European diet changes
According to archaeologist Oliver Craig, a trend from fishing, hunting, and gathering to farming is shown in Northern Europe’s diets. However, farming might not be responsible for the change from the hunting and gathering style.
This claim is against a proposal which states that “farmers swept through Europe and sent native hunter-gatherers packing.”
Another study based on skull measurements has shown that a mix of hunting, gathering, and farming existed 8,500 years ago, which strengthens Craig’s claim.
Craig’s conclusion was drawn from studying ceramic cooking pots used in ancient northern Europe, in which he found fish traits.
This means that fish has been eaten for more than 700 years in Northern Europe, and the early farmers had a very similar living style compared to the hunter-gatherers.
Alcohol warnings ignored
According to British health minister Anne Milton, the problems associated with alcohol are still not being acknowledged. “People accept the harm that smoking causes, they accept the problems being obese causes, [but] there is still some issue about accepting the harm that alcohol causes.” In instances where people do acknowledge the risks, some carry on regardless.
“People do things that they know harm their health,” she explained to the House of Commons science and technology committee. “A recent report predicted that binge-drinking will cost the NHS 3.8 billion pounds by 2015, with 1.5 million A&E admissions a year.”
Alcohol pricing is one method of encouraging safer drinking that is being discussed with the Treasury. Milton claims that despite the incidence of problem drinking, there is currently insufficient evidence to justify altering the recommended safe limits.
However, the government’s new alcohol strategy, expected later this year or early 2012, “will say more about what we are going to do on price,” and if current measures like raising the duty on strong beer were having an effect. “There is no doubt about it; price can manipulate the market, so increasing duty on high-strength alcohol is not a bad idea, because for every litre sold there is less alcohol in it, which is a move in the right direction.”
Again, there are certain hindrances that could impede progress. A minimum price per unit for alcohol could be illegal under European trade laws and would be challenged. Further companies did not want their brands to be “associated with crime, anti-social behaviour and people being paralytically drunk.”
Milton claimed that there was “no magic bullet” to solve alcohol abuse. She further commented that MPs were “susceptible to risky behaviour” like excessive drinking because of their anti-social hours.
Cancer vs. microwaves
At Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, a research team is exploring the potential of microwaves in the development of new cancer diagnosis techniques and treatments. If the methods being explored are proven effective in clinical trials, they promise simpler, less invasive and more cost-effective solutions to modern-day cancer diagnosis and treatment options.
One of the techniques which is under further investigation is called microwave tomography, a process which uses microwaves to create 3-D images of the human body. The images created through this process display higher contrast between healthy and malignant cells, which would allow health professionals to more easily and accurately detect cancerous masses in tissue.
Microwave tomography would also have fewer side effects than the traditional X-ray method, as microwaves emit far less harmful radiation than X-rays do.
The second method being tested is known as hyperthermia—a process which uses microwaves to destroy cancerous cells with heat. Combined with radiotherapy and chemotherapy, researchers at Chalmers have reason to believe that hyperthermia may double the chances of a long-term cure for some cancers.
Chalmers hopes to combine microwave tomography and hyperthermia into one system, which would revolutionise the ways in which cancer is diagnosed and treated in the near future.
—With files from Science News, Science Daily, and BBC News