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Chicken better than red meat



EATING chicken rather than red meat may be the key to a longer life.

White meat slightly reduces the overall risk of death or being stricken by cancer. Consuming too much red or processed meat will lead to a "modest" increase in risk of death from all causes. It also increases the risk of dying specifically from heart disease or cancer.

Researchers from the US National Cancer Institute in Maryland studied more than half a million people in the United States. The study, one of the largest of its kind ever undertaken, looked at their eating habits over 10 years, taking into account factors such as smoking and physical activity. During the study, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died.

Typically, 11 per cent of deaths in men and 16 per cent of deaths in women could be prevented if people reduced their red meat consumption. The findings was published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Fish oil may alleviate prostate cancer

* Fish oil may protect men against potentially deadly aggressive prostate cancer. A high intake of omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish such as herring, salmon and mackerel, could reduce the risk of developing the disease by about 60 per cent. It also reversed the effect of an inherited gene which is known to increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Omega-3 intake also had a major impact on the effect of a hazardous variant of the COX-2 gene, which promotes inflammation and is known to be linked to prostate cancer.

Researchers from the University of California in San Francisco noted that the COX-2 increased risk of disease was essentially reversed by increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake by half a gramme per day.

Omega-3 fatty acids may help to prevent prostate cancer by combating inflammation, the scientists wrote in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Inflammation, which is an inappropriate immune system response, can be affected by diet , bacterial and viral infections, as well as genetic make-up.

Music and visual neglect

* Music may help restore sight to those recovering from a stroke. Stroke survivors can suffer impaired visual awareness called visual neglect. It's caused by stroke-related damage in brain areas that integrate vision, attention and action.

Researchers at Imperial College London said patients with visual neglect lose awareness of objects in the opposite side of space in relation to the site of the brain injury.

For example, if the stroke is on the right side of the brain, patients lose awareness of visual information that's to their left. This occurs even though there's no damage to the brain area associated with sight, according to the study.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggested that positive emotions triggered by listening to pleasant music may result in more efficient signaling in the brain.

In turn, this may improve the patient's awareness by giving the brain more resources to process stimuli.

Spinal tap danger for babies, elderly

* An X-ray-guided spinal tap - a procedure in which a small needle is inserted into the patient's lower spine to retrieve cerebrospinal fluid - carries higher risks for infants and the elderly, according to a new study.

Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, found that spinal tap procedures fail more than half of the time in young infants and, therefore, should be used sparingly, if at all, in this age group.

They also found that the X-ray-guided form of spinal tap, called fluoroscopy-guided lumbar puncture, doubles the risk of bleeding in people older than 80 years compared to younger people.

The risk of bleeding caused by the procedure, they found, can be reduced by doing the puncture at the middle of the lower back rather than at the lowest levels of the spine.

Spinal tap procedures are often used to diagnose patients who have sudden severe headache, possible meningitis infection or cancers around the brain. - Agencies
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