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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: Aug 04, 2012 22:28 IST

Social life as a child more important in adulthood
Your well-being as an adult is determined by your social Relationships in childhood and adolescence rather than your academic ability, showed data from 804 people followed up for 32 years in New Zealand. The study measured family disadvantage, social connectedness and language development in childhood, social connectedness, academic achievement and well-being in adulthood. Adults’ well-being is defined as a combination of a sense of coherence, positive coping strategies, social engagement and self-perceived strengths. Social connectedness in childhood was demonstrated by social attachments (parents, peers, school, confidant) and participation in groups and sporting clubs.

Skimping upset vaccines
Skimping out on sleep not just makes you cranky but also reduces the effectiveness of vaccines, shows a new study from the University of California. People getting less than six hours of sleep each night were far less likely than longer sleepers to show adequate antibody responses to the standard three-dose hepatitis B vaccine, the researchers found. The sleepless were also far more likely — 11.5 times more — to be unprotected by the immunisation. Inadequate sleep causes weight gain, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and certain cancers.

A glass of wine, for old thinning bones
One or two glasses of wine a day works as well as prescription medicine at protecting older women from thinning bones. Women drinking 19gm of alcohol a day — about two small glasses of wine — had a drop in loss of old bone that improved the balance between old and new bone, maintaining strength, shows research from the University of Oregon in the US. When the women were asked to stop drinking, their bone loss went up.

A sudden fall in the bone-protecting hormone oestrogen after menopause raises the chances of osteoporosis — or the brittle-bone disease that increases chances of fractures dramatically.

Outdoor games good for kids eyes
Children who regularly play outdoors are less likely to become short-sighted as teenagers, shows the first scientific evidence of the benefits of natural light to the eyes. A review of 7,000 children in the UK aged between 7 and 15 showed those who regularly spent time outdoors at the age of 8 were half as likely to be short-sighted by the time they were 15. There was a strong link between time spent outside and good vision, regardless of family history, how much time they spent reading, or the child’s physical activity. Up to 80% of young people in some parts of south-east Asia are short-sighted.