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Health scan

A snapshot of the current thinking in medicine, fitness and lifestyle trends that impact your life.

health and fitness Updated: Oct 20, 2012 22:36 IST

A snapshot of the current thinking in medicine, fitness and lifestyle trends that impact your life.

Vegetarians live longer
It might be time to replace chicken wings with carrot sticks! According to a new study, vegetarians - especially men - have a longer lifespan than those who eat meat. The kinds of foods frequently eaten in vegetarian diets - fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes - can reduce a person's risk for diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes, control body mass index, said the study.

Vegetarian men live an average of 83.3 years and vegetarian women 85.7 years - 9.5 and 6.1 years, respectively, longer than others, reported researchers from the California's Loma Linda University. This is also because they exercised regularly and avoided cigarettes more than overweight people.

Gadgets can alter brain function
Excessive use of social media, smart phones and computers can cause psychiatric conditions such as narcissistic personality disorder, mania and attention deficit disorder, warn scientists.

Scientists fear that since a child's brain is in a very active phase of development and still learning to process information about relationships and emotions, it could get wired differently with digital overuse, causing structural changes that could trigger mental health problems later on in life.

It could make children grow accustomed to, and be more comfortable with, relationships in the electronic space. Certain technologies such as video gaming has been found to produce high levels of the chemical dopamine in the brain, which the brain interprets as pleasure and that makes them want to do it more.

Eating cherries lower gout risk
A new study has found that people with gout who ate cherries had a 35% lower risk of gout, an inflammatory arthritis triggered by crystallisation of uric acid within the joints that causes excruciating pain and swelling.

The study suggests that cherry products have urate-lowering effects and anti-inflammatory properties, and thus may have the potential to reduce gout pain. Three to four servings of cherries over two days can reduce the amount of pain significantly. Eating cherries, however, must be supplemented with standard therapy to show results.

Sleep over this! Your position while sleeping matters
The position you sleep suggests the kind of person you are, body language expert Robert Phipps told The Daily Mail.

He says the foetal is the most common and favoured by worriers. The curling up suggests we are seeking comfort. Next comes the log - with back or the side with the body straight and the arms and legs by the side. It indicates stubbornness.

Next are the yearners - people who sleep with arms stretched out in front - who wake up eager to face the challenges of the day. They are their own worst critics. Freefallers - who sleep face down, with arms outstretched - are the ones with little control over their life.

Menopause and belly fat
Menopause does not cause weight gain, but hormonal changes it brings changes the way that fat is distributed in the body, leading to more belly fat.

Absolute weight gain is determined by non-hormonal factors, rather than the meno-pause itself, found a study by the International Menopause Society. The way fat is deposited changes at the menopause, which is due to the drop in estrogen levels.

Whether women gain weight at midlife or not, after the menopause, women experience a shift in their fat stores to their abdomen. This means women need to do exercises to keep their midsection toned when they are about to hit menopause.