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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Health scan

Agencies   September 29, 2012
First Published: 23:31 IST(29/9/2012) | Last Updated: 23:35 IST(29/9/2012)

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

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Overweight women have smaller children
Pregnant women who are overweight or obese can encounter a host of health complications. The added weight also appears to affect how their children grow and develop, at least initially.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Paediatrics, it's reported that babies of overweight/obese mothers gained less weight and grew less in length than babies of normal-weight women from just after birth to three months. The overweight/ obese mother babies also gained less fat mass comparatively. Fat mass in infants is widely considered to be crucial to brain growth and development. The findings emphasise need of addressing the risk of obesity among would-be mothers.

Office gossip helps you bond
Gossiping in office brings employees closer and makes them more co-oper-ative, found a study on the role of gossip in cementing friendships between employees in a Dutch healthcare centre.

The researchers, however, warn that people who engage in excessive gossip have fewer friends in the workplace, suggesting that individuals should be careful not to be labelled "the office gossip".

Gossip was defined as "talking about someone who's not present at that moment. This can mean talking negatively about someone, but it can also mean talking about positive things." The study, published in the journal Social Networks, found that people who trusted one another were more likely to share negative gossip because it entails an element of risk.

Take sleeping pills on prescription only
Many insomniacs risk their health by taking sleeping pills for more than a month without getting proper medical advice. A study of 2,000 people in the UK taking sleeping pills without prescription showed 80% of cases had underlying health problems, such as heart disease, that needed to be dealt with immediately.

Medication widely used to combat anxiety and insomnia also increases the risk of dementia. Over-65s who start taking benzodiazepines increase their chances of developing dementia within 15 years by 50%.

If sleeplessness lasts longer than a month, there will possibly be an underlying medical condition, such as a mental health problem, like depression, or a physical condition like asthma. One in four adults has trouble sleeping and up to 10% have insomnia.

Coconut water is a natural sports drink
Coconut water an excellent natural sports drink that replenishes the nutrients that the body has lost during a moderate workout. Apart from having everything an average sports drink has, it has five times more potassium than other sports drinks, which helps get rid of muscle cramps. It is also high in healthy antioxidants. 

Those doing strenuous exercise, however, should stick to traditional sports drinks, as coconut water is low on sodium that one loses significantly during sweating and needs to be replaced fast.

Red wine helps you live longer
Drinking red wine may increase the lifespan of a person due to the presence of an antioxidant capable of diminishing the damaging effects of free radicals in the body, a new study suggests.

Research shows that honey bees given resveratrol - a compound found in red wine - ate less and lived longer. In the past, scientific studies on resveratrol have also shown it lengthens the lifespan.

Being an antioxidant, the compound also is capable of diminishing the damaging effects of free radicals - often released during stressful conditions that cause damage to cells and have an effect on how we age.


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