ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
CAREGIVING
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Vitamin D and Bone Health: Are You Getting Enough of This Important Vitamin?
Vitamin D Best Taken With Largest Meal of Day, Study Finds
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
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Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The same source of garlic's pungent aroma and taste may provide its benefits to health, scientists say.

They say an acid produced by the decomposition of an organic compound called allicin provides the food's health benefits.

It's long been suspected that allicin, which gives garlic its aroma and flavor, might also be a powerful antioxidant. But researchers haven't been able to determine how allicin works or how it compares to other antioxidants, which stop the damaging effects of free radicals on cells.

"We didn't understand how garlic could contain such an efficient antioxidant, since it didn't have a substantial amount of the types of compounds usually responsible for high antioxidant activity in plants, such as the flavonoids found in green tea or grapes," study leader Derek Pratt, a chemistry professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, said in a university news release. "If allicin was indeed responsible for this activity in garlic, we wanted to find out how it worked."

In a series of experiments, Pratt's team found that the decomposition of allicin produces sulfenic acid, which rapidly reacts with radicals.

"Basically, the allicin compound has to decompose in order to generate a potent antioxidant. The reaction between the sulfenic acid and radicals is as fast as it can get, limited only by the time it takes for the two molecules to come into contact. No one has ever seen compounds, natural or synthetic, react this quickly as antioxidants," Pratt said.

The study was published in the January issue of the journal Angewandte Chemie.

"While garlic has been used as an herbal medicine for centuries, and there are many garlic supplements on the market, until now, there has been no convincing explanation as to why garlic is beneficial," Pratt said. "I think we have taken the first step in uncovering a fundamental chemical mechanism which may explain garlic's medicinal benefits."

More information

The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more about garlic.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: Queen's University, news release, Jan. 30, 2009

Last Updated: Feb. 10, 2009

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