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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Environmental Health Note/Mother’s Remedy

Air Date: Week of July 2, 2004

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Living on Earth’s Jennifer Chu reports on a study that finds breast milk may help get rid of stubborn warts.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Just ahead: a new world of music. First, this Environmental Health Note from Jennifer Chu.

CHU: It’s been reported that a cream containing human breast milk can destroy stubborn warts. A study from Sweden shows that when applying the cream daily for three weeks, all of the 20 participants on the treatment found their warts reduced by at least 75 percent. Twenty other participants who received a placebo cream saw their warts reduced by only 15 percent. When allowed to continue the treatment, three-quarters of the volunteers found their warts disappeared entirely.

Researchers believe an active ingredient in breast milk, known as alpha-lactalbumin, causes this reaction. This compound forces the wart cell to self-destruct by gathering in the cell's nucleus and inhibiting its control process. While doctors have long known breast milk contains a natural antibiotic, its effects on tumors and viruses have only recently been discovered.

Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus, the same class of virus that causes cervical cancer. Scientists hope this new discovery will go beyond eliminating common growths to aid in fighting cancer. With that idea in mind doctors plan to begin a study of the compound’s effect on women with cervical cancer. That’s this week’s Health Note. I’m Jennifer Chu.

CURWOOD: And you’re listening to NPR's Living on Earth.

ANNOUNCER: Support for NPR comes from NPR stations, and Aveda, an earth-conscious beauty company committed to preserving natural resources and finding more sustainable ways of doing business. Information available at Aveda.com; The Noyce Foundation, dedicated to improving math and science instruction from kindergarten through grade 12; The Annenberg Foundation; and The Kellogg Foundation, helping people help themselves by investing in individuals, their families, and their communities. On the web at wkkf.org. This is NPR, National Public Radio.

[MUSIC: The Ventures “The Fourth Dimension” THE VENTURES PLAY TELSTAR (EMI – 1992)]

 

 

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