The scoop on the '5-second-rule'

Scientists test the '5-second-rule'; Are toxic metals creeping into your soft drink?; The latest news on cancer research and more

The scoop on the '5-second-rule'

A 'five-second rule' test

Scientists at Rutgers University tested the notion that food is safe to eat off the floor if picked up quickly. They dropped four foods (watermelon, bread, buttered bread and gummy candy) on to four surfaces (stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet) for different durations (less than a second, five seconds, 30 seconds and five minutes). Longer contact times did result in more contamination, but time wasn't the only factor. Tile and stainless steel spread germs more efficiently than carpet; wet food (watermelon) sucked up germs faster than dry. The upshot: In many circumstances, bacteria can transfer to your food in less than one second.

Breast cancer and IVF

Medical experts have long worried that in vitro fertilization could harm a woman over time. That's because IVF treatments require injections of estradiol and progesterone, and higher levels of those hormones may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer. But a Dutch study of more than 19,000 women who underwent IVF in the 1980s and early '90s has found that the group's breast cancer rate is no higher than that of the general population.

Naps and diabetes

Do you nap for more than an hour a day? You might want to get checked for diabetes. An analysis of studies involving more than 3,07,000 subjects has found that people who nap for more than 60 minutes a day have a 45 per cent greater risk of having type 2 diabetes compared with non-nappers. It's unclear whether excessive napping contributes to diabetes or, conversely, whether it's the diabetes that's making people sleepier--or if there's a third factor involved.

Metal in a bottle

Don't give in to a soft-drink craving. No, it isn't just about calories, but heavy metals like lead, cadmium and chromium. A study commissioned by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) and conducted by the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata, found alarming quantities of these heavy metals in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles of five well-known soft-drink brands. It seems, as room temperature rose, so did the amount of chemicals that leached into the drinks. Heavy metals can be carcinogenic and are known to harm the brain, nervous system, kidneys and respiratory system.

Some ingredients in antibacterial soap banned

The Food and Drug Administration has ordered manufacturers to stop using triclosan, triclocarban and other cleansing agents commonly used in over-the-counter antibacterial soaps. Triclosan has been shown to alter hormones in animal studies, raising questions about how it might affect humans. Plus, it turns out that antibacterial soaps are likely no more effective than regular soaps when it comes to preventing illness. Your best bet to avoid germs is washing with good old soap and water. The new rule won't apply to hand sanitizers and wipes, which generally do not use these ingredients.

Prostate cancer breakthrough

A study in the international journal Scientific Reports offers a hopeful advancement in treatment for prostate cancer. Dr Rupinder Kanwar, her husband Professor Jagat Kanwar and two other researchers from Deakin University, Australia, found a way to combine doxorubicin (Dox), a chemotherapy drug, with bovine lactoferrin (bLf), a milk protein. This makes the treatment highly effective in combating chemo-resistant cancer cells and reducing the risk of cardiac arrest due to toxicity. Dox by itself is considered highly toxic to the brain, heart and kidneys. The next step is clinical trials. Here's keeping our fingers crossed!  

A new organ

With the reclassification of mesentery, the human body now has 79 organs. The organ attaches the intestines to the wall of the abdomen. Although Leonardo da Vinci first described the organ in 1508, it was largely ignored until recently. Researchers are still unclear about its function but hope that the discovery will lead to new understanding and treatment for abdominal diseases.

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