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Health scan

health-and-fitness Updated: Sep 11, 2010 23:36 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Weight for sleep

Young children who don't get enough sleep are more likely to become overweight or obese in later life.

Early childhood could be a "critical window" when nighttime sleep helps determine a child’s future weight status, reported a study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. It found children four years old and younger who log less than 10 hours of sleep each night are nearly twice as likely to be overweight or obese five years later.

Toddlers (1 to 3 years) should sleep for 12 to 14 hours a night; preschoolers (3 to 5 years) for 11 to 13 hours; 5 to 10-year-olds for 10 to 11 hours; and teens from 8.5 to 9.25 hours each night, recommends the National Sleep Foundation.

Tomatoes against cancer

Tomatoes can protect people against prostate cancer and even slow the growth of tumours in men with the disease. The protection comes from lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes that prevents cell death and reduces the risk of some cancers and heart disease. Absorption increases after cooking as lycopene is bound to a tomato’s cell structure and is released when cooked or processed.

Magic cure for anxiety

Cancer patients given a single dose of psilocybin — a hallucinogen known by the street name magic mushrooms — were less depressed six months than those who didn't get it. The study, reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, showed lowered anxiety and depression. None showed signs of severe anxiety or a drug-related "bad trip".

More brain power to you

If you have a big brain, you have your mother to thank. Humans and primates have large brains because of mothering after birth, new research shows.

Brain size in both marsupials —such as kangaroos and possums —and placental mammals are linked with the length of maternal care, reports the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Non-stick risk

Chemicals used to make non-stick coatings on cookware and to waterproof fabrics raise levels of cholesterol — both total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein LDL) —in children, reported the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Perfluoroalkyl acids are neurotoxins that interfere with brain development and behaviour. They also affect the liver, which causes the changes in cholesterol levels.

Apart from the non-stick route, these chemicals — called perfluoroalkyl acids — make their way into the body through water, dust, food packaging, breast milk, cord blood, microwave popcorn and air.