Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 23 : Despite two decades of economic growth, a study shows that number of would-be mothers taking maternity leave has remained stagnant.
According to the study, more than half of maternity leaves taken by American mothers are unpaid, a figure that has proved slow to change.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, suggest that women who took maternity leave were economically better off than the typical mother -- as described in the data -- and were more likely to be married, white and more educated.
Researchers from Ohio State University in the US showed that about 273,000 women in the United States took maternity leave on average each month between 1994 and 2015, with no trend upwards or downwards.
Meanwhile, the number of men taking paternity leave increased from 5,800 men per month to 22,000 per month.
"Given the growing economy and the new state laws, I expected to see an increasing number of women taking maternity leave," said study author Jay Zagorsky.
"There's a lot of research that shows the benefits of allowing parents, especially mothers, to spend time with newborn children. Unfortunately, the number of women who receive those benefits has stagnated," Zagorsky added.
The team used data from the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Since 1993, most workers were covered by the federal government's Family and Medical Leave Act, which gives eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid time off during the first 12 months after birth to care for a newborn.
The results indicate that most women who took maternity leave were not paid -- only 47.5 percent were compensated in 2015.
Paid maternity leave is increasing, but only by 0.26 percentage points per year.
However, the study also found that count of fathers taking paternity leave has tripled than the number of mothers taking maternity leave.
Zagorsky said the best estimates from the data would be that somewhere around 10 percent of men and 40 percent of women take some time off. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
New Delhi [India], Jan. 21 : Baklava is one of the major sweet dishes in Afghanistan. This rich and sweet pastry is made up of layers of filo and filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.
Afghanistan is well known for its delicious food. Apart from its non- vegetarian dishes like Kabuli pulaw, lamb grilled kebab, Mantu, Tandoori chicken and rice dishes; Afghanistan is widely famous for its sweet delicacies.
The sweet dishes like Kulche Badami (Afghan Almond cookies), Kolche Ab-e-Dandaan (melt in your mouth cookies), Sheerpira (Homemade Afghan Sweets) are some of the very famous mouth watering dishes. But one of the major sweet dishes in Afghanistan is Baklava.
This rich and sweet pastry is made up of layers of filo and filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.
Tamim Omari, an Afghan refugee, sell these delicacies in Jangpura, which is also known as the 'Little Kabul in Delhi'.
"By making all these delicacies and special dishes from Afghanistan, we want to showcase our culture and tradition in India. We make all these food items to introduce our food culture among Indian people. And Indian people over here really like our bread, sweets and other food items." said Tamim Omari, owner and chef, Afghani bakery.
"Every day Indians visits our shop and they ask about our afghan dishes. They really like and purchase our food items on daily basis and ask about the recipes. The most liked item among the sweets is Baklava," he added.
Two years ago, Tamim came from Afghanistan to take refuge in India; he is now running his business successfully. He dreams to expand his business and introduce different variety of Afghan sweets in the Indian market.
Tamim said, "My dream is to expand this shop and I want to increase my business in future. I want to make more birthday and wedding cakes and also I want to introduce more variety of cookies from Afghanistan. And I hope I will be able to achieve my dream in future."
Baklava can be found in many Middle East countries. In Armenia and Azerbaijan it is called pakhlava. It gets accompanied by a sour cream in Georgia. In Iran, a drier version of baklava is cooked and presented in smaller diamond-shaped cuts flavored with rose water.
In Afghanistan, however, Baklava is mostly consumed in the morning along with Afghani roti, which enhances the taste of the delicacy. (ANI)Region: IndiaGeneral: Health News
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 22 : Support for your partner is the base of any strong healthy relationship; and it's yet more essential for the defense personnel, who face different challenges on daily basis.
New research, focused on service member couples in Oregon, confirms supportive, responsive partners provide a buffer to loneliness and sleep deficits among military couples.
Better sleep, communication, and emotional support are a key part to better overall health and to being successful in the workplace. The research is being presented at the 2017 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention.
"This study adds to a larger body of literature that supports how important it is to share with your partner when good things happen, as well as to respond positively to the sharing of good news," says Sarah Arpin (Gonzaga University), a social psychologist involved in the study.
Arpin and colleagues examined relationships among perceived responsiveness to capitalisation (sharing good news), loneliness, intimacy, and sleep in 162 post-9/11 military couples.
"Very few studies have examined daily relationship processes among military couples, who may be particularly vulnerable to relationship difficulties post-deployment," says Arpin.
In relationship research, this type of support, sharing good news, is referred to as capitalisation, which is a particularly important support process in close relationships.
"When you share something good, and the recipient of information is actively happy for you, it heightens the positive experience for both parties," says Arpin. "However, when someone 'rains on your parade' that can have negative consequences."
Researchers required couples to be living together for at least six months to participate; about 20 percent were unmarried. The length of time, couples were together, varied widely, though the average length of relationship was 12 years.
This study is part of a larger research project, the Study for Employment Retention of Veterans (SERVe) that is working to enhance retention of veterans in the workplace, with the goal of improving workplace culture and general well-being of service members. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 20 : A new study warns that exposure to synthetic chemicals, commonly found in insecticides and garden products, may disrupt human circadian rhythms and can put you at higher risk for diabetes and sleeping patterns.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo in the US found that these insecticides bind to the receptors that govern our biological clocks and adversely affect melatonin receptor signaling, creating a higher risk for metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
The findings, published in journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, indicate that using predictive computational modeling and in vitro experiments with cells that express human melatonin receptors, they found that carbamates selectively interact with a melatonin receptor. That interaction can disrupt melatonin signaling and alter important regulatory processes in the body.
"This is the first report demonstrating how environmental chemicals found in household products interact with human melatonin receptors," said Margarita L. Dubocovich senior author from UB.
The study focuses on two chemicals, carbaryl and carbofuran, which hace been banned for application on food crops for human consumption since 2009 and still they are used in many countries and their traces persist in food, plants and wildlife.
"We found that both insecticides are structurally similar to melatonin and that both showed affinity for the melatonin, MT2 receptors, that can potentially affect glucose homeostasis and insulin secretion," said co-author Marina Popevska-Gorevski.
"That means that exposure to them could put people at higher risk for diabetes and also affect sleeping patterns," Popevska-Gorevski added.
The results suggest that there is a need to assess environmental chemicals for their ability to disrupt circadian activity, something which is not currently being considered by federal regulators.
"By directly interacting with melatonin receptors in the brain and peripheral tissues, environmental chemicals, such as carbaryl, may disrupt key physiological processes leading to misaligned circadian rhythms, sleep patterns and altered metabolic functions increasing the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and metabolic disorders," Dubocovich explained.
She explained that there is a fine balance between the release of insulin and glucose in the pancreas at very specific times of day, but if that balance becomes disrupted over a long period of time, there is a higher risk of developing diabetes. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
New Delhi [India], Jan. 19 : Making tiny changes in our day-to-day functions will go a long way in maintaining the mental and physical wellbeing, especially if we work for more than 12 hours a day.
Dr. Gowri Kulkarni has put forward a few tips that the doctor has suggested to stay healthy to have a successful career:
1. Walk the talk: Make walking a part of your routine. Walk everywhere, walk while you take a call, park your car a few meters away from your office, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus one stop before your scheduled stop and walk the last leg. Don't make the "I don't have time to exercise" excuse again.
2. Get some sunshine: Go bask in the sun, let sunlight fall on your exposed skin. We are designed to get Vitamin D from the sun, our bodies absorb the sun's energy and make Vitamin D. Getting some sunshine helps you stay active and happy the whole day.
3. Eat a fruit: An apple a day keeps the doctor away! We all learnt that back in kindergarten. It's time to practise what was taught to us. Fruits have wonderful vitamins and minerals; eat at least one fruit per day. Follow one colour a day norm, for example, if you choose to eat food that is green, then eat a green apple, same applies for other colours.
4. Kick the butt: Smoking does not do you any good. We have heard so much about the harmful effects of smoking and the carcinogens that come packed in cigarettes, but we still make excuses for smoking. The best time to quit smoking was yesterday, the second best time is right now.
5. Be a water baby: Drink adequate water. Water is an elixir for good health, skin and hair, it is much better for your hair and skin than the expensive products. Drink enough water every day and it will even help you shed off those extra kilos as well.
6. Be a child: Do at least one child like activity every day. Jump around, make a boat, sing in the shower, hop, skip, and jump. Do something that the adult you would never do. Beat stress the smart way, watch and learn from a child.
7. Sleep well: Sleep is underrated, getting adequate amount of sleep is key in maintaining your health. Try and squeeze in at least eight hours of sleep in between your busy schedule. The more you sleep, the more productive you will be. (ANI)Region: IndiaGeneral: Health
Washingtington.D.C. [USA], Jan. 18 : Dear men, beware! Prolonged exposure to work-related stress may increase likelihood of cancer.
The findings indicate that the link was observed in men, who had been exposed to 15 to 30 years of work-related stress and in some cases, more than 30 years.
According to the study published in journal of Preventive Medicine, prolonged exposure of men to work-related stress has been linked to an increased likelihood of lung, colon, rectal and stomach cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Researchers at INRS and Universite de Montreal in Canada conducted the study to assess the link between cancer and work-related stress perceived by men throughout their working life.
On average, the study participants had held four jobs, with some holding up to a dozen or more during their working lifetime.
A link between work-related stress and cancer was not found in participants who had held stressful jobs for less than 15 years.
Significant links to five of the eleven cancers considered in the study were revealed.
The most stressful jobs included firefighter, industrial engineer, aerospace engineer, mechanic foreman, and vehicle and railway-equipment repair worker and for the same individual, stress varied depending on the job held.
The study also shows that perceived stress is not limited to high work load and time constraints.
"One of the biggest flaws in previous cancer studies is that none of them assessed work-related stress over a full working lifetime, making it impossible to determine how the duration of exposure to work-related stress affects cancer development," the authors explained.
"Our study shows the importance of measuring stress at different points in an individual's working life," the authors noted.
Customer service, sales commissions, responsibilities, the participant's anxious temperament, job insecurity, financial problems, challenging or dangerous work conditions, employee supervision, interpersonal conflict and a difficult commute were all sources of stress listed by the participants. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
London [UK], Jan. 18 : After getting you addicted to vodka Martinis, James Bond could now be blamed for turning you into a smoker!
Cigarettes feature in all but one of the 24 movies filmed to date, new research has discovered.
And despite kicking the habit in 2002 - before Daniel Craig took over - he continues to be exposed to second-hand smoke from his sexual partners, experts say.
However, the typically brief encounters would have helped to cut his risk of lung cancer, scientists claim.
Known to kill six million people a year, smoking increases the risk of 17 forms of cancer, according to scientists.
While the World Health Organization predicts more than one billion tobacco-related deaths will occur this century.
Given the links between alcohol in movies and teenagers taking it up, the findings are of huge concern and could be applied to smoking, scientists claim.
While several studies have delved into various aspects of Bond's lifestyle, there has been little consideration of smoking related content.
Since the spy first lit up in 1962 with Dr No, there have been 24 movies - all screened by Eon Productions, the new study found.
Researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand, discovered that his onscreen smoking peaked in the 1960s.
He used cigarettes in 83 per cent of the movies produced in that decade, the study published in the British Medical Journal found.
However, the rate steadily declined until he took his last puff in 2002's ' Die Another Day'.
But when he was a smoker, he lit up, on average, within 20 minutes of the start of the film.
Only 2006's ' Casino Royale' was totally free of any smoking-related imagery, the researchers found.
Writing in the journal, the researchers said 'while there have been some favourable downward smoking related trends in this movie series, the persisting smoking content remains problematic from a public health perspective, especially given the popularity of the series'.
In Spectre, the most recent movie, none of Bond's major associates smoked, but other characters still did.
This added up to an estimated 261 million 'tobacco impressions' for 10-29 year olds in the US alone.
Cigarette branding even featured in two movies, with Marlboro in 1979's Moonraker and Lark in License to Kill a decade later.
The latter was part of a product placement deal with Philip Morris to try and conquer the Japanese market.
The researchers noted that were several attempts to mention the hazards of smoking - the first of which came in 1967's 'You Only Live Twice'.
While in 1999's The World Is Not Enough, Miss Moneypenny hurls Bond's gift to her of a cigar into the bin in disgust.
And they suggest that while smoking seems to be at odds with Bond's need for physical fitness, it does fit with his disregard for other risks.
After all, 007 has dodged thousands of bullets, he drinks a lot of alcohol, and often drives very fast, they point out.
And that's without a goodly proportion of his sexual partners (nine out of 60) attempting to disable, capture, or kill him. (ANI)Region: United KingdomGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 14 : Do you see your child as 'overweight'? May be that is the reason for his/her gaining more weight over the period of time.
A study says that children whose parents considered them to be 'overweight,' tended to gain more weight over the following decade, compared with children, whose parents thought they were a 'normal' weight.
This has been deduced from an analysis of data from two nationally representative studies, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
The findings indicate that children, whose parents identified them as being overweight, perceived their own body size more negatively and were more likely to attempt to lose weight, factors that partly accounted for their weight gain.
"Although parents' perception that their children are overweight has been presumed to be important to management of childhood obesity, recent studies have suggested the opposite; when a parent identifies a child as being overweight, that child is at increased risk of future weight gain," psychology researchers Eric Robinson from University of Liverpool and Angelina Sutin from Florida State University College of Medicine write in their paper.
Adding, "We argue that the stigma attached to being an overweight child may explain why children whose parents view them as being overweight tend to have elevated weight gain during development."
Drawing from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, Robinson and Sutin examined data for 2,823 Australian families.
As part of the study, researchers measured the children's height and weight when they began the study as four or fivr-year-olds. At that time, the children's parents reported whether they thought the children were best described as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or very overweight.
Later, when they were 12 or 13, the children used a series of images depicting bodies that increased in size to indicate which image most resembled their own body size. The children also reported whether they had engaged in any behaviors in an attempt to lose weight in the previous 12 months.
Researchers took height and weight measurements again when the children were 14 or 15 years old.
The results indicated that parents' perceptions were associated with children's weight gain 10 years later: Children whose parents considered them to be overweight at age four or five tended to gain more weight by age 14 or 15.
And this association could be accounted for, at least in part, by the children's beliefs and behaviors. That is, children whose parents thought they were overweight perceived their own body size more negatively and were more likely to report attempts to lose weight.
The results were the same for boys and girls, and they could not be explained by other possible factors, such as household income, presence of a medical condition, and parents' weight.
Importantly, the link between parents' perceptions and children's later weight gain did not depend on how much the child actually weighed when they began the study.
When Robinson and Sutin examined data from 5,886 Irish families participating in the Growing Up in Ireland study, they saw the same pattern of results.
Using these data, the researchers cannot determine whether parents' perceptions actually caused their children's weight gain, but "the findings of the present studies support the proposition that parents' perception of their children as overweight could have unintended negative consequences on their children's health," Robinson and Sutin conclude. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 14 : Cutting down on smoking can now be a bit easier for you!
A study, published in Annals of Family Medicine, says that tobacco counseling for youth or adults can reduce the prevalence of smoking cigarettes during adult years.
The researchers conducted a microsimulation analysis to estimate the health impact and cost-effectiveness of tobacco counseling of youth and adults in a U.S. birth cohort of 4,000,000.
They found that the model predicted that annual counseling for youth would reduce the average prevalence of smoking cigarettes by 2.0 percent during adult years, whereas annual counseling for adults would reduce prevalence by 3.8 percent, compared with no tobacco counseling.
Over the lifetime of the cohort, youth counseling would prevent 42,686 smoking-attributable fatalities and increase quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) by 756,601; 69,901 smoking-attributable fatalities would be prevented by adult counseling, and QALYs would be increased by 1,044,392.
Per person, youth and adult counseling would yield net savings of 225 dollars and 580 dollars, respectively. Adult smoking prevalence would be 5.5 percent lower if annual tobacco counseling was provided to the cohort during both youth and adult years, compared with no counseling, with 105,917 fewer smoking-attributable fatalities over their lifetime. At current counseling rates, only one-third of the potential health and economic benefits of counseling are being realized.
"Both youth and adult intervention are high-priority uses of limited clinician time," the authors write. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
London [England], Jan. 13 : Next time, think twice before you eat that burger or chips during lunch, as a new study reveals that eating a meal particularly high in protein and salt can make us feel more fatigued and causes us to fall into a 'food coma'.
According to researchers, if you have had a particularly huge meal, then you may even fall into a food coma - postprandial somnolence- where all you want to do is lie down and have a snooze.
The findings indicated that protein and salt are the causes of the infamous food coma, the reason being that they are "expensive commodities," so our bodies have to work harder to digest them and extract the nutrients.
The researchers from from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and Florida's Scripps Research Institute found that carbohydrates did not have the same effect, despite various dieticians having previously claimed carbohydrate-rich foods make us sleepy.
They used fruit-flies to investigate the neurobiological links between eating and sleep.
The study found that sugar actually does not actually contribute to a food coma.
The researchers are yet to discover, however, why sleep helps us digest protein and salt, but it is clear that is what our bodies want to do.
"During the food coma, the flies remain still for a certain amount of time and they are much less responsive to any kind of other cues than they would normally be," said study's author Dr. Robert Huber.
"There's clearly something very potent about sleep itself," he added.
So, if you want to be on top form this afternoon, it's perhaps wise to opt for a healthy veggie option for lunch, they concluded. (ANI)Region: LondonGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 12 : Is your kid fascinated with superheroes? Does he love to dress up like a Spiderman thinking that he will go around pretending to spin webs?
Dear parents, a new study warns that kids, who frequently engage with superhero culture, are more likely to be physically and relationally aggressive.
The research appears in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.
Researchers from Brigham Young University in the US found that children, who frequently engage with superhero culture are more likely to be physically and relationally aggressive one year later.
"Our study shows the exact opposite. Kids pick up on the aggressive themes and not the defending ones," said lead author Sarah M. Coyne.
The findings like these give parents the opportunity to have a conversation with their children.
The participants in the study consisted of 240 children, whose parents responded about the level of engagement their kids had with the superhero culture.
The children were individually interviewed and asked to identify their 10 popular superheroes.
The results indicated that 20 percent of these children associated their favorite superhero with some type of violent skills.
The remaining 70 percent of skills-related comments by children were benign in nature: "Because he is big and strong" and "Because he is cool and can fly."
These programs contain complex storylines that interweave violence and prosocial behaviour and preschoolers do not have the cognitive capability to pick out the wider moral message that is often portrayed.
Coyne further stated there is likely some additional desensitization associated with consuming violent media.
They explained that reduction in cognitive and emotional responses has been shown to be associated with exposure to violent media.
However, the superhero culture can become consuming especially if kids are watching the movies, playing with the toys, strongly identifying with the characters, dressing up etc, they concluded. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 11 : US researchers have found that giving Vitamin C intravenously can produce super-high concentration in the blood, which has ability to attack cancer cells.
The findings, published recently in the journal Redox Biology, revealed that vitamin C breaks down easily, generating hydrogen peroxide, a so-called reactive oxygen species that can damage tissue and DNA.
Researchers from University of Iowa Health Care in the US also showed that tumor cells are much less capable of removing the damaging hydrogen peroxide than normal cells.
They also found that giving vitamin C intravenously--and bypassing normal gut metabolism and excretion pathways--creates blood levels that are 100 - 500 times higher than levels seen with oral ingestion.
"In this paper we demonstrate that cancer cells are much less efficient in removing hydrogen peroxide than normal cells. Thus, cancer cells are much more prone to damage and death from a high amount of hydrogen peroxide," said Garry Buettner.
"This explains how the very, very high levels of vitamin C used in our clinical trials do not affect normal tissue, but can be damaging to tumor tissue," Buettner added.
They examined how high-dose vitamin C (also known as ascorbate) kills cancer cells.
The team tested the approach in clinical trials for pancreatic cancer and lung cancer that combine high-dose, intravenous vitamin C with standard chemotherapy or radiation.
The new study shows that an enzyme called catalase is the central route for removing hydrogen peroxide generated by decomposing vitamin C.
The researchers discovered that cells with lower amounts of catalase activity were more susceptible to damage and death when they were exposed to high amounts of vitamin C.
"Our results suggest that cancers with low levels of catalase are likely to be the most responsive to high-dose vitamin C therapy, whereas cancers with relatively high levels of catalase may be the least responsive," he explained. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 10 : Dear parents, if you exercise regularly, then it can directly affect the health of your kids in childhood as well as adulthood.
A new study suggests that kids aged three to five are more likely to be physically active if their parents increase activity and reduce sedentary lifestyle.
The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examined the impact of parent modeling of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in low-income American ethnic minorities, included data from more than 1,000 parent-child pairs.
The participants live in metro areas of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota and Nashville, Tennessee.
Each parent and child wore an accelerometer for an average of 12 hours a day, for a week.
This is the first study to link the physical activity of parents and young children by objectively measuring that physical activity with such a long wear time for an accelerometer.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the US found that the preschoolers' total physical activity was 6.03 hours per day with 1.5 hours spent in moderate to vigorous activity.
"This study highlights how important parents' physical activity is to shaping their young children's physical activity," said principal investigator Shari Barkin.
"The good news is that increasing physical activity is not only good for parents' health, it also helps set these behaviours in their young children as well. It's doubly good for family health. Setting this habit early could impact good health not only in childhood but in adulthood as well," Barkin added.
Physical activity is a critical factor for preventing childhood obesity and promoting good cardiovascular health.
Recommendations call for preschoolers is to obtain about three hours a day of total physical activity (light, moderate and vigorous) with at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).
The reports show that less than half of preschoolers actually achieve that recommendation.
They also found that up to 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by a parent correlated with their preschool-age child's level of MVPA.
Similarly, for every minute a parent engaged in light physical activity, the child's light physical activity increased by 0.06 minutes. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
London [UK], Jan. 8 : If it's true, it could be a game changer!
Believe it or not, scientists at Boston University claim to have discovered a game-changing blood test that could help predict lifespans.
The study, published in the journal Aging Cell on Friday, used biomarker data collected from 5,000 blood samples and analysed it against the donors' health developments over the subsequent eight years.
Together, they identified patterns which indicated both good and bad futures. Specifically, their chances of getting age-related diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
In all, the researchers generated 26 different predictive biomarker signatures.
The breakthrough means patients will be able to identify realistic health risks early on - and, crucially, modify behaviour to change the outcome.
Lead authors Professors Dr Paola Sebastiani and Dr Thomas Perls said: 'These signatures depict differences in how people age, and they show promise in predicting healthy ageing, changes in cognitive and physical function, survival and age-related diseases like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
'It sets the stage for a molecular-based definition of ageing that leverages information from multiple circulating biomarkers to generate signatures associated with different mortality and morbidity risk.'
They added: 'Many prediction and risk scores already exist for predicting specific diseases like heart disease.
'Here, though, we are taking another step by showing that particular patterns of groups of biomarkers can indicate how well a person is ageing and his or her risk for specific age-related syndromes and diseases.'
The researchers noted that more studies on larger groups of people are still needed to further confirm the results. (ANI)Region: United KingdomGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 7 : A study reveals that if a person hears about a serious incident -- such as a gunfire exchange - from his/her loved ones or even strangers, it may change how information flows in the brain and can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Scientists in the study, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, observed that fear in others may change how information flows in the brain.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, also called PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop in some people after they experience a shocking, scary, or dangerous event, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
"Negative emotional experience leaves a trace in the brain, which makes us more vulnerable," said lead study author Alexei Morozov from Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in the US.
"Traumatic experiences, even those without physical pain, are a risk factor for mental disorders," Morozov added.
The team observed that most people, who live through dangerous events, do not develop the disorder, but about seven or eight out of every 100 people will experience post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives.
"PTSD doesn't stop at direct victims of illness, injury, or a terrorist attack; it can also affect their loved ones, caregivers, even bystanders -- the people who witness or learn about others' suffering," Morozov stated.
Based on these findings, the researchers investigated whether the part of the brain responsible for empathising and understanding the mental state of others, called the prefrontal cortex, physically changes after witnessing fear in another.
Lei Liu, a post-doctoral researcher in the lab, measured transmission through inhibitory synapses that regulate strength of the signals arriving in the prefrontal cortex from other parts of the brain in mice who had witnessed a stressful event in another mouse.
"Liu's measures suggest that observational fear physically redistributes the flow of information," Morozov said,
"And this redistribution is achieved by stress, not just observed, but communicated through social cues, such as body language, sound, and smell." (ANI)Region: United StatesGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 7 : Now smartphones can help you treat your depression and anxiety.
Researchers from Northwestern University in the United States found that 13 speedy mini-apps called 'IntelliCare' significantly reduced 50 percent depression and anxiety in participants, who used the apps on their smartphones up to four times a day using psychotherapy or with antidepressant medication.
The study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
The applications offer exercises to de-stress, reduce self-criticism and worrying, methods to help your life feel more meaningful, mantras to highlight your strengths, strategies for a good night's sleep and more.
"We designed these apps so they fit easily into people's lives and could be used as simply as apps to find a restaurant or directions," said lead study author David Mohr from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
"Some of the participants kept using them after the study because they felt that the apps helped them feel better," Mohr added.
In the study, 105 participants were enrolled and 96 of them completed the study.
The participants robustly used the IntelliCare interactive apps as many as four times daily -- or an average of 195 times -- for eight weeks.
The participants received eight weeks of coaching for the use of IntelliCare, which included an initial phone call, plus two or more text messages per week over the observation period.
They spent an average of one minute using each app, with longer times for apps with relaxation videos.
The participants, who completed in the research study, reported that they experienced about a 50 percent decrease in the severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms.
"Using digital tools for mental health is emerging as an important part of our future," Mohr stated.
"These are designed to help the millions of people who want support but can't get to a therapist's office," he noted. (ANI)Region: United StatesGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 6 : A panel of experts says you can prevent development of peanut allergy in your kids by introducing foods containing peanuts until five years of age.
Clinical trial results showed that regular peanut consumption begun in infancy and continued until five years of age led to an 81 percent reduction in development of peanut allergy in infants deemed at high risk because they already had severe eczema, egg allergy or both.
According to researchers, people living with peanut allergy and their caregivers must be vigilant about the foods they eat and the environments they enter to avoid allergic reactions, which can be severe and even life-threatening.
The allergy tends to develop in childhood and persist through adulthood.
However, recent scientific research has demonstrated that introducing peanut-containing foods into the diet during infancy can prevent the development of peanut allergy.
"Living with peanut allergy requires constant vigilance. Preventing the development of peanut allergy will improve and save lives and lower health care costs," said researcher Anthony S. Fauci director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
"We expect that widespread implementation of these guidelines by health care providers will prevent the development of peanut allergy in many susceptible children and ultimately reduce the prevalence of peanut allergy in the United States," Fauci added.
In all cases, infants should start other solid foods before they are introduced to peanut-containing foods.
This finding came from the landmark, NIAID-funded Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study, a randomised clinical trial involving more than 600 infants.
"The LEAP study clearly showed that introduction of peanut early in life significantly lowered the risk of developing peanut allergy by age five," said another study author Daniel Rotrosen director of NIAID's Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation.
"The magnitude of the benefit and the scientific strength of the study raised the need to operationalise these findings by developing clinical recommendations focused on peanut allergy prevention," Rotrosen added. (ANI)Region: United StatesGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 5 : Pre-mature babies perform well in a developmental task linking language and cognition compared to their full-term counterparts, finds a new study.
The study was published online in journal of Developmental Science.
Researchers from Northwestern University in the US found that preterm infants are maturationally on par with full-term infants in establishing this link.
The study, the first of its kind with preterm infants, tests the relative contributions of infants' experience and maturational status.
The team compared healthy preterm and full-term infants at the same maturational age, or age since conception.
"This study permits us to tease apart -- for the first time ever -- the roles of infants' early experience and maturational status in establishing this critical language-cognition link," said senior study author Sandra Waxman.
To illustrate, they considered two infants conceived on the same date.
If one happens to be born a month early, then although the infants will always share the same maturational age (age since conception), the preterm infant will have an opportunity to acquire an extra month of postnatal experience listening to language.
They compared preterm and full-term infants to identify the developmental timing of their link between language and object categorization.
The new study was designed to capitalise on this tightly timed "familiarity-to-novelty" shift in full-term infants.
The results showed a robust early link between language and cognition in preterm infants, revealing that this vulnerable population begins life with a strong foundation for linking language and meaning.
Pediatric evidence revealed that although healthy preterm infants reach some developmental milestones on the same maturational timetable as their full-term peers, they nevertheless tend to encounter obstacles in language, cognitive and attentional processing capacities. This is evident in their use of early intervention services from infancy through school age. (ANI)Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 : Think before you booze! It might lead to heart attack.
A new study says that alcohol abuse increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, heart attack and congestive heart failure, as much as other well-established risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesity.
The study has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Despite advances in prevention and treatments, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the US. Reducing alcohol abuse might result in meaningful reductions of heart disease, according to the researchers.
"We found that even if you have no underlying risk factors, abuse of alcohol still increases the risk of these heart conditions," said lead researcher Gregory M. Marcus.
The researchers analysed data from a database of all California residents ages 21 and older who received ambulatory surgery, emergency or inpatient medical care in California between 2005 and 2009. Among the 14.7 million patients in the database, 1.8 percent, or approximately 268,000, had been diagnosed with alcohol abuse.
The researchers found that after taking into account other risk factors, alcohol abuse was associated with a twofold increased risk of atrial fibrillation, a 1.4-fold increased risk of heart attack and a 2.3-fold increased risk of congestive heart failure. These increased risks were similar in magnitude to other well-recognized modifiable risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Completely eradicating alcohol abuse would result in over 73,000 fewer atrial fibrillation cases, 34,000 fewer heart attacks, and 91,000 fewer patients with congestive heart failure in the United States alone, the researchers said.
"We were somewhat surprised to find those diagnosed with some form of alcohol abuse were at significantly higher risk of a heart attack," Marcus said. "We hope this data will temper the enthusiasm for drinking in excess and will avoid any justification for excessive drinking because people think it will be good for their heart. These data pretty clearly prove the opposite."
Previous research has suggested that moderate levels of alcohol consumption may help prevent heart attack and congestive heart failure, while even low to moderate levels of alcohol consumption have been shown to increase the incidence of atrial fibrillation.
"The great majority of previous research relied exclusively on self-reports of alcohol abuse," Marcus said. "That can be an unreliable measure, especially in those who drink heavily. In our study, alcohol abuse was documented in patients' medical records." He said that the study did not quantify how much alcohol patients drank.
In an editorial accompanying the new study, Michael H. Criqui, of the University of California San Diego, wrote that previous studies that found a benefit from alcohol consumption in protecting against heart attack and congestive heart failure were so-called cohort studies, which include defined populations. Such studies tend to recruit stable, cooperative and health-conscious participants who are more likely to be oriented toward a healthier lifestyle.
"Cohort studies have minimal participation by true alcohol abusers, so the current study likely presents a more valid picture of heavy drinking outcomes," Criqui said. (ANI)Region: WashingtonUnited StatesGeneral: Health
Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 3 : In the already long list of disadvantages of obesity, researchers have added another point. A recent study suggests children of obese parents might be at risk of developmental delays.
The study, appearing in Pediatrics, was conducted by scientists at the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
The investigators found that children of obese mothers were more likely to fail tests of fine motor skill--the ability to control movement of small muscles, such as those in the fingers and hands.
Children of obese fathers were more likely to fail measures of social competence, and those born to extremely obese couples also were more likely to fail tests of problem solving ability.
"The previous U.S. studies in this area have focused on the mothers' pre- and post-pregnancy weight," said the study's first author, Edwina Yeung, Ph.D., an investigator in NICHD's Division of Intramural Population Health Research. "Our study is one of the few that also includes information about fathers, and our results suggest that dad's weight also has significant influence on child development."
Dr. Yeung and her coauthors cited research indicating that about 1 in 5 pregnant women in the United States is overweight or obese.
In the study, authors reviewed data collected from the Upstate KIDS study, which originally sought to determine if fertility treatments could affect child development from birth through age 3.
More than 5,000 women enrolled in the study roughly 4 months after giving birth in New York State (excluding New York City) between 2008 and 2010. To assess development, parents completed the Ages and Stages Questionnaire after performing a series of activities with their children.
The test isn't used to diagnose specific disabilities, but serves as a screen for potential problems, so that children can be referred for further testing.
Children in the study were tested at 4 months of age and retested 6 more times through age 3. When they enrolled, mothers also provided information on their health and weight--before and after pregnancy--and the weight of their partners.
Compared to children of normal weight mothers, children of obese mothers were nearly 70 percent more likely to have failed the test indicator on fine motor skill by age 3.
Children of obese fathers were 75 percent more likely to fail the test's personal-social domain--an indicator of how well they were able to relate to and interact with others by age 3. Children with two obese parents were nearly three times more likely to fail the test's problem solving section by age 3.
It is not known why parental obesity might increase children's risk for developmental delay. The authors note that animal studies indicate that obesity during pregnancy may promote inflammation, which could affect the fetal brain.
Less information is available on the potential effects of paternal obesity on child development. The authors added that some studies have indicated that obesity could affect the expression of genes in sperm.
If the link between parental obesity and developmental delays is confirmed, the authors wrote, physicians may need to take parental weight into account when screening young children for delays and early interventional services. (ANI)Region: WashingtonUnited StatesGeneral: Health