Tag Archives: Cardiff University

Indoor Plants Cut Formaldehyde

Indoor plants can reduce formaldehyde levels in the air, according to a new study.

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The sources of the toxic gas formaldehyde are building materials including carpeting, curtains, plywood, and adhesives.

As it is emitted, it deteriorates the air quality, which can lead to ‘multiple chemical sensitivity‘ and ‘sick building syndrome‘, medical conditions with symptoms such as allergies, asthma, and headaches.

The prevalence of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOC) is greater in new construction.

In the study, lead author Kwang Jin Kim of Korea‘s National Horticultural Research Institute compared the absorption rate of two types of houseplants, Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) and Fatsia japonica, an evergreen shrub.

During the study, equal amounts of formaldehyde were pumped into containers holding each type of plant in three configurations: whole, roots-only with the leafy portion cut off, and aerial-only, with the below-ground portion sealed off, leaving the stem and leaves exposed.

The results showed the combined total of aerial-only and roots-only portions was similar to the amount removed by whole plants. Complete plants removed approximately 80 percent of the formaldehyde within 4 hours.

Control chambers pumped with the same amount of formaldehyde, but not containing any plant parts, decreased by 7.3 percent during the day and 6.9 percent overnight within 5 hours. As the length of exposure increased, the amount of absorption decreased, which appeared to be due to the reduced concentration of the gas.

Aerial parts of reduced more formaldehyde during the day than at night. This suggests the role played by stomata, tiny slits on the surface of the leaves that are only open during the day.

The portion of formaldehyde that was reduced during the night was most likely absorbed through a thin film on the plant’s surface known as the cuticle. Root zones of ficus removed similar amounts between night and day. However, japonica root zones removed more formaldehyde at night.

Researchers consider micro-organisms living among the soil and root system to be a major contributor to the reduction. Japonica was planted in larger pots than the ficus, which may account for the lower night reduction rate of the latter.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Play in Youth, Pay in Old Age

Playing tennis or badminton might be an excellent way of keeping fit, but if you’re not careful, you may end up paying in old age, healthwise.

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A new study headed by Navah Ratzon, director of occupational therapy department at Tel Aviv University (TAU), can be applied to any number of leisure sport activities.

“Increasing numbers of adults are pursuing amateur athletics during their leisure hours. But we’ve found worrying indications that this activity — when not done properly — may have negative effects on the musculoskeletal system,” Ratzon warned.

For example, in the US, musculoskeletal disorders and disease are the leading cause of disability, and are the cause of chronic conditions in 50 per cent of all people 50 years and older.

Musculoskeletal complaints include discomfort, pain or disease of the muscles, joints or soft tissues connecting the bones.

Focusing specifically on bowlers, Ratzon and her graduate student Nurit Mizrachi found that 62 per cent of the 98 athletes in their study reported musculoskeletal problems — aches and pains in the back, fingers, and wrist, for example.

According to the study, the degree of pain a player reported was in direct proportion to the number of leagues in which the person participated. Their conclusion is that the intensity of the sport exacerbated the risk of long-term musculoskeletal damage.

The risks are particularly high in sports where the body is held asymmetrically and repetitive movements are made, according to a TAU release. These findings were recently published in the journal Work.

All ball sports should be played with caution, Ratzon advised, including sports like golf, basketball, tennis and squash. “Your body is meant to work in a certain way,” she added.

“If you jump for the tennis ball while twisting your back, you put too much stress on your body because it’s an unnatural movement.”

Stretching before games is an obvious prevention method against long-term damage. But people should take other measures to keep their bodies fit.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Simple Therapy for Back Pain

Paracetamol and keeping active are the best cures for back pain, according to Australian researchers who warn that other treatments do not work.

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A Lancet study of 240 back pain sufferers found anti-inflammatory drugs and spinal manipulation did not make any difference to recovery time.

Yet currently, both treatments are recommended in several guidelines.

Experts said patients needed to be reassured that avoiding bed rest and taking paracetamol would work.

Researchers at the University of Sydney assigned patients to receive either an anti-inflammatory drug called diclofenac, a dummy drug, spinal manipulation or fake manipulation therapy.

They had already received simple treatment advice from their GP to keep active, avoid bed rest and take paracetamol for the pain.

The study found no difference in recovery times after 12 weeks in patients who also received diclofenac or spinal manipulation.

Almost all the patients had recovered by the end of the study no matter what treatment they had received.

Adverse effects

Study leader Mark Hancock said there was no clinical benefit from the additional treatments.

And both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as diclofenac or ibuprofen, and spinal manipulation are associated with adverse effects, he added.

“GPs can manage patients confidently without exposing them to increased risks and costs associated with NSAIDs or spinal manipulative therapy,” he said.

Dr Bart Koes from the Department of General Practice at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, who wrote an accompanying article in The Lancet, said the results were probably applicable to other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.

He told the BBC: “It is very likely that for many patients with acute low back pain currently treated with NSAIDs and/or spinal manipulation this would not have been needed if adequate first-line treatment with paracetamol and advice and reassurance was given.”

Dr Stuart Derbyshire, senior lecturer in the School of Psychology and expert in pain at the University of Birmingham, also agreed with the findings.

“For most people, providing simple care and advice should guide the patient through their acute phase of pain and allow them to return to normal life when that acute phase is over.”

Back pain is the largest single cause of sickness absence from work.

But Tony Metcalfe, president of the British Chiropractic Association warned the therapy in the study could not be compared with the treatment provided by chiropracters in the UK.

“Spinal manipulation is just part of a package of care offered by BCA chiropractors which also includes lifestyle and posture advice, rehabilitation and specific exercises.”

He added that spinal manipulation therapy is a safe treatment and none of the study participants reported serious adverse reactions.

Nia Taylor, chief executive of BackCare said the key message for people was to keep moving.

“We know that many GPs feel ill-equipped to help patients with low back pain and sometimes people are not given the right advice and reassurance when they first see a GP.”

She added: “In the UK a standard appointment of 10 minutes may not be long enough to give adequate advice and reassurance and convince the patient that a regime of paracetamol and keeping active is enough to ensure recovery.”

You may click to see:->Yoga ‘can help to cut back pain’

>Sitting straight ‘bad for backs’

>Yoga tested as back pain therapy

> Back pain sufferers need to work

>Needles ‘are best for back pain’

>Back pain guide

>Exercises for Back Pain

Sources: BBC NEWS:Nov 9th. ’07

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