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Pain in hand? Simply cross your arms

Crossing your arms across your body after injury to the hand could help lessen pain.
Scientists from the University College London said crossing the arms across the body might confuse the brain over where pain is occurring.

They suggested this is because putting hands on the ‘wrong’ sides of the body disrupts sensory perception. In a small proof-of-concept study of 20 people, the team used a laser to generate a four millisecond pin-prick of pain to participants’ hands, without touching them.

The results from both participants’ reports and the EEG showed that the perception of pain was weaker when the arms were crossed over the ‘midline’ — an imaginary line running vertically down the centre of the body.

“In everyday life you mostly use your left hand to touch things on the left side of the world, and your right hand for the right side of the world,” said Dr Giandomenico Iannetti, from the UCL department of physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience, who led the research.

Bitter cumin a rich source of phenolic antioxidants

Indian researchers have found that cumin, the bitter spice used as a key ingredient in curries, contains high levels of antioxidants.

Cumin, which is extensively used in traditional medicine to treat a range of diseases from vitiligo to hyperglycemia, is also considered to be antiparasitic and antimicrobial and science has backed up claims of its use to reduce fever or as a painkiller.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS), also known as free radicals, are produced as part of the metabolic processes necessary for life. Oxidative stress, however, is caused by overproduction or under-removal of these free radicals.


Oxidative stress is itself involved in a number of disorders, including atherosclerosis, neural degenerative disease, inflammation, cancer and ageing. Antioxidants are thought to mop up these free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and prevent disease. Phenolic compounds from plants, especially polyphenolic compounds, are often considered to be antioxidants.

Researchers from Mysore have used biochemical and biological techniques to show that seeds from bitter cumin (Centratherum anthelminticum (L) Kuntze), a member of the daisy family, are a rich source of phenolic antioxidants.

BP drug improves muscle regeneration

A commonly used blood pressure drug not only improves regeneration of injured muscle but also protects against its wasting away from inactivity, according to Johns Hopkins research team.

“The goal of the investigation was to find a way to prevent a bad situation from getting worse in the case of old muscle that’s injured or not used,” said Ronald Cohn, McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“As pleased as we were to see that losartan therapy in mice had a positive effect on muscle regeneration, we were most surprised and excited by its striking prevention of disuse atrophy,” added Ronald Cohn.

To investigate losartan’s role in muscle injury regeneration in the context of aging, the Hopkins team worked with 40 mice which, at 21-months old, were considered geriatric.

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