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Keep an eye on your kid's company, they might inherit personality traits

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 06:37

Texas [United States], Feb 4. : Does your kid pick up habits and traits of fellow classmates quickly?

When preschoolers spend time around one another, they tend to take on each others' personalities, indicates a new study by Michigan State University psychology researchers.

The study, published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggests personality is shaped by environment and not just genes.

"Our finding, that personality traits are 'contagious' among children, flies in the face of common assumptions that personality is ingrained and can't be changed," said Jennifer Watling Neal, associate professor of psychology and co-investigator on the study. "This is important because some personality traits can help children succeed in life, while others can hold them back."

The researchers studied two preschool classes for an entire school year, analyzing personality traits and social networks for one class of 3-year-olds and one class of 4-year-olds.

Children whose play partners were extroverted or hard-working became similar to these peers over time. Children whose play partners were overanxious and easily frustrated, however, did not take on these particular traits. The study is the first to examine these personality traits in young children over time.

Emily Durbin, study co-investigator and associate professor of psychology, said kids are having a bigger effect on each other than people may realize.

"Parents spend a lot of their time trying to teach their child to be patient, to be a good listener, not to be impulsive," Durbin said. "But this wasn't their parents or their teachers affecting them - it was their friends. It turns out that 3- and 4-year-olds are being change agents."(ANI)

Region: United StatesGeneral: Health

Emoticons help teachers gauge happiness level in children

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 06:21

England [United Kingdom], Feb 4. : How cool would it be if your child's teacher could gauge his/her happiness through some 'device'?

A simple new questionnaire based on emoticon-style facial expressions could help teachers and others who work with children as young as four to engage them on their happiness and wellbeing levels in the classroom.

The 'How I Feel About My School' questionnaire, designed by experts at the University of Exeter Medical School, is available to download for free. It uses emoticon-style faces with options of happy, ok or sad. It asks children to rate how they feel in seven situations including on the way to school, in the classroom and in the playground. It is designed to help teachers and others to communicate with very young children on complex emotions.

The project was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula ( NIHR PenCLAHRC).

Professor Tamsin Ford, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Exeter Medical School, led the design, involving children to give feedback on which style of questionnaire they could relate to best. She said: "When we're carrying out research in schools, it can be really hard to meaningfully assess how very young children are feeling. We couldn't find anything that could provide what we needed, so we decided to create something."

The questionnaire is now the subject of a paper in Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. It finds that parents and teachers consistently score children's happiness levels slightly higher than children score their own. The team consulted children to find a format that they could relate to and engage with. Once completed, the questionnaire has an easy scoring system, out of 14. An average score is around 11 or 12, with children who are encountering particular difficulties at school scoring lower. Those experiencing suspension or expulsion from school, for example, typically scored around eight or lower. (ANI)

Region: United KingdomGeneral: Health

Anti-cancer agent could promote regeneration of heart tissue: Study

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 04:30

Dallas [United States], Feb 4. : In a latest development, researchers have found out that Cancer drug could promote regeneration of heart tissue.

An anticancer agent in development promotes regeneration of damaged heart muscle 0- an unexpected research finding that may help prevent congestive heart failure in the future.

The study findings were published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Many parts of the body, such as blood cells and the lining of the gut, continuously renew throughout life. Others, such as the heart, do not. Because of the heart's inability to repair itself, damage caused by a heart attack causes permanent scarring that frequently results in serious weakening of the heart, known as heart failure.

For years, Dr. Lawrence Lum, Associate Professor of Cell Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has worked to develop a cancer drug targeting Wnt signaling molecules. These molecules are crucial for tissue regeneration, but also frequently contribute to cancer. Essential to the production of Wnt proteins in humans is the porcupine (Porcn) enzyme, so-named because fruit fly embryos lacking this gene resemble a porcupine. In testing the porcupine inhibitor researchers developed, they noted a curiosity.

"We saw many predictable adverse effects -0 in bone and hair, for example 0- but one surprise was that the number of dividing cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) was slightly increased," said Dr. Lum, senior author of the paper, and a member of UTSW's Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine. "In addition to the intense interest in porcupine inhibitors as anticancer agents, this research shows that such agents could be useful in regenerative medicine."

Based on their initial results, the researchers induced heart attacks in mice and then treated them with a porcupine inhibitor. Their hearts' ability to pump blood improved by nearly twofold compared to untreated animals. (ANI)

Region: United StatesGeneral: Health

Scientists find way of boosting immune system's memory to fight cancer

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 04:39

New Delhi,[India] Feb 3. : Scientists from the University of Southampton in a latest study have discovered an important way in which the immune system can learn to recognise and fight cancers.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, shows that 'Akt' is critical for survival of T cells when they turn into memory cells and for how these can then react to future threats.

The team, led by Professor Aymen Al-Shamkhani, a Professor of Immunology at the University of Southampton, and funded by Cancer Research UK, has shown that a protein called Akt, is vital for the way the body remembers a cancer it has eradicated.

The body's immune system includes cytotoxic T cells, which actively seek out and destroy infections or cancers. When they have dealt with the danger, the majority of T cells die, but the remaining ones turn into memory cells, which can recognise the threat if it comes back. However, how this actually works has previously not been clear.

The Southampton team has found that a protein called Akt has a big effect on the number and type of memory T cells that a danger signal can generate.

Professor Al-Shamkhani says that: "If we can harness Akt to boost the memory cells in numbers and ability we could offer more protection against cancer."

He added: "Immunotherapy has shown great promise as a new type of treatment for cancer, but we need to find ways to improve the body's immune memory for cancer cells. If we can get the body's immune system to recognise cancers faster and better, that will be a big help in finding more effective treatments."

Dr Justine Alford, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, says: "By revealing more about how the immune system learns to recognise and attack cancers, this laboratory study may have identified a way to make immunotherapy more effective and longer-lasting. The next step will be to see if this approach works, and is safe for patients."

Over the past 40 years the University of Southampton has made a number of advances in cancer immunology and immunotherapy research, with a reputation for its 'bench to bedside' results. This year, the University will open The Centre for Cancer Immunology. It is the first of its kind in the UK and will bring world leading cancer scientists under one roof and enable interdisciplinary teams to expand clinical trials and develop lifesaving drugs. (ANI)

Region: United StatesGeneral: Health

Brain scan of your newborn can reveal early signs of anxiety

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:54

Washington D.C.,[United States] Feb 2. : In a development that can be seen as a 'glass half full or empty' situation, it is possible to predict if your newborn will have depression and other anxiety related issues in the future.

In a latest study published at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry journal, it has been predicted that early predictors of anxiety and depression may be evident in the brain even at birth.

Analyzing brain scans of newborns, the researchers found that the strength and pattern of connections between the amygdala and certain brain regions predicted the likelihood of the babies developing greater internalizing symptoms like sadness, excessive shyness, nervousness, or separation anxiety by age two. Such symptoms have been linked to clinical depression and anxiety disorders in older children and adults.

Assistant professor of child psychiatry said, "The fact that we could see these connectivity patterns in the brain at birth helps answer a critical question about whether they could be responsible for early symptoms linked to depression and anxiety or whether these symptoms themselves lead to changes in the brain".

She added, "We have found that already at birth, brain connections may be responsible for the development of problems later in life."

The researchers looked for differences in the connectivity patterns across various regions of the brain hoping to find evidence to explain why premature babies face a greater risk of developing psychiatric problems - including depression and anxiety - later in life. In particular, the team focused on how a structure involved in the processing of emotions, called the amygdala, connects with other brain regions.

First, they found that healthy, full-term babies had patterns of connectivity between the amygdala and other regions of the brain that were similar to the patterns previous studies had seen in adults. Although there were similar patterns of connectivity in premature infants, the strength of their connections between the amygdala and other brain regions was decreased.

Most interestingly, they noted that connection patterns between the amygdala and other structures - like the insula, which is involved in consciousness and emotion, and the medial prefrontal cortex, which plays roles in planning and decision making - increased the risk of early symptoms related to depression and anxiety.

When the babies turned two years old, a subset received follow-up assessments to look for early symptoms of anxiety and depression. The researchers evaluated 27 of the children who were born prematurely and 17 born at term.

The researchers also want to evaluate all the children from the study again when they are 9-10 years old to learn whether brain connections continue to influence the risk for depression and anxiety disorders. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

'Cheekful' of dextrose gel can forge stronger bond between mother and baby

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:41

Washington D.C.,[United States] Feb. 01 : In a latest development, a study has found out that just like a 'spoonful of sugar' a non-invasive treatment of 'dextrose gel' to a newborn will keep the baby close to its mother and away from diseases.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo, stated that a dose of dextrose gel administered into a baby's cheek, along with regular feedings can raise babies' blood sugar, allowing them to stay with their mothers, which promotes breastfeeding.

Because this method can eliminate the need for intravenous fluids, which has to be done in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, it also saves health care costs.

Newborns with hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, are becoming more common worldwide, as a result of the growing number of mothers who are overweight, obese or diabetic.

Breastfed newborns may be treated with supplementary formula feedings or, if that fails, with intravenous fluids, which requires mother and baby to be separated for hours or days at a time.

Both processes interfere with mother-baby bonding and reduce the chances that exclusive breastfeeding will be established upon discharge from the hospital.

Pediatrician Satyan Lakshminrusimha said that, "Breaks my heart to see mother and baby separated right after birth".

She further said, "Birthing is stressful enough, it's further upsetting to a young mother, especially a first-time mother, if she is not able to breastfeed her baby because of low glucose so that the baby needs IV therapy."

The findings are not only improving outcomes for hypoglycemic newborns, they are also leading to new ways to prevent hypoglycemia.(ANI)

Region: United StatesGeneral: Health

Less protein-intake during pregnancy will help your kid have stronger bones

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 04:18

Washington D.C., Jan.31 : Suffering from the woes of having frail bones? Unfortunately there are chances that your kid may inherit the 'brittle bone disease' from you, but thanks to science, you can protect your child by consuming less protein while you are pregnant.

Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have shown that limiting a specific maternal protein in pregnant mice with osteogenesis imperfecta resulted in offspring with stronger, denser bones.

Osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, is a genetic disorder that causes bones to break easily. Severe cases of the disease can result in hundreds of fractures during a person's lifetime or even death. The finding might one day provide a new therapeutic approach to treating brittle bone disease.

Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and child health at the MU School of Medicine, Charlotte Phillips, "Osteogenesis imperfecta is caused by the body's inability to make strong bones because of mutations affecting the production of the protein known as collagen".

She added, "No cure exists; however, we know from previous research that the prenatal environment can have a lasting effect on cardiovascular and metabolic health into adulthood. We studied whether bone health of mice could be improved by optimizing the environment within the womb."

She stated, "Myostatin is a protein that limits muscle growth. However, exercise causes myostatin levels to decrease - which is good because it allows muscle tissue to develop. Increased muscle tissue results in stronger bones".

Using mice with brittle bone disease, the MU researchers were able to identify the female as responsible for offspring bone health. The team also confirmed that female mice deficient in myostatin had offspring with stronger bones.

"Humans achieve 90 percent of their peak bone mass by age 19," Phillips said. "To approximate this timeframe with mice, we re-evaluated their bone strength and density four months after birth. In each case, the mice with stronger, denser adult bones were those whose fetal development involved females deficient in the protein myostatin.

This finding shows that the environment within the womb affects bone development not only at birth, but into adulthood."

The researchers believe that the work represents a paradigm shift in understanding and possibly treating osteogenesis imperfecta. The researchers also feel that their findings may prove beneficial to reducing the risk of other bone diseases such as osteoporosis later in life for many others. However, more research is needed. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Now, a hormone in brain that can trigger fat burning: Study

Sun, 01/29/2017 - 05:46

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 29 : Scientists, have identified a brain hormone that can trigger fat burning in the gut.

Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in the US found a brain hormone that specifically and selectively stimulates fat metabolism, without any effect on food intake.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, in animal models could have implications for future pharmaceutical development.

"This was basic science that unlocked an interesting mystery," said senior author Supriya Srinivasan, an Indian origin researcher and a member of the TSRI.

The researchers experimented with roundworms called C. elegans, which are often used as model organisms in biology.

These worms have simpler metabolic systems than humans, but their brains produce many of the same signaling molecules, leading many researchers to believe that findings in C. elegans may be relevant for humans.

They deleted genes in C. elegans to see if they could interrupt the path between brain serotonin and fat burning.

This process of elimination led them to a gene that codes for a neuropeptide hormone named FLP-7 (pronounced "flip 7").

They found that the mammalian version of FLP-7 (called Tachykinin) had been identified 80 years ago as a peptide that triggered muscle contractions when dribbled on pig intestines.

The next step in the new study was to determine how FLP-7 was directly linked to serotonin levels in the brain.

The study revealed that FLP-7 was, indeed, secreted from neurons in the brain in response to elevated serotonin levels. FLP-7 then travels through the circulatory system to start the fat burning process in the gut.

The newly discovered fat-burning pathway works like this - a neural circuit in the brain produces serotonin in response to sensory cues, such as food availability. This signals another set of neurons to begin producing FLP-7 and then activates a receptor in intestinal cells and the intestines begin turning fat into energy. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Dogs prefer to share their food with friends

Sun, 01/29/2017 - 04:48

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 29 : Sharing is caring! A new study reveals that like humans, rats, and chimpanzees, dogs also share their food with thier kind, but prefer their friends more.

The findings revealed that dogs continued to prefer familiar partners. However, the increased complexity of the task influenced the readiness with which the dogs delivered a food reward to another animal.

"This time we not only tested a different experimental set-up but also the level of difficulty," said Rachel Dale from Messerli Research Institute at Vetmeduni Vienna.

"The dogs were first trained to touch a token in exchange for a food reward for themselves. They were then trained to recognise two more tokens: one that resulted in a reward being delivered to a partner dog and another which did not," Dale added.

Three experiments were conducted to test whether the dogs exhibited prosocial behavior and whether they had to recognise special objects in the form of tokens in order to deliver a food reward to the other dog.

In the first test, either a familiar dog or a stranger sat in the receiver enclosure. The dogs could see each other during the experiment.

In the second test, the receiver enclosure remained empty but the other dog was present in the testing room.

In a third test, the test dogs were alone in the entire set-up.

At the end of each test series, the donor animals would reward themselves by being allowed to touch the token that delivered the food reward to them.

The study confirmed that dogs continue to exhibit prosocial behaviour despite the more complex task.

The dogs clearly showed a preference for sharing the food reward with a familiar dog. Unfamiliar dogs were rewarded nearly three times less than the familiar ones.

The results also revealed that when a second dog was present in the testing room, the donor dogs were more motivated to give a food as a reward.

When the test dogs were alone in the room, the number of food deliveries went down.

Given a more complex task, the presence of a partner appears to play a greater role. In this case, too, the donor dogs preferred familiar partners. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Putting billboards of healthy foods can break unhealthy eating habits

Sat, 01/28/2017 - 04:03

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 28 : People are easily pulled into binge culture's quick-fix obsession with junk-food, but a new study says simply putting up signs that point out healthy food options in a food court can be an effective way to counteract unhealthy eating habits.

The findings, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, indicated that using simple interventions, such as reminders of how unhealthy certain foods are or interrupting the automatic processing of junk-food cues.

Equally, simply putting up signs that point out healthy food options in a food court can be an effective way of bringing us into a volitional state of mind.

Laura Corbit along with team of researchers from the University of Sydney were curious to find out how food cues, such as billboards and commercials, affect our decisions about where, what and how much to eat.

In order to figure out useful strategies against obesity and metabolic disease, they used lab rats to conduct a series of experiments replete with oreos, pringles, jelly snakes and chow.

They showed that environments where tasty high-fat and high-sugar treats were routinely consumed induced habitual control: animals lost the ability to make volitional nutritional choices based on the current value of food.

Animals were initially given repeated exposures to junk-food or bland chow environments.

After being food-deprived, they were trained to press levers that provided either sugar water or pellets.

The first experiment showed that a junk-food environment caused rats to exhibit a more habitual mode of behaviour than a bland chow environment.

In a second experiment, the rats were placed in junk-food or bland chow contexts, creating specific environmental cues associated with specific food types.

They found that the cue played in the bland chow context improved sensitivity to the devaluation of food, when rats were subsequently placed in the junk food context after having been fed.

A sound cue paired with bland food is all it took to take rats out of a habitual mode of behaviour and back into a volitional mind frame.

If the frequently habitual nature seen in rats is translated to people, this study offers encouraging insight.

As a corrective to obesity and metabolic disease, humans can come up with their own preventive cues, which may jolt them out of habit and into health. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Patients on dialysis reluctant to treat depression

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 05:38

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 27 : A new study finds that due to increased hospitalisations, many kidney failure patients are reluctant to receive treatment to fight their depression.

The study, published in the journal of the American Society of Nephrology, also found that when patients were willing to accept treatment for depression, nephrologists avoided prescribing it.

To investigate the acceptance of anti-depressant treatment by patients on chronic hemodialysis and their doctors, a team led by Steven Weisbord from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, asked 101 hemodialysis patients in a clinical trial to complete a monthly questionnaire about depressive symptoms.

The patients were followed for at least one year and the findings indicated that 39 met criteria for depression based on their answers in the questionnaire.

The primary reason patients refused the recommendations was because they felt their depression was attributable to an acute event, chronic illness, or dialysis.

"Our study demonstrated that many patients on chronic hemodialysis have depressive symptoms but do not wish to receive aggressive treatment to alleviate these symptoms. We also noted that when patients are willing to accept treatment, renal providers commonly do not prescribe treatment," said Dr. Weisbord said.

"Depression in people receiving dialysis treatment is associated with lower quality of life, increased hospitalisations and in all likelihood, shortened survival," the authors wrote.

"The importance of the inner experience may get lost... in a setting of intensive medical intervention, intercurrent comorbidities and high rates of unwelcome events," they concluded. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Can depression and anxiety cause cancer?

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 04:08

London [UK], Jan. 27 : Stay positive for a healthy and disease free life as a study warns that people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders are at higher risk of dying from cancer.

The findings, published in The BMJ medical journal indicated that those who were in psychological distress had a 32 percent great chance of later dying from cancer.

"The results show that compared with people in the least distressed group, death rates in the most distressed group were consistently higher for cancer of the bowel, prostate, pancreas, and oesophagus and for leukaemia," said study author Dr David Batty from the University College London.

"Our findings contribute to the evidence that poor mental health might have some predictive capacity for certain physical diseases but we are a long way off from knowing if these relationships are truly causal," Batty added.

Researchers at University College London and the University of Edinburgh reviewed the findings of 16 studies involving 1, 63,000 people to establish how feeling worried and withdrawn impacts survival.

The results indicate that 4,353 died from the disease during a 14-year period up until 2008.

However, they stressed this correlation was not evidence that depression caused cancer.

In fact, it could be the other way around - that having undiagnosed cancer results in changes in the body that make people feel unhappy even if they are unaware they are sick.

But it also said there were potential ways that depression could have an effect on cancer.

They found that prolonged immune dysregulation can compromise the repair capacity of the exposed cells, potentially contributing to genetic instability and mutations, alterations in DNA repair, and inhibition of apoptosis.

"Of the biological mechanisms, mood disorders such as depression have been implicated in immune pathways and are known to provoke inflammatory responses," the study stated.

"Our findings add to the growing evidence of an association between psychological distress and physical conditions by characterising new relations with death from selected cancer presentations," the authors concluded. (ANI)

Region: United KingdomGeneral: Health

Healthcare Sector to be accorded 'National Priority' status

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 09:46

New Delhi [India], Jan. 26 : Apex healthcare body-NATHEALTH has recommended that healthcare sector needs to be accorded 'National Priority' status, in order to bridge the infrastructure gap that currently exists in the country and ensure greater access to healthcare.

In its Pre-Budget recommendation recently submitted to the government, NATHEALTH said that though healthcare was included in the harmonized master List of Infrastructure sub-sectors by the Reserve Bank of India in 2012, long term financing options are still not available for healthcare providers.

According a 'Priority Sector' status to healthcare will help in the process of enabling development of innovative long term financing structures for healthcare providers apart from creating an attractive environment for domestic production of medical equipment, devices and consumables while also catalyzing research and development. This will channelize funds from the banking sector to creating necessary healthcare infrastructure and meet societal objectives of the Government of India.

NATHEALTH has also emphasized that there is urgent need for setting up a health infrastructure fund and a medical innovation fund.

"Access to funding by creating a specific fund for healthcare infrastructure and innovation would facilitate access to capital for the industry. These funds would encourage entrepreneurship and newer business models which are the need of the hour for improving access, availability and quality, especially in Tier II, Tier III and rural areas,"Secretary General, NATHEALTH, Anjan Bose elaborated.

The healthcare body has also urged that the Government could explore making health insurance coverage mandatory for all citizens in a phased manner initially covering the organized sector. Employees could be given the option of either paying their ESI contribution or purchasing insurance from any IRDA regulated insurance company.

Some of the other recommendations include:

- Need for a liberalized FDI regime in respect of investments relating to medical education.

-Exempting the healthcare sector from the mat regime under the income tax act.

-Inclusion of hospital as an industrial undertaking under section 72a of the income tax act.

-Introduction of an insurance policy for elders (aged 55 and above) to cover specific health risks arising from vulnerabilities of old age.

-Instituting a healthcare savings fund for all salaried employees similar to the pf scheme which would be tax deductible. (ANI)

Region: New DelhiIndiaGeneral: Health

Choose your roomie wisely! Their genes may affect your health

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 08:42

Washington D. C. [US], Jan. 26 : Choose your roommate wisely, as a new study warns that our health is more affected by our roommates' genes than by our surroundings.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in UK found another person's genetic traits affect our own lifestyles, particularly wound healing, anxiety, immune function and body weight.

The study was published in the journal of PLOS Genetics.

"People influence your behaviour, health and well-being and you influence theirs -- this much we know," said Amelie Baud, a geneticist at the European Bioinformatic Institute.

"If you're a researcher looking for links between genotypes and disease, it is very important to look not only at your patient but also at their social environment," Baud added.

The team set up grey and black mice as unrelated 'roommates' in different combinations.

They studied social genetic effects by measuring the association between traits in individual mice and the genetic makeup of their cage mates.

The results indicate that social genetic effects explained up to 29 percent of phenotypic variance, or a change in our characteristic traits due to a combination of genes and environmental factors.

In some cases, social genetic effects exceeded that of direct genetic effects, or the effect of an individual's own genetic makeup on these traits.

This can also help patients and doctors identify the best way to intervene when a patient's health is affected by their partner.

The researchers explained of someone getting late to bed every night because their partner is a night owl. That person develops an illness, but doesn't mention the sleeping pattern to the doctor, and the doctor doesn't think to ask.

"If research showed there was indeed a connection between your illness and the genes that control your partner's sleeping pattern, then your doctor could better probe your life habits and give useful advice," Baud added.

By continuing to study social genetic effects, the researchers hope to learn more about the mechanisms whereby people influence one another. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonUnited StatesGeneral: Health News

Football may help women treat high blood pressure

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 08:07

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 26 : Dear women, if your blood pressure is slightly above normal or mildly high, stay calm as a new study reveals that one hour of football training for two to three times a week may have positive effects on blood pressure, physical fitness, body fat percentage and stronger bones.

The study was published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

Professor Peter Krustrup of the University of Southern Denmark demonstrated a long-term effect for female patients participating in football fitness.

"Our study shows that untrained women with high blood pressure benefit greatly from Football Fitness in respect of blood pressure, body fat percentage, bone density and physical fitness. This form of football can rightly be described as effective and broad-spectrum medicine for women with high blood pressure," said Krustrup.

The study recruited 31 untrained Faroese women aged 35-50 with high blood pressure, of whom 19 were randomised to Football Fitness training of one hour for two to three times a week over one year, corresponding to an average of 128 sessions.

Football training was proved to be an effective broad-spectrum medicine, with positive effects on blood pressure, body fat percentage, bone density and physical fitness.

According to Krustrup, the results of the project, backed by 14 years of football research, show that football can be used for effective prevention and treatment of a number of lifestyle diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

"Football Fitness training comprises high-pulse training, stamina training and strength training, which explains why the women derived such significant and broad-spectrum effects on physical fitness and health by playing football for a year. What is more, they enjoyed the training and the attendance levels were high," he stated.

In a direct comparison with the inactive control group, the women engaged in football training derived significant positive effects on blood pressure, body fat mass, triglyceride, bone mass and interval fitness. (ANI)

Region: United StatesGeneral: Health

Early identification of hearing loss in babies may help in better language outcomes: Study

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 04:32

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 : A study finds that early identification of hearing loss in newborn due to a disease or physical abnormality by birth may help them in better language outcomes as they grow.

The study was published in the journal of Paediatrics.

Researchers from the University Of Utah in the U.S. found that implementation of a state-wide screening can pick up hearing loss in infants due to congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV).

CMV is a kind of herpesvirus which usually produces very mild symptoms in an infected person but may cause severe neurological damage in people with weakened immune systems and in the newborn.

An infant born with the infection often shows no symptoms or signs. Most of those infants do not experience any long-term effects.

But the virus can potentially damage the brain, eyes and inner ear.

"Our study demonstrates that policy changes such as the one in Utah that required CMV testing after failed newborn hearing screening can improve the identification of infants with hearing loss, even those without congenital CMV," said lead study author Marissa Diener

"This is important because timely identification of hearing loss can enable earlier intervention, which is linked to better language outcomes for children," Diener added.

The results indicate that all infants who fail two hearing screens, to be tested for CMV within three weeks of birth unless a parent declines the test.

By using that time frame, health providers are able to distinguish between congenital CMV and CMV acquired after birth, which is rarely associated with health problems.

"This result has major implications for all children who fail their newborn hearing screening since speech and language outcomes depend upon early hearing loss diagnosis," said another researcher, Albert Park.

"CMV infected infants with hearing loss may benefit from antiviral therapy," he added.

They assessed 509 asymptomatic infants, who failed hearing tests between 2013 and 2015 underwent CMV screening and the results of that screening.

The findings indicate that 62 percent of these infants were tested for CMV and three-quarters were screened within the three-week time frame.

Fourteen of those infants were CMV positive and six had hearing loss.

Of the infants who were tested more than 21 days after birth, seven were CMV positive and three had hearing loss.

The researchers conclude that because these infants had no signs of infection, it is "highly likely" they would not have been diagnosed later as having congenitally acquired CMV.

Identification of CMV-positive infants increased opportunities to watch their health more closely and intervene, when needed, more quickly.

They also found more infants received timely diagnostic hearing tests after the law took effect. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Why don't more new mommies take maternity leaves?

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 04:20

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

Sink your teeth this winter into Afghanistan's sinful delicacy- Baklava

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 06:28

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

Share good news: a must for military couples

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 04:28

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

Beware! Exposure to insecticides may put you at higher risk of diabetes: Study

Fri, 01/20/2017 - 05:33

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

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