Health Features

Viva! Health unravels the most recent scientific research and makes it easy to understand. Here we update you on the latest findings...

Every day in the UK, more than 500 people have to visit the hospital due to a heart attack and 460 people lose their lives due to cardiovascular disease – that’s one death every three minutes. Over seven million people are living with cardiovascular disease in the UK – it’s our biggest killer. 
Dr Ameera Brett explains how prescribing health documentaries is helping her patients 
The microbes that live in and on our bodies are easy to overlook – not that we could see them if we tried! We’ve known about these microscopic organisms for a long time, but only now is research beginning to reveal how important they really are to our health.
It’s natural for us to eat meat – we’re designed for it, aren’t we? Or is this just used as an excuse to justify the killing of animals for food? The answer lies in our past – what did our ancient ancestors eat and what types of food are we best suited to?
Public Health England recently announced that there are 165 new antibiotic resistant infections every day in England. Antimicrobial-resistance (AMR) is a global problem and it is increasing. Where are these new infections coming from and should we be worried?
Lactose intolerance and cow’s milk allergy often get mixed up. Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of an enzyme that helps you to digest the sugar in milk. Cow’s milk allergy, on the other hand, is an adverse immune reaction to proteins found in milk. They are completely unrelated conditions except that they share a common cause – cow’s milk and dairy products.
It’s a myth that you need meat to get enough iron – a varied vegan diet contains plenty!                                                                                                                                        
If pregnant crickets are exposed to a predatory wolf spider, their babies will hatch, exhibiting increased antipredator behavior and, as a consequence, improved survival from wolf spider attack. The mother cricket appears to be able to forewarn her babies about the threat when they are still inside her, so they would be pre-adapted to their external environment. This even happens in plants. If you grow two genetically identical plants – one in the sun, one in the shade – the sun-grown plant will produce seeds that grow better in the sun, and the shaded plant will produce seeds that grow better in the shade – even though they’re genetically identical. What’s happening is called epigenetics, external factors changing gene expression.

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