Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Camels Confirmed As Source of MERS Virus

Camels are almost certainly the source of the MERS virus that is on the upswing again across the Middle East, researchers reported on Tuesday.

A countrywide survey of camels shows many, if not most, are infected with a strain genetically almost identical to the strain that’s infecting people, a team at Columbia University, King Saud University, and the EcoHealth Alliance reported.

The World Health Organization has expressed alarm about the increase in reports of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). WHO reports more than 250 confirmed cases and 93 deaths since the virus was identified in 2012. But Saudi Arabia reported more cases over the weekend, taking the reported total to more than 300, with more than 100 deaths.

The researchers ran genetic tests on virus taken from nasal swabs of the animals, who seem untroubled by it.

“Given these new data, we are now investigating potential routes for human infection through exposure to camel milk or meat products,” says Abdulaziz Alagaili of King Saud University, who worked on the study, published in the journal mBio.

Last week, WHO predicted a springtime surge in MERS cases. The virus has infected people in Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirate, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Britain, Tunisia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

“The number of cases sharply increased since mid‐March 2014,” WHO says in its latest advisory. But it also notes that most people are infected by other people, not directly by camels.

“More individuals are likely to be infected until the mode of transmission is determined and preventive measures implemented to break transmission from the source to humans,” WHO added.

People are only infected with a few different genetic types of MERS, while camels seem to carry many different types, says Thomas Briese, associate director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia. “The narrow range of MERS viruses in humans and a very broad range in camels may explain in part why the human disease is uncommon: because only a few genotypes are capable of cross-species transmission," he said.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Tips on knowing what foods are actually healthy

Taking a trip to grocery store can be confusing at times, especially when you're trying to eat healthy.

While everything may look good, nutritionists say it’s easy to fall into a food trap if you don’t read the labels carefully.

“It's organic, it's healthy, it's GMO free, all that stuff, but the problem is, it just has way too many calories," nutrition specialist Ken Fujioka explained.

Fujioka said you need to read the labels to know exactly what you're getting these days. You can even get too much of a good thing.

"When you take things like fruit and you grind them up and concentrate them, you're actually making a high fructose syrup," Fujioka said.

Air-popped popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks around, full of fiber and low in calories.

"But the minute you soup it up, with sugar, with salt, with cheese, that's when you run into a problem and you take a healthy snack and you render it unhealthy," said Tod Marks with Consumer Reports.

Girls called 'too fat' likelier to become obese: Study

Washington, April 29 : Researchers have found that girls who are told by a parent, sibling, friend, classmate or teacher that they are too fat at age 10 are more likely to be obese at age 19.

The study looked at 1,213 African-American girls and 1,166 white girls living in Northern California, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., 58 percent of whom had been told they were too fat at age 10. All the girls had their height and weight measured at the beginning of the study and again after nine years.

Overall, the girls labeled fat were 1.66 times more likely than the other girls to be obese at 19, the researchers found. They also found that as the number people who told a girl she was fat increased, so did the likelihood that she would be obese nine years later.

A. Janet Tomiyama, an assistant professor of psychology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science and the study's senior author, said simply being labeled as too fat has a measurable effect almost a decade later.

Co-author Jeffrey Hunger, a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara, said that simply being called fat may lead to behaviors that later result in obesity.

The findings have been published online in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise and fitness are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. In addition to being good for your health, and the baby's, exercise can help alleviate many of the negative symptoms associated with pregnancy.

 Exercise releases endorphins, making you feel naturally happy and relaxed. You may be wondering how it's possible to exercise, because pregnant women are often exhausted, but regular exercise can help boost your energy. Your energy levels will be up, and your stress will be down.

Exercise can help relieve the lower backaches often associated with pregnancy. Toned muscles can help improve your posture and reduce the tension in your back. Exercise also activates the lubricating fluid in your joints, which prevents wear and tear. Your joints have already loosened thanks to the hormonal changes of pregnancy, and exercise can help keep them healthy.

Exercise also reduces the constipation that so many pregnant women suffer from. Diet changes may need to be done as well, but the exercise accelerates intestinal movement, helping keep you regular. The loss of stress and anxiety can also help with constipation, as well as numerous other health benefits. Your blood pressure will be better and you'll sleep better, too.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

5 reasons your workout isn't getting results

WASHINGTON -- Nothing is more frustrating than going to the gym but not seeing any results. But most of us are guilty of running on the treadmill for 30 minutes and expecting to lose weight instantly.

Nardia Norman, a personal trainer and author of "Fat Attack: The Secrets Behind the World's Biggest Loser," spoke with the New York Post about why this doesn't work, and how to change your training sessions to get the most out of your time.

1. Lack of intensity: If you're able to read a book or magazine while doing cardio, you're not working hard enough. The most effective form of training is high- intensity interval training (HIIT).

"This means working at 95 percent of your maximum for between 10 and 30 seconds on the treadmill, bike or rower, then resting for 30 to 60 seconds," Norman tells the Post.

HIIT allows you to get into your workout quickly and causes you to burn calories even after you've stopped working out. This is called "excess post- exercise oxygen consumption or 'afterburn'".

2. Working one muscle at a time: Bicep curls, leg extensions and leg curls might build muscle in specific areas, but overall they're not effective because you are only working one muscle. Exercises such as squats, lunges or push-ups work multiple muscles and joints, which burns more calories and helps gain or tone muscles, Norman says.

3. Quantity-over-quality mindset: It is more beneficial to have high-quality training sessions, with more rest in between, rather than working out so often that the quality of your workouts decreases. Recovery is very important in losing weight and getting the most out of your workouts. Alternate strength and cardio workouts every couple of days so that your muscles have time to relax in between the lifting exercises.

4. You don't have a plan: Just showing up at the gym and running on the treadmill for a set amount of time won't get you results. If you want to lose weight, make a plan with the exercises that will get you there. Norman recommends a personal trainer, since they know how to asses clients and figure out a plan that is suited for them.

5. Lacking a goal Without a goal, you will lack drive and motivation, which will throw you off track. When you're tempted to eat that dessert after dinner, it's when you need your inspiration to be powerful enough to convince you not to. The key to success is wanting it and having a goal you're motivated to reach.

Why Are Pregnant Women Criticized for Exercising?

Sara Haley, a personal trainer and mom from Santa Monica, California, hits the gym six days a week — and it turns out that's a problem for her fellow gym members, who, Haley says, routinely harass her because she's 35 weeks pregnant.

According to a recent story published in the New York Daily News, Haley, who specializes in pregnancy fitness, incorporates a combination of pull-ups, tricep dips, dead lifts, and lunges into her workout routine. But the constant stares, whispers, and comments (“Wow, your butt is so big!” and “Those stretch marks are the worst I have ever seen!") in the gym make her feel as though she's being ganged up on. “It is an element of bullying,” the 35-year-old told the newspaper. “Some people have no filter all of a sudden when they see a pregnant woman training.”

And while Haley — who in April was named one of 50 hottest fitness trainers by Shape magazine — insists that exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, she doesn’t want to be viewed as herculean. “My favorite reaction in general, throughout my pregnancy, has been the classic eye contact with a big thumbs up,” she said. "I do appreciate the encouragement, but honestly, I'm just pregnant, not trying to save the world."

She's hardly the first pregnant gym-goer to cause controversy. Back in September, Lea-Ann Ellison of Los Angeles made headlines for participating in CrossFit, a high-intensity conditioning and core-strengthening exercise program that includes lifting barbells and dumbbells, tire-flipping, and using medicine balls. Ellison became an international sensation after photos of her lifting weights (She says they were staged for a pregnancy photo shoot.) hit the Internet and went viral.

Yahoo Shine could not reach Haley for comment. However, the benefits of exercise during pregnancy have been well documented. For the mother, staying active promotes energy, sounder sleep, and may even help to prevent gestational diabetes and reduce the length of labor and the odds of requiring medical intervention during birth. And babies reap the benefits too. A University of Montreal study found that pregnant women who exercise for just 20 minutes three days a week boost their newborns' brainpower. And, according to research conducted by Kansas City University, pregnancy exercise improves newborns' heart health too.

And according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women can safely walk, swim, cycle, participate in aerobics, and run (provided they were runners before they were pregnant). "The general rule of thumb is, if it's a healthy pregnancy with no complications, we recommend that patients resume their pre-pregnancy exercise routines," Shahin Ghadir, MD, who is board certified in both obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility, tells Yahoo Shine. "Otherwise, starting a new exercise routine can be a huge shock to the body."

In fact, taking up a new routine without being monitored by a doctor can lead to injury for both the mother and baby. If a pregnant woman isn't accustomed to exercising, Ghadir advises she start a regular walking routine.

For Haley, she has observed one interesting side effect after exercising throughout her pregnancy with her 3-year-old son, Landon — an appreciation of her workout music. “When Landon was born, the only thing that would stop him from crying was me playing hip-hop music, like Jay Z,” she told the New York Daily News. “I think he heard it in utero and was jamming along with me!”

3 Effective Ways to Burn Fat While Running

Wouldn’t it be great if every runner were at his or her ideal weight? We’d all look and feel better, and race faster.

Being at your healthy, ideal weight would certainly make you a faster runner. In fact, a study completed in 2007 found that for every percentage increase in body mass, it cost study participants an extra 1.4 percent in metabolic energy to propel themselves forward. Of course, that’s not a direct comparison for runners since they weren’t running a race, time trial or other maximum effort.

But imagine how much better you’d feel training for a marathon if you could conserve 1.4 percent (or more) energy? You’d be able to use that energy in the final miles instead of hitting the infamous wall.

Finding and safely getting to your ideal weight should then be a top goal for every runner. Here are three of the best ways to structure your running program to burn fat and lose weight.

Fat Burner #1: Longer Workouts

It’s a no-brainer that longer workouts burn more calories. But interestingly enough, when you run for longer than about 90 minutes, you improve your body’s ability to use fat as fuel.

The lesson? Complete a long run every week. Since these workouts are more taxing on the body, it’s a good idea to only run one every week.

Several studies have shown that the longer a subject exercised, the longer it took for their metabolic rate to return to pre-exercise levels. Even at relatively moderate exercise durations, the benefit is significant. Another study found that this “exercise after-burn” is more than doubled when exercise is increased from 30 to 45 minutes. And after 60 minutes? Metabolic rate increased by a factor of five!

Fat Burner #2: Intensity

Intense workouts torch a lot of calories, even if they don’t last very long. Since most runners work out at an easy or moderate effort for all of their runs, this is often the missing link between staying at your current weight and losing those extra pounds.

The key with intense workouts—either strength sessions in the gym or running interval workouts—is to make the hard portions very hard, and take enough recovery so you can keep going at the same intensity level.

Races run at 100 percent of your maximum effort accomplish this goal quite well, as do sprints or maximum-weight lifts in the gym. Make sure you run at least one hard workout per week, and race regularly.

A favorite to burn a lot of calories is to run a Warrior Dash. The combination of running and obstacles keeps your heart rate high and boosts the amount of energy you continue to burn after you finish.

Fat Burner #3: Frequency

How often do you run every week? Most runners fall into the 2 to 4 runs per week category, and from an advanced weight-loss perspective, that’s simply not enough.

Running more often creates more spikes in heart rate and metabolic activity, increasing the number of calories you burn on a daily basis. Increased consistency will also help you prevent injuries, run faster, and ultimately become a better runner.

Admittedly this strategy is less important than the duration and intensity of your workouts, so start with those first and then add more runs to your training schedule once you’re comfortable with them.

And of course, understand that the goal here is to get to your ideal weight, not to be underweight. Being too thin won’t help your running and can predispose you to injuries.

When you’re able to maintain a healthy weight, you’ll realize the benefits: faster race times, fewer injuries and a feeling of accomplishment.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Can you get addicted to exercise?

You've probably heard of "runner's high" and "yoga bliss" -- feelings of euphoria that can come after periods of exercise. And maybe you've heard people talk about how they "have" to work out -- as though if they didn't exercise, they'd suffer severe physical or psychological repercussions.

But is exercise a potent enough "drug" that it can literally make a person an addict? Do some people really need to work out -- and will they suffer withdrawal symptoms if they don't?

The verdict: Exercise can be addictive for some people (but they're the exception)

Ask sports psychologists if exercise addiction is legitimate, and many will confirm that it is.

However, research suggests that so-called exercise addiction affects only a small subset of people -- those who push too hard and exercise when they're injured or exhausted, or to the point that it adversely affects their work and relationships.

So unless you're about to lose your job because of your gym habit (or are running marathons each morning despite having shin splints), you're probably not truly "addicted" to exercise.

People who exercise with fervor -- but responsibly -- aren't addicted; they're what sports scientists refer to as "committed exercisers."

Check out this GYM outfit

According to Andy Martin, a personal trainer at the Aria Athletic Club and Spa in Vail, Colorado, many people feel guilty after missing workouts, or notice negative changes in their body (such as tighter muscles and joints) when they don't exercise. These people make exercise a priority, but don't suffer from an exercise addiction.

here are a number of reasons people get hooked on exercise in this healthy way. "Runner's high is an actual 'high' in the literal sense of the word," explains Martin.

"During and upon completion of an intense workout -- whether it be an endurance race or a high-intensity weightlifting session -- endorphins flood the brain and can induce an emotional response that can range from satisfaction to euphoria, depending on the intensity of the activity."

For some, group exercise in particular can provide social support, which is a big need for most people.

Of course, becoming "hooked" on exercise requires an understanding of the value that physical activity inherently holds, says Martin.

Some people want to go to the gym because they don't want to suffer from heart disease or stroke. Others show up regularly because they want to maintain their appearance (or have their pants fit after they splurge on dessert). Still others want to be sure they can keep up with their kids.

Whatever your reason for working out, as long as you aren't skipping important meetings to get in a run or doing one-armed push-ups because your other arm is in a sling from overuse, you're more likely to be addicted to your morning coffee than to your treadmill.

Exercise may speed up stroke recovery, Edinburgh scientist says


Regular exercise can speed recovery for stroke survivors and may reduce their risk of having another stroke, according to an Edinburgh scientist.

Professor Gillian Mead's findings contrast with commonly held fears that exercise may trigger a further stroke.

She has looked at how exercise benefits stroke recovery for 10 years.

People who have been active before their stroke are more likely to make a recovery but less is known how exercise can affect recovery after a stroke.

The Edinburgh University expert will be speaking about her research at a public event this week as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Her findings reveal that a structured physical training plan - including aerobic, strength and balance training - can help stroke survivors to become more mobile, improve their balance and reducing their disability.

Exercise programmes

Professor Mead is currently investigating whether breaking up long periods of sitting or lying with short periods of movement might help to bring down the risk of having another stroke.

One in six people in Scotland will have a stroke in their lifetime and survivors can be left with varying degrees of disability.

More than half of all people who survive a stroke require support to live independently.

Professor Mead said: "We're working with fitness experts to determine the best exercise prescription for stroke survivors.

"It's also important that we understand more about the factors that put patients off from taking part in exercise programs, and how we can motivate them to take advantage of the benefits."


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Run smarter with smartwatches, fitness bands

Winters are finally over and summers are back again. And the fitness lovers are once again back on the tracks running, jogging or just plain walking to shed their extra kilos.

The old-fashioned methods of work-outs are gone and now there are many user-friendly technical equipment available in the market that will make your exercising more fun.

Before you decide to get back on tracks, you need to deck up yourself with proper fitting shoes, clothes, new fitness bands and smartwatches that can help you track your fitness achievements.

A certified running coach Jen Van Allen says, “If you’re just starting out, focus on rhythm, on finding the most convenient times and the safest routes, and deciding if you’d rather work out alone or with others.”

Allen also writes for fitness magazines and books. She is a co-author of “The Runner’s World Big Book of Running for Beginners.”

The first step is to find a reputable sportswear store that offers you all the items that you need for starting your work-out session. It is also advised to run under the supervision of experts who will guide you about your running routine, your sportswear and your diet plan.

The second step is to establish a running schedule. This will help you stay on track with fixed aim. It is advisable not to waste money on footgear.

“If you’re just starting out, focus on rhythm, on finding the most convenient times and the safest routes, and deciding if you’d rather work out alone or with others,” Van Allen said.

Follow these tips for becoming a smart runner:
This is important to start off on the right foot. A good pair of running shoes is the top most requirements as it can help ward off many injuries like knee pain. Refer to experts for knowing your pair of ideal shoes.

It is also advisable that you must believe on the adage “Think tortoise, not hare”. The biggest mistake most new runners make is they start out way too fast and want to achieve everything in one go. 

Experts say, it takes time for your body to get used to the demands of running. You have to take care of your muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and most importantly your heart and lungs.
Slow and steady wins the calorie-burn race. You must not forget before taking up any challenge

Monday, 14 April 2014

Not So Fast, Rookie Runners! Health Experts Suggest Taking New Routine Slowly

In temperate areas, especially the Northeast, the warm weather is finally resurfacing and many are eager to get out to enjoy it. Newly motivated novice runners are being urged by health experts to take it slow in the beginning to avoid injuries.

These experts believe it is key for beginners to establish their outdoor rhythm and pace in order to avoid injuries. This could mean walking for the first few weeks in order to get used to the weather and to prepare yourself for the exercise that lies ahead.

"Certainly when someone pushes body and mind farther there is going to be some discomfort," said certified running coach Jen Van Allen in this Yahoo! News article. "But a lot of people make the mistake of running as fast as they can and they get hurt."

She also suggests that beginners focus on their rhythm, decide what time of the day is best to run, determine the safest and most reasonable routes to run along, and see if it's better to exercise alone or with others. Everyone is different: some can run at a faster pace, some need flat terrain to help with any issues with their feet and legs, and some concentrate better when they're alone. Van Allen believes all of these aspects should be considered before diving into a new running routine.

Many beginners are unsure of how to initiate their routine, which can be a good thing. Research prior to delving into a new activity can be helpful and educational. For example, the Running Times website provides articles, tips, workouts, and information about races and events for runners. They focus on various levels of runners, beginning with those in high school, then progressing to college, and finally the experts.

David Siik is a Los Angeles-based running coach for the national fitness center chain Equinox. He suggests taking it slow and keeping a log when you're starting out because it's important to track progress and see where you stand. This can help you focus on your strength and improve your weaknesses. "You'll learn something new about yourself every time you run," he said in this Fox News article.

Just like anything else, these experts know it is imperative to learn more about yourself before buying a new expensive pair of running shoes and sprinting down your street until you're out of breath. Everybody has limitations, and they're important to note when beginning a strenuous routine such as running.

To read more about running and fitness health, visit this Reuters news article.

Pelvic Exercises May Help His Sex Life

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Pelvic exercises can benefit men with chronic premature ejaculation, according to a new study.

Premature ejaculation -- defined as occurring within one minute -- affects many men at some point in their lives. Although different treatments exist, some men don't respond to any of them.

This study included 40 men, aged 19 to 46, with lifelong premature ejaculation who had tried different treatments -- including creams, antidepressants and behavioral therapy -- without success. They were trained to exercise their pelvic floor muscles and did this for 12 weeks.

At the start of the study, the men's average time to ejaculation was about 32 seconds. That improved to almost 2.5 minutes -- a more than fourfold increase -- by the end of the three-month pelvic exercise program.

Only five men in the study had no significant improvement, according to the findings that were to be presented Sunday at the European Congress of Urology in Stockholm.

"This is a small study, so the effects need to be verified in a bigger trial. Nevertheless, the results are very positive," study leader Dr. Antonio Pastore, of Sapienza University of Rome, said in a news release from the European Association of Urology. "The rehabilitation exercises are easy to perform, with no reported adverse effects."

Pelvic floor exercises are often used to help treat incontinence in men, especially after prostate cancer surgery. The exercises had previously been tested in men with temporary premature ejaculation, but not in those who've had the problem for a long time, the researchers said.

"We also found that the fact that the men were able to improve their sex lives through their own efforts helped their self-confidence," Pastore said.

Advantages of pelvic floor exercises over other treatments include lack of side effects and cost savings, he said.

Carlo Bettocchi, a professor and a spokesman for the association, agreed. "Premature ejaculation is a real problem for many men, and any way which we can find to help this condition is welcome," he said. "This method is particularly welcome because it is the sufferers themselves who overcome the problem through their own efforts -- which will have additional psychological benefits," he said in the news release.

Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Less Salt Key Player in Drop in Stroke Deaths

It is understandable that the authors of this study want to highlight salt's role in reducing heart attack and stroke deaths. Professor Graham MacGregor, one of the three researchers, is the chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), a lobby group that deserves credit for exposing the dangers of added salt in foodstuffs and part-shaming, part-persuading manufacturers to reduce it and government to oversee the process. Sonia Pombo-Rodrigues, another co-author, works for Cash.

Its role in encouraging the fall in average daily salt consumption from 9.5g a day in 2003 to 8.1g a day in 2011 is widely acknowledged, and the ensuing health benefits clearly significant. But exactly how much of the 42% drop in stroke deaths and 40% fall in ischaemic heart disease fatalities during that time is due to declining salt consumption is not agreed. The paper states that that "is likely to be an important contributor to the falls in blood pressure from 2003 to 2011 in England. [And] As a result, it would have contributed substantially to the decreases in stroke and IHD mortality". It mentions that declining rates of smoking and average cholesterol over the same years also played a part.

But these other factors are likely to be responsible for more of the falls. Indeed, the authors admit that the fall in systolic blood pressure they attribute to less salt in our diets would probably only produce 11% and 6% falls in the number of strokes and IHD respectively, a quarter and a seventh of the declines seen.

While the study does not estimate the likely impact of the falls in smoking and cholesterol, Britain's growing disenchantment with cigarettes is crucial. The British Heart Foundation lauds that as making "a huge contribution to the decline in cardiovascular disease". While 41% of women and 52% of men smoked in 1972, by 2012 just 19% of women and 22% of men did so. The public smoking bans in 2006-07 helped hugely; as, doctors hope, will plain packaging when it arrives.

There are also other reasons why UK deaths from cardiovascular disease more than halved from 335,000 in 1971 to 161,000 two years ago. Better treatments, both surgical and pharmacological, including statins, clotbusting drugs and the increasing use of primary angioplasty – the insertion of a stent to keep open a previously-blocked artery – have improved survival for those who would previously have died. It is a more complicated, but also more promising, picture than just the salt in our food we do not need but usually cannot escape.

Low blood sugar identified as a cause of marital strife

Low levels of blood sugar can increase the risk of irritation with your partner turning into a blazing row, according to a study suggesting a physiological basis for marital disharmony.

Scientists found that blood glucose levels could predict whether someone was likely to feel angry enough with a spouse to secretly stick pins in a voodoo doll, meant to represent them, in psychological tests.

People with low glucose levels were also more likely than individuals with high levels of glucose to blast their partners with loud noise if they competed against them in a game, according to a second experiment.

The findings support the theory that hungry people are more likely than well-fed individuals to be angry. They also provide a scientific basis for suggesting that diet may play an important role in situations where people spend time together, whether at home, in schools or in prisons.

"People can relate to this that when they get hungry, they get cranky. We found that being 'hangry' – hungry and angry – can affect our behaviour in a bad way, even in our most intimate relationships," said Professor Brad Bushman of Ohio State University inColumbus, Ohio.

The three-year study involved 107 married couples, who were assessed for their general relationship satisfaction in order to see how happy they were with one another overall.

Over a period of 21 days, each couple monitored their blood glucose levels in the morning and evening and were given a voodoo doll and 51 pins, which they were supposed to stick in the doll when they were on their own, depending on how angry they felt towards their spouse.

The study, published in the journal 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences', showed a clear link between low levels of blood glucose and the number of pins a spouse stuck into the voodoo doll, Professor Bushman said.

"Even those who reported they had good relationships with their spouses were more likely to express anger if their blood glucose levels were lower," he said.

In a second experiment after the 21-day period, the couples took part in a laboratory test where they played a computer game against their partner, allowing the winner to blast their spouse with a loud noise through headphones.


In fact, the scientists had arranged it so that each individual played against a computer rather than their spouse without their knowing it, so that they were sure to lose about half the games they played.

Again, when blood sugar levels fell, individuals were more likely to give longer and louder blasts of noise than when sugar levels were higher.

Comparing the first and second part of the study, the scientists also found that those people who stuck more pins in the dolls were more likely to show real aggression as louder and longer noises.

Professor Bushman suggested that the effect could be explained by the energy needed to maintain the self-control to overcome aggression. With low blood glucose, there is a greater chance of losing self-control.

"It's simple advice but it works: before you have a difficult conversation with your spouse, make sure you're not hungry," he said. (©Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Regular aerobic exercise boosts memory area of brain in older women

Regular aerobic exercise seems to boost the size of the area of the brain (hippocampus) involved in verbal memory and learning among women whose intellectual capacity has been affected by age, indicates a small study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The hippocampus has become a focus of interest in dementia research because it is the area of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning, but it is very sensitive to the effects of ageing and neurological damage.

The researchers tested the impact of different types of exercise on the hippocampal volume of 86 women who said they had mild memory problems, known as mild cognitive impairment - and a common risk factor for dementia.

All the women were aged between 70 and 80 years old and were living independently at home.

Roughly equal numbers of them were assigned to either twice weekly hour long sessions of aerobic training (brisk walking); or resistance training, such as lunges, squats, and weights; or balance and muscle toning exercises, for a period of six months.

The size of their hippocampus was assessed at the start and the end of the six month period by means of an MRI scan, and their verbal memory and learning capacity was assessed before and afterward using a validated test (RAVLT).

Only 29 of the women had before and after MRI scans, but the results showed that the total volume of the hippocampus in the group who had completed the full six months of aerobic training was significantly larger than that of those who had lasted the course doing balance and muscle toning exercises.

No such difference in hippocampal volume was seen in those doing resistance training compared with the balance and muscle toning group.

However, despite an earlier finding in the same sample of women that aerobic exercise improved verbal memory, there was some evidence to suggest that an increase in hippocampal volume was associated with poorer verbal memory.

This suggests that the relationship between brain volume and cognitive performance is complex, and requires further research, say the authors.

But at the very least, aerobic exercise seems to be able to slow the shrinkage of the hippocampus and maintain the volume in a group of women who are at risk of developing dementia, they say.

And they recommend regular aerobic exercise to stave off mild cognitive decline, which is especially important, given the mounting evidence showing that regular exercise is good for cognitive function and overall brain health, and the rising toll of dementia.

Worldwide, one new case of dementia is diagnosed every four seconds, with the number of those afflicted set to rise to more than 115 million by 2050, they point out.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Study: Junk Food Can Cause Laziness

LOS ANGELES (CBS Las Vegas) – According to a recent study, not only does eating too much junk food lead to obesity, it can also make you mentally slower or less motivated.

Researchers at UCLA tested rats on two different diets. Half the rats were given a healthy diet which consisted of ground corn and fish meal. The other rats were given an unhealthy diet of high sugar and high processed foods.

After about three months, researchers noticed major differences between the two groups of rats. They found the rats on junk food were not only more overweight that the rats on the healthy diet, but they were also less motivated. Researchers indicated that a poor diet had an impact on their brain.

The researchers then made the rats perform certain tasks. The rats on the junk food diet were slower to react to the tasks. Researcher even noted the breaks the rats took between performing tasks. The rats on the junk food diet would take about a 10 minute break between each task, while the rats on the healthy diet would only break about 5 minutes between tasks.

After about another three months, the groups of rats switched diets. The rats that were on the junk food diet were now on the healthy diet, while the rats on the healthy diet were now on a junk food diet. Researchers found that the change in diet did not help the overweight rats lose or weight or change the rats’ abilities to perform tasks. The healthier rats did not gain additional weight while now on the junk food diet.

The rats that were initially on the junk food diet were found to have a large number of tumors on their bodies, while the healthier rats had less tumors.

“Overweight people often get stigmatized as lazy and lacking discipline,” Aaron Blaisdell, a professor of the psychology at UCLA’s Brain Research Institute and lead research on the study, said in a press release obtained by CBS News. “We interpret our results as suggesting that the idea commonly portrayed in the media that people become fat because they are lazy is wrong. Our data suggest that diet-induced obesity is a cause, rather than an effect, of laziness. Either the highly processed diet causes fatigue or the diet causes obesity, which causes fatigue.

The study was published in the journal Physiology and Behavior.

Full-fat please! How dieters are ditching low-calorie products for 'more filling' versions

Dieters are veering away from low-calorie products because they find them 'dissatisfying', a new report claims.

The Associated Press talked to industry experts who confirmed that brands including Diet Coke, Lean Cuisine and Special K are witnessing a sharp decline in sales as a result.

The new thinking is that eating foods with more protein or fat will decrease the likelihood of binging later, even if they're higher in calories.

Indeed, Kelly Pill, 54, from Covina, California, says that she adopted this approach recently and has been satisfied with the results.

'Regular yogurt . . was low in calories, but it wasn't filling,' she said, noting that she now only buys Greek yogurt.

The market research firm, IRI revealed that Special K cereal sales have dropped seven per cent in the past two years, and Nestle's Lean Cuisine 27per cent in the past four.

Meanwhile the industry tracker Beverage Digest reported that Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi saw sales volume fall by nearly seven per cent 2013

That was steeper than declines for their full-calorie counterparts.

Longtime dieter: Kelly Pill, 54, from California said low-calorie left her feeling hungry +2
Longtime dieter: Kelly Pill, 54, from California said low-calorie left her feeling hungry

Another sign of the shift is how food companies are retreating from the '100-calorie snack' marketing strategy that flooded the market a decade ago.

Mondelez International Inc, which owns Oreo, Chips Ahoy! and Philadelphia cheese spread, has pruned varieties from its 100-calorie lineup and now offers only four.

Mondelez spokesman Richard Buino said the company is focusing on healthy snacks that focus on 'more than an arbitrary calorie amount.'

Frito-Lay also made its last shipment of 100-calorie pack Cheetos and Doritos this past summer. 

The chip maker's new 'ready-to-go' packs still have about 100 calories, but the trait is no longer advertised on the bag's front.

The sales declines for diet brands are a reminder that what's in vogue today may also eventually be seen as marketing gimmicks.
In fact, Miller-Kovach of Weight Watchers points to a pitfall: The belief that a food is wholesome is sometimes used to justify eating too much, she said - in other words, consuming too many calories.

'Just because something is simple doesn't mean it's going to give you your desired weight loss,' she said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2601899/Full-fat-How-dieters-ditching-low-calorie-products-filling-versions.html#ixzz2yZ3ChNv6 

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Facebook Making Women Feel Bad About Their Bodies?

Are you hooked all the time to Facebook in anticipation of another 'like'? Stop this habit as increased time on Facebook could lead women to negative body images - and possibly eating disorders later.
In a first study to link time spent on Facebook to poor body image, researchers found that more time on Facebook could lead to more negative feelings and more comparisons to bodies of friends.
Health professionals who work in the area of eating disorders and their prevention now have clear evidence of how social media relates to college women's body image and eating disorders.
"While time spent on Facebook had no relation to eating disorders, it did predict worse body image among participants," said Petya Eckler from Glasgow-based University of Strathclyde. To understand this, the researchers surveyed 881 college women about their Facebook use, eating and exercise habits and body image.
They were able to predict how often women felt negatively about their own bodies after looking at someone else's photos or posts, and how often women compared their own bodies to those of their friends."The findings also showed that more time spent on Facebook was associated with more negative feelings and more comparisons to the bodies of friends," co-author Yusuf Kalyango Jr from Ohio University added.
They also found that for women who want to lose weight, more time on Facebook led to more attention being paid to physical appearance.
This included attention to one's body and clothing. Poor body image can gradually lead to developing an unhealthy relationship with food. The attention to physical attributes may be even more dangerous on social media than on traditional media because participants in social media are people we know, researchers cautioned.
The team is scheduled to present its findings at the 64th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in Seattle, Washington.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Drinking Coffee Linked To Decreased Liver Cirrhosis Death Risk

A new study shows that drinking two or more cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of death by liver cirrhosis.

The team of researchers examined data on diet, lifestyle, and medical history of subjects in the prospective population-based study called the Singapore Chinese Health Study, which tracked 63,000 subjects for 15 years. They found that 114 subjects died from liver cirrhosis, and that those who drank two or more cups of coffee each day had a 66% lower mortality rate than those who did not drink that amount of coffee daily.

Lead researcher Dr. Woon-Puay Koh said that the study results "provide further impetus to evaluate coffee as a potential therapeutic agent in patients with cirrhosis."

The findings are published in the journal "Hepatology."

Depression Increases Heart Disease Risk

Researchers have found depression is strongly linked to increased risk of heart disease apart from affecting an individual emotionally.
In a new study it is said it could risk heart failure by about 40 percent more than the average person. This is one more reason for it to get treated to the earliest.

Results of study conducted by Levanger Hospital in Norway were presented at the European Society of Cardiology held at Stavanger in the country.

The researchers studied about 63,000 people over a period of 11 years to find out the link between depression and heart disease. Monitoring all the subjects for the long period it was found there is strong bond between the two, much stronger than what had been earlier thought.

The study added that during the trial period of 11 years 1,500 subjects suffered heart failure.

Researchers even said the people with mild depression too showed the risk, but in smaller percentage, not more than 5 percent.

Lead author of the study, Lise Tuset Gustad, said depression works in activating stress hormones and this results with speeding up of pulse and breathing. Even, it was found the stress hormones causes inflammation and plaque, which leads to increased risk of heart disease.

Gustad added that probably the depressive people were unable to keep a healthy lifestyle as there is no direct connection found between the depression and bodily changes that could lead to higher heart disease risk.

Cardio workouts can help improve memory in young adults

Whether it’s jogging, dance or the elliptical machine, the health benefits of regular cardio activity are virtually endless. Now scientists are giving young adults one more good reason to get their heart rate up: to improve their memory in middle age, when mnemonic function typically begins to decline.

According to a recent study published in Neurology, there is a correlation between moderate to intense physical activity during young adulthood and verbal and psychomotor memory in later life. Researchers surveyed the physical activity level and mental fitness of 2,747 participants, all in good health and aged 25 on average at the start of the study.

The participants were subject to a physical aptitude test on a treadmill, in which speed and incline were increased constantly until the subjects could no longer continue. The average time spent on the treadmill before exhaustion was 10 minutes. Twenty-five years later, the same participants underwent the same test, this time with an average time of 2.9 minutes spent on the treadmill.

During both phases of the study, participants also took cognitive tests geared toward evaluating their verbal memory and psychomotor speed. On average, the researchers found that each additional minute participants were able to stay on the treadmill corresponded with an additional 0.12 words recalled during the verbal memory test and 0.92 more symbols correctly replaced in the psychomotor speed test. Also read how losing weight can help boost memory.

On the whole, those who were able to spend more time on the treadmill in their twenties — in other words, who tested for a better level of cardiovascular fitness — performed better on memory tests a decade and a half later. The researchers point out that with certain tests, each additional word found corresponds with an 18% reduction in the risk of becoming senile over the next ten years.

Seven ways to eat healthier food


The latest missive on diet, brought to us this week from experts at University College London, that we should be eating seven, rather than five, portions of fruit and veg a day drew a variety of responses – mostly groans. Vegetables are the key – yes, fruit is good but contains high levels of fructose, which our body doesn't differentiate from refined sugar. And when it comes to drinking the juice, moderation is the thing. Without the roughage fruit has in its basic form, it is really not beneficial.

So how do you get more veg into your diet? It's actually not as hard as you might think. Here are seven tips to up your fruit and veg intake without it seeming like a chore on theguardian.com.

1) Discover the joy of onions

Onions are incredibly nutritious, and complimentary to so many dishes. They add zing to any number of dishes:

Pink citrus onions: Peel and finely slice two red onions, add a pinch of salt and toss well. Squeeze a whole lemon in – they will slowly cook in the acidity and go the most beautiful pink, and are then ready to eat. When they are very soft I pop them in a jar. They're great in salads, with boiled new potatoes, on top of grilled fish or chicken or any kind of spiced dish from a simple daal to a spiced beef casserole. Add any number of herbs, chilli and a little oil, and you have a salsa or dressing. These beauties keep refrigerated for up to five days.

Melted onions: Peel and finely slice four medium onions (brown or red, or shallots). Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy-based pan with a lid, add the onions and stir to coat. Add some salt to let out water, stir, add a tablespoon of apple juice and some thyme and bayleaf, heat through on a medium heat, then reduce to lowest heat and leave the onions to soften and break down for a good 30-45 minutes (stir occasionally to avoid sticking). They are cooked when a strand of onion squeezed between the finger and thumb disintegrates with no give at all. Keep this sweet mass of onions in a jar or tupperware in the fridge for at least a week and use in vegetable salads, gratins, as the beginning of a casserole or sauce, in an omelette or as the basis of a tart, bruschetta or dressing.

2) Replace potatoes with other veg

Another trick is to replace or supplement potatoes with different vegetables. If I'm craving roast spuds, I'll add lots of other colourful things (beetroot, for example). And for mash I'll use a variety of roots – celeriac, parsnip, carrot, squash, sweet potato, turnip are all brilliant. I try to work out what will go well with the dish I'm doing and then make a mix. The English classic, clapshot – roughly mashed carrot and swede with butter and a good grating of nutmeg, is great. The substitution trick works brilliantly in gratins and on pies.