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Health scan

health-and-fitness Updated: Apr 14, 2012 23:40 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Stay upbeat dad, for kid's sake
Fathers who suffer from 'postnatal' depression could be passing their negativity on to their babies by interacting differently with their infants, reports an Oxford university study. Depressed dads tend to be more negative about themselves and their babies - even allowing for the baby's fretfulness. Their words focused more on themselves and their own feelings than on the child's.

An estimated 5% of new fathers are thought to get depressed after the birth of the baby - about half the rate for mothers. Published in the journal Psychological Medicine, the research says that babies of post-natally depressed fathers are more likely to have emotional and behavioural problems as they pick up on negativity early in life. For example, babies of depressed dads may have to behave differently to get attention.

Texting makes you happier
Uok? Text messages - even automated ones - can improve mood when you are feeling stressed or lonely. Text messaging may be blamed for contributing to illiteracy, but a new study reports it has clear mental health benefits. People suffering from depression feel more connected and cared for when they receive or respond to a text message from friends or family, found psychologists at the University of California at Berkeley.

Caution: some cosmetics are fattening
A chemical used in make-up, perfumes, face-creams and self-tanning lotions can cause obesity, report researchers from Sweden. Even small amounts of phthalates - a man-made substance included in several commonly used cosmetics - lead to weight gain and double the risk of develop diabetes.

Phthalates prompt the body to store more belly fat and disrupt the hormone balance, leading to insulin-resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes.

Phthalates are are widely used as gelling agents in cosmetics, cleaning products and to make plastic bottles for more than half a century.

Three cheers to slimming wine
A glass of red wine a day helps prevent weight gain. Piceatannol, a substance found in red wine, delays the generation of young fat cells and prevents them from growing into mature ones by blocking insulin's ability to activate genes that carry out further stages of fat cell formation.

It is also protects the body from heart and neuro-degenerative diseases and cancer. The the groundbreaking research was carried out at Purdue University, US.

The compound is similar to resveratrol, which is now sold as an anti-ageing health supplement that protects against heart disease and cancers. It is also found in grapes and blueberries, report the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Nuts, a healthy dieting option
Despite their high fat content, snacking on nuts helps keep you slim. A study found that those who ate varieties such as almonds, cashews and pistachios had a lower body weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist size than those who did not eat nuts at all.

They were also at a lower risk of developing heart disease, type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, says a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Experts are now recommending a daily intake of three tablespoons of nuts as part of a healthy diet.