What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Candle-lit dinners can lead to cancer

A candle-lit dinner with your date may actually be harmful for the environment, and lead to cancer, suggests a new study. The research claims that burning candles made from paraffin wax could mean exposing yourself to indoor air pollution, including the known human carcinogens.

Levels of chemicals released by candles include harmful substances such as toluene and benzene, which are known to cause cancer.

The study suggests that levels can build up in closed rooms, but can be reduced through proper ventilation.

Amid Hamidi, who was part of the study, said: “An occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will not likely affect you.”

“But lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an un-ventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems.”

He added that in fact people having an indoor allergy or respiratory irritation could be reacting to air pollutants from burning candles.

However, experts say that candles made from bee’s wax or soy, though expensive, can be a safe option.

Gene that gives a boost to exercises

In an animal study, researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) found gene therapy with a proven ‘longevity’ gene to energise during exercise.

The researchers expressed the hope that their findings might be applicable to humans in future, and shed light on how to increase the level and quality of activity in the elderly.
“Aging is one of the biggest challenges to a modern society. A pressing issue in the elderly is the loss of activity. What one really wants is not a simple lifespan prolongation but rather a health span increase,” said Dongsheng Duan, an associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology.

Silver can help heal wounds

An Indian-origin postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has come up with an experimental approach to wound healing that could take advantage of silver’s anti-bacterial properties, while sidestepping the damage silver can cause to cells needed for healing.

Ankit Agarwal said that silver is widely used to prevent bacterial contamination in wound dressings, “but these dressings deliver a very large load of silver, and that can kill a lot of cells in the wound”.

Wound healing is a particular problem in diabetes, where poor blood supply that inhibits healing can require amputations, and also in burn wards.

Agarwal said that some burn surgeons would avoid silver dressings despite their constant concern with infection.

He said that his new approach enabled him to craft an ultra-thin material carrying a precise dose of silver.

In tests in lab dishes, the researcher found the low concentration of silver to kill 99.9999 per cent of the bacteria, without damaging cells called fibroblasts that are needed to repair a wound.

‘Drinkers unaware of sleep problems’

A new British government poll has revealed that most people do not know that drinking too much of liquor affects a good night’s sleep.

In a survey, half of 2,000 drinkers reported fatigue the day after drinking more than the recommended daily limit.

And 58 per cent of them didn’t know that exceeding the recommended daily limit causes sleep problems.

The survey suggested that a lot of people did not know that the dehydration caused by drinking could interfere with their sleep.

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