Vital Signs

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Cow's milk can cause diabetes

Babies fed cow's milk-based formula in the first three months of life are 52 per cent more likely to develop diabetes, say Australian researchers writing in Diabetes Care. Their study confirms the theory that a protein in cow's milk, bovine serum albumin, can set off an autoimmune attack on cells in the pancreas.

Thin rewards

Dieting is probably a pointless exercise because the body's metabolism compensates by slowing down, say US researchers. They found that losing 10 to 20 per cent of body weight was associated with a significant reduction in total energy expenditure. When people put on weight, energy expenditure increased, they report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Prostate alarm

Fewer than one in 10 men know where the prostate gland is, compared with 16 per cent of women, according to a survey based on interviews with 2,000 people, published in Reader's Digest. It found that only around half of all men know that prostate cancer affects only one sex. Researchers said the findings were "alarming".

Mouldy cure

A mould that grows on stale bread, dead wood and human faeces may soon be used in surgical dressings to help heal wounds, reducing the need for antibiotics, say researchers from the British Textile Technology Group, Manchester. The fungus is rich in compounds that encourage the growth of fibroblast cells, which play a key role in wound healing, states a report in New Scientist.

Bony problem

Inhaled and oral steroids prescribed for asthma could cause osteoporosis, say researchers from the Hammersmith Hospital and National Heart Hospital, London. Their study, in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that the drugs suppress levels of osteocalcin and so may inhibit bone formation. However, GPs are advised not to alter prescribing practices until more is known.

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