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Phosphate intake ups heart disease risk

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have suggested that lowering your intake of phosphate could reduce the risk of heart disease.

This is the first time the connection between a high phosphate diet and atherosclerosis - the cause of heart disease - has been proven. Foods high in phosphates include biscuits, cakes, sweets, dairy products and meats such as offal and veal.

The research showed that cholesterol deposits in the artery walls are increased by a higher phosphate diet. This leads to narrowing of the arteries, which is the cause of most heart attacks and strokes.

“This is a very early, but exciting finding, as it suggests that by reducing the amount of phosphate in the blood we may have discovered a new approach to reducing heart disease,” said Dr Tim Chico from the University’s Department of Cardiovascular Science, who led the research.

GM cows that produce ‘human’ breast milk

Chinese scientists have reportedly developed genetically modified cows that produce ‘human’ milk.

According to a report in The Sunday Telegraph, they have introduced human genes into dairy cows to produce milk similar to human breast milk.

The researchers believe that milk from these herds of 300 cows can provide an alternative to human breast milk and formula milk for babies, which is often criticised as being an inferior substitute.

Researcher Professor Ning Li, director of the State Key Laboratories for AgroBiotechnology at the China Agricultural University, said the milk would be as safe as milk from ordinary dairy cows.  “The milk tastes stronger than normal milk. Within ten years, people will be able to pick up these products at the supermarket,” the ‘Daily Mail’ quoted Li as saying.

The researchers reportedly used cloning technology to introduce human genes into the DNA of dairy cows before the genetically modified embryos were implanted into surrogate cows.

Researchers said they were able to create cows that produced milk containing a human protein called lysozyme, which helps to protect infants from bacterial infections during their early days of life.

They have also created cows that produce another protein from human milk called lactoferrin, which helps to boost the number of immune cells in babies.

Combined contraceptive pill does not lead to weight gain

Contrary to popular misconceptions, the combined pill - the most widely used contraceptive up to the age of 29 - does not cause weight increase, shows a new research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

In her thesis, Ingela Lindh reports on a long-term study of 1,749 women born in 1962, 1972 and 1982 who answered questions about matters such as contraception, pregnancies, height/weight and smoking habits every five years from the age of 19 to 44.
“The women who were on the pill and were monitored from their teenage years until the age of 34 didn't put on any more weight than their peers who had never taken the pill at all,” said Ingela, Sahlgrenska Academy.

“There were lots of reasons why women came off the pill, including a fear of side-effects, weight gain and mood swings, and these gradually increased over time and were more common in the youngest group,” says Ingela.








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