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Gardening can make old people stay more healthy

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Germany, Jan 12: Indulging in gardening may not only keep older adults active but also boost their health and mental well-being, finds a study.

The findings showed that older women who spend more than three hours on household chores a day and got less or more than seven hours of sleep a night, were less likely to be in good health.

However, the researchers found that the similar criteria had no effect on the health of elderly men.

It is because older women spent more time doing repititive housework like cleaning and cooking, while men spent time in gardening and maintenance work, which is mentally very stimulating, the Daily Mail reported.

“The difference in the sexes’ health is probably to do with the type of housework women tend to do, which is a lot more repetitive and routine work, like cleaning and cooking. While this probably has some limited health benefits, it is not very physically active, is not really exercise and is not very stimulating mentally, which relates to physical health,” Nicholas Adjei, researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in Germany, was quoted as saying by the paper.

“Men did much more active household chores, such as gardening and maintenance. The physical exertion is good for the health, with gardening involving digging, mowing and carrying soil. We think gardening and fixing things may also be more enjoyable than cleaning,” Adjei added.

For the study, researchers looked at more than 36,000 pensioners, who reported about their daily activities and general health. Healthiness was calculated based on participants’ answers to a questionnaire, in which they rated their health on a five-point scale from “poor” to “very good”.

The results showed that even taking away sleep, which can impact people’s health, men appear healthier when doing jobs around the house.

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Eating muesli in breakfast may help combat arthritis

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London, Jan 13: Eating a fibre-rich breakfast consisting of muesli and enough fruit and vegetables throughout the day everyday can help maintain a rich variety of bacterial species in the gut, which may have positive influence on chronic inflammatory joint diseases, and prevent bone loss, a study has found.

The findings, led by researchers at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg (FAU) in Germany, showed that a healthy diet rich in fibre is capable of changing intestinal bacteria in such a way that more short-chained fatty acids, in particular propionate, are formed.

Short-chained fatty acids are important for the body as they provide energy, stimulate intestinal movement and have an anti-inflammatory effect.

“We were able to show that a bacteria-friendly diet has an anti-inflammatory effect, as well as a positive effect on bone density,” said lead author Mario Zaiss from the FAU.

“We are not able to give any specific recommendations for a bacteria-friendly diet at the moment, but eating muesli every morning as well as enough fruit and vegetables throughout the day helps to maintain a rich variety of bacterial species,” Zaiss added.

In the study, published in Nature Communications, the team focussed on the short-chain fatty acids propionate and butyrate, which are formed during the fermentation processes caused by intestinal bacteria.

These fatty acids can be found, for example, in the joint fluid and it is assumed that they have an important effect on the functionality of joints.

The researchers also proved that a higher concentration of short-chained fatty acids, for example in bone marrow, where propionate caused a reduction in the number of bone-degrading cells, slowing bone degradation down considerably.

“Our findings offer a promising approach for developing innovative therapies for inflammatory joint diseases as well as for treating osteoporosis, which is often suffered by women after the menopause,” Zaiss noted.

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This human heart-muscle patch can boost heart attack recovery

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New York, Jan 13: Novel heart-muscle patches made with human cells can significantly improve recovery from a heart attack, results of a clinical trial show.

The results are a step closer to the goal of treating human heart attacks by suturing cardiac-muscle patches over an area of dead heart muscle in order to reduce the pathology that often leads to heart failure, said scientists led by Jianyi “Jay” Zhang, Chair of University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In the study, described in the journal Circulation, the team tested human cardiac-muscle patches of 1.57 by 0.79 inches in size and nearly as thick as a dime, created in the lab, on large animals in a heart attack model.

Transplanting two of these patches onto the infarcted area of a pig heart significantly improved function of the heart’s left ventricle, the major pumping chamber.

The patches also significantly reduced infarct size, which is the area of dead muscle, heart-muscle wall stress and heart-muscle enlargement, as well as significantly reducing apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in the scar boarder area around the dead heart muscle.

Furthermore, the patches did not induce arrhythmia in the hearts — improper beating of the heart, too fast or too slow.

Each patch was made from a mixture of three cell types — four million cardiomyocytes, or heart-muscle cells, two million endothelial cells — known to help cardiomyocytes survive and function in a micro-environment — and two million smooth muscle cells, which line blood vessels.

Each patch was grown in a three-dimensional fibrin matrix that was rocked back and forth for a week. The cells begin to beat synchronously after one day.

This mixture of three cell types and the dynamic rocking produced more heart muscle cells that were more mature, with superior heart-muscle physiological function and contractive force.

The patches resembled native heart-muscle tissue in their physiological and contractile properties, the scientists noted.

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Paracetamol in pregnancy may damage your daughter’s fertility

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London, Jan 7: Women who consume paracetamol during pregnancy, widely used to reduce a high fever or relieve pain, may increase the risk of damaging the fertility of their daughters, warns a new study.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland found that human ovaries exposed to paracetamol for a week in laboratories lost up to 40 per cent of their egg cells.

If this effect occurs in the womb, it could mean baby girls exposed to the common drug end up being born with fewer eggs. This would give them fewer years in which they could become pregnant and lead to an early menopause, the Daily Mail quoted the researchers as saying.

It may be because both paracetamol and ibuprofen interferes with a hormone called prostaglandin E2, which appears to play a vital part in the development of the foetal reproductive system.

“This study identifies a potential risk from taking paracetamol or ibuprofen, although we don’t know exactly what effect it would have on human health nor what dose would be needed to harm fertility,” said Richard Sharpe, professor at the varsity.

While unborn boys could also be affected by the drug. But unlike women, whose egg supply is limited, they keep producing sperm throughout their lives, meaning the danger to their fertility is not as serious, the researchers said.

For the study, presented at the Fertility 2018 conference in Liverpool, the team tested the effect of paracetamol and ibuprofen on human foetal testes and ovaries over a week. Researchers counted germ cells that turn into sperm and eggs.

In the ovary, the number of egg cells fell by up to 40 per cent, while in testes the number of germ cells was reduced by more than a fifth.

The findings prompts fresh warnings for pregnant women to only take paracetamol when necessary and warrants further research.

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