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Watercress may help fight breast cancer

Eating a portion of watercress every day could help prevent breast cancer, according to a new research.

Researchers at the University of Southampton say that the vitamin-packed salad veg may provide one of the first natural defences against the disease.

They found that a cereal bowl-sized helping of the superfood triggered changes in blood cells that blocked tumour formation.

The chemical in watercress that makes it taste peppery — phenyethyl isothiocyanate, or PEITC — prevented cell damage.

The substance, previously shown to cut cancer risk for smokers, stayed in the blood for days after watercress was eaten.

Researchers had not initially expected watercress to work so well against breast cancer. They decided to test it on 12 women with the condition only after watercress solution proved effective against cancer cells in laboratory tests.

The women were each asked to eat 80g packets — the size often sold in supermarkets — and were tested over time. “Our research takes an important step towards understanding the potential health benefits of this crop,” said Professor Graham Packham.

“It shows that eating watercress may interfere with a pathway that has already been tightly linked to cancer development. This is not a cure for cancer but may well help to prevent the disease.

‘Smell of toast takes us  back to childhood’

The reason as to why many Britons still prefer to start their day with toast has much to do with the subconscious, scientists reveal.

Researchers at Cardiff University’s school of biosciences say that toast is often one of the first solid foods we try as children, and so many of us associate the smell and taste with ‘comforting’ memories.

“We can form these associations with smells at any age,” said Tim Jacobs. “All that’s required is a consistent smell, combined with an event powerful enough to pin a given emotion to that particular set of chemicals,” he said.

Despite the flood of alternative breakfast choices such as croissants, cereals, yoghurts and waffles, 82 per cent of people of Britain simply want toast.

Jacobs, who specialises in the way in which humans perceive taste and smell, said his research showed preference for toast was much stronger in people who had it for breakfast as a child.

“Children’s minds are constantly developing. Therefore it’s not really surprising to find that people exposed to toast as children have a much stronger affinity for the smell in later life,” he said.

Liquid nitrogen best treatment for common warts

A new study has found that Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen is the most effective method to remove common warts.

The study, a randomised controlled trial, looked at 240 participants aged 4 to 79 in the Netherlands. The patients were assigned to three groups: cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen every two weeks, daily self-application of salicylic acid or a wait-and-see approach.

Warts are a common childhood complaint, present in up to one-third of primary school children, which can cause discomfort. About six per cent of children and two per cent of the general population seek help from their family physician each year. Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen is the most frequent treatment followed by application of salicylic acid to the skin.

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