Research briefs

Calcium pills pose vascular threat

Calcium pills pose vascular threat
Calcium supplements might increase the risk of MI in postmenopausal women, claim New Zealand researchers. Findings from the analysis of 1,471 healthy postmenopausal women, who were taking a daily calcium supplement or placebo for five years, cast doubt on using calcium supplements to boost bone strength. The rate of MI or stroke was 101 events in 69 women taking supplements (BMJ Online 2008).

Arthritis drug gives hope of Alzheimer's cure
Rheumatoid arthritis drugs may be an effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease, say US scientists. During a six-month study of 15 patients with probable Alzheimer's, participants were injected etanercept. The drug may work by ameliorating the effect of excess tumour necrosis factor-alpha on synaptic mechanisms in Alzheimer's, suggest the researchers (Journal of Neuroinflammation 2008; 5: 3).

Life-enhancing wine grape produced
A team of Chinese scientists have genetically engineered wine grapes that could boost life span. The grape produces six times the normal levels of resveratrol - the compound in red wine linked to its beneficial effects on longevity and heart disease (Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture Online 2008).

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