Health news: the latest in medical research
Thérèse Henkin reports on wine, cheese saunas and mobile phones.
It seems sauna sessions can do more than relieve aching muscles. Finnish research claims frequent saunas could also reduce the risk of dementia. The 20-year study of more than 2000 middle-aged men found those who had between four and seven saunas a week were 66 per cent less likely to develop dementia than those who had one a week or less. This could be because saunas help lower blood pressure and improve circulation.
White wine is the latest alcohol to be put in the firing line, with evidence suggesting that drinking it could increase a person’s chances of melanoma by 13 per cent. Researchers suspect this is because white wine contains acetaldehyde, an organic chemical compound that can damage DNA and prevent DNA repair. The study, reported in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, looked at the drinking habits of more than 200,000 Caucasian people and also found that melanomas in white wine drinkers were often located in body areas that don’t get much exposure to the sun. The findings are not strong enough to suggest people stop drinking white wine altogether, but the researchers advise moderation in wine consumption.
The list of reasons against excessive mobile phone use just got longer with emerging research finding that the blue light emitted from our phone screens can potentially cause more damage to our skin than sunburn. Research into this area is still developing, but studies suggest the blue light penetrates skin more deeply than the sun’s UV rays. While not harsh enough to increase the risk of skin cancer, the blue light is believed to halt the skin’s healing process and potentially accelerate ageing.