Ginseng can help keep you clear of colds, say scientists
People who take ginseng suffer substantially fewer colds, research published yesterday showed. Only one in 10 of those given daily doses of North American ginseng root extract suffered two or more colds during four months including winter, compared with almost a quarter of those taking placebos. While a range of health benefits have been claimed for the herb, including combating flu and colds, many previous attempts to test such claims scientifically have been of poor quality.
The Daily Telegraph
Africa offers haven to drug firms plagued by animal rights activists
Africa's laboratories are wooing western firms hit by violent protests against experiments on animals with the promise of a "more comfortable" atmosphere. Tempted by the offer, drug companies are moving their research to Kenya, Gabon and South Africa. Attacks on scientists in Britain, Europe and America have left the pharmaceutical industry with fewer and fewer labs happy to carry out its trials.
The Daily Telegraph
Menstrual cycle affects the brain
A woman’s menstrual cycle has a direct effect on the workings of her brain even if she is not aware that it causes any changes in her mood, scientists have discovered. Research in the US has shown that a part of the brain involved in processing emotion behaves differently over the course of a woman’s menstrual cycle, most probably reflecting changes in hormonal balance. The findings, from a team at Cornell University and Rockefeller Universities, both in New York, promise insights into pre-menstrual syndrome and could lead to new ways of controlling the condition, which affects up to 80 per cent of women.
The Times, Nature, New Scientist
Brain implants could control blood pressure
Zapping the brain with an electrical current could one day control high blood pressure in people, a new study suggests. UK researchers have shown for the first time that stimulating a certain part of the brain with implanted electrodes can influence arterial blood pressure in a predictable way in patients. Short bursts of electrical stimulation were applied in an area in the midbrain called the periaqueductal grey matter in 15 awake patients. The patients had already had the deep brain electrodes fitted as a treatment for chronic pain.
Be still my beating heart: Viagra may help there too
Viagra, the most popular anti-impotence drug, may not only help the sex life, but also stress levels, research suggests. A US study of the effects of sildenafil citrate, better known by its brand name, Viagra, has shown that it halves stress- related damage to the heart. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, found that the drug softened the pounding heartbeat caused by high stress.
The Times, Daily Telegraph