WHAT'S THE BUZZ

Indoor plants can be injurious to health

Potted plants might add a certain aesthetic value to your house, but they are likely to have adverse health effects, suggests a new study.
The research team headed by Stanley J Kays of the University of Georgia’s Department of Horticulture has shown that these indoor plants actually release volatile organic compounds into the environment.
During the study, they identified and measured the amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by four popular indoor potted plant species Peace Lily, Snake Plant, Weeping Fig and Areca Palm.
A total of 23 volatile compounds were found in Peace Lily, 16 in Areca Palm, 13 in Weeping Fig, and 12 in Snake Plant. Some of the VOCs are ingredients in pesticides applied to several species during the production phase.
Other VOCs released did not come from the plant itself, but rather the micro-organisms living in the soil.

Binge drinking gives men a bigger beer belly

Five pints of beer in an evening can have greater effect on men’s waist size than a regular tipple, suggests a British study.
The researchers found that men who binged had a waist size 2.3 inches bigger than men who drank the same overall amount of alcohol but spread it out across the week.
It has been shown that abdominal fat can be more dangerous for the heart than fat carried around the bottom. It has also been linked to diabetes and heart disease.
However, in women the effect was even more pronounced, with binge drinkers having a waist four inches bigger than non-bingers.
“Abdominal obesity is an important risk factor for diabetes and for cardiovascular disease,” said Martin Bobak, University College London.
“The finding that binge drinking is related to abdominal obesity is therefore important for our understanding of the link between heavy drinking and these diseases,” he added.

Public health response to swine flu alarmist

A US expert says that the public health measures taken in response to swine flu may be seen as alarmist, overly restrictive, and unjustified.
Peter Doshi, a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argues that any plans for pandemics need to take into account more than the worst case scenarios.
He points out that pandemic preparations have focused on responding to worst-case scenarios over the past four years, which is why the H1N1 outbreak was responded to as an unfolding disaster.
While some countries erected port of entry quarantines, others advised against non-essential travel to affected areas and some closed schools and businesses.
Doshi insists that pandemic A/H1N1 is significantly different than the pandemic that was predicted.
According to him, pandemic A/H1N1 virus is not a new subtype but the same subtype as seasonal H1N1, which has been circulating since 1977. He stresses that a substantial portion of the population may have immunity against it.

Painkillers can become addictive within 3 days

Popular painkillers, which are routinely used to ease headaches, back problems and period pain, can cause addiction in just three days, the UK government;s drug watchdog has warned.
The drugs, which contain codeine and include brand names such as Nurofen Plus and Solpadeine Plus, are taken by millions of people. However, official figures have shown that tens of thousands of people have become dependent on the drugs, many accidentally, with women most at risk of developing an addiction.
Growing concern about the spread of what experts describe as a ‘hidden addiction’, has led the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to announce a series of measures to counter the problem.

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