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Health & Fitness

  • Legalising pot: a ‘grave danger to public health’

    Legalising cannabis poses a “grave danger to public health and well-being”, the UN has warned. Moves to legalise marijuana in Uruguay and US states of Colorado and Washington were branded “misguided initiatives” by the head of the International...

  • Passive smoking harms children’s arteries forever

    Exposure to second-hand smoke in childhood causes irreversible damage to children’s arteries – increasing their risk of heart attacks or strokes when they grow up, according to a large international study published yesterday. The research, which...

  • High-protein diet ‘bad as smoking’

    A high-protein diet could be as dangerous as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Research from the University of Southern California shows that high levels of dietary animal protein in those under 65 were associated with a fourfold increase in their risk...

  • Diet rich in fruit and water helps ‘cut early birth risk’

    Pregnant women who drink water and eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grain cereal could reduce their chance of premature birth, research suggests. Experts found that women who enjoyed such a diet, also rich in oils, whole grain bread...

  • Biomarkers identify deadly form of child cancer

    A simple blood test could help more young children survive an aggressive and often deadly form of cancer, a new study suggests. An international team of scientists has found that “biomarkers” in the blood identify a hard-to-treat form of...

  • Avatar ‘could care for elderly’ in future

    An intelligent avatar which would detect whether people are in pain and alert the emergency services could help the elderly remain independent and in their own homes. The avatar could appear as a figure on a television screen, a tablet computer or...

  • Living with reflux or Gord

    Many people live with constant reflux. One woman told me last week that she is constantly woken up in the night because of reflux and regularly takes an over-the-counter medication to settle her stomach. Of course, this is not an answer; it is...

  • Feet firmly on the ground

    To stand on one’s own two feet and to keep one’s feet on the ground are sayings that instil a sense of capability and stead­fastness in those about whom they are spoken. In both cases we emphasise the feet, or more specifically, the act of rooting...

  • Diet hope for motor neurone disease

    A high-calorie diet may slow down the deadly progression of motor neurone disease, research has shown. The condition, suffered by top physicist Stephen Hawking, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder affecting the nerve cells that control...

  • Dirty stethoscopes ‘spread bugs’

    Dirty stethoscopes may be helping to spread dangerous bugs around GP surgeries and hospital wards, a study suggests. One of the instruments was found to be more contaminated with bacteria than the palm of a doctor’s hand after being used to...

  • US proposes major update to food labels in obesity fight

    Packaged foods sold in the US would display calorie counts more prominently and include the amount of added sugar under a proposal to significantly update nutritional labels for the first time in 20 years, as health officials seek to reduce...

  • Caesarean babies linked to obesity

    Caesarean babies have an increased risk of becoming heavyweight adults, say researchers. An analysis of data on 38,000 individuals found those born by Caesarean section were 22 per cent more likely to be obese than those who had natural births.

  • Debate over use of term ‘dyslexia’

    The term “dyslexia” should be ditched because it is unscientific and lacks educational value, according to a new book. Educational experts from Durham and Yale Universities argue that resources are wasted by putting young people who are struggling...

  • Barbecued meat in Alzheimer’s link

    Meat that is barbecued, grilled or fried may contribute to accelerated ageing and Alzheimer’s, a study suggests. Fatty and sugary foods could also be playing a part by boosting levels of harmful compounds called advanced glycation endproducts...

  • Polio-like illness seen in up to 25 California children

    A rare and mysterious polio-like illness may have afflicted up to 25 children in California, several of whom have suffered limb paralysis, and health experts were struggling to identify the cause of the ailment, medical researchers said on...

  • Malaria ‘master switch’ found

    Researchers have discovered how the malaria parasite initiates the process of passing from human to human, unlocking a long-standing mystery. The scientists have identified the factor that the parasite must produce to begin the process of passing...

  • Diabetics in UK may get ‘useful’ new drug

    Diabetic people in England and Wales could soon be able to access a new drug which “significantly” reduces their blood sugar levels. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said that canagliflozin is a “useful” anti-diabetic...

  • Night eating disorder needs more study

    A fairly rare eating disorder whose signature is excessive eating – though not necessarily bingeing – at night needs further study since it may signal other mental health issues, researchers say. They analysed eating disorders and mental health...

  • Skin cells made into liver cells

    Scientists have transformed human skin cells into fully functioning liver cells with “extremely promising” therapeutic potential. Transplanted into laboratory mice with liver failure, the cells matured and multiplied over a period of nine...

  • Rich neighbour, poor health

    It was reported recently that the number of people below the poverty line in Malta has increased considerably in recent years. While this index is a relative one, depending as it does on the median wage of the population – which is continuously...

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