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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: Sep 24, 2011 23:14 IST

Sex sells and how

Sex sells. An advertisement of a good-looking woman draped over a car is more likely to make you buy it than an advert offering mileage data. Now, scientists claim they have discovered exactly why sex sells and it isn't just because consumers think that they will get the girl if they buy the car.

Seeing attractive people in an advert excites the areas of the brain that make us buy on impulse, bypassing the sections which control rational thought. So much so that adverts using logical persuasion simple, convincing facts are less effective in making you spend than adverts using non-rational influence - feelgood, stimulating images.

Pollution can trigger heart attacks
Bad diets, inactivity and smoking cause heart disease, but car fumes can tip you over. Breathing in heavy traffic fumes can trigger a heart attack, say UK experts in the British Medical Journal. The risk remains raised for about six hours after exposure and goes down again after that. Air pollution thickens the blood to make it more likely to clot, putting you at higher risk of a heart attack.

Repetitive behaviour lowers stress
What do a patient with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a basketball star, and an animal in captivity have in common? According to a new research from Tel Aviv University, they share a clear behavioural link that reduces stress.

Repetitive behaviour - and especially ritualistic-like behaviour in both humans and animals induces calm and manage stress caused by unpredictability and uncontrollability, heightening our belief that we are in control of a situation that is otherwise out of our hands.

Regular exercise beats brain fatigue
Regular exercise beats brain fatigue, relieves depression and boosts memory. A study now shows that exercise training increases the number of mitochondria in the brain, just like it does in muscles to enhance strength and endurance.

Mitochondria provide energy to help it function optimally. The study recommends using exercise as therapy for treating psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

Humour therapy calms the mind
Humour therapy is as effective as popular antipsychotic drugs in managing agitation in patients with dementia and avoids serious drug side effects. A study of the impact of humour therapy on mood, agitation and behavioural disturbances in dementia patients, reported lowered physical and verbal aggression, screaming and repetitive behaviours and questions over time.