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Oct 11

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

News: Health Herbal Medicine Research Latest News

Latest News – For our clients and customers to keep up to date with current health and herbal medicine research and their conditions

  • NHS to ban homeopathy and herbal medicine, as ‘misuse of resources’ Saturday July 22nd, 2017

    The NHS has announced a ban on homeopathy and herbal medicine as they say it is “misuse of scarce funds”.

    Officials today ruled that the treatments are among dozens of medicines which should not be funded by the health service.

    In the last five years, the NHS has spent almost £600,000 on homeopathic treatment, despite long running debate about whether alternative remedies work.

    Today NHS England ruled that “at best homeopathy is a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds which could be better devoted to treatments that work.”

    Health officials said cash-strapped clinical commissioning groups should no longer fund such medicines, along with 16 other classes of treatment classed as “low value” because they are ineffective or could easily be bought over the counter.

    Proponants of homeopathy and herbal medicine include Prince Charles, and the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is among those who have signed motions in favour of it.

    NHS England said the changes aimed to save at least £250m a year.

    Patients will be told to pay for their own treatment for dozens of common ailments, including indigestion, sore throats and athlete’s foot.

    Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “The NHS is probably the world’s most efficient health service, but like every country there is still waste and inefficiency that we’re determined to root out.

    “The public rightly expects that the NHS will use every pound wisely, and today we’re taking practical action to free up funding to better spend on modern drugs and treatments.”

    Health officials said the NHS is spending around £545m a year on treatments which are available over the counter, though they do not expect to recoup all the funding.

    The products include cough mixture and cold treatments, eye drops, laxatives and sun cream lotions.

    And NHS bodies will be told not to pay for a number of specific treatments, such as omega 3 supplements, lidocaine plasters and fentanyl painkillers.

    Health officials said the NHS is spending around £545m a year on treatments which are available over the counter, though they do not expect to recoup all the funding.

    The consultation covers around 3,200 such prescription items.

    Health officials said many of them were readily available and sold “over the counter” in pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations, corner shops and other retailers, often at a significantly lower price than the cost to the NHS.

    Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, said: “At a time when we need to find all the money we can for new, highly effective drugs we must ensure every pound is spent wisely. An honest, plain English conversation is required about what we should fund and what we should not.

    “We need to end unnecessary expense to give us a bigger therapeutic bang for the NHS buck so we cut the fat and build the therapeutic muscle.”

    Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, agreed plans to cut spending on prescriptions Credit: PA
    Health officials said products on the list were “relatively ineffective, unnecessary, inappropriate or unsafe for prescription on the NHS”.

    The Department of Health is also consulting on cutting back spending on gluten-free products.

    Patients’ groups expressed some concern.

    Don Redding, Director of Policy at National Voices, said: “Whilst some treatments are available to purchase over-the-counter, that does not mean that everyone can afford them.

    “There will be distinct categories of people who rely on NHS funding for prescriptions of remedies that are otherwise available over-the-counter.

    “Stopping such prescriptions would break with the principle of an NHS ‘free at the point of use’ and would create a system where access to treatments is based on a person’s ability to pay.”

    Prof Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor, University of Exeter, a leading critic of alternative medicine, said the decision to stop funding homeopathy was “long overdue”.

    “Since it was first invented ~200 years ago, homeopathy has been criticised for flying in the face of science and common sense.

    “We have now known for decades that the most reliable studies fail to show that highly diluted homeopathic remedies are more than placebos.

    “The NHS has a legal, moral and ethical duty to spend our scarce funds wisely; I cannot think of a less prudent way to spend them than on homeopathy,” he said.

    Source: The Telegraph

  • Why you should only buy organic strawberries Thursday July 20th, 2017

    Other chemically-ridden produce includes spinach, nectarines and applesOther chemically-ridden produce includes spinach, nectarines and apples

    Yet, only 1% of non-organic avocados and sweetcorn contain pesticide residues

    Other ‘clean’ produce includes pineapples, cabbages, onions and cauliflowers

    Of 48 types of produce, nearly 70% contain one of 178 synthetic chemicals

    Previous research has shown eating organic reduces pesticides in urine samples

    Strawberries contain the most pesticides of any fruit or vegetable, new research reveals.

    The summer-favorite fruit contains at least 20 synthetic chemicals, a report found.

    Other chemically-ridden produce includes spinach, nectarines and apples, the research adds.

    Yet, only one percent of non-organic avocados and sweetcorn are contaminated with pesticide residues, the study found.

    Other ‘clean’ produce are pineapples, cabbages, onions, frozen peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplants, honeydew melons, kiwis, cantaloupes, cauliflowers and grapefruits, the report adds.

    Strawberries contain the most pesticides of any fruit or vegetable, new research reveals


    According to the Environmental Working Group, the produce with the most pesticide contamination are:

    Bell peppers

    THE ‘CLEAN 15’

    The least contaminated are:

    Frozen peas
    Honeydew melons

    How the study was carried out

    Researchers from the Environmental Working Group analyzed 48 types of popular non-organically grown fruit and vegetables.

    The analysis was based on more than 36,000 samples collected by the The United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

    All of the produce was washed prior to examination.

    It was also peeled if appropriate.

    Other chemically-ridden produce includes spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches and celery


    Organic vegetables really are healthier than standard produce, research revealed last month.

    Products grown without toxic chemicals, which can cost twice as much, contain higher levels of flavonols, a study found.

    Such vegetables have 20 per cent more of the antioxidants, which prevent damage to the body, the research adds.

    This comes five years after a major review of more than 200 studies concluded that organic food offers no nutritional benefit.

    However, the new Teagasc Food Research Centre’s, Ashtown, investigation is the longest-running study to address the issue.

    Key findings

    Results revealed that nearly 70 percent of the samples were contaminated with pesticide residues, with 178 different chemicals being identified.

    The foods that contain the highest number of pesticides, known as ‘the dirty dozen’, are strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes.

    Yet, only one percent of the avocados and sweetcorn analyzed contained pesticides.

    Other members of the so-called ‘clean 15’ are pineapples, cabbages, onions, frozen peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplants, honeydew melons, kiwis, cantaloupes, cauliflowers and grapefruits.

    None of these ‘clean’ produce contain more than four types of pesticides.

    How to avoid pesticides

    Previous research by the University of Washington found that people who ‘often or always’ buy organic food have significantly less pesticides in their urine.

    Pesticides have been linked to cancer, reduced brain development and behavioral problems in children.

    The report authors wrote: ‘Smart shopping choices matter. People who eat organic produce eat fewer pesticides.’

    Source: Daily Mail

  • Nine lifestyle changes can reduce dementia risk, study says Thursday July 20th, 2017

    One in three cases of dementia could be prevented if more people looked after their brain health throughout life, according to an international study in the Lancet.

    It lists nine key risk factors including lack of education, hearing loss, smoking and physical inactivity.

    The study is being presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London.

    By 2050, 131 million people could be living with dementia globally.

    There are estimated to be 47 million people with the condition at the moment.

    “Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before,” said lead author Prof Gill Livingston, from University College London.

    “Acting now will vastly improve life for people with dementia and their families and, in doing so, will transform the future of society.”

    The report, which combines the work of 24 international experts, says lifestyle factors can play a major role in increasing or reducing an individual’s dementia risk.

    Children sitting examsGetty Images
    How potentially modifiable factors contribute to the risk of dementia

    mid-life hearing loss – 9%
    failing to complete secondary education – 8%
    smoking – 5%
    depression – 4%
    physical inactivity – 3%
    social isolation – 2%
    high blood pressure – 2%
    obesity – 1%
    type 2 diabetes – 1%
    These – which are thought to be modifiable risk factors – add up to 35%. The other 65% of dementia risk is beyond the individual’s control.

    Source: Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care

    It examines the benefits of building a “cognitive reserve”, which means strengthening the brain’s networks so it can continue to function in later life despite damage.

    Failure to complete secondary education was a major risk factor, and the authors suggest that individuals who continue to learn throughout life are likely to build additional brain reserves.

    Another major risk factor is hearing loss in middle age – the researchers say this can deny people a cognitively rich environment and lead to social isolation and depression, which are among other modifiable risk factors for dementia.

    Another key message from the report is that what is good for the heart is good for the brain.

    Not smoking, doing exercise, keeping a healthy weight, treating high blood pressure and diabetes can all reduce the risk of dementia, as well as cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

    Staying physically active can help to ward off the risk of dementia
    The researchers say they did not have enough data to include dietary factors or alcohol in their calculations but believe both could be important.

    Dr Doug Brown, director of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Though it’s not inevitable, dementia is currently set to be the 21st Century’s biggest killer. We all need to be aware of the risks and start making positive lifestyle changes.”

    Dr David Reynolds, chief scientific officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Alongside prevention research, we must continue to invest in research to find a life-changing treatment for people with this devastating condition.”

    Source: BBC

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