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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: Jul 13, 2013 23:19 IST

Sleepless nights turn lovers into fighters
Relationship issues can keep us awake at night, but the reverse is also true. Poor sleep compromises couples’ ability to avoid and manage conflict. New research from UC Berkeley suggests that sleepless nights can worsen lovers’ fights, with them likely to lash out at their partners over relationship conflicts after a bad night’s sleep.

Overall, participants reported more discord with their partners on the days following a bad night’s sleep, showed data on the sleep habits of more than 100 couples who had been together, on average, for nearly two years. They were gauged for depression, anxiety and other stressors in order to focus solely on the link between the couples’ sleep quality and relationship conflicts.

Irregular bedtime dulls kids’ brains
Irregular bed times disrupt healthy brain development in young children, shows a study of intelligence and sleeping habits. Going to bed at a different time each night affected girls more than boys, but both fared worse on mental tasks than children who had a set bedtime, found researchers from the University College London.

The effect was most striking in three year olds, where boys and girls scored lower on reading, maths and spatial skills tests than children of the same age who kept to a more rigid schedule.

The lack of routine is believed to impair early development by disrupting the body clock, while sleep deprivation affects the brain's ability to remember and learn new information.

While the differences in test scores were modest — only a few points in many cases — irregular bedtimes throughout childhood appeared to have a cumulative effect, leading to greater problems later on.

Green coffee beans help burn fat
Green coffee beans help you burn more fat than usual without the side effects associated with roasted coffee or ephedra. They are not a stimulant and do not make you jittery or raise heart rate. In fact, some studies have shown them to lower blood pressure while boosting metabolism.

The weight loss is prompted by a natural active compound called chlorogenic acid, which works by inhibiting the release of glucose in the body, while at the same time boosting the metabolism or the “burning” of fat in the liver. Because green coffee bean is so bitter, researchers recommend taking it in capsule form.

Two minute strolls every half hour s1tave off diabetes
Taking a two minute walk around the office or home every half hour helps stave off diabetes, a new study claims. Regular activity breaks have proved to be more effective than continuous physical activity at decreasing blood sugar and insulin levels in healthy, normal-weight adults, report researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Short walks can bring bigger benefits to health than a brisk 30-minutes walk before work, as it lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. Raised sugar and insulin readings are warning signs of Type-2 diabetes, which is also a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Cheery demeanour lowers heart attack risk
Staying cheerful reduces the chances of dying from a heart attack, with a new study showing that having a ‘sense of wellbeing’ does not just prevent higher risk caused by anxiety but actually reduces the odds.

People who were optimistic and generally cheerful had a 33% lower chances of a heart attack or stroke than their grumpier counterparts, says Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore in the American Journal of Cardiology.

But those considered at most risk of heart attacks because of their family history, had a 50% reduction in coronary incidents if they scored highly for being cheerful. Other factors such as smoking, drinking and high blood pressure were taken into account and there was no difference between men and women or between different ethnicities.

First Published: Jul 13, 2013 23:16 IST