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Health scan

health and fitness Updated: Nov 26, 2011 23:34 IST

Hindustan Times
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Urban life is a killer
Living in a city takes a toll on your health by making you obese, infertile, depressed, and more likely to get infections and life-threatening diseases such as heart disease and some cancers, such as the lung, breast and prostate. The risks begin in the womb largely because city mums have higher blood levels of chemical pollutants called xenoestrogens, found in countless manmade pollutants like petrol fumes.

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

Dreaming, or the Rapid Eye Movement phase of sleep, is essential in coping with stresses and inner turmoil. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley report that the brain processes emotional experiences during dreams. They used MRI scans to show that sleep caused reduction in reactivity in part of the brain that processes emotions. This allowed the brain to regain control of emotional reactions. Recordings of brain activity showed levels of stress neurochemicals reduced during sleep. The findings tells why people with post-traumatic stress disorder, like quake survivors and war veterans, suffer recurring nightmares.

Proteins raise alertness

Protein, and not sugar, helps fend off drowsiness by activating the cells that make people alert, say researchers in the journal Neuron.In a study that explained why protein meals make people feel less calm and more alert than carbohydrate, researchers found that amino acids in proteins such as egg whites make cells release the stimulent orexin, – low levels of which cause weight gain and narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness) -- while glucose lowers their activity.