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MPs to quiz GP targets on access

'Mental illness in quitting tea'

The story

Giving up tea or coffee can cause mental illness, the Daily Mail claims.

The source

A review in Psychopharmacology concluded there was enough evidence on the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal to warrant its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Expert view

Professor Peter Rogers, professor of biological psychology at the University of Bristol, said: 'Most of us undergo a cycle of partial withdrawal every day. Our experience is that for the vast majority of people the withdrawal stage isn't severe at all and one wouldn't want to liken that to dependency on other stronger agents.'

'Thai curry prevents cancer'

The story

Thai curry may protect people against cancer, according to the Daily Express.

The source

King's College London compiled information for a TV company on unpublished laboratory work investigating the anti-cancer properties of south-east Asian plants. Researchers found a compound extracted from galangal root can kill lung and breast cancer cells in culture.

Expert view

Sue Green, senior cancer information nurse for the charity Cancer BACUP, said: 'This research is interesting but we are a long way from knowing whether regularly eating galangal protects people at all from developing cancer.'

'Big babies get more cancer'

The story

Big babies are at increased risk of developing cancer later in life, The Times claims.

The source

A study in the International Journal of Cancer on birthweight and health in later life reported associations between weight at birth and the risk of certain cancers in men and women.

Expert view

Dr John Toy, medical director of Cancer Research UK, said: 'The susceptibility of developing certain cancers could be linked to the very early development of the cells of the body.

But the statistical analysis of the results is less robust than is usual and there is room for doubt about the overall accuracy of the paper's findings.'

'Give birth early, die younger'

The story

Women who have children earlier in life tend to have shorter lives, the Independent and Daily Express report.

The source

Finnish research examined genealogy data from four generations between 1745 and 1900. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found women who had children earlier or had many children died earlier.

Expert view

Professor Diana Kuh, senior research scientist and reader at UCL and researcher on the MRC national survey of health and development, said: 'Various health transitions have occurred since that time. You normally have to have quite a few children before you start seeing negative effects on life expectancy.'

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