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Health & Fitness

  • Why pandemic influenza is so much more deadly than seasonal flu

    Why pandemic influenza is so much more deadly than seasonal flu

    The Spanish flu virus infected a third of the world’s population 100 years ago and claimed the lives of up to 100 million people. The virus continued to evolve and its descendants went on to cause all subsequent flu pandemics, leading to the 1918...

  • Why we're looking for cancer clues in urine

    Why we're looking for cancer clues in urine

    The human immune system is actually quite good at killing cancer cells. In fact, we believe it does so quite frequently. People who have AIDS or have had an organ transplant have suppressed immune systems and go on to develop cancer more often...

  • Robotic trousers could help disabled people walk again

    Robotic trousers could help disabled people walk again

    Could the answer to mobility problems one day be as easy as pulling on a pair of trousers? A research team led by Bristol University’s Professor Jonathan Rossiter has recently unveiled a prototype pair of robotic trousers that they hope could help...

  • Fibromyalgia: researchers trying to fathom the causes of this painful condition

    Fibromyalgia: researchers trying to fathom the causes of this painful condition

    Fibromyalgia is something of a mystery. It can’t be detected with scans or blood tests, yet it causes lifelong pain for millions of people. The disease mainly affects women (about 75-90% of cases), causing pain all over the body. Because not all...

  • Learning to live with arthritis

    Learning to live with arthritis

    We do not know what causes some diseases. These are known as idiopathic diseases, from the Greek idios – ‘one’s own’ – and pathos – ‘suffering’. Very often the words ‘primary’, ‘agnogenic’ or ‘cryptogenic’ are used in clinical notes to describe a...

  • Dine for diabetes

    Dine for diabetes

    This year’s Dine 4 Diabetes, the Maltese Diabetes Association’s annual fundraising event, was recently held at the Reef Club, Westin Dragonara Resort, St Julian’s.  The event was attended by around 350 guests from all walks of life. Entertainment...

  • Low-carb versus high-carb – is the evidence really contradictory?

    Low-carb versus high-carb – is the evidence really contradictory?

      It isn’t surprising that people are confused about nutrition when the media presents different findings as gladiatorial battles: vegetarian versus carnivore, high-fat versus low-fat diets and, more recently, low-carb diets versus high-carb. But,...

  • Anti-ageing drugs are coming – an expert explains

    Anti-ageing drugs are coming – an expert explains

    There will be almost 10 billion people living on Earth by 2050 and two billion of them will be over the age of 60. Growing old is the primary risk factor for multiple chronic and life threatening conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

  • Cosmetic facial procedures are not risk free

    Cosmetic facial procedures are not risk free

    Our faces are one of the most exposed areas of our bodies. Eventually, exposure to hot and cold, chemicals and the sun’s UV radiation take their toll and the face shows signs of ageing, including sunspots, puffy eyes, crow’s feet, fine lines and...

  • Myth: healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food

    Myth: healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food

    The idea that healthy food costs more than junk food is something I hear a lot. Students tell me they’d like to eat better but can’t afford to. There is a strong belief that cooking from scratch costs a fortune, and with takeaway meals priced as...

  • EU failing on pollution limits, auditor warns

    EU failing on pollution limits, auditor warns

    EU governments are failing to comply with air quality limits that are already weaker than the World Health Organisation's recommendations, the bloc's auditors said on Tuesday. The findings by European Union's watchdog come as Brussels is taking...

  • Over 3,000 litres of water required to produce daily diet

    Over 3,000 litres of water required to produce daily diet

    Three thousand litres of water – that is the amount needed to produce the food each British person eats every day. This is according to a new study into the “water footprint” of diets in Western Europe, conducted by the European Commission and...

  • Flu plane: are we really ready for a global pandemic?

    Flu plane: are we really ready for a global pandemic?

    An Emirates airliner was quarantined at John F Kennedy International Airport on September 5 after several passengers reported flu-like symptoms. Oxiris Barbot, New York City’s acting health commissioner, said the cause of the illness was “probably...

  • Shisha addiction may be stronger than cigarette addiction

    Shisha addiction may be stronger than cigarette addiction

    Smoking shisha is very popular, particularly among young people. And despite what many people believe, it is highly addictive. In fact, a drug commonly prescribed to help people quit smoking cigarettes doesn’t seem to work for shisha smokers, our...

  • ‘Health is wealth’

    ‘Health is wealth’

    The popular saying of the headline clearly reflects the fact that as individuals we tend to value health as one of the most important assets. This is because the effects of ill-health are pervasive in all areas of an individual’s life, reducing...

  • Despite resistance, the future looks good for antibiotics

    Despite resistance, the future looks good for antibiotics

    Penicillin is 90 this year. Discovered in September 1928 by Alexander Fleming, it was first used as a cure when George Paine treated eye infections with it in 1930. A method for mass production was devised by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain in 1940,...

  • Probiotics: a first look at what's going on in the gut

    Probiotics: a first look at what's going on in the gut

    For the first time researchers have taken samples from inside people’s guts to find out how much probiotics change the composition of microbes and the chemical compounds they produce. And they found that the effect of probiotics depends on the...

  • Why historians ignored the Spanish flu

    Why historians ignored the Spanish flu

    To judge by the popularity of films like World War Z, pandemics are in vogue and none more so than the Spanish influenza of 1918-19. To mark the centenary of the pandemic this autumn, the BBC has commissioned Spanish Flu: In their own words, a...

  • Fats of the matter: why coconut oil should be treated with caution

    Fats of the matter: why coconut oil should be treated with caution

    Coconut oil is under attack. Once hailed as a miraculous superfood, its reputation has been more than a little bruised after a Harvard professor described the substance as “pure poison”. To remove any doubt about her feelings, Karin Michels, an...

  • Sport and exercise science: studying out of the norm

    Sport and exercise science: studying out of the norm

    I have just finished my degree after three years of study at the University of Exeter, UK, and most of my friends and family still don’t quite understand exactly what the subject is. Seeing that my degree title has the word ‘sport’ in it, my...