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Caveat emptor — the dangers of a nipple-tipple

However the latest health craze for human breast milk carries with it some serious health risks and physicians have been forced to warn people off the fad.

Health and fitness fanatics are well known for latching onto a craze and turning a blind eye to the lack of an evidence base and public health experts have warned doctors to be on the look-out for victims of this lucrative online market for adult buyers. On many of these websites, it is claimed that raw, unpasturised human breast milk has curative properties in the areas of chronic disease and even cancer.

However what the buyer gets instead is a serious risk of contracting a range of diseases such as syphilis, HIV and hepatitis C. Websites match buyers with mothers who are willing to express the milk and it is then sold in either fresh or frozen forms.

It is also often claimed that the milk is a ‘cure’ for those suffering with erectile dysfunction and as a natural enhancement to the immune system.

Pointing out that there is less protein in human breast milk than in milk from (other) mammals — such as cows — Sarah Steele, Global Health and Policy Specialist at Queen Mary University, London, said: “Potential buyers should be made aware that no scientific evidences [exist] that direct adult consumption of human milk for medicinal properties offers anything more than a placebo effect.”

She told the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine: “While many online mums claim they have been tested for viruses during pregnancy, many do not realise that screening needs to be undertaken regularly.

“Sexual and other activities may expose women to viruses that they may unwittingly pass on to consumers… research into breast milk bought online identified the presence of detectable bacteria in 93 per cent of samples.”

This is unlikely to deter vendors. Human breast milk can sell for as much as €4 per ounce, which means it sells for 400 times more than the price of crude oil.

If sold off the shelf, it could cost more than 150 times the price of a gallon of cow’s milk and 15 times more than the price of coffee.

Think I’ll stick with the old Avonmore.

Gorilla my dreams

Attraction is relative, but the latest heart-throb in Japan is not your average ‘looker’.

Shabani the gorilla has accumulated an army of female followers both online and in the flesh at Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya.

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The 18-year-old (it’s a difficult age) silverback was raised in Australia but moved to Japan in 2007. Zoo owners are not complaining and point to a sizeable increase in the numbers of people passing through the gates because of Shabani’s muscular allure.

Online comments from female admirers include “hot” and “too handsome”.

“He often rests his chin on his hands and looks intently at you,” zoo spokesman Takayuki Ishikawa told AFP. “He is more buff than most gorillas and he’s at his peak physically. We’ve seen a rise in the number of female visitors — women say he’s very good-looking.

“He’s a father and he always protects and looks over his children. Zoo-goers think his kindness is attractive too.”

Coalition of the giggling

An event to celebrate laughter as a universally-recognised expression of good humour, International Joke Day, took place on July 1. It clearly came and went without much fuss but to mark the day, one eagle-eyed reader sent me a selection of some jokes and their respective countries of origin.

Australia: A worried woman visits her GP and says: “Doc, my hair is dry and frazzled, my skin is pasty and wrinkled, my eyes are bloodshot and I look like death warmed up. What’s your opinion?” Doctor: “There’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.”

Belgium: There are three kinds of people in the world — those who can count, and those who can’t.

France: What do you call a pretty woman in England? A tourist.

Russia: Man to nurse: “Where are we going?” Nurse: “To the morgue.” Man: “But I’m not dead yet.” Nurse: “We haven’t arrived yet.”

Argentina: Boy: “Mother, give me some money for the poor old man who’s shouting in the road.” Mother: “What’s he shouting?” Boy: “Ice creams! Come get your ice creams!”

Sweden: An agitated man phones the hospital and says: “Send an ambulance quickly, my wife’s in labour!” Doctor: “Is this her first child?” Man: “No, you idiot, it’s her husband.”

Poland: Man: “You’re a high-priced lawyer! If I give you $500 dollars, will you answer two questions?” Lawyer: ‘Absolutely! What’s the second question?”

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