Monday, November 23, 2009

Water doesn't improve your skin, scientists say

Aside from having good genes, the one surefire way of having good skin late in life is to be born and bred in a foggy climate where you rarely see the sun -- as in England. English women look 20 years younger than they are to Australian eyes and women from sunny Australia look prematurely aged to the English

Drinking lots of water doesn't give you a clearer complexion, according to scientists who now claim fruit and vegetables are the key to good skin. The findings are contrary to the advice that has been followed by many women, including Hollywood actresses and catwalk models, for many years.

The British Nutrition Foundation has claimed that a balanced diet and sunscreen are much more effective at keeping skin looking plump and young. Its Food For Skin report highlights a lack of any robust studies backing up the popular advice that water makes the complexion glow.

Report author, Heather Yuregir, said: “Just drinking water for the sake of drinking water really has no effect on improving the appearance of skin. It is just a common misconception.”

Vitamins A, B, C and E contained in a range of fruit and vegetables are all crucial for keeping the skin cells healthy. Not eating enough of them can result in problems such as scurvy, dermatitis or dry, scaly skin.

However, the report highlights that drinking plenty of water is still essential to good health. Smoking and exposure to the sun are what ages skin the most. Mrs Yuregir said: “Fruit and veg can keep your skin functioning as it should and keep it looking healthy. “And sun cream is really recommended to prevent the signs of ageing because the majority of the signs of ageing that appear on the skin are caused by sun damage.”


Super rat gives hope for Alzheimer's?

Hobbie-J, named after a Chinese cartoon character, can remember objects for three times longer than other rats and is better at finding its way through mazes. The rat, when it was an embryo, was injected with genetic material to boost the NR2B gene which controls memory. The success brings hope for future dementia patients, as it is thought the gene enhancement could one day be used in a drug treatment for human brain disorders.

Dr Joe Z Tsien, who led the experiment at the Medical College of Georgia, said: “Hobbie-J can remember information for longer. It’s the equivalent of me giving you a telephone number and somehow you remembering it for an hour. “Our study provides a solid basis for the rationale that the NR2B gene is critical to enhancing memory. That gene could be used for memory-enhancing drugs.” Dr Tsien undertook a similar experiment on a mouse named Doogie 10 years ago, but the latest trial shows that memory enhancement can work on different types of mammals, potentially paving the way for human use.

Although it could take decades to develop a safe drug, dementia organisations in the UK welcomed the study. Andrew Scheuber from the Alzheimer’s Research Trust said: “This research involving rats may lead to new ways to reduce the risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s or to ameliorate dementia symptoms. "A treatment involving NR2B may have the potential to slow the deterioration that takes place in dementia patients, but it is too soon to tell.”

However, Dr John Hardy, professor of neuroscience at University College London, said the research would not help Alzheimer’s patients because they suffered from dying brain cells, not ineffective ones.


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