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Lead found in red shades of lipstick

Warning for women: Your favourite red lipsticks that make you look attractive, composed, sexy and ready for the world, may in fact be causing you more harm than good.

Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration conducted tests on 22 red lipsticks and found lead, a neurotoxin, in every single lipstick sample studied. The highest levels were in three well-known and common brands: Cover Girl, Revlon, L’Oreal.

While the FDA is continuing lead research on additional cosmetic brands and colours, it is reassuring consumers that the lead levels it found in the red lipsticks are very small and not a health threat. The FDA does not regulate lead in finished cosmetics, only in colours added to the products.

None of the products exceeded the 20 parts per million limit on colours, the agency said.
An industry trade group, the Personal Care Products Council, said manufacturers did not add lead intentionally.

Gum disease: Mouth fluid for non-invasive test

Gum diseases are the primary cause of tooth loss in adults, but now scientists have found a little-known mouth fluid that may allow them to develop an early, non-invasive tests for the diseases.

The fluid, called gingival crevicular fluid (GCF), is not saliva, but produced in tiny amounts in the gums produced at the rate of millionths of a quart per tooth.

GCF has become a prime candidate for a simple inexpensive test to distinguish mild gum disease from the serious form that leads to tooth loss.

Eric Reynolds and colleagues note that GCF accumulates at sites of inflammation in the crevice between teeth and gums. But they are unaware of the chemical composition of the fluid.

The scientists collected GCF samples from 12 patients with a history of gum disease. Using high-tech instruments, they identified 66 proteins, 43 of which they found in the fluid for the first time.

The fluid contained proteins from several sources, including bacteria and the breakdown products of gum tissue and bone, they note. They also identified antibacterial substances involved in fighting infection but said that further tests would have to be developed in order to find out more.

Exercise can reduce impact of stress on cell aging

Brief exercise can provide protection against the effects of stress-induced cell aging, according to new research from UCSF.

The scientists learned that vigorous physical activity as brief as 42 minutes over a 3-day period, similar to federally recommended levels, can protect individuals from the effects of stress by reducing its impact on telomere length.

Telomeres (pronounced TEEL-oh-meres) are tiny pieces of DNA that promote  genetic stability and act as protective sheaths by keeping chromosomes from unraveling, much like plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces.

A growing body of research suggests that short telomeres are linked to a range of health problems, including coronary heart disease and diabetes, as well as early death.

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