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Decoded: Why people love to have coffee or beer

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Whether you choose a dark roast coffee or hoppy beer in the summer, it may actually depend on how the drink makes you feel rather than how it tastes, reveals a genome-based study.

The researchers searched for variations in our taste genes that could explain our beverage preferences because understanding those preferences could indicate ways to intervene in people’s diets.

They found that taste preferences for bitter or sweet beverages are not based on variations in our taste genes but rather genes related to the psychoactive properties of these beverages.

“People like the way coffee and alcohol make them feel. That’s why they drink it. It’s not the taste,” said Marilyn Cornelis, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg’s School of Medicine.

For the study published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, beverages were categorised into a bitter-tasting group and a sweet-tasting group.

Bitter included coffee, tea, grapefruit juice, beer, red wine and liquor.

The researchers provided questionnaires to about 336,000 individuals asking them to report what they ate and drank over the past 24 hours.

The scientists also did a genome-wide association study of bitter beverage consumption and of sweet beverage consumption.

“To our knowledge, this is the first genome-wide association study of beverage consumption based on taste perspective.

“It’s also the most comprehensive genome-wide association study of beverage consumption to date,” said Victor Zhong, the study’s lead author.

According to the researcher Marilyn Cornelis, the study highlights important behavior-reward components to beverage choice and adds to our understanding of the link between genetics and beverage consumption — and the potential barriers to intervening in people’s diets.

IANS

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Lifestyle

Over 9 hours’ of sleep may raise stroke risk by 23%

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New York: People who sleep nine or more hours per night are 23 per cent more likely to later have a stroke than people who sleep seven to less than eight hours per night, warns a new study.

The results revealed that long naps are also not good for your health.

People who took a regular midday nap lasting more than 90 minutes were 25 per cent more likely to later have a stroke than people who took a regular nap lasting from one to 30 minutes, said the study published online in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

People who took no naps or took naps lasting from 31 minutes to one hour were no more likely to have a stroke than people who took naps lasting from one to 30 minutes.

“More research is needed to understand how taking long naps and sleeping longer hours at night may be tied to an increased risk of stroke, but previous studies have shown that long nappers and sleepers have unfavourable changes in their cholesterol levels and increased waist circumferences, both of which are risk factors for stroke,” said study author Xiaomin Zhang of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.

“In addition, long napping and sleeping may suggest an overall inactive lifestyle, which is also related to increased risk of stroke,” Zhang said.

The study involved 31,750 people in China with an average age of 62. The people did not have any history of stroke or other major health problems at the start of the study.

They were followed for an average of six years. During that time, there were 1,557 stroke cases.

The people were asked questions about their sleep and napping habits.

People who were both long nappers and long sleepers were 85 per cent more likely to later have a stroke than people who were moderate sleepers and nappers, said the study.

“These results highlight the importance of moderate napping and sleeping duration and maintaining good sleep quality, especially in middle-age and older adults,” Zhang said.

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India

Reduce helplessness for a stable society: Sudha Murthy

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New Delhi, Dec 11 : The conversation starts with Jean Paul Sartre and ends with Ayushmann Khurrana. And she seems happy about that.

At Infosys’ guesthouse in the national capital, which shuns shouting ‘corporates’, Sudha Murthy is sitting in a small room. The larger conference hall is reserved for waiting journalists.

In town for the Penguin Annual Lecture 2019, Murthy says her many roles, including being the Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, a writer, social worker and administrator, complete her.

“I must thank my excellent support system, else it would have been tough to do justice to them all. Frankly, there is not much demand from home and I don’t socialise much — no partying, get-togethers and very rare wedding appearances,” Murthy smiles.

That gives her enough time to write, she says.

“It is after all my cherished expression that lets me talk about what I feel deeply about, my joys, the sorrows,” she says, and adds, perhaps as an afterthought, “When something comes to my mind, I finish a book within 15-20 days.”

Murthy, however, doesn’t really like the fact that most schools, except perhaps some alternative ones, pay little attention to encouraging writing or pushing students towards other art forms.

“There seems to be such a drastic change from our times when hobby classes were an integral part. Now, both schools and parents are only looking at making their kids computer proficient from an early age.

“Of course, it also has to do with the intense competition in the face of a huge population, but it would be nice if they realised that encouraging creativity at an early age works wonders later on,” she says.

As the conversation veers towards her latest book ‘The Daughter from a Wishing Tree: Unusual Tales from Women in Mythology’, the author insists that mythology, which has been written by men, does not really boast of many prominent women characters, except Sita and Draupdi.

“And this is despite the fact that several women have taken very strong and decisive decisions, which have changed dynasties. Yet, they remain unsung. The book is, therefore, about unusual women, away from the popular narrative, but extremely important,” she says.

Stating that mythology happens to be an indispensable part of Indian culture, Murthy feels that it can be the saving light in the bleakest of times.

“Once you understand that it is not to be taken literally and is open to interpretation, it serves its true purpose — taking life head-on and never getting bogged down even in the worst of times,” she says.

For Murthy, who for decades has been working with the underprivileged, the one emotion that always strikes her is helplessness.

“The moment people start feeling that, they take extreme measures. Look at the French Revolution or the Naxalite movement closer home. In order to ascertain a healthy and stable society, it is important to reduce that helplessness and that’s what I work for,” she says.

Considering the fact that she was the only girl student in her engineering class and was the first woman engineer to be hired by TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO), does she feel that things have really changed for women?

“For educated women, yes. If you look at the southern states, the demand for dowry has come down considerably in most communities. Education, leading to financial independence, has surely made women more empowered,” Murthy says.

Not only social justice, education or poverty alleviation, Murthy knows her cinema well too.

“I am a complete movie buff who still prefers to go for the late night show and seldom watch movies at home. Nowadays, I don’t miss any films starring Ayushmann Khurrana considering the fact that he makes such sensible choices. Well, I do miss the subtle style of directors like Basu Bhattacharya and Hrishikesh Mukherjee, but really admire Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s work among the contemporary directors,” Murthy concludes.

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Lifestyle

TMC leader Nusrat Jahan earns praise with Instagram post

The fans praised her, with one commenting: “You are amazing”. Another wrote: “Hope you helped the child!!” “Really so lovely,” one post read.

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West Bengal TMC MP Nusrat Jahan (Instagramm Pic)

New Delhi, Dec 10 : Bengali movie actress and Trinamool Congress leader Nusrat Jahan’s photograph on Instagram in which she is cuddling a little balloon-seller went viral, with people hailing her humanitarian gesture. The post got 386 comments and 50,006 likes.

The politician posted the picture on her Instagram account and wrote: “Made my weekend special… with the special one…a one-and-a-half-year-old baby selling balloons…was way more cuter and colourful than the balloons…#loveforall #loveistheonlylanguage.

The fans praised her, with one commenting: “You are amazing”. Another wrote: “Hope you helped the child!!” “Really so lovely,” one post read.

“Appreciate your loving nature. I admire you as you have a loving heart, ” one fan wrote. “God bless you. Your heart is as beautiful as your face,” commented another.

“God bless you, ma’am. You are such a nice person. A big fan,” wrote another person.

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