does not have to be excruciating to be a serious problem.

Your heart is a powerful muscular pump that drives blood around your body.

To keep your heart healthy, the heart muscle needs to get a constant supply of oxygen-containing blood from the coronary arteries.

A heart attack happens when a blood clot blocks one of the arteries around the heart and a part of the heart muscle does not get an adequate supply of blood.

This sudden lack of blood supply can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle. It can also cause an irregular heart beat and sudden death.

A heart attack can happen at any time of the day or night. It can be brought on by intense physical or emotional stress, but equally can happen out of the blue when you are resting.

Read our FAQ section for more on chest pain and heart attacks

Further information on the causes of heart attacks, diagnosis and treatment can also be found at bhf.org.uk

Image professions worst at looking after teeth, says new Orbit report

London: Marketing has been named as the ‘UK’s Most Plaque Prone Profession’ according to new research from Orbit Complete sugarfree gum, which compares the daily dental, chewing, drinking and smoking habits and working lifestyles of different professions to reveal the ‘Top Five Most Plaque Prone’. Others in the top five include agriculture, transport, manufacturing and public sector.

The survey* of 1,000 Britons, reveals (10%) farmers, admit they rarely brush their teeth, with less than half (49%) brushing twice a day and a quarter (25%) never flossing. Other sectors are no better with around half of those in transport (48%) and public sector (60%) brushing their teeth twice a day and over half never flossing (transport 59% and public sector 52%). However, marketing professionals are the worst dental offenders, ranking them as Britain’s most plaque prone professionals

Marketers’ Mouths ‘No Advert’ for Healthy Teeth

Marketing people appear to be spending too much time ‘thinking outside the box’ and not enough about their teeth. Over a third (38%) never floss and 22% never use mouthwash as part of their dental regime. Even worse, entertaining clients mean that over half (54%) regularly** drink alcohol and a quarter smoke (24%) which could be detrimental to the health of their mouth and teeth.

“As this research shows, the demands and pressures on Britain’s workforce means many people have less time in their day to think about their oral health and how their busy lifestyles can affect this,” says Professor Jimmy Steele, top dentist from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.***

“It is important to remember to brush our teeth regularly to keep them clean and healthy, and chewing sugarfree gum with Xylitol, like Orbit Complete, after meals can help to reduce the build up of plaque during the day.”

Teachers and Healthcare Professionals Top of the Class

Healthcare professionals and teachers do practice what they preach when it comes to teeth, with 80% brushing their teeth twice a day. Over a third (37%) of teachers also regularly** drink a glass of milk, making them top of the class at break-time as milk is packed with calcium that helps to keep teeth strong and healthy.

Pen-Pushers Chew’se Success

Office workers are also remaining focused, brushing their teeth twice a day (79%), and taking care of themselves through a healthy diet (88%) and 27% make sure they chew sugarfree gum after meals in order to look after their teeth. Other top chewers, mindful of oral hygiene while at work include retailers (30%) and construction workers (21%).

North vs. South, Men vs. Women

The survey reveals that health habits are also influenced by geography and gender with employees in the South-East being the most regular brushers (74% brushing twice a day) and Scottish workers the least regular (59%). However, both regions recognise the benefits of sugarfree gum with 1 in 5 (20%) chewing it daily. On the other hand, women ‘get fresh’ more often than men with 72% brushing their teeth twice a day compared to 61% of men.

Dr Steele’s top 5 tips:

§ Choose your toothpaste wisely – Always make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride to help to strengthen and protect the teeth

§ Use a new toothbrush – Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the tufts have become worn or splayed

§ Make a dentist appointment – If you do not visit your dentist regularly, make an appointment -the dentist can tell you how often you should have a check-up.

§ Chew sugarfree gum with Xylitol – Chewing sugarfree gum such as Orbit Complete

has been clinically proven to help prevent the build up of plaque on teeth and to help to keep your teeth healthy, clean and fresh after meals and snacks

§ Floss and use mouthwash – To clean the areas that your brush may not be able to reach, dental floss and special brushes clean in-between your teeth. Using mouthwash can also help to freshen breath and kill bacteria.

Mix of diseases may cause Alzheimer’s

BETHESDA: Few older people die with brains untouched by a pathological process, however, an individual’s likelihood of having clinical signs of dementia increases with the number of different disease processes present in the brain, according to a new study.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and conducted at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Julie Schneider, MD, and colleagues report the findings in the journal Neurology online.

Among their findings is the observation that the combination of Alzheimer’s disease and strokes is the most common mix of pathologies in the brains of people with dementia. The implication of these findings is that public health efforts to prevent and treat vascular disease could potentially reduce the occurrence of dementia, the researchers say in the paper.

The researchers used data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project — an ongoing study of 1,200 elderly volunteers who have agreed to be evaluated every year and to donate their brains upon death.

The current study compared clinical and autopsy data on the first 141 participants who have died.

Annual physical and psychological exams showed that, while they were alive, 50 of the 141 had dementia. Upon death, a neuropathologist, who was unaware of the results of the clinical evaluation, analyzed each person’s brain. The autopsies showed that about 85% of the individuals had evidence of at least one chronic disease process, such as Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, hemorrhages, tumors, traumatic brain injury or others.

Comparison of the clinical and autopsy results showed that only 30% of people with signs of dementia had Alzheimer’s disease alone. By contrast, 42% of the people with dementia had Alzheimer’s disease with infarcts and 16% had Alzheimer’s disease with Parkinson’s disease (including two people with all three conditions). Infarcts alone caused another 12% of the cases. Also, 80 of the 141 volunteers who died had sufficient Alzheimer’s disease pathology in their brains to fulfill accepted neuropathologic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease, although in life only 47 were clinically diagnosed with probable or possible Alzheimer’s disease.

“We know that people can have Alzheimer’s pathology without having symptoms,” says Dallas Anderson, PhD, population studies program director in the NIA Neuroscience and Neuopsychology of Aging Program. “The finding that Alzheimer’s pathology with cerebral infarcts is a very common combination in people with dementia adds to emerging evidence that we might be able to reduce some of the risk of dementia with the same tools we use for cardiovascular disease such as control of blood cholesterol levels and hypertension.”

NIA is conducting clinical trials to determine whether interventions for cardiovascular disease can prevent or slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. On-going trials cover a range of interventions such as statin drugs, vitamins and exercise.

SOURCE: The National Institutes of Health

New report looks at ways to promote walking

People can be encouraged to walk for up to 30-60 minutes more per week if they are given the right kind of help, finds a study published on www.bmj.com today. This could make a valuable contribution to improving public health.

Physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer of the colon, write David Ogilvie and colleagues for the Scottish Physical Activity Research Collaboration (SPARColl). Walking is a free and convenient way to be active, and most people can continue walking into old age. Promoting walking could therefore help tackle the health problems linked to today’s inactive lifestyles.

The authors reviewed 48 studies of different approaches to promoting walking. The most successful were tailored to people’s needs and targeted at sedentary people or at those most motivated to change. These increased walking in the target groups by up to 30-60 minutes a week on average, at least in the short term. Given how little exercise most people take, this amounts to a substantial increase, say the authors.

The authors found that walking could be encouraged in a variety of ways. Examples included giving face to face advice or telephone support, using pedometers, or promoting walking as an environmentally friendly mode of transport. Different people may respond to different approaches, say the authors. One size may not fit all, and a range of options should be offered, they conclude.

Click here to view the full article: www.presspssprings.co.uk

Secondhand smoke – the invisable killer – new government ad campaign launches

London: Secondhand smoke is an “invisible killer”, according to a shocking new advertising campaign, launched by Public Health Minister Caroline Flint today. Nearly 85 per cent of tobacco smoke is invisible and odourless, but it causes just as much harm to people’s health as the smoke that is visible(i).

In the TV advert, which will be broadcast on UK TV from Monday 5 March, pervasive, dark smoke curls around guests at a wedding reception revealing the actual amount of smoke emitted by a single cigarette. And the smoker’s well intentioned attempts to blow or waft smoke away from non-smokers does not reduce the potential risk of secondhand smoke to health. The ads make this “invisible killer” visible in this family celebration. The TV commercial will be supported by press, online and outdoor advertising from 5 March.

Whilst most smokers and non-smokers believe secondhand smoke can cause harm, a new survey released today to support the campaign shows over half of smokers continue to smoke in a room with adult non-smokers, and a further quarter will still smoke when they’re near children(ii).

Secondhand smoke contains around 4,000 different chemicals. It can increase your chance of developing lung cancer and heart disease and can also cause a variety of serious health conditions including respiratory disease and cot death in children(iii). It’s made up of both side stream smoke from the burning tip of the cigarette, and mainstream smoke exhaled by the smoker. Side stream smoke accounts for nearly 85 per cent of the smoke in a smoky environment and contains a much higher concentration of toxins, such as hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and carbon monoxide.

Launching the new campaign Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said:

“Smoking is harmful not just to smokers but to the people around them. What this new campaign brings home very clearly is the full impact of secondhand smoke. 85 per cent of smoke may be invisible and odourless but it is still damaging people’s health. Wafting and blowing away smoke may seem like the right thing to do but in reality, it makes little difference to the amount of secondhand smoke inhaled by people around you.

“With England going Smokefree on 1st July, there has never been a better time to stop smoking. We have already exceeded our three-year target to help 800,000 people quit by 2005/6, and still more and more people are successfully kicking the habit.”

Professor Jarvis, University College London commented: “Children are particularly affected by breathing the poisons in secondhand tobacco smoke, because their bodies are still developing. Their bronchial tubes and lungs are smaller and immune systems less developed, making them more vulnerable to the toxins in smoke. Despite smokers’ efforts to blow their smoke away, or to not sit near children, they are still causing harm. People need to see secondhand smoke for the invisible killer that it is.”

Mikis Euripides, Asthma UK’s Assistant Director of Policy & Public Affairs said: ‘For people with asthma the effects of smoking can be deadly. 82% of people with this serious condition tell us that other people’s cigarette smoke triggers their asthma and many cannot go out to bars and clubs without the fear of a fatal asthma attack. About 800,000 people with asthma in England are also smokers themselves(iv), increasing their risk of asthma symptoms, asthma attacks and permanent damage to the airways.”

The ads will run until 8th April coinciding with National No Smoking Day on Wednesday 14th March: nosmokingday.org.uk

The best way to protect your family and other adults from secondhand smoke is to stop smoking. For further information phone the NHS Smoking Helpline free on 0800 169 0 169. Smokers who want to quit can also find details of their local NHS Stop Smoking Service by visiting gosmokefree.co.uk texting ‘GIVE UP’ and their full postcode to 88088 or asking at their local GP practice, pharmacy or hospital.

The NHS Smoking Helpline (0800 169 0 169) provides expert, free, and friendly advice to smokers and those close to them. Since its launch it has received over one million calls and a year after first calling the helpline, nearly a quarter of callers said they had successfully stopped and were still not smoking. Advisors can also refer callers to a local NHS Stop Smoking Service offering ongoing free face-to-face support and advice near their own home. There are over 170 throughout the country, offering a range of services including one-to-one meetings and group discussions with trained cessation advisors. Government research shows that smokers are up to four times more likely to stop successfully if they use their local NHS Stop Smoking Service together with NRT than they are if they use willpower alone.

Quitters can also sign up to a new website: justgiving.com/smokefree and quit smoking whilst raising money for a charity of their choice. The NHS also offers an interactive cessation support programme, Together, which helps smokers to quit by providing advice at key stages of the giving up process through a range of communication methods including email, text messages, mailings and phone calls.

Sources for statistics
(i) Chief Medical Office Annual Report 2003/US Surgeon General. The Health Consequences of Smoking: Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, 1984.

(ii) 90% of UK population believes secondhand smoke can cause harm. However 56% smokers will still smoke in a room with adult non-smokers and 24% smokers will still smoke in a room with children. Research conducted amongst 1,600 adults aged 16-74 in England by BMRB’s Access Omnibus survey, Feb 2007.

(iii) Secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer by 24% and heart disease

by 25%. Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) report, 2004.

(iv) 23% of adults with asthma in England are smokers (National Asthma Panel 2006) based on England adult population of 3.49 million with asthma

Brits – the fattest in Europe, says new survey

London: Brits are the fattest people in Europe, says a new survey by the European Union’s Statistical Office, Eurostat.

A quarter of women and a fifth of men in the UK are now so overweight that their health is at serious risk. Second and third place go to Germany and Malta.

British women head the EU league, with 23 per cent clinically obese, and men fare little better, with 22.3 per cent classified as obese behind only Malta.

The figures highlight the obesity timebomb of ageing diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other diseases brought on by obesity.

German women have an obesity rate of 21.7 per cent and Maltese women 21.2 per cent. The thinnest women are in Italy, where fewer than 8 per cent are obese.

The highest rate of male obesity is in Malta, with 25.1 per cent obese. British men are second with a rate of 22.3 per cent, followed by Hungary and Germany. Romania has the best record on male obesity, with just 7.7 per cent obese.

Measured by calculating Body Mass Index – a mathematical formula relating height to weight – people are classified as obese if they weigh a fifth more than their ideal maximum weight.

The EU statisticians looked only at adult obesity, but previous studies have shown rates of child obesity are equally worrying. In Britain the figures have trebled in 20 years, with 10 per cent of six-year-olds and 17 per cent of 15-year-olds now obese.

Adult obesity rates have nearly quadrupled over the last 25 years, making Britain the second-fattest nation in the developed world, trailing behind only America.

Obesity causes 9,000 premature deaths a year and costs the NHS up to £1billion.

Being obese can take nine years of a person’s lifespan and raise the risk of a host of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, infertility and depression.

The risk of many cancers, including breast, colon, kidney and stomach cancer, are linked to weight.

Two drinks a day helps reduce blood pressure in men

Amsterdam: Two alcoholic drinks a day can help men reduce high blood pressure, according to scientists.

As well as the traditional methods of getting healthier body markets such as taking more exercise and cutting amounts of saturated fats and sat, a drink is also recommended following research carried out by Joline Beulens of Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

This latest discovery adds to the mounting evidence that moderate amounts of alcohol are good for health. Wine, for example, contents anti-oxidants, that may have protective qualities and lead to a longer life.

Miss Beulens examined data on 11,711 men with high blood pressure and their incidence of heart attacks, heart disease and stroke between 1986 and 2002. During this period there were 653 heart attacks of which 279 were fatal. Every four years participants filled out a questionnaire including details of how often they drank beer, red wine, white wine and spirits.

The scientists found that the chances of suffering a heart attack were lower among men who consumed one or two drinks a day – one drink was defined as a single glass of wine or a single shot of spirits.

Men, however, are urged not to drink more as this increases blood pressure and heart attack incidence.
However she urged men not to have three drinks a day, as this increases their blood pressure and risk of an attack. ‘Our findings are not a licence to overindulge.’

Dieters cut calories rather than exercise

London: Dieters prefer to count calories rather than take the healthier exercise option, says a new poll from pharma giant, GlaxoSmithKline Nutritional Healthcare.

Twice as many dieters count calories to lose weight rather than exercise, a poll has found. And this diet loss method if more poplar with women than men.Calorie counting is most popular with women – half opt to count their food intake, compared with a third of men.

Surprisingly 59% of the 2,000 people surveyed by GlaxoSmithKline Nutritional Healthcare realised exercise makes the greater contribution to personal health.

More choice in low-calorie foods means people are giving up exercise in favour of consuming less, nutritionists say.

John Brewer, GSK Sports Scientist, said: “The trend of people swapping the gym for a low calorie meal is very worrying.

“Consuming fewer calories is no substitute for exercise. We cannot afford to become a nation of calorie-counting couch potatoes – the benefits of leading active lives are enormous.”

Graham Neale of GSK Nutritional Healthcare said diet food manufacturers had a responsibility to consumers.

He said: “With food and drink manufacturers broadening their ‘diet’ ranges, we need a concerted effort to encourage consumers to focus as much on ‘energy out’ as ‘energy in’.”

DNA clue to disease

Houston: Scientists have discovered that there may be mutations of DNA in the human populations which make some individuals more like to suffer from disease.

This is because around 10 per cent of our genes vary. This discovery means that in future it will be be easier to control common conditions.

The discovery follows on from the Human Genome project, which mapped the entire blueprint for mankind in 2003.

The new discovery by an international team of scientists has revealed that there are variations in up to 10 per cent of our genes. Previously, it was assumed that the DNA of any two humans was 99.9 per cent the same in content and identity.

The study reported in the journal Nature examined 270 people and found that for 10 per cent of our genes, many of us have more than two copies, or even some missing.

The number of genes effects potency and therefore impact on disease. So a person with extra or missing copies may not be obviously ill yet there may be an adverse affect on health.

Stress may lead to mouth cancer

London: More than one in three Brits admit to alleviating stress by drinking and one in five by smoking, but nearly two out of three were unable to identify both of these as leading causes of mouth cancer.

The new research, conducted for Mouth Cancer Awareness Week (12-18 November) by dental payment plan company Denplan found that while most Brits could identify smoking as a cause of mouth cancer, nearly two-thirds could not identify drinking as a leading risk factor of the disease.

Moreover, respondents in the most at-risk age group for contracting the disease (those aged 45 and older) were the least able to identify smoking and drinking as a major cause of mouth cancer.

Almost half of those questioned admitted to feeling stressed at least oncea day and, given the high percentage of those who turn to cigarettes and alcohol to cope, this indicates that the prevalence of mouth cancer in the UK may be linked to the way we relieve the pressures of modern life. 4,400 new cases of mouth cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, and the disease kills more than 1,700 annually.

Although Brits regularly drink and smoke as an escape from the stresses of jobs, family life and other commitments, more than 20 per cent did not recognise one of the early warning signs of the disease, an ulcer that does not heal, and a quarter of people would not go to the dentist if they had a mouth ulcer that persisted for weeks.

The results suggest a worrying lack of awareness, and a danger that today’s over-stressed population may be in for a big health scare later in life. The chances of surviving mouth cancer can increase from 50 per cent to nearly 90 per cent if they are detected and treated early.

Dr. Henry Clover, Dental Advisor for dental payment plan company Denplan, said: “While alcohol and cigarettes may help alleviate feelings of stress in the short-term, over time this lifestyle can pose a serious health risk and significantly increase the likelihood of developing mouth cancer.

“As people are increasingly resorting to these methods of relieving stress, it is becoming more and more important that they are able to identify early symptoms of the disease. The most common of these are long lasting sores or ulcers, white or red patches on the gums, tongue or the lining of the mouth
and difficulty swallowing.”

The research also found that: * 44% of 25 – 34 year olds regularly have a drink if they have had a stressful day compared to the 35% who relieve stress through exercise * Seven out of ten respondents over 55 could not name drinking as a majorcause of mouth cancer * When asked to identify common symptoms of the disease, 21% of respondents could not identify an ulcer lasting longer than 2 weeks; and 44% were not able to identify the appearance of white or red patches on the inside of the mouth * Nearly half of us admit to feeling stressed once a day

About the research:- The research was carried out for Denplan by Tickbox.net from the 22nd September to the 5th October 2006 using a survey sample base of 1783.

About AXA AXA is a world leader in financial protection. AXA’s operations are diverse with major operations in Western Europe, North America and the Asia/Pacific area. AXA employs 120,000 staff and tied agents and, as of 31 December 2005, had €1,064 billion in assets under management. AXA reported total IFRS revenues of €72 billion and IFRS underlying earnings of €3,258 million for the full year 2005. Our previous company performance is not a guide to how we may perform in the future.

AXA ordinary shares are listed on the Paris Stock Exchange; AXA American Depositary Shares (ADSs) are listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol AXA. About Denplan Denplan Ltd., part of the AXA Group, is the UK’s leading dental plan provider with an approximately 80% market share. Denplan has more than 6,000 member dentists nationwide (around a third of General Dental Practitioners) and over 1.6 million registered patients. The company was established in 1986 by two dentists who pioneered the concept of dental payment plans.

Today Denplan provides a range of plans for adults and children, enabling patients to spread the cost of their dental care through a fixed monthly fee. Denplan supports regular attendance and preventive care, reducing the need for clinical intervention and helping patients to maintain healthy teeth and gums for life. Denplan Care: all routine and restorative care + worldwide dental A & E cover Denplan Essentials: routine care only + worldwide dental A & E cover Plans for Children: routine and other agreed care + worldwide dental A & E

Denplan Emergency: worldwide dental A & E cover only Denplan Enhance: interest-free patient loans of £250 – £25,000 for dental treatment Company Dental Plans: company funded, voluntary and flexible benefit
schemes Denplan also provides a range of professional services for its member dentists, including the Denplan Quality Programme, Denplan Excel
accreditation programme and Denplan Training. Patient enquiries telephone: 0800 401 402 Dentist enquiries telephone: 0800 328 3223 www.denplan.co.uk

Stem cell hope for diabetes

New Orleans: Scientists have used stem cells from human bone marrow to repair defective insulin-producing pancreatic cells responsible for diabetes in mice.

The treatment also halted damage to the kidneys caused by the condition.

Researchers from New Orleans’ Tulane University are hopeful it can be adapted to treat diabetes in humans.

Stem cells are immature cells which have the capacity to turn into any kind of tissue in the body.

The US team treated diabetic mice who had high blood sugar and damaged kidneys.

One group of mice were injected with stem cells. After three weeks they were shown to be producing higher levels of mouse insulin than untreated mice and had lower blood sugar levels.

The injections also appeared to halt damaging changes taking place in the glomeruli, the bulb-like structures in the kidneys that filter the blood.

Researcher Dr Darwin Prockop said: “We are not certain whether the kidneys improved because the blood sugar was lower or because the human cells were helping to repair the kidneys.

“But we suspect the human cells were repairing the kidneys in much the same way they were repairing the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.”

Dr Prockop said his team were planning to carry out trials in patients with diabetes.

“The physicians will be selecting patients with diabetes whose kidneys are beginning to fail.

“They will determine whether giving the patients large numbers of their own adult stem cells will lower blood sugar, increase secretion of insulin from the pancreas and improve the function of the kidney.”

Theoretically, pancreatic beta cells produced from a patient’s own bone marrow could be used to treat diabetes, overcoming the requirement for immunosuppression following islet transplantation.

However, a way to prevent transplanted cells from being destroyed by the body is needed as this is why Type 1 diabetes develops in the first place.

Genome scientist supports DNA mapping for killer diseases

Washington: The American scientist who became the first to decode the human “Genome” – the DNA code for every cell in the human body – is to become the first person to map all of his own DNA.

Craig Ventor, aged 60, has already started to tailor his diet and lifestyle after discovering through DNA testing that he is susceptible to a number of hereditary illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and possible blindness and even mad cow disease.His father, for example, died at the age of 59 from cardiac arrest.

In a report in The Sunday Times he says that when people know their own genetic code they are no longer an average statistic. He also said that whilst knowing this information was helpful in making lifestyle changes there are a number of other factors that influence health outcome.

Ventor who heads the non-profit Craig Ventor Institute, a science centre in Rockville, Maryland in the US, wants DNA mapping to become available for all. He predicts that this will happen within the next decade.

Weekly exercise sufficient for health

Oslo: It only takes one bout of exercise each week to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to new research from Norway.

One intense bout of exercise a week lowered the risk of death by 51 per cent in women and 39 per cent in men, in the study carried out by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and St Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim.

The scientists also discovered that increasing the amount of exercise did not improve results.

The findings are the result of a 16-year study in which cardiologists investigated how the amount and intensity of exercise was linked to death in 27,143 men and 28,929 women.

At the end of the study period 10.8 per cent of the men, and 8.6 per cent of the women had died from heart disease or stroke. When the researchers looked at the subjects’ exercise history, they found that a single weekly bout of exercise of high intensity reduced the risk of cardiovascular death compared with those who reported no activity.

The researchers condluded that the results challenge the current recommendation that expenditure of at least 1,000 kcal per week is required to achieve exercise-induced protection.

Scientists develop new test for early detection of Alzheimer’s

Lancaster: Scientists at Lancaster University have developed a new technique, utilising one of the latest advances in sub-atomic technology, which could potentially allow the early diagnosis of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease through a simple test for certain proteins in body fluids.

At present, by the time these diseases are diagnosed, using clinical criteria, much damage to the brain has already occurred. Future, more advanced drug treatments are likely to be most effective if given as early as possible during the course of these diseases.

The breakthrough technique also allows scientists to monitor the effectiveness of drugs and other inhibitors on the aggregation of key proteins that accumulate in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

The process involves monitoring protein aggregation in the blood and so is non-invasive. It can generate results rapidly, so potentially speeding up the drug discovery process. The research was partly funded by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Central to the success of the breakthrough was the latest protein measurement equipment from Farfield Scientific, Crewe, UK. This equipment utilises a laser-based technology known as dual polarisation interferometry to detect and study both the structure and aggregation of disease-related proteins.

The new technique, based on the use of Farfield equipment, allows the precise measurement in vitro of the protein interactions that lead to aggregation, in real time. The technique can detect these interactions at a very early stage, and it is at this early stage of aggregation that these proteins are thought to be toxic to brain cells, so leading to the onset of disease.

It also possible that the detection of early-stage protein aggregates in body fluids could lead to advances in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other diseases. The Farfield equipment is capable of recording changes smaller than 0.1 angstroms (one hundredth of a nanometre) – considerably smaller than the size of the molecule’s constituent atoms.

Studying changes in the structure of biologically important molecules in real time delivers revealing insights into mechanisms involved in diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer and heart disease. Proteins are very large complex molecules that can fold into a variety of different shapes or conformations. This 3D shape is extremely important and can radically affect the protein’s properties. Misfolded proteins are also the source of prion-based diseases – the suspected infective agent for diseases such as BSE in cows and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans. How these ‘rogue’ proteins behave at a molecular level is a key to understanding the mechanisms of these diseases. This dual polarisation interferometry technique behind the breakthrough
uses the principle of optical interference, where two light sources are made to interact (or interfere) with each other to produce a ‘fringe’ pattern demonstrating the wave-like nature of light. The Farfield system employs two waveguides with a laser light source.

A waveguide is an optical structure that guides light. The changes in the behaviour of light passing through the device enable parameters such as the size, density and mass of molecules attached to the sample surface to be determined extremely accurately.

“The technique can be used to gain a better understanding of many diseases
at a molecular level”, says Professor David Allsop of Lancaster University.
‘This is done by measuring protein structures as they interact with each other, with other proteins or with candidate drug molecules.

The Farfield technology does offer a real advantage over other techniques because of its ability to measure protein changes and molecular interactions very precisely and accurately, in real time. This could lead to some major advances in the diagnosis and treatment of human disease’.

Dr Simon Carrington, Marketing Director of Farfield Group sees even greater potential for the technology adding, “There is a real chance that this technology will quickly lead to major advances in our ability to diagnoseand treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, there is now no reason why this technology should not play a significant role in scientific research into many other medical areas, such as CJD, where the prospects of early diagnosis have been elusive.

About Farfield Group Farfield Group Limited is an innovator and global supplier of newanalytical technologies and instruments that address the emerging and evolving measurement demands of the Biophysics, Nanotechnology and Telecommunications communities, which combined represent the most demanding measurement challenges facing research over the next decade.

Slow release pill for gum disease and bad breath

New York: A plastic coated pill that treats bad breath and gum disease through a slow release mechanism is being developed in the US.

The pill would be implanted in the mouth and release drugs including salicylic acid to kill germs and bacteria.

Gum and peridontal disease are a major cause of ill health and scientists below maybe linked to heart and cardiovascular disease. Periodontal disease can also lead to loss of teeth as the gums shrink.

Public unaware of gum health

New York: US consumers named having “whiter teeth” or a “better smile” most often when asked to list the benefits of practicing good oral hygiene, despite a growing body of evidence that suggests that the gum disease gingivitis, if allowed to progress to periodontitis (advanced gum disease), may increase one’s risk for broader health problems over time.

There are several explanations for a possible causal relationship between oral health and overall health. The scientific community is still exploring and debating this potential connection, examining the role of germs that cause periodontitis (advanced gum disease), chronic inflammation of the gums resulting from periodontitis, genetics and lifestyle habits, such as smoking.

Nearly 100 percent of dental professionals (98 percent) and physicians (91 percent) indicate that they believe that there is a link between oral health and overall health, and many are already trying to educate consumers about the mouth-body association. In fact, 65 percent of physicians and 94 percent of dental professionals surveyed reported that they are discussing the association between poor oral health and broader health problems with at least some of their patients.

The makers of Listerine this week launched a print advertising campaign to help educate consumers on the association between oral health and overall health as well as to remind consumers of the benefits of a twice-daily rinse with Listerine Antiseptic.

“It’s great to see that physicians as well as dentists are informing their patients about this emerging science, but we also need to take it a step further by recommending immediate actions that our patients can take to make a difference,” says nationally recognized dentist Dr. Gregg Lituchy, a pioneer in the dental health field. “My patients appreciate it when I can recommend simple ways to achieve improvement in their oral care. For example, in addition to regular visits to the dentist, twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing, I recommend rinsing with Listerine for 30 seconds twice a day, which has been shown to reduce significantly more plaque and gingivitis when added to brushing and flossing. That’s a small time commitment, but a big win.”

In addition, physicians should encourage their patients to make regular visits to their dental professional so that they may detect early any oral health problems, which can be a sign of other health problems.

While more than 80 percent of consumers surveyed reported brushing their teeth two or more times a day, only 56 percent said they regularly floss and 60 percent use an antiseptic mouthrinse such as Listerine(R) Antiseptic.

Dental professionals surveyed named gum diseases (gingivitis and periodontitis) more frequently than cavities when asked to list the most common oral health issues their patients face.

More about the mouth-body connection

There are several possible explanations for the link between oral health and overall health. One theory involves the germs that cause advanced gum disease (periodontitis). Another theory points to the potential effects of chronic inflammation of the gums caused by advanced gum disease. In any event, genetics or bad habits, such as smoking, may increase the chances of both poor oral health and poor overall health.

“The connection between poor oral health and broader health problems is not yet completely understood. We do know, however, that periodontitis is a bacterial infection, characterized in part by inflammation of the gums,” says William Meggs, M.D., author of The Inflammation Cure and professor and chief of the Division of Toxicology, and vice chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University School of Medicine in Greenville, North Carolina. “Many experts believe that inflammation, in the mouth and elsewhere in the body, is a common thread linking a broad range of health problems.”

While the nature of the link is not yet fully understood and no cause-and-effect relationship has been established, what has been shown is that some sort of an association exists between oral health and overall health, and that both dental professionals and physicians agree that it is a good idea to maintain the health of your mouth, including your gums.

About the Surveys

The surveys, with a focus on the association between oral health and overall health, were conducted in May 2006, interviewing a nationwide sample of 1,001 U.S. adults 18 years of age and older and 301 medical doctors and 303 dentists. Data for the total sample were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, and race/ethnicity. The surveys were sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, makers of Listerine Antiseptic.

About Plaque and Gum Disease

Plaque, a soft, sticky film of bacteria, is directly responsible for the development of gingivitis, an early and reversible form of gum disease. When the bacteria that cause plaque stick to the teeth and gum tissue and multiply, the tissue becomes infected and inflamed, and the gums become red, swollen and sometimes bleed easily. More than half of Americans have some form of gingivitis, but because it’s painless, many people don’t realize they have it.

If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to the advanced gum disease periodontitis, which when left untreated can lead to eventual tooth loss. Periodontitis also is difficult to detect, because it is often painless. Up to 15 percent of adults will experience the severe form of this disease. The best way to determine whether or not you have gingivitis or periodontitis is to see your dentist.

About Listerine

Listerine Antiseptic is the number one dentist-recommended brand of mouthrinse and the only major brand name over-the-counter mouthrinse that carries the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. Made by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Listerine contains a fixed combination of four essential oils and is clinically proven to kill germs that cause bad breath and to help prevent or reduce plaque and gingivitis. Listerine is not indicated for the treatment of periodontitis. To learn more about Listerine Mouthwash and to further explore the mouth-body connection, visit http://www.listerine.com

About Pfizer

Pfizer Inc discovers, develops, manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines for humans and animals and many of the world’s best-known consumer products. The Consumer Healthcare division of Pfizer, headquartered in Morris Plains, New Jersey, is the world’s second-largest consumer healthcare company, with a portfolio of market-leading brands that also includes Purell(R), Neosporin(R), Benadryl(R), Sudafed(R), Visine(R), and Rogaine(R).

UK diabetes figures soar

London: The number of people suffering from diabetes continues to rise, according to new figures from Britain’s National Health Service. And the epidemic of obesity is to blame say officials.

The numbers suffering from the disease in England has increased by 124,000 in a year to 1.89 million. The total figure is estimated at 2.1 million – compared with just 1.4 million a decade ago. The statistics are based on figures from doctors.

More than a fifth of men and women, and one in 15 schoolchildren, are now classed as obese.

Doctors have long warned this represents a health crisis because being overweight is a major trigger for Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the condition.

The World Health Organisation recently estimated that by 2015 diabetes could be killing 41,000 Britons a year – a 25 per cent rise on the current total of around 33,000.

Experts said the latest rise in cases proves that action must be taken to improve our lifestyles.

Diabetes occurs when the body loses the ability to process blood sugar, leading to dangerously high levels which can damage organs.

Type 1 develops at a young age, while Type 2 typically occurs in later life. However, high obesity levels mean Type 2 is increasingly developing at younger ages and now makes up an estimated 75 per cent of cases. They represent an increase in prevalence of diabetes from 3.3 to 3.6 per cent of the population.

The Black Country and North-East London had the highest rates of diabetes at 4.1 per cent of their populations. The lowest rate was in the Thames Valley, at 2.9 per cent.

Scottish venture to sell stem cells to cure diseases

Edinburgh: A £2m collaboration to help find treatments for diseases such as diabetes and leukaemia has been launched in Scotland.

The Roslin Cells Centre claims it will be the first in Europe to develop human stem cell lines to be sold worldwide for testing drugs and developing new medicines.

The stem cell lines will be created from donated eggs and embryos.

These will then be sold on a non-profit basis to academics and commercial companies.

The development has been unveiled by the Roslin Institute, Scottish Enterprise, Edinburgh University and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.

Preparatory work on the project has been under way for about three months.

By selling stem cell lines without intellectual property rights, it should be easier and quicker to test and develop medicines.

Although some groups believe using human embryo stem cells is wrong, supporters argue the project will position Scotland as a world leader and attract more investment and employment in the area of medical science.

The centre will also act as the first step in a supply chain to support the development of the wider stem cell sector in Scotland, providing cells that can be used by academics, NHS Scotland and commercial companies.

Dr Paul De Sousa, project manager for the Roslin Cells Centre, said: “This approach will provide huge benefits to academics and companies already working in the stem cell field or seeking to enter it.”

Neil Francis, deputy chief executive of Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, said: “As well as having huge potential to make significant breakthroughs in the treatment of some of the most debilitating diseases, the stem cell sector has the potential to become one of the key drivers of Scotland’s knowledge economy.

“The Roslin Cells Centre is an important step in establishing a strong commercial sector based on Scotland’s existing world class scientific strengths.”

Professor Harry Griffin, director of the Roslin Institute, added: “This new initiative represents a key step in the drive to deliver safe and effective stem cell therapies.”

Dr Angela Wilson, director of research at Diabetes UK said the investment would hopefully move things closer to finding new treatments for people with diabetes.

She added: “However, there are still significant obstacles that will need to be overcome before this is possible. Any transplanted cells will need to behave like our own body’s cells producing insulin in response to changes in blood glucose levels.”

The Church of Scotland said it supported the move.

Dr Donald Bruce, director of the Kirk’s ethics and technology unit, said: “Broadly speaking we agree with this centre and making stem cells that are of therapeutic quality available and that it’s being done on a not-for-profit basis.”

However, he stressed the need for ethical control and for couples donating embryos or eggs to be kept fully informed.

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said it believed human beings should “never be used as a means to an end”.

He added: “The use of persons at the embryo stage is not acceptable for it violates their individual human rights, integrity and dignity.

“Furthermore, clear research indicates the successful and moral use of stems cells found in adults or placenta. Humanity is not here to serve science but science is here to serve humanity.”

Vitamin C improves heart function

Tokyo: Vitamin C can improve heart function during exercise in patients who have suffered a heart attack, according to a report in the International Journal of Cardiology.

The vitamin improves the efficiency of the sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the nervous system that controls heart rate and other involuntary body responses. Heart disease can cause the sympathetic function to deteriorate.

Dr. Kazuyo Kato and other colleagues from Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, investigated whether ascorbic acid influenced the sympathetic response to exercise in 21 men who were studied at least one month after a myocardial infarction. The participants underwent symptom-limited exercise testing twice, once 2 hours after oral administration of 2 grams of ascorbic acid and once without the supplement.

Although resting blood pressure and heart rate did not differ with or without ascorbic acid, the authors report, the heart rate response to peak exercise was significantly higher, an indication of better heart function, after ascorbic acid than without ascorbic acid.

Ascorbic acid administration also improved heart rate increases from rest to peak exercise, as well as the peak oxygen consumption, the results indicate.

“These data suggest that an antioxidant vitamin such as ascorbic acid can effect a recovery of the sympathetic dysfunction caused by injury through excessive oxidative stress and improve exercise intolerance,” Dr. Kato and colleagues conclude.

“Further studies are needed to determine whether long-term ascorbic acid administration will improve sympathetic nerve dysfunction in patients and whether other antioxidants would

UK patients implanted with stolen body parts, authorities admit

London: London: UK patients have been implanted with stolen body parts which may be potentially contaminated, the country’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority has confirmed.

Over 70 pieces of bone have been grafted into the patients in 20 hospitals in the UK after they were imported from the New Jersey company Biomedical Tissue Services (BTS). The company which has now been shut down and is under investigation by the US Food & Drug Administration.

The imported bones were harvested by the firm from corpses in US funeral parlours without the deceased family’s consent and without proper checks to ensure the bodies were disease free. The stolen bodies included that of veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke, who died of cancer last year, aged 95.

Although many of the bones were recalled after a safety alert, 77 implants had already been grafted into the hips and jaw bones of British patients. These patients have been offered screening for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and syphillis which can be transmitted from the bones of the dead.

The scandal has exposed a growing trade in body tissue, bones and ligaments which are harvested in the US and exported around the world. In the US it is illegal to sell bodies directly to the US tissue banks which take ownership of the bodies after death but they sell them on to commercial companies who harvest, store and process the samples.

Imports to the UK have increased as there is a shortage of these parts which are used to repair serious fractures and as dental implants.

The UK government responsible for monitoring this trade, the Human Tissue Authority does not know which countries export skin, bone and ligaments to Britain or even the quantities.

The export of the particularly batch to Britain by BTS is confirmed by the Medicines and Healthcare products REgulatory Authority, the agency responsible for ensuring the safety of medical treatments. They said the patients had received what is known as allografts to fill holes in jaws and hip bones.

Regulators say the chance of infection is low as the bones were steralised prior to implantation.

The company BTS was forced to close last autumn after allegations that it had forged consent forms and other documents to gain access to dead bodies from undertakers.

Among the bodies desecrated was that of Alistair Cooke, whose bones were stolen and recyled. The US authories also claim that BTS did not carry out proper screening of the bodies. Also the bones of elderly people may not be suitable for transplants as they are more likely to have degenerative bone diseases such as osteroporosis.

The director of the company, Michael Mastromarina, a dentist who lost his practising licence because of drug addiction, and two assistants, face criminal charges including soliciting undertakers to prove illegally body parts such as tendons, skin and bone from corpses.

Fruit and veg protect against Alzheimer’s

Nashville: Fruit and vegetable juices have the potential to protect against the devastating brain disease Alzheimer’s, according to US scientists.

They examined the effects of drinking fruit and vegetable juices more than three times a week amongst 2,000 people for 10 years and discovered that it reduced the risk of the disease by 76 per cent compared to those whose intake was less.

Doctors believe that the findings confirm that diet can play a huge role in whether you get the disease. It is thought that protective substances in fruit and vegetables known as polyophenols, protect the brain from accumulations of bad proteins.

The study carried out at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and participants consumed juice with high concentrations of pulp and peel which contain the most polyphenols.

Arteries of heart disease sufferers age prematurely

Cambridge: Heart disease suffers have advanced deterioration of their arteries, according to scientists at Cambridge University.

In early stages of heart disease arteries will be between five and 15 years older than a person’s real age. But in advanced cases they will be more than 40 years older.

Professor Martin Bennett, British Heart Foundation professor of cardiovascular sciences, whose research group at Cambridge University led the research, said that a combination of high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol aged the arteries prematurely.

The study published in the journal Circulation Research, used discarded human tissue from heart bypass and transplant patients to examine artery cell ageing.

Prof Bennett’s team, which collaborated with surgeons and pathologists from Papworth Hospital, near Cambridge, found the smooth muscle cells of diseased blood vessels showed evidence of ‘ accelerated’ damage.