Germs protect against allergies
Exposing children to germs could make them healthier, say scientists, underlining once again why allergies, asthma, and other inflammatory diseases have increased among people who have grown up in cleaner and more sterile environments.health and fitness Updated: Mar 25, 2012 00:55 IST
Germs protect against allergies
Exposing children to germs could make them healthier, say scientists, underlining once again why allergies, asthma, and other inflammatory diseases have increased among people who have grown up in cleaner and more sterile environments. In a paper published in the journal Science, its reported that exposure early in life to microbes had lasting effects on immunity, as if those experiences were educating the system. Exposure as an adult did not have the same effect.
The theory — known as the “hygiene hypothesis” — goes against recent trends of protecting children from bacteria. “As far as we can tell, it’s a very critical opportunity in the earliest days of life,” said study leader Dr Richard Blumberg, chief of gastroenterology, hepatology, and endoscopy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, US.
Demand-fed babies brighter
Babies who are fed when they are hungry are more likely to have a higher IQ and perform better at school than those fed according to a fixed schedule, reports a study in the European Journal of Public Health. The UK study found that 8-year-olds who were demand-fed as infants had IQs that were four or five points higher than those who were fed to a schedule. Data from 10,000 children supports the research.
Prunes best for treating constipation
Prunes are more effective, safe and palatable than psyllium to treat mild to moderate constipation, which affects one in five people. The study, published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, found 6 gm of fibre from 50 grams of prunes (about 5-6) eaten twice a day was more effective in treating constipation than 11 grams of psyllium (1 tablespoon psyllium) taken in water twice a day. Unlike psyllium that has few nutritional benefits, prunes or dried plums are loaded with anti-ageing anti-oxidants and are a rich source of micronutrients involved in bone metabolism including potassium, vitamin K, and boron, which makes them a healthy option for looking for a natural, food-based solution to over-the-counter laxatives and fibre supplements.
Living alone ups depression risk
Depression among people of working age who live alone is 80% higher compared with people living in families, reports a Finnish study of 3,500 people using anti-depressants. Both men and women were effected, though the leading cause differed. It was poor housing conditions for women and a lack of social support for men.
The participants in the study, published in BioMed Central’s public health journal, were working-age Finns with an average age of 44.6 years. Living alone is linked with feelings of isolation and a lack of social integration and trust, which are risk factors for mental health.
Coffee fights dementia, Alzeimer’s, says study
Drinking coffee reduces the risk of getting dementia and Alzheimer’s, scientists claim. A four-year study of people older than 65 found those who developed the early signs of the disease had 51% less caffeine in their blood than those who stayed healthy. The stimulant works by triggering a chemical reaction in the brain that prevents the damage caused by the incurable wasting condition. “This paper is the first to say coffee intake is linked to a reduced risk of dementia.” scientists from the University of South Florida said in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Previous studies have suggested caffeine can combat depression in women and reduce stroke danger by 25%.
First Published: Mar 25, 2012 00:53 IST