What's the latest about lycopene, the substance in tomatoes that's supposed to protect against cancer? A friend says she read that they've discovered it doesn't protect you after all.
Lycopene has had a chequered history. It was proposed, as an antioxidant found in tomatoes, that it protected against prostate cancer. However, the most recent study didn't find any link between men's blood lycopene levels and the incidence of prostate cancer. The new buzzword is FruHis. It's a chemical also found in tomatoes, especially when they have been sun-dried, and has prevented excessive prostate growth in laboratory rats. The higher the FruHis levels in the tomato extract, the stronger was the protection. However, I'm not going to start munching tomato paste on that evidence. I'll wait until we have some human studies.
In the past, my children were given antibiotics for earache. My daughter's doctor won't prescribe them for my grandchildren. Is that not putting them at risk of ear damage?
Today, the official advice is that we should give only painkillers to children with sore ears, the majority of which are due to viruses and get better on their own. Over-prescribing of antibiotics in the past led to rising levels of bacterial resistance to drugs in the community. However, if earache persists for more than 48 hours, we prescribe them. The result is that we use around only a tenth of the antibiotics we used to, without putting children's long-term ear health at risk.
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