Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tea tree honey 'could fight MRSA'

This appears to be a study in laboratory glassware only but it is supported by extensive anecdotal evidence so one hopes that proper trials will begin soon

Smearing an exotic type of honey on wounds could help protect against bacterial infections including MRSA, scientists believe. A laboratory study has found that manuka honey can stop bacteria from establishing themselves on tissue.

Manuka honey is from bees which have collected nectar from manuka trees - better known as tea trees - in New Zealand and Australia. Tea tree oil has long been feted for its anti-bacterial properties.

However, scientists at Cardiff University say that the honey could also be a useful "topical agent". Prof Rose Cooper, of its Centre for Biological Sciences, said: "Our findings with streptococci and pseudomonads [bacteria] suggest that manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues which is an essential step in the initiation of acute infections.

"Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections."

She added: "Other work in our lab has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin - effectively reversing antibiotic resistance. "This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey."

Putting the honey on wounds could be a novel and economic way of reducing infections, she suggested. "The use of a topical agent to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may well improve antibiotic therapy in the future."


Half-hour walk 'cuts Alzheimer's risk'

A study of 16 elderly women? Give us a break! I could say more but what's the point?

A brisk half-hour walk every other day could cut the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, say scientists. Moderate exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain which "washes away" debris thought to cause the degenerative disease, according to researchers.

They found that older women who walked for between 30 and 50 minutes, three or four times a week, increased blood flow to the brain by as much as 15 per cent.

Researchers at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said this helped prevent Alzheimer's in two ways.

"First, the blood brings oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to the brain, which are vital for the brain's health," they said. "Second, the blood washes away brain metabolic wastes such as amyloid-beta protein released into the brain's blood vessels. Amyloid-beta protein has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer's disease."

The three-month study measured how much blood flow into the brain, gauged by measuring the flow in the carotid arteries in the neck, changed in the 16 participants, who were all women aged 60 or over. It found that cerebral blood flow increased by 15 per cent in the left carotid artery, on average, and 11 per cent in the right artery.

Dr Rong Zhang, the lead researcher, said: " There are many studies that suggest that exercise improves brain function in older adults, but we don't know exactly why the brain improves. "Our study indicates it might be tied to an improvement in the supply of blood flow to the brain."


1 comment:

John A said...

Tea tree honey - honey has long been used to cover [small] open wounds, and research consistently has found it beneficial. Just not generally as much so as other treatments, IF they are available (e.g. the honey does not allow "breathing" the way a gauze pad does, and will inhibit clot/scab formation). Does this manuka type vary significantly from other honeys for this?