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Thinner hair



As if the wrinkly skin wasn't enough, smoking hurts your hair too. Experts think the toxic chemicals in smoke can damage the DNA in hair follicles and generate cell-damaging free radicals as well. The end result? Smokers have thinner hair that tends to go gray sooner than nonsmokers. That is, if they have any hair at all. Men who smoke are about twice as likely to lose their hair as nonsmokers, after taking into account factors that increase the risk of baldness, such as aging and genetics, according to a 2007 study in Taiwan.



New Study Aims to Predict Risk of Cancer

New research at the University of Southampton aims to develop a way of predicting who more at risk of getting cancer is.

Led by Paul Little, Professor of Primary Care Research, the Cancer Diagnosis Decision rules (CANDID) study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research (NIHR SPCR), will collect and analyze clinical information and blood samples from 20,000 patients who have had lung or colon cancer. The aim is to determine which signs and symptoms are most predictive of those who go on to be diagnosed with the disease.

Genetic testing will be carried out after the recruitment phase of the study to establish how much extra information genetics provides over and above the clinical information.

The £2 million five-year study is the largest award made by the NIHR SPCR and aims to improve the referral process patients go through before being diagnosed. Currently GPs must refer urgent cases within two weeks and for other cases, up to 62 days for referral; however it has been reported that some patients have to wait much longer and some have visited their GP more than once before being referred.

Professor Little comments: "We need to improve both the early referral rates for cancer but, at the same time, we do not want to overload the system with lots of people who are at a low risk of having cancer and may have negative side-effects of being over-investigated. Waiting for results and dealing with the possibility of having cancer can be a distressing and daunting time for patients and their families, our research aims to aid the patient pathway and help medical professionals, so every patient is dealt with in the most appropriate way and in a timely fashion."

The study will use patient samples from the eight centers within the NIHR National School for Primary Research: Southampton, Oxford, Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, University College London, Manchester and Keele.

Local Medicament Covers 93% of Local Market

  DAMASCUS_ (ST) Minister of Health Dr. Saad al-Nayef yesterday  discussed with Head of Mission of the International Committee of the Red  Cross  (ICRC)  in Damascus, Ms. Marianne Gasser, developments of the health sector in Syria, and  mechanisms of cooperation  between the two sides especially in  providing quality drugs and medical equipments

The Minister stressed that  in cooperation  with friendly countries, international organization and NGO's , necessary medical services are delivered  for citizens ,despite the economicesiege imposed on Syria and the terrorists attacks against health centers targeting  their medical crews  and emergency systems..

" locally manufactured drugs are available and cover 93% of the needs of the  local market ." said Minister of Health Dr. Saad  al-Nayef said.

 " The real problem is the difficulty in importing  generic medicament, especially for  cancer ,multiple sclerosis , liver diseases and biological and hormonal medicine ," the minister added, expressing hope that ICRC will facilitate the import of these drugs.

Ms. Gasser stressed  ICRC support for the health sector in Syria , particularly in ensuring  quality drugs and medical equipment.

She added  that ICRC efforts in the next phase will focus on assessing   the humanitarian situation and  support Syrian areas, hosting large number of affected citizens.


T. Fateh



Why should you say: "thanks for a cup of tea!"

 Traditionally, black tea is the second most consumed drink after water, not just in the Middle East, but also in the world. This popular drinking with neither artificial flavors nor sugars has many health benefits that have been revealed in recent researches.

Reduce blood pressure

According to a study made by scientists at the University Of Western Australia and Unilever, state in Archives of Internal Medicine, drinking black tea three times a day may drastically lower a person's systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

During their study, the researchers examined 95 Australians, ages 35 to 75. A portion of the participants were asked to drink black tea, three times daily, while the others were given a placebo that tasted identical and contained the same caffeine content, but did not originate from tea.

Six months later, the researchers concluded that the people who drank the black tea were found to have lower 24-hour systolic and diastolic blood pressure; between 2 and 3 mmHg lower.

But this conclusion requires more research to better understand how tea may reduce blood pressure although earlier studies reported a link between tea drinking and the improved health of people's blood vessels, Professor Jonathan Hodgson, at UWA's School Of Medicine and Pharmacology said.


On the other hand, the black tea, as a U.S. Food expert says, includes manganese which is good for physical development, and potassium that is needed to maintain fluid balance.

Not only does black tea have anti-inflammatory qualities, it also keeps a check on the digestive tracts functioning. It can help reduce stroke risks as it balances the cholesterol level as it's packed with flavonoids and antioxidants.

Strengthen teeth

Regarding link between black tea and teeth, the recent searches shown that black tea is a natural source of fluoride, which can help strengthen tooth enamel, and helps cut down plaque on teeth.

Eye's Puffiness

Besides, black tea can reduce puffiness of the eye through storing black tea bags in the fridge and apply it to the eye area.

Enhance mental focus

Those are the discovered benefits of black tea which contains no glories with extremely low caffeine content that enhances relaxation and mental focus. So, it will be good to offer a cup of black tea to your friends whenever you meet.

Each person consumes 3k/ year

Finally, it is worthy to note that consumption of tea in Arab countries is significantly high and is equivalent to that in the United Kingdom and Ireland, both of which have the highest import per capita rate in the world, as it reaches 3 kilos of tea per person per year.

Basma Qaddour




Concern over heavy school bags as study suggests a link with increase in childhood back pain

Children could be damaging their backs by carrying heavy schoolbags, a new study has found. As youngsters prepare to go back to school, parents are being warned against the dangers of heavy backpacks and the damage they can cause to children’s spines. The warning comes following a study which looked at why back pain in children is on the increase.


In the first informal research study in Wales, Helena Webb, a pediatric physiotherapist based at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, surveyed several schools and studied a sample of children aged eight to 12 and age 15. Previous studies have shown that almost half of all children of secondary school age experience occasional backache and that back pain during adolescence can mean youngsters are four times more likely to suffer the condition as adults.

As well as carrying heavy schoolbags, ill-fitting classroom furniture combined with sedentary lifestyles and poor posture means many adolescents could be exposing themselves to back trouble. Alongside this, the car culture and a passion for computer games have reduced physical activity and linked with poor diet and a high consumption of junk food, inactivity and bad diets have become an accepted way of life.

These habits can encourage poor posture and weight gain and mean that joints and muscles are not worked through their full range and normal length and make it more difficult for the body to cope with day to day tasks.

Backache affects up to 95% of the population at some stage and costs the economy around £10bn a year in lost productivity and disability or sickness benefits. Ms Webb, whose study found that child back pain is on the increase, said: “As a pediatric physiotherapist I see children and adolescents with back pain. “While chatting to patients during treatment sessions, it became apparent that carrying their heavy school bags around school in the absence of lockers in schools today, and sitting on uncomfortable school furniture were huge contributing factors to their daily back pain.

“We really need to educate parents, teachers and children about the safe weight for school bags, the correct way of carrying bags and the importance of sitting on appropriate furniture in the classroom.''  Ms Webb underlined, asserting that  “Looking after your back while you’re young can help prevent back problems arising in adulthood. It’s fact that adolescent back pain sufferers are four times more likely to experience back pain as an adult.

She said: “Healthy eating and oral hygiene teaching is established on the health education curriculum in schools. Implementing back care teaching sessions into the school timetable will help us reduce the risk of the current generation of children becoming adults who live with back pain.”

She also said that: “It’s clear from this research that children’s backs are put under daily strain due to heavy school bags. However, we must also take into account other factors that contribute to back pain in children. For example, playing video games, watching TV and spending a long time on computers can lead to poor fitness and posture which can result in back pain.''

“Being overweight also puts an extra strain on bones and muscles – and in Wales we have some of the highest rates of childhood obesity.'' added Ms Webb.

“So while carrying heavy bags is not good for anyone – let alone children – we also need to change other kinds of behaviors to improve posture, health and nutrition if we’re to significantly reduce the numbers complaining of back pain.”.

Ms Webb concluded that  “The profession continues to highlight its concerns about the pressures placed on backs and necks by the carrying of school bags. This work carried out in other universities provides another piece of evidence that attention must be paid to the issue to make sure children and young people are not storing up musculoskeletal problems for the future.

Butheina Alnounou