Health & Wellness


Children With TVs Or Computers In Their Room Sleep Less

Middle school children who have a television or computer in their room sleep less during the school year, watch more TV, play more computer games and surf the net more than their peers who don't - reveals joint research conducted by the University of Haifa and Jezreel Valley College.

The research, conducted by Prof. Yael Latzer and Dr. Tamar Shochat of the University of Haifa and Prof. Orna Chishinsky of the Jezreel Valley College, examined 444 middle school pupils with an average age of 14. The children were asked about their sleep habits, their use of computer and television, and their eating habits while watching TV or using the computer.

The study participants reported an average bedtime of 11:04 P.M and wake-up time of 6:45 A.M. On the weekends, the average bedtime was somewhat later - at 1:45 A.M. and wake-up much later - at 11:30 A.M. Those children with TVs or computers in their room went to sleep half an hour later on average but woke up at the same time.

According to the study, middle school pupils watch a daily average of two hours and 40 minutes of TV and use their computer for three hours and 45 minutes. On weekends, they watch half an hour more TV than during the rest of the week and use their computers for four hours. Children with a TV in their room watch an hour more than those without and those with their own computer use it an hour more than their peers.


Early Onset Gene For Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Identified

A study of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in children has identified a gene that influences whether children get these diseases early in life, and points to a potential new target for treatment.

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory diseases that affect the intestines, resulting in pain, severe diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, weight loss and fever. In ulcerative colitis, the inner lining of the colon is inflamed, while in Crohn's disease the inflammation extends deeper into the intestinal wall and can involve both the small and large intestine.

While several genes that influence susceptibility to the two diseases have been found previously, this study is the first to focus on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) with childhood onset, says co-first author Subra Kugathasan, MD.


Happiness And Satisfaction Might Lead To Better Health

It's the opposite of a vicious cycle: Healthy people might be happier, and a new study shows that people who are happy and satisfied with their lives might be healthier.

Moreover, the benefit comes with a quick turnaround time, with greater happiness possibly boosting health in as little as three years.

"Everything else being equal, if you are happy and satisfied with your life now, you are more likely to be healthy in the future. Importantly, our results are independent of several factors that impact on health, such as smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption and age," said lead author Mohammad Siahpush, Ph.D.


New Master Switch Found In Brain Regulates Appetite And Reproduction

Body weight and fertility have long known to be related to each other - women who are too thin, for example, can have trouble becoming pregnant. Now, a master switch has been found in the brain of mice that controls both, and researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies say it may work the same way in humans.

Findings from the study, published ahead of print in the Aug. 31 online edition of Nature Medicine, suggest that variations in the gene that produces this master switch, known as TORC1, could contribute a genetic component to obesity and infertility, and might be regulated with a novel drug.

"This gene is crucial to the daisy chain of signals that run between body fat and the brain," says Marc Montminy, Ph.D., a professor in the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, who led the study. "It likely plays a pivotal role in how much we, as humans, eat and whether we have offspring."

Arrow Down

Fear, stress among the poor hinder learning

These emotions are a constant for the poverty-stricken. New ideas are emerging to combat the long-term effects.

Raised in poverty, Dr. Shauna Blake Collins fought fear during nearly 14 years of education. A dropout from a South-Central Los Angeles high school, she earned a GED diploma at 22, became a licensed vocational nurse, a registered nurse, and finally, at 41, a physician. Confidence came only during the last two years of medical school.


Brain tumour surgery on conscious patient

London: Surgeons have conducted what they claim is the world's first successful brain tumour surgery on a conscious patient. Using keyhole laser surgery, a French team destroyed a brain tumour on the patient who remained wide awake and said to have felt nothing throughout the operation at the famous Piti-Salptrire hospital in Paris.


Study: Abused Children More Likely to Develop Asthma

A study by scientists at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has concluded that childhood abuse is a factor which influences chances that a person develops asthma. The researchers found that children in Puerto Rico who endure physical or sexual abuse are twice as likely to suffer from asthma as in their youth than those who do not face maltreatment.

The presence or absence of childhood abuse was shown to be more important for the development of asthma than the family's social status. Unfortunately, around 25 percent of Puerto Rican children are diagnosed with asthma during childhood. White, non-Hispanic children have a 13 percent chance of being diagnosed, while black children are facing a 16 percent chance.


Belief in conspiracy theories means less HIV testing in South Africa

South Africans who believe in a conspiracy theory that HIV was introduced by white people as a way of controlling the black population are significantly less likely to have had an HIV test, according to a study published in the September 1st edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. For the South African government to restore the public's faith in their response to HIV, they need to "present a consistent and strong prevention platform about the importance of testing", argue the investigators.

Eye 1

Culture of surveillance may contribute to delusional condition

Psychosis in the 21st century looks something like this: You think your every move is being filmed for a reality television show starring you, and that everyone in your life is an actor.

Or you think you are under intense surveillance by an army of spies, whom you refer to as the "www people," as in the World Wide Web, and they wiretap your furniture and appliances.

Or else you refuse to drink water because you fear that another cup drawn from your faucet will, once and for all, deplete the world's water supply.

Those thoughts are from three case studies of what psychiatrists interested in the intersection of mental illness, culture and society are calling, respectively, Truman Show delusion, Internet delusion and climate change delusion; all of them a window, through madness, into the modern world.


Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure, Statins Show No Effect

Daily supplements of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids -- the kind found in fish oil -- reduced deaths and hospitalizations of people with heart failure, an Italian study found. But a cholesterol-lowering statin drug had no beneficial effect in a parallel heart failure trial.

"This confirms what we've been seeing for a couple of decades in observational studies," Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, said of the fish oil trial. "There is a benefit of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for heart failure patients."

Both findings were published online Aug. 31 in the journal The Lancet and presented at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, in Munich, Germany.