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Health scan

Older people who don’t sleep well have more problems remembering things because it prevents memories from being stored in the brain at night.

health-and-fitness Updated: Feb 02, 2013 21:49 IST
Hindustan Times

Sleeplessness disrupts memory and recall
Older people who don’t sleep well have more problems remembering things because it prevents memories from being stored in the brain at night.

Researchers found that memories in the brains of old people rarely get into the brain’s “hard drive” or the prefrontal cortex, and instead stay in the hippocampus.

Using functional and structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans to assess brain activity, researchers found that healthy adults spend about a quarter of their sleep in deep and restorative sleep called non-rapid-eye-movement sleep, during which the brain’s middle frontal lobe generates slow waves.

Holiday benefits last for weeks after
Holidays help you relax and lower your blood pressure and stress levels, with the benefits lasting for at least a fortnight longer than the vacation. In some cases, they can be felt for months.

The average blood pressure of people on holiday dropped by 6%, while it rose by 2% in those who worked over the same period, reports a study.

The sleep quality of holidaymakers improved by 17% while that of the non-holidaymakers deteriorated by 14%. The majority reported feeling happier, more rested and much less stressed because of their vacations, which clearly demonstrates holidays improves your ability to physically cope with stress.

Activity outside the gym as healthy
Climbing the stairs or walking down to the neighbourhood grocery store is as good for your heart as going to the gym. A study has shown that short bursts of activity throughout the day are just as beneficial as regular workouts in the gym.

Light exercises, such as simply walking around while talking on the phone, all add up to help stave off disorders that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Active people who do light exercise — including everyday chores such as cleaning up at home that take a few minutes at a stretch — meet physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes a day.

Spice it up with turmeric
Turmeric, the spice that gives Indian cuisine its characteristic yellow colour, prevents rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis that leads to bone loss.

The spice, which has been used as an antiseptic in Indian traditional medicine for centuries, has been shown to protect the liver, inhibit cancerous tumours, and fight infections because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective against inflammatory disorders such as asthma, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.

It works by fighting inflammation, which accelerates rheumatoid arthritis and spur cancerous growths. Consuming curcumin also has been shown to repair skin damage caused by radiation therapy for cancer.

Sex not all it’s cracked up to be
Despite widely held myth we burn up to 300 calories during sex, an average session lasts six minutes and burns only a fraction of that.

For the average person burns a mere 21 calories during an average session. Sex lasted six minutes on average — and that the energy output equated to a paltry 20 or so calories — about the same as walking, reports New England Journal of Medicine.

Among the other widely-held beliefs he investigated were whether snacking (hs no detrimental effect) or skipping breakfast (depends on whether you are used to it) is bad or whether physical education classes make a big difference to children’s weight (no differences, PE classes are not long or intense enough to make much difference).

What matters is how much total calories you have and how many you end up burning through the day.