News Stories

More Harm Than Good

Some heavily advertised products actually do you more harm than good. A recent study shows that sunscreens are totally worthless, but using them makes people complacent, so they spend more time in the sun, which can lead to skin cancer. And taking too many antacids can lead to dangerous food allergies.

British Plastic surgeon Roy Sanders says suncreams were much less effective at blocking ultraviolet A (UVA) light, which is what causes the skin cancer melanoma, than UVB."When ultraviolet A impinges on the skin it triggers the release of highly reactive chemicals called free radicals which we believe can induce a malignant change," he says. "Since ambient sunlight is principally ultraviolet A and since sunscreens protect mostly against ultraviolet B, if we use the sunscreens it may increase the risk of us developing a rather unpleasant cancer called malignant melanoma? We?re lulled into a sense of false security...and so people are inclined to take a much greater dose of the sun." Cases of malignant melanoma have doubled every 10 years since the 1950s.

Austrian researcher Erika Jensen-Jarolim says indigestion pills may trigger food allergies, because they allow food to enter the intestines before it is fully broken down. She gave half the people in her study a medicine for indigestion, while the other half got a placebo. None of them had any food allergies. She found that people taking the drug showed signs of food allergy symptoms, while none of those in the placebo group did.

Antacids are designed to reduce levels of gastric acid in the stomach, but this acid is necessary, because it helps the stomach to break down food before it enters the intestines. Low levels of acid may result in food entering the intestines before it is broken down. The body's immune system then tries to attack the food, triggering an allergic reaction. This reaction is less likely to happen with familiar foods, since the body has become accustomed to them.

Allergies to food can range from mild rashes to potentially life-threatening anaphylactic shocks. "These findings are significant for those people at risk for a food allergy," says Jensen-Jarolim, "since 10% of the adult population today is on antacids."

Music can't prevent sunburn, but it certainly can heal?if you listen the right kind.

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