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Superfoods may cause cancer, babies ‘feel mothers’ jab pain’ and why fizzy drinks are out, but coffee is in

Superfoods like blueberries and broccoli widely may not prevent cancer and may even cause it, the Daily Mail reports.

It is widely believed that antioxidants found in vitamins, supplements and so called ‘superfoods’ fight the free radical oxygen molecules that cause cancer. But Nobel prize winning scientists Jamie Watson, who helped discover the structure of DNA, said scientists should again at whether antioxidant use causes rather than prevents cancer.

He pointed to studies which found taking supplements of antioxidants - including vitamins A, C and E and the mineral selenium - which found ‘no obvious effectiveness’ in preventing stomach cancer or in lengthening life.

Instead, they seem to slightly shorten the lives of those who take them, with vitamin E being particularly dangerous.

Writing in a journal published by the Royal Society, he said that antioxidants ‘may have caused more cancers than they have prevented’.

This newspaper also brings us the news that sugary drinks- especially the diet version- could increase the risk of depression by a third, but drinking four cups of coffee decreased the risk by a tenth.

US researchers studied the drink consumption of 265,000 men and women aged 50 to 71, and asked volunteers ten years into the study whether they had been diagnosed with depression in the previous five years. Volunteers who drank more than four cans of soft drinks a day were 30% more likely to have had depression than those who drank none, the American Academy of Neurology conference heard. The risk seemed greater among those who preferred diet drinks.

The study also found that those who drink four cups of coffee a day were less likely to be depressed than non-coffee drinkers.

Athough making the link does not prove soft drinks cause depression, researcher Honglei Chen said: ‘While our findings are preliminary and the underlying biological mechanisms are not known, they are consistent with a small but growing body of evidence suggesting that artificially sweetened beverages may be associated with poor health.’

Over at the Telegraph comes the news that babies with anxious, first-time mothers ‘feel more pain’ during routine vaccinations, compared with experienced mothers. A study by psychologists suggested that new mothers could pass on their fears about vaccinations to their children, who could sense their anxiety.

Fifty mothers and their two-month-old babies were examined during routine vaccinations in the study. Researchers analysed the pain expression of the babies before, during and after the injections.

Study lead Dr Nadja Reissland, of Durham University said babies sensed their mothers anxiety and felt more pain. This comes with the danger that first time mothers worried by seeing their babies in pain might not bring them in for follow up jabs, she added.

She said: ‘These results show that a mother’s anxiety and distress is somehow “felt” by the baby, who in turn shows more pain.’


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