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Air pollution cuts benefits of exercise in elderly: Study

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New York, Dec 6: Even a two-hour exposure to air pollution mainly in the form of traffic exhaust can wipe out the positive health benefits of walking on the lungs and hearts of the elderly, researchers have warned.

The findings showed that even short-term exposure to traffic exhaust can have negative effects on both healthy people, as well as those with pre-existing cardiorespiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or coronary disease.

The study comes at a time when north India is facing a serious crisis due to rising levels of pollution.

“This adds to the growing body of evidence showing the negative cardiovascular and respiratory impacts of even a short, two-hour exposure to motor traffic pollution,” said Junfeng “Jim” Zhang, Professor at Duke University in North Carolina, US.

On the other hand, people who walked for two hours in a large city park — away from direct exposure to street-side traffic fumes — reduced arterial stiffness by more than 24 per cent in healthy and COPD volunteers and more than 19 per cent in heart disease patients.

However, those who got exposed to pollution experienced a maximum reduction of just 4.6 per cent in arterial stiffness, 16 per cent reduction in COPD and an 8.6 per cent reduction in heart disease.

“For many people, such as the elderly or those with chronic disease, the only exercise they very often can do is to walk,” added Fan Chung, Professor at the Imperial College London.

The study, published in The Lancet, highlights the need for stricter air quality limits and better traffic-control measures in our cities as well as greater access to urban green spaces for people to exercise, the researchers said.

According to a UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) report, children’s exposure to air pollution can permanently damage their brains.

Pregnant women’s exposure to traffic related air pollutants — especially PM2.5 — were associated with two-to-six per cent increased odds of low birth weight and one-to-three per cent increased odds of being small for gestational age, revealed a study published in the journal BMJ.

“Combined with evidence from other studies, our findings underscore that we can’t really tolerate the levels of air pollution that we currently find on our busy streets,” Chung said.

IANS

Health

Radiation from smartphones may up miscarriage risk: Study

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New York, Dec 14: Pregnant women’s exposure to non-ionising radiation from smartphones, Bluetooth devices and laptops may more than double the risk of miscarriage, a study has showed.

Non-ionising radiation — radiation that produces enough energy to move around atoms in a molecule, but not enough to remove electrons completely — from magnetic fields is produced when electric devices are in use and electricity is flowing.

It can be generated by a number of environmental sources, including electric appliances, power lines and transformers, wireless devices and wireless networks.

While the health hazards from ionising radiation are well-established and include radiation sickness, cancer and genetic damage, the evidence of health risks to humans from non-ionising radiation remains limited, said De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente — a US-based health care firm.

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team asked for 913 pregnant women over age 18 to wear a small (a bit larger than a deck of cards) magnetic-field monitoring device for 24 hours.

After controlling for multiple other factors, women who were exposed to higher magnetic fields levels had 2.72 times the risk of miscarriage than those with lower magnetic fields exposure.

The increased risk of miscarriage associated with high magnetic fields was consistently observed regardless of the sources of high magnetic fields. The association was much stronger if magnetic fields was measured on a typical day of participants’ pregnancies.

The finding also demonstrated that accurate measurement of magnetic field exposure is vital for examining magnetic field health effects.

“This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionising radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health,” Li noted.

“We hope that the finding from this study will stimulate much-needed additional studies into the potential environmental hazards to human health, including the health of pregnant women,” he said.

IANS
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Use of Smartphone before sleep may make your kid obese: Study

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New York, Dec 10: Beware if your children have a habit of playing games on smartphones before sleeping, he or she may face an increased risk of becoming obese, warns a study.

It was discovered kids who used digital devices such as watching TV or playing games on smartphones before going to bed got an average of 30 minutes less sleep in comparison to those who did not.

This lack of proper sleep not only caused fatigue and attention problems in school, but also disrupted their eating habits. This leads to higher body mass indexes (BMI), news agency IANS reported.

“We saw technology before bed being associated with less sleep and higher BMIs,”stated Caitlyn Fuller, researcher at the Pennsylvania State University in the US.

“We also saw this technology use being associated with more fatigue in the morning, which circling back, is another risk factor for higher BMIs. So we’re seeing a loop pattern forming,” Fuller further asserted.

The study, published in the journal Global Pediatric Health, examined the sleep and technology habits of 234 children, between the age of eight to 17 years.

As per the suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should set some limitations regarding the use of technology, like requiring their kids to put away their devices during meal times and keeping phones out of bedrooms at night.

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How jet lag could increase cancer risk

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London, Dec 10: Frequent travelling that causes jet lag could increase risk of cancer as it tends to disrupt our body clocks that are controlled by the same mechanism that causes tumors, reveals study.

The findings, reported in the Daily Mail, discovered that internal human body clocks have a major influence on cell multiplication and has the potential to prevent cancer.

“Our internal clock is in sync with external light and dark cues, and prompts people’s behaviour and activity levels,” lead author Angela Relogio from the Charite-Medical University in Berlin, was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

“Based on our results, it seems to us that the clock is likely to act as a tumor suppressor,” Relogio added.

For the study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, researchers examined a protein known as RAS, which is inappropriately activated in around a quarter of cancerous cells, in mice.

This takes place via two proteins — INK4 and ARF — that are known to conquer cancer.

“One cannot stop wondering whether disrupted circadian timing should be included as a next potential hallmark of cancer,” Relogio asserted.

Changes in the biological clock have also been known to up the risk of heart related diseases and diabetes.

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