Saturday, August 19, 2006

We wuz wrong! -- again: "Doctors have cast doubt on the standard way of measuring whether people are obese or overweight. New research suggests shortcomings in the system of Body Mass Index (BMI) in identifying whether someone is at risk of dying prematurely. Studies show that heart patients identified as 'overweight' by BMI actually survived longer than those judged to have a 'normal' weight. This is because the system fails to identify if a person's excess weight is muscle rather than fat. If someone is heavy because of muscle, they are less likely to die younger - and should not be classed as overweight - compared to someone whose excess weight is mostly fat. According to the BMI, which has formed the basis of defining healthy and abnormal weight for more than 100 years, more than half the UK population is overweight and a further 20 per cent obese".

Now it's pomegranates that are good for you: "Prostate cancer will claim the lives of an estimated 30,000 men in the United States this year. The second leading cause of cancer death in men, its incidence climbs with age. In Western countries, the disease is reaching nearly epidemic proportions among the elderly. However, the cancer can grow so slowly that many men with prostate cancer will die of something else first. A mystery has always been what factors might improve a man's odds of having a slow-growing malignancy. A new study suggests that drinking pomegranate juice might be one of them. Several studies have associated diets high in plant-derived polyphenols-principally, the deeply pigmented antioxidants in many fruits and vegetables-with lower risks of malignancies including prostate cancer. Because the blood-red juice of pomegranates is especially rich in such compounds, Allan J. Pantuck of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and his colleagues decided to test it against metastatic prostate cancer... The researchers calculated that the men's average doubling time in PSA concentrations-a rough gauge of cancer growth-was 15 months. After men drank a glass of juice a day, their average doubling time more than tripled. In nearly one-third of men, Pantuck notes, PSA values actually fell-in a few cases, dramatically."

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