Medical notes

Gardening is a danger sport, the government warned last week. The parliamentary group on gardening is worried by the rapid increase in accidents - 337,000 people a year end up in A&E as a result of gardening mishaps. Accidents often involve lawnmowers and power trimmers, as well as ladders and secateurs. Around 300 people have to go to hospital every year because of heavy objects, such as bird baths, falling on them. Other contributing factors include "overestimation of abilities and taking shortcuts", says Labour's Brian Donohoe, secretary of the parliamentary group. "The converse of all that," he adds "is that it's extremely good for you physically."

Cranberry juice may combat heart disease by raising levels of "good" cholesterol and antioxidants, researchers said today. Drinking three glasses of cranberry juice a day could reduce heart- disease risk by 40%. A group of 19 volunteers with high cholesterol were given between one and three glasses of juice a day over a period of three months. Scientists found that three servings appeared to increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol by an average of 10%. HDL is known as "good" cholesterol because, unlike "bad" low-density lipoprotein, it protects against heart disease.

At the same time the researchers found that the amount of antioxidants available to the body increased by up to 121% after two or three glasses of cranberry juice a day. Antioxidants mop up dangerous atomic particles - free radicals - and are also known to reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as cancer. Previous studies have shown that cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections, such as cystitis, and may reduce the risk of gum disease, stomach ulcers and cancer.

Teenagers in Britain are getting wider. A study investigating the circumference of their waists - rather than the more commonly recognised test, body mass indicator - found even higher levels of obesity, particularly in girls. According to the measure of waist size, 28% of boys and 38% of girls are overweight, compared with the figures for body mass index, which put girls at 17% and boys at 21%.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.