Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Wednesday | July 22, 2009
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Alcohol is good for your bones
Charlyn Fargo, Contributor

When it comes to alcohol and health, the news is especially confusing. Is it good for your heart to drink red wine? (Maybe, but not too much.) Does drinking increase the chances of breast cancer? (Probably.) And now new research finds moderate drinking, particularly beer and wine, is associated with greater bone density, which could help combat osteoporosis, according to researchers at Tufts University.

A study, led by Tufts' Katherine Tucker, found that postmenopausal women who consumed two drinks a day or more had five to 8.3 per cent better hip and spine bone-mineral density than non-drinkers. Men who drank one or two alcoholic beverages a day had 2.4 per cent to 4.5 per cent better hip and spine bone-mineral density than those who didn't drink at all.

In an article for Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, Tucker admitted it's tough to keep up with the pros and cons of alcohol's effects. While drinking may help prevent heart disease, it increases breast cancer risk, she said. However, she said the effect of alcohol on bone density in the new study is larger than what has been seen for any single nutrition, even for calcium. Tucker and her group compared the alcohol intakes and bone mineral density of 1,182 men, 1,289 postmenopausal women and 248 premenopausal women, ages 26 to 89, participating in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study.

What's the bottom line? If you drink up to one or two glasses of wine or beer a day, you don't need to stop for your bones' sake. It may be helpful. For more info go to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2009. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter.

Don't chop up your carrots

Don't cut those carrots if you want to get the maximum nutritional benefits. A new study finds the anti-cancer properties of carrots are enhanced 25 per cent if they are cooked whole rather than chopped up beforehand. They taste better, too, according to scientists at Newcastle University, because more of their sugar is retained.

"Chopping up your carrots increases the surface area so more of the nutrients leach out into the water while they are cooked," lead researcher Dr Kirsten Brandt told Reuters. "By cooking them whole and chopping them up afterward, you are locking in both taste and nutrients."

Brandt, along with colleagues at the University of Denmark, discovered the health benefits of the anti-cancer substance falcarinol in carrots four years ago. A blind taste test conducted among 100 people also found 80 per cent preferred the taste of whole-cooked carrots.

Source: www.creators.com.

Health trends

Synthetic sperm created

Synthetic human sperm have been grown from embryonic stem cells for the first time, scientists claimed recently, raising the prospect of advances in male infertility treatment.

The culture of swimming human cells with tails and some of the biological characteristics of real sperm has been created at Newcastle University.

The achievement, from a team led by Professor Karim Nayernia, suggests that it may be possible to grow new reproductive cells from stem cells, enabling men who make none of their own to father children.

That, however, would require a change in the law because the use of such in-vitro derived (IVD) sperm for reproduction was banned in Britain by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act last year.

The research also suggests that it is impossible to create synthetic sperm from female stem cells, ruling out the prospect that lesbian couples could conceive without a male sperm donor. Professor Nayernia said that the IVD sperm had key traits of real sperm, including a haploid nucleus that has 23 chromosomes instead of the 46 found in non-reproductive cells.

Source: Timesonline,


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