Medical notes

· Strong, caffeinated green tea is as good at protecting teeth as mouthwash, scientists have found. Ordinary tea is also good, but not as good as the green stuff. Its antiviral and antibacterial qualities ward off the mouth bugs, and may also contribute to the prevention of various types of cancer, including those of the pancreas, colon, bladder, prostate and breast, say the scientists from Pace University, New York.

· It is national bread week, so drop that faux-wheat intolerance, says ... the breadmaker Warburtons. Twenty per cent of people believe that they suffer from a food allergy or intolerance, 1.5% are diagnosed and only 0.5% have a wheat allergy. The main reason given for cutting out wheat is abdominal bloating, yet only 7% of dieticians advocate eliminating wheat from the diet as a treatment for this. Lucy Daniels, chairwoman of the British Dietetic Association, says a more likely explanation for bloating is constipation, which is exacerbated by a low-fibre diet, not drinking enough water and lack of exercise. Thanks for that, Warburtons.

· Some people swear by the herbal antidepressant St John's wort, but new research published in the journal Psychopharmacology has found an unlikely use for it - as a treatment for psychosomatic illnesses. In a study, 151 patients being treated for psychosomatic complaints were given either St John's wort or a placebo. Of those given the real thing, 81% got better, compared with only 50% of those on the placebo.

· And if tea, bread and anti-depressants fail to make you happy, Buddhism is now officially the way forward. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison scanned the brains of practising Buddhists and found that the happy part of their brains were more active than would be expected in other normal healthy people.

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