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Health scan

health-and-fitness Updated: Sep 17, 2011 22:06 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

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

Racy cartoons get prime young brains

Does SpongeBob SquarePants harm children's brains? Created by former marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, the animated serial follows the antics of a talking yellow sea sponge and his friends in the ocean-floor town of Bikini Bottom. A study published in the New Scientist found that SpongeBob soaked up attention and the kids' attention to devote cognitive resources on the screen. It primed attention and decision-making - which are cognitive resources used throughout the day.

Flax lowers breast-cancer deaths

Eating flax seeds can help cut the risk of dying from breast cancer later in life by 40%. They can be had sprinkled on cereals or salads, or added to cooked vegetables or mixed in with yoghurt.

Foods including seeds, wheat and vegetables contain special plant compounds called phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens), the most important of which are lignans, which flaxseed is particularly high in. Cancer is prevented both because of its hormonal properties as well as its ability to kill off cancer cells and preventing secondary tumours by stopping the growth of new blood vessels.

Once in the body, these pyhto estrogens (plant oestrogens) attach to oestrogen, the female sex hormone, to protect against cancer, report German researchers in in the Journal of Clinical Oncology after analysing blood samples of over 1,000 women diagnosed with premenopausal breast cancer.

Morning people healthier than late risers

People who get up early in the morning are slimmer, happier and healthier than those who lie in. On an average, morning people are out of bed by 6.58 am, while evening people wait until 8.54 am to start their day.

People who fight the urge to ignore the alarm clock complete morning chores faster, and thrive in the workplace, while people who can't resist a lie in feel depressed and overweight, reported a survey of 1,068 adults questioned about happiness, anxiety, and eating and sleeping habits at the British Psychological Society conference.