Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
Week Beginning 23 September 2002
Shared sleeping 'not harmful'
Children who share their parents’ bed do not necessarily develop psychological problems later in life, according to a US study. Some psychologists believe the practice can contribute to sleep disorders and developmental problems, whereas others say it strengthens the relationship between parents and their offspring and increases the child’s capacity to love. Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, who surveyed parents and their children up to the age of 18, say there is no evidence of a link between bed sharing and use of tobacco, alcohol or hard drugs.
A UK study shows that tall men are likely to have more children than shorter ones, but that the opposite is true for women. Open University researchers have found after examining statistics on 10,000 people born in 1958 that height plays an important role in finding a partner and having children by the age of 42. Study author Daniel Nettle says, 'It is known from psychological tests that women find tall men attractive but that men don’t particularly find tall women attractive. These results show that this does play out in real life.'
Reasons to be cheerful
Researchers in the US say optimists have a better quality of life than pessimists, experiencing fewer physical problems and having better emotional and mental health. The same team of researchers, from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, had concluded from previous research that optimistic people live longer than pessimists. Dr Toshihiko Maruta says, 'Our latest study provides documentation for beliefs commonly held by patients and healthcare practitioners about the importance of optimistic and pessimistic attitudes.' Dr Maruta says more research is needed to explain why optimistic people enjoy healthier and longer lives.
Not in front of the children
Up to 40 per cent of UK fathers do not like to discuss sex with their children, according to a nationwide survey. They allow their wives and their children’s teachers to explain the facts. The study – called Talking Puberty – was conducted by Norwich Union healthcare. It indicates that nearly half of 10 to 15 year olds actively raise the subject, but most approach their mother. Recent government statistics show that in the past three years more than 400 girls under 14 became pregnant.
The Daily Mail
Fat 'affects sexes differently'
UK scientists say there is a clear link between a fatty diet and heart disease in women. An extra 100 grammes of saturated fat a week increases the risk of heart disease in women by a third, but does not appear to make the same difference in men. University of Hertfordshire researcher David Boniface says the effects of men’s diet cannot be separated from other risk factors like smoking, drinking and inadequate exercise.
The Daily Mail
Light smokers 'still at risk'
Women who smoke as few as three cigarettes each day are twice as likely as average to have a heart attack, according to scientist in Denmark. Men can smoke up to twice as much for the same effect on their health. Researchers at Copenhagen’s Ama Hospital say even people who do not inhale their cigarette smoke are 60 per cent more likely to have a heart attack or die young than to those who never smoke. Amanda Sandford, of anti-smoking organisation Ash, says the study should send an important message to people who try to cut down on cigarettes rather than stop smoking completely.
The Daily Telegraph
Boiling corn longer 'can protect against heart disease'
US research shows that the longer sweet corn is cooked, the better it is for you. Scientists have discovered that boiling corn boosts levels of antioxidants that can protect against heart disease and cancer. The levels rose by 22 per cent when the corn was boiled for 10 minutes but after 50 minutes, the levels were up by 53 per cent. The research is reported in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
The Daily Mirror
Alzheimer’s risk 'rises with unhealthy diet'
A diet of chips, chocolate and cake could increase the risks of Alzheimer’s disease later in life, US researchers say. A study of 980 elderly people found that those who ate unhealthily were 2.5 times more likely to develop the disease than those on low-calorie diets. Researchers, from Columbia University, New York, believe that diets rich in fat and sugars produce more free radicals, the by-products of the breakdown of food and oxygen. These destructive molecules damage cells and may worsen the brain damage of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Daily Telegraph
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