Living on Earth’s Jennifer Chu reports on a study that finds breast milk may help get rid of stubborn warts.
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.
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[MUSIC: The Ventures “The Fourth Dimension” THE VENTURES PLAY TELSTAR (EMI – 1992)]
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