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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: Oct 06, 2012 22:41 IST
Hindustan Times

Aspirin prevents mental decline
Low-dose aspirin delays brain decline in elderly women at high heart disease and stroke risk, reported Swedish researchers. Tests of cognitive function included naming tests and word memory.

While low-dose aspirin has proven benefits in the prevention of heart disease and stroke, its effects on cognition and dementia have had contradictory findings. No effects on cognition were seen for aspirin use in healthy women, but another analysis suggested cognitive benefits among those with cardiovascular risks.

Eating while watching TV add to weight
Almost half of obese children have their dinner while watching TV more than three times a week, found a study from the University Of Sydney School Of Public Health.

A third of obese children had a television in their bedrooms, showed the survey of more than 1,200 children aged up to five years. A startling revelation was that 70% parents of overweight kindergarten children and 30% parents of obese children thought their child was the ‘right weight’.

Vit C shortens a cold, doesn’t stop it
Vitamin C doesn’t prevent common cold, but it shortens the duration of one in high doses, concluded a review of 30 published trials investigating it’s ability to prevent cold. The studies involved more than 10,000 participants.

People taking vitamin C daily in doses as high as 1 gram caught roughly the same number of colds as people who were not taking it, but on average, colds for these people were a day shorter than for people who did not take vitamin C. It strengthens bones, muscle, and aids in iron absorption. Citrus fruits, dark green vegetables, strawberries and cantaloupe are natural sources.

Watermelon halves bad cholesterol
A daily serving of watermelon helps combat heart disease by lowering weight and halting the build-up of harmful cholesterol. Studies on mice fed a high-fat diet found the fruit showed that it halved the formation of artery-clogging LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol).Watermelon’s health-boosting properties are found in citrulline, a chemical compound found in the juice.

For the study, two groups of mice were fed diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol but one group was given water containing 2% watermelon juice. The mice who had watermelon juice gained about 30 % less weight than the control group. Their LDL cholesterol and plaque deposited in their arteries also halved, reports the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Meditation improves empathy
A compassion-based meditation programme significantly improves a person’s ability to read the facial expressions of others, reports a study in Social Cognitive and Afffective Neuroscience. The boost in empathic accuracy was detected through both behavioural testing and through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of their brain activity.

The meditation protocol, known as Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, or CBCT, is derived from ancient Tibetan Buddhist practices but is secular in content and presentation. Previous research has shown that both children and adults who are better at reading the emotional expressions of others have better relationships. Also, practicing CBCT has been shown to reduce emotional distress and enhance physical resilience to stress in both healthy young adults and in high-risk adolescents in foster care.

First Published: Oct 06, 2012 22:38 IST