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Health scan

health-and-fitness Updated: Dec 12, 2010 01:01 IST

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Highlight Story

Pregnant? Go easy on the soap and toothpaste
Toothpastes and soaps contain a chemical that can damage the brain of an unborn child by disrupting oxygen supply. Scientists say pregnant women should avoid anti-bacterial products, as exposure to high levels of triclosan - a powerful anti-bacterial used on everything from toothpastes, deodorants and handwashes to washing-up liquid and some toys - can starve an unborn baby's brain of the oxygen it needs to develop properly.

Protein push
Having a protein shake right after exercising may help build muscle in men. What's more, muscle protein increased at nearly the same rate in both young and elderly men, reports a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that brushes aside traditional wisdom that said advanced age impairs the way body digests and absorbs protein from food.

Overall, muscle protein increased to a greater extent in the exercise group than the inactive group, for both older and younger men. The only limitation was that it looked at short-term changes in muscle-fibre and not actual muscle mass changes over time.

Smarten your kids. Get them different toys
Toddlers who play with different-shaped objects learn new words twice as fast as those who play with objects that have similar shapes, says a new study. Toddlers who played with diverse objects were learning an average of nearly 10 new words per week, compared with four words for the other children. Learning four words per week is typical for children that age who haven't received any special training.

Spoonful of sugar
Anger issues? A sweet drink or a candy can help calm you down. The next time you feel angry at the world, get a sugar fix. High sugar levels help control aggression and prevent people from losing their temper. Researchers believe the effect is caused by glucose in the bloodstream that provides instant energy for the brain. Since avoiding aggressive impulses takes self control, and self control takes a lot of energy, high levels of glucose give the brain the energy needed to rein in unchecked emotions.