world in action

PERSONAL MAGNETISM A new sticking-plaster, launched this month, claims to relieve backache, muscular and sport strains and joint stiffness, not to mention headaches and migraine. Each Magneplast secretes a little magnet that, say its makers, "acts to stimulate blood circulation and increase the ion count in your body". You simply slap one on the affected area, taking care to site it on a blood vessel, sit back, and wait to be magnetised. If the makers could ensure that you could pull it off without taking half your body hair with it, they'd really be on to something. Magneplast is only available from AM Mail Order, 791 Kenton Lane, Harrow Weald, Middlesex, HA3 6AH (0181-954-9354). Prices start at pounds 4.50 for a box of eight plasters.

DOWN-TIMING New hope for the terminally anxious: 20 minutes of aerobic exercise can calm you down for the next two to four hours, according to new research findings from Indiana University. "A quick energy release produced a subsequent feeling of well-being in our volunteers," says Jack Raglin of the university's Department of Kinesiology.

WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED... Project Safe Run of Oregon "rents" trained canine security operatives - Dobermans or German Shepherds, in other words - to accompany women who want a bit of security while jogging on a dark evening. It's a highly lucrative business - so far, there've been 42,000 rentals and no complaints - but it looks unlikely to take off here. "We couldn't do it," says a spokesperson for Battersea Dogs Home. "We're here to find homes for dogs, not to turn them into minders."

COLD COMFORT We catch around 150 of them in a lifetime, they're caused by one of over 200 different viruses and, to build up an immunity to them all, we'd have to live to be 100. The common cold, that most ubiqitous of oppurtunistic infections, gets its literary due with the Hill's Balsam Guide To Coughs And Colds, a booklet which explains what a cold is, how it affects the body, and when a doctor should be called in. It also details the two kinds of cough (a "productive" one, producing mucus from the chest, that should be treated with an "expectorant", and a "non-productive" one, from the throat, that should be treated with a "suppressant"), and the remedies you'll need to employ (you don't have to use Hill's Balsam, but it does, of course, help). A free copy of the 16-page booklet is available by sending a postcard, with your name and address, to Hill's Balsam Guide to Coughs And Colds, Windsor Healthcare Limited, Ellesfield Avenue, Bracknell, Berks RG12 8YS.

STRETCHING A POINT Gym junkies are adorning the fruits of their labouring with a new trend for bracelet tattoos on the upper arm; as the muscles bulge, so the design expands ever more formidably. Symbols popular with men and women include lines of cows, thorns, barbed wire, flower vines, and Egyptian, Celtic and medieval motifs.

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