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Health scan

Games people play, That bloody look in your eyes, The lowdown on the caffeine high, Exercising your way to the baby’s heart.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 18, 2011 13:42 IST

Games people play

Virtual reality and other video games improve arm strength following stroke and could provide an affordable, enjoyable and effective way to intensify treatment, according to Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers analyzed seven observational and five randomized trials, representing a total of 195 patients, ages 26 to 88, who had suffered mild to moderate strokes.

Each study investigated the effects of electronic games on upper arm strength and function. They found an average of 14.7 per cent improvement in motor strength and 20 per cent in motor function after virtual reality sessions.

That bloody look in your eyes

Beauty is said to be in the eyes of the beholder, but a new study reveals that the reverse is also true; unattractiveness is in the eye of the one being looked at.

People with bloodshot eyes are considered sadder, unhealthier and less attractive than people whose eye whites are untinted, reports the journal Ethology.

Bloodshot eyes occur when the small blood vessels of the usually transparent conjunctiva membrane on the surface of the eye become enlarged and congested with blood, giving a red tint to the underlying sclera, the “white” of the eyes.

The lowdown on the caffeine high

Caffeine disrupts glucose metabolism and may contribute to the development and poor control of Type-2 or adult-onset diabetes, which accounts for 90 per cent of diabetes cases worldwide. These findings contradict studies that suggest that caffeine protects against diabetes.

The Duke University study showed that caffeine increases insulin resistance (impaired glucose tolerance) in adults that do not have diabetes, an effect that could make susceptible individuals more likely to develop diabetes.

Exercising your way to the baby’s heart

Physically active moms-to-be give babies a head start on heart health. A US study reports that not only did mothers’ exercising help maintain and improve their own health, it set their babies up for a healthier start. In most cases, the moms opted for power walking or running, but some also lifted weights and practiced yoga.

In 2008, the same team reported that pregnant women who exercised at least 30 minutes three times a week had foetuses with lower heart rates — a sign of heart health — during the final weeks of development. New findings show that foetuses’ improved heart control lasts one month after birth.