Noise is a source of stress, but different age groups react differently to the same noise. Background music in pubs and shops irritates almost a third of the over 55s but bothers only 6 per cent of those under 35.

Crying babies, on the other hand, drive a third of 16- to 24-year-olds to distraction but worries only 8 per cent of those over 55.

The survey, for Lanes, a manufacturer of natural health care products, found one in five people are upset by neighbours quarrelling and almost one in three by the noise of traffic. But top of the list, as the most disturbing noise of all, came the was barking of dogs.

Fungal infections of the fingernails and toenails are estimated to affect over one million people in the UK. The condition, which is unsightly, can be painful and can cause disintegration of the nail. Creams and ointments are of limited use and oral drugs have to be taken for three months and in some cases up to 12 months. A new drug treatment, called Sporanox-Pulse, now offers the shortest treatment course lasting nine weeks, with the drugs themselves taken for a maximum of three weeks. A pulse is a seven- day course of pills followed by a three-week drug holiday. Available only on prescription.

A cancer treatment extracted from a marine organism is being developed as a treatment. Curacin A has the potential to stop cell division, the means by which cancer grows, but is unstable with a short life span at room temperature. It is in short supply and difficult to harvest.

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