FIRST-BORN children are more likely to suffer allergies

FIRST-BORN children are more likely to suffer allergies than younger siblings, a study has revealed.
Researchers found multiple births boost the immune system in the womb, which is then transferred to the baby. So second and third children are less likely to suffer hay fever or food allergies.
Scientists surveyed 13,000 children aged seven to 15 asking parents the order of their children and what allergies they had.
Four per cent of firstborns had conjunctivitis, rhinitis and food allergies, against 3.5 per cent of second and 2.6 per cent of third children.
Dr Takashi Kusunoki, who led the study for the Shiga Medical Center for Children and Kyoto University in Japan, said: “Individuals with increased birth order have a smaller risk of allergy.”
Scientists also cite the “hygiene hypothesis”, where nervous first-time parents over-sterilise. Subsequent children build a stronger immune system after being exposed to more germs in the home.


We all have our problems

Can finger length predict your risk of disease?

I can guarantee that after reading this, if you are male, then you will examine the length of your fingers. Well, I did anyway. Why? Because a study in the British Journal of Cancer suggests that men whose index finger is longer than their ring finger were significantly less likely to develop prostate cancer.
This research needs several health warnings and caveats. Just because your index finger is longer than you ring finger, it does not mean that you are in the clear with regards to prostate cancer. In fact, in the study 347 men (22.8%) whose index finger was longer than their ring finger, had prostate cancer. But that compared to 936 (30.8%) of the healthy controls giving an odds ratio of 0.67. In plain terms it means those men whose index fingers were longer were a third less likely to have prostate cancer. And just because your ring finger is shorter, or the same length as your index finger, it does not mean you will get prostate cancer. Important that we clear that up at the start. Have you looked at your fingers yet?
But there is a good biological explanation: we know that exposure to male or female hormones in utero determines how long your fingers are. We also know that prostate cancer is driven by testosterone levels later in life. Now we have a biologically plausible explanation for some of the early risk factors.
There are also suggestions of a link between finger length and heart disease, breast cancer, autism and even musical ability. But the study groups seem to involve very small numbers of people.


Problem for the neurosurgeon

A killer on your dinner table

                      Bill regretted now that he did not decline the offer from "TV-shop." 


Every year thousands of people die from cardiovascular disease and strokes caused by eating too much salt.
There is a killer on your dinner table every night, an assassin in your lunchtime sandwiches and you probably have no idea of the danger. That’s the message from experts fighting to cut the annual toll of thousands of deaths from heart attacks and strokes which is thought to be caused by eating too much salt.
Not only do the innocent-looking white granules leave us open to the risks associated with high blood pressure but they may also, according to the latest research, be linked to stomach cancer, obesity, osteoporosis and kidney disease.
The logic behind this is the fact that more men than women die prematurely of cardiovascular disease, they are far less likely to have their blood pressure checked or to take medication if it is high and they eat more salt, especially in junk food.


Coffee - good or bad?

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant. This can be useful when you are tired but too much can be bad for your health. It speeds up heart rate, increases blood pressure and causes anxiety.
For most people up to 300mg a day causes no problems. A cup of instant coffee contains 60mg, a standard latte 85mg but a double espresso can have 180mg. 
However, if you have medical conditions that could be linked to caffeine, such as palpitations, an irregular heartbeat or bad PMT, reduce your intake but do it gradually.

Pro: Energy: Caffeine's most obvious benefit is that it can impart increased energy and improve mood. Those who only consume caffeine infrequently get a better boost than those who consume regularly.
Con: The Jitters: Drinking too much caffeine can cause the user to feel nervous and may interfere with sleep. Caffeine, even in smaller doses, can worsen symptoms in those prone to anxiety or panic attacks.

Pro: Memory Boost: The Mayo Clinic reports that various studies have shown that caffeine can temporarily boost performance on memory tasks. Long term, caffeine consumption may help decrease the risk of Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's and other related memory loss problems.

Con: Caffeine Withdrawal. Regularly consuming multiple servings of caffeine per day can lead to dependence. When you discontinue using caffeine, you may experience headache, fatigue and irritability for a day or two.

Pro: Antioxidants: The antioxidants that accompany caffeine in many drinks, such as green tea and coffee, are linked with health benefits. These antioxidants may help reduce inflammation in the body and lessen the risks for cancer and heart diseases.
Con: Digestive Tract Problems: Caffeine can cause or worsen digestive tract problems such as upset stomach and acid reflux.