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‘Santa should get off his sleigh and walk’

Santa should get off his sleigh and walk, because he’s a health hazard, says a public health expert.

Dr Nathan Grills, Monash University, Australia, says Santa promotes obesity, drink-driving, speeding and a general unhealthy lifestyle. “Santa only needs to affect health by 0.1 per cent to damage millions of lives.”

To reach his conclusion about the jolly gent’s potential negative impact on public health, Grills reviewed literature and web-based material. Grills found that “Santa sells, and sometimes he sells harmful products” and this happens on a global scale. “Like Coca-Cola, Santa has become a major export item to the developing world.”
Father Christmas also potentially promotes drink-driving, argues Grills.

The paper also states that Santa has the real potential to spread infectious disease. If Santa sneezes or coughs around 10 times a day, all the children who sit on his lap may end up with swine flu as well as their Christmas present, argues Grills. He suggested that Santa should get a new image — a slimmed down version on a treadmill.


Too much of red meat, fish, may raise Alzheimer’s risk

Too much of an amino acid typically found in red meats, fish, beans, eggs, garlic, lentils, onions, yogurt and seeds can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, says a new study.

According to Temple researchers, a diet rich in amino acid methionine can up a person’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

The researchers published their findings, titled ‘Diet-induced hyperhomocysteinemia increases Amyloid-ß formation and deposition in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.

“When methionine reaches too high a level, our body tries to protect itself by transforming it into a particular amino acid called homocysteine,” said lead researcher Domenico Praticò.

Food aromas that make us feel full may fight obesity

Usually the tempting smell of food is linked to hunger pangs, but scientists in the Netherlands think that foods can be engineered to release satiating aromas during chewing.

According to researchers, such foods would fight the global epidemic of obesity with aromas that quench hunger and prevent people from overeating.

Scientists long have tried to develop tasty foods that trigger or boost the feeling of fullness, Rianne Ruijschop and colleagues noted.

Until recently, that research focused on food’s effects in stomach after people swallow it. Efforts now have expanded to include foods that release hunger-quenching aromas during chewing.

Molecules that make up a food’s aroma apparently do so by activating areas of the brain that signal fullness.

The researchers’ analysis found that aroma released during chewing does contribute to the feeling of fullness and possibly to consumers’ decisions to stop eating.

It takes just 15 ciggies to raise lung cancer risk

A new study has shown that it takes just 15 cigarettes to increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

The research team led by Peter Campbell of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge insists that the new discovery may lead to new drugs that target the specific changes to the gene that helps to trigger the disease. The study suggests that a person may develop one mutation for every 15 cigarettes smoked.

Using new DNA sequencing technology called ‘massively parallel sequencing’, the researchers cracked the entire cell genome and found more than 23,000 mutations that the tumour cells had acquired.

The mutations were linked with exposure to the toxins found in cigarette smoke and had accumulated over the lifetime.

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