Lifelines

 

An experimental new painkiller, kappa-opiod, reveals what most of us already knew - that men's and women's brains are different. US research shows that kappas bring pain relief to female rats, but not to males. Until the early 1990s, most drug research was carried out on men, but earlier studies on humans showed this drug (which could become an alternative to the addictive painkiller, morphine) has little benefit for men but is effective on women for pain relief. This suggests there may be more drugs which could provide treatment for women, without side-effects, yet they are not being used because they have only been on tested on men. (Eureka)

Ginger can help to quell nausea, according to six studies into the effects of the spice on various types of sickness, including seasickness, morning sickness and the nausea which follows chemotherapy. Volunteers in the studies took a daily tablet containing up to one gram of ginger extract, the equivalent to a handful of root ginger. One UK scientist describes ginger as "a promising herbal remedy". (New Scientist)

A six-day yoga and meditation retreat is being held by yoga teacher Ilonka Miklosi, in the Gleanleam estate, Valencia Island, Co Kerry. The residential course offers tai chi, music, dance and a trip to Skellig Rock, and costs £450. For more details telephone 066-9151765, fax 066-9152242, email, ilonka@duigo.com

Eating meals with families helps teenagers to maintain healthy diets, according to a US study. The researchers, who surveyed more than 16,000 nine to 14-year-olds, found family dinners to be associated with higher consumption of fruits and vegetables and nutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamins B6, B12, C and E. They also observed lower consumption of saturated fats, fried foods, foods which raise blood sugar levels, and potentially harmful snack foods. (Archives of Family Medicine)

Divorced and separated men are twice as likely to commit suicide as men with wives or partners, and more than four times more likely than women to kill themselves, according to a US study into the causes of death of more than 470,000 people. But being single or widowed did not increase the risk of male suicide. (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health)