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Archive for June 13, 2012

中藥,沒病吃補…其實你錯很大!

不少民眾誤以為中藥溫和不傷身,其實「藥就是毒」,用藥仍須醫師診斷。(記者屠惠剛/攝影)

●「腎虧是性功能障礙!」「生理期後一定要喝四物湯!」「口臭表示胃火大!」其實這些都是錯誤迷思。許多民眾誤以為中藥溫和不傷身,但中醫師說,中藥能治病,就代表有毒性及副作用,用藥仍須醫師診斷。
台灣的康健雜誌一項針對全台一千多位民眾做的中醫藥迷思大調查發現,許多人對中醫藥存在錯誤迷思,近七成以為中藥溫和不傷身;另有28%認為中藥可調理體質。但誤用中藥恐致身體傷害,且會愈補愈糟。
中醫師、台灣衛生署中醫藥委員會委員陳旺全以心血管患者為例,服用抗凝血藥物的人,就不可與白木耳、黑木耳等活血化瘀的中藥材併用,以免有出血的風險;服用阿斯匹林應避免食用銀杏、川七、薑黃等藥材。
「中藥也是藥,仍有毒性及副作用。」中醫師公會全聯會理事長孫茂峰說。
★迷思!腎氣虛就是腎功能不好?
調查也顯示,67%的人誤會口臭是胃火旺、火氣大所致,陳旺全表示,口渴、蛀牙、牙周病、上呼吸道感染、胃酸逆流等原因,都會導致口臭,輕忽這些病症由來,反而會延誤治療。
另外,逾五成民眾以為腎氣虛是指腎功能不好,但陳旺全說,腎氣虛不是指單一器官,它為一種老化現象,可能有骨鬆問題,是老年人常有症狀,腎虧並非代表性功能障礙。
★迷思!生理期過後要喝四物湯?
63% 女性誤以為生理期過後,一定要喝當歸、川芎、白芍、熟地的四物湯補血;不過,陳旺全說,四物湯須在中醫師的診斷下飲用,根據個人體質調配,以免適得其反。 如四肢冰冷、經血量少者應將白芍改赤芍;體質熱、常冒青春痘、便秘、口乾舌燥的血虛夾熱者,熟地須改生地;腸胃不佳、經前症候群者,白芍得先炒過。
值得注意的是,若有子宮肌瘤或巧克力囊腫,一旦誤用四物湯,反而會加重病情,使肌瘤或囊腫變大。陳旺全說,「藥方需靈活運用才能達到療效。」
孫茂峰表示,門診曾收治部分年輕女性,因四物湯喝太多,導致心悸、睡不著、便秘、狂冒青春痘。他說,年輕女性代謝快,除非生理期出血量大,否則不需額外喝四物湯補血。

世界新聞網

Grilled Clams with Herb Butter

Grilled Clams with Herb Butter

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • Lemon wedges

Preparation

  • Mix first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Season herb butter to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Place clams on grill rack and cover grill with lid. Grill until clams just open, 6–8 minutes (discard any that do not open). Use tongs to transfer to a platter, being careful to keep as much juice in the shells as possible.
  • Dot clams with herb butter; let stand until butter melts. Serve warm with lemon wedges alongside for squeezing over.

Bonappetit

Celery, Apple, and Fennel Slaw

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally, plus 1/4 cup loosely packed celery leaves
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced crosswise, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
  • 1 firm, crisp apple (such as Pink Lady, Gala, or Granny Smith), julienned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  • Whisk first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add celery and celery leaves, thinly sliced fennel and chopped fennel fronds, and apple; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Bonappetit

Children with older fathers and grandfathers ‘live longer’

Delaying fatherhood may offer survival advantages, say US scientists who have found children with older fathers and grandfathers appear to be “genetically programmed” to live longer.

The genetic make-up of sperm changes as a man ages and develops DNA code that favours a longer life – a trait he then passes to his children.

The team found the link after analysing the DNA of 1,779 young adults.

Their work appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Shoelace tips

Experts have known for some time that lifespan is linked to the length of structures known as telomeres that sit at the end of the chromosomes that house our genetic code, DNA. Generally, a shorter telomere length means a shorter life expectancy.

Like the plastic tips on shoelaces, telomeres protect chromosomal ends from damage. But in most cells, they shorten with age until the cells are no longer able to replicate.

However, scientists have discovered that in sperm, telomeres lengthen with age.

Telomeres (in red) cap chromosomes
Telomeres (in red) cap the ends of chromosomes

And since men pass on their DNA to their children via sperm, these long telomeres can be inherited by the next generation.

Dr Dan Eisenberg and colleagues from the Department of Anthropology at Northwestern University studied telomere inheritance in a group of young people living in the Philippines.

Telomeres, measured in blood samples, were longer in individuals whose fathers were older when they were born.

The telomere lengthening seen with each year that the men delayed fatherhood was equal to the yearly shortening of telomere length that occurs in middle-aged adults.

Telomere lengthening was even greater if the child’s paternal grandfather had also been older when he became a father.

Very few of the studies that linked telomere length to health in late life have studied the impact, if any, of paternal age”

Prof Thomas von Zglinicki Professor of Cell Gerontology

Although delaying fatherhood increases the risk of miscarriage, the researchers believe there may be long-term health benefits.

Inheriting longer telomeres will be particularly beneficial for tissues and biological functions that involve rapid cell growth and turnover – such as the immune system, gut and skin – the scientists believe.

And it could have significant implications for general population health.

“As paternal ancestors delay reproduction, longer telomere length will be passed to offspring, which could allow lifespan to be extended as populations survive to reproduce at older ages.”

Prof Thomas von Zglinicki, an expert in cellular ageing at Newcastle University, said more research was needed.

“Very few of the studies that linked telomere length to health in late life have studied the impact, if any, of paternal age. It is still completely unclear whether telomere length at conception (or birth) or rate of telomere loss with age is more important for age-related morbidity and mortality risk in humans.

“The authors did not examine health status in the first generation offspring.”

It might be possible that the advantage of receiving long telomeres from an old father is more than offset by the disadvantage of higher levels of general DNA damage and mutations in sperm, he said.

BBC

Diesel exhausts do cause cancer, says WHO

Car exhaust

The World Health Organization previously labelled diesel exhausts as probably carcinogenic

Exhaust fumes from diesel engines do cause cancer, a panel of experts working for the World Health Organization says.

It concluded that the exhausts were definitely a cause of lung cancer and may also cause tumours in the bladder.

It based the findings on research in high-risk workers such as miners, railway workers and truck drivers.

However, the panel said everyone should try to reduce their exposure to diesel exhaust fumes.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, had previously labelled diesel exhausts as probably carcinogenic to humans.

IARC has now labelled exhausts as a definite cause of cancer, although it does not compare how risky different carcinogens are. Diesel exhausts are now in the same group as carcinogens ranging from wood chippings to plutonium and sunlight to alcohol.

It is thought people working in at-risk industries have about a 40% increased risk of developing lung cancer.

Dr Christopher Portier, who led the assessment, said: “The scientific evidence was compelling and the Working Group’s conclusion was unanimous, diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans.

“Given the additional health impacts from diesel particulates, exposure to this mixture of chemicals should be reduced worldwide.”

The impact on the wider population, which is exposed to diesel fumes at much lower levels and for shorter periods of time, is unknown.

Dr Kurt Straif, also from IARC, said: “For most of the carcinogens when there is high exposure the risk is higher, when there is lower exposure the risk is lower.”

There have been considerable efforts to clean up diesel exhausts. Lower sulphur fuel and engines which burn the fuel more efficiently are now in use.

The UK Department of Health said: “We will carefully consider this report. Air pollutants are a significant public health concern, we are looking at this issue as part of our plans to improve public health.”

Cancer Research UK said employers and workers should take appropriate action to minimise exposure to diesel fumes in the workplace.

But director of cancer information Dr Lesley Walker said the overall number of lung cancers caused by diesel fumes was “likely to be a fraction of those caused by smoking tobacco”.

BBC

Smoking and drinking has ‘little effect’ on sperm counts

Sperm

Lifestyle advice given to tackle male infertility may be futile and could delay other options, according to researchers in the UK.

Their study in the journal Human Reproduction said smoking, alcohol consumption and being obese did not affect semen quality.

However, they warned that avoiding them was still “good health advice”.

Wearing boxer shorts rather than tighter underwear was linked to higher sperm levels.

Advice for doctors by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says men should be warned about the impact of smoking, drinking and taking recreational drugs on their sperm.

Smokers

A study by researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester compared the lifestyles of 939 men with poor sperm quality with 1,310 men with normal sperm quality.

There is no need for them to become monks just because they want to be a dad”

Dr Allan Pacey University of Sheffield

The study showed there was little difference in the number of mobile sperm between patients who never smoked and those who had a 20-a-day habit.

There was “little evidence” that recreational drug use, a high BMI or excessive alcohol consumption affected sperm quality.

Dr Andrew Povey, from the University of Manchester, said there was these lifestyle choices were hugely important for wider health but “probably have little influence” on male fertility.

He said: “This potentially overturns much of the current advice given to men about how they might improve their fertility and suggests that many common lifestyle risks may not be as important as we previously thought.

“Delaying fertility treatment then for these couples so that they can make changes to their lifestyles, for which there is little evidence of effectiveness, is unlikely to improve their chances of a conception and, indeed, might be prejudicial for couples with little time left to lose.”

Wearing boxer shorts was associated with higher-quality sperm.

Dr Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield said: “In spite of our results, it’s important that men continue to follow sensible health advice and watch their weight, stop smoking and drink alcohol within sensible limits. But there is no need for them to become monks just because they want to be a dad.

“Although if they are a fan of tight Y-fronts, then switching underpants to something a bit looser for a few months might be a good idea.”

There are other measures of fertility, such as the size and shape of the sperm or the quality of the sperms’ DNA, which were not considered in the study.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is reviewing the evidence.

A NICE spokesperson said: “The draft update of our fertility guideline is currently open for consultation.

“However, until the update of this guideline is published later this year, the NHS should continue to follow the recommendations in the current fertility guideline.”

BBC

Fish oils ‘don’t help ward off dementia’

Fish oil capsules
The work looked at taking fish-oil supplements, rather than including more fish in your diet

Taking fish-oil supplements to ward off dementia could be a waste of time, say researchers who have reviewed the best available evidence.

Supplements containing omega-3 offered no greater protection than dummy pills, the Cochrane Review team found.

The three large studies in the review, which appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, involved over 3,500 people.

But experts say longer-term studies are needed for more conclusive results.

Gold-standard test

The current work tracked the health of individuals over a period of three-and-a-half years, so it is still unclear whether there might be some brain protection that kicks in if supplements are taken for much longer than this.

Fish is an important part of a healthy diet and we would still support the recommendation to eat two portions a week, including one portion of oily fish”

Dr Alan Dangour Co-author of the research

The work looked at randomised controlled trials – the “gold standard” test scientists use to check whether a treatment works.

And it considered different ways of taking omega-3 – in capsules or margarine spread.

Eating plenty of oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon and sardines, will also provide this important fatty acid, which has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

Experts already advise that a healthy diet should include at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish.

However, scientific backing for omega-3’s use to prevent dementia has been less forthcoming.

This latest review found that participants taking omega-3 scored no better in standard tests of memory and mental performance than those given a placebo.

Fish ‘still good’

Co-author Dr Alan Dangour, a nutritionist from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “From these studies, there doesn’t appear to be any benefit for cognitive health for older people of taking omega-3 supplements.

“So the evidence at the moment is very disappointing. But there’s still an open question – if we conducted a longer study, what would that show?”

He added: “Fish is an important part of a healthy diet and we would still support the recommendation to eat two portions a week, including one portion of oily fish.”

Dr Marie Janson of Alzheimer’s Research UK said: “Cochrane reviews are an excellent way of pulling together high quality scientific evidence.

“While taking omega-3 supplements may not be the key to staving off cognitive problems, eating a healthy balanced diet, including fish and other natural sources of omega-3, is important for maintaining good health.

“We know that what is good for the heart can be good for the head so maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, exercising and keeping our blood pressure in check are all ways that we could reduce our risk of cognitive decline and dementia later in life.”

BBC

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