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Inadequate physical activity may boost genetic risk of obesity

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London, Oct 22: Researchers have found that low levels of physical activity and inefficient sleep patterns may intensify the effects of genetic risk factors for obesity.

“We wanted to find out if obesity-related genes and activity level have an interactive effect on obesity risk – if there is a ‘double whammy’ effect of being both at genetic risk and physically inactive beyond the additive effect of these factors,” said the study’s lead author Andrew Wood, a researcher at the University of Exeter Medical School.

The new study made use of wrist accelerometer data and a large genetic dataset from about 85,000 UK Biobank participants aged 40 to 70.

The researchers computed a genetic risk score for each participant based on 76 common variants known to be associated with elevated risk of obesity and analyzed this score in the context of accelerometer data and participants’ BMIs.

They found the strongest evidence to date of a modest gene-activity interaction.

For example, for a person of average height with 10 genetic variants associated with obesity, the genetic risk accounted for a 3.6 kg increase in weight among those who were less physically active but just 2.8 kg among those who were more active.

The results were similar in analyses of sleep patterns. Among the participants with some genetic risk of obesity, those who woke up frequently or slept more restlessly had higher BMIs than those who slept more efficiently.

The results of the study was presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2017 annual meeting in Orlando.

“We hope these findings will inform clinicians who help people lose or maintain their weight and contribute to the understanding that obesity is complex and its prevention may look different for different people,” said Timothy Frayling, Professor at the University of Exeter Medical School.

IANS

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Ebola death toll rises to 200 in Congo

The DRC authorities declared the outbreak in North Kivu province on August 1. It was also reported in the northern province of Ituri.

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Ebola Infection

Kinshasa, Oct 21 : The death toll in the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has risen to 200, the Health Ministry has said.

According to statistics released by the Ministry on Saturday, of the 200 cases confirmed in Beni and surrounding areas, 117 have died of the virus while 61 others recovered after treatment, Xinhua news agency reported.

The DRC authorities declared the outbreak in North Kivu province on August 1. It was also reported in the northern province of Ituri.

The World Health Organization said the 10th Ebola outbreak in DRC does not currently constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

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Cycling, walking in nature may improve your mental health

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London, Oct 20: People who commute — walking or cycling — through natural environments are more likely to develop better mental health than those who commute less, according to a new study.

Natural environments included all public and private outdoor spaces that contain ‘green’ and/or ‘blue’ natural elements such as street trees, forests, city parks and natural parks/reserves and all types of water bodies.

“Mental health and physical inactivity are two of the main public health problems associated with the life in urban environments. Urban design could be a powerful tool to confront these challenges and create healthier cities. One way of doing so would be investing in natural commuting routes for cycling and walking,” said Mark Nieuwenhuijsen from the University of Barcelona.

For the study, published in the journal, Environment International, the research team examined nearly 3,600 participants who answered a questionnaire about their commuting habits and their mental health.

The findings showed that respondents commuting through natural environments on a daily basis had on average a 2.74 point higher mental health score compared to those who commuted through natural environments less frequently.

This association was even stronger among people who reported active commuting, the team said.

“From previous experimental studies we knew that physical activity in natural environments can reduce stress, improve mood and mental restoration when compared to the equivalent activity in urban environments,” said first author Wilma Zijlema from the varsity.

“Although this study is the first of its kind to our knowledge and, therefore, more research will be needed, our data show that commuting through these natural spaces alone may also have a positive effect on mental health.”

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Number of Zika virus cases reaches 100 in Jaipur

A total of 1,11,825 houses have been screened. Special precautions are being taken in the Zika-affected areas.

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Zika virus

Jaipur, Oct 18 : The number of people infected with the Zika virus has gone up to 100 in Jaipur, officials said on Thursday.

State Chief Secretary D.B. Gupta held a review meeting and directed the officials to carry out anti-larvae activities in educational institutions and administrative buildings in Jaipur.

Veenu Gupta, Chief Secretary (Medicine and Health) said, “Medical teams in Jaipur are carrying out screening and fogging activities. A total of 1,11,825 houses have been screened. Special precautions are being taken in the Zika-affected areas.”

She said that there was no shortage of medicines at health centres. She also directed district officials to monitor the regular availability of medicines and testing equipment in hospitals.

Gupta directed officials to take measures to prevent breeding of mosquitoes in the Rajasthan Police Academy, Police Line and the RAC Battalion.

She asked the Army officials to check the spread of mosquitoes and larvae in their area.

Gupta instructed officials to pay special attention to tourist places such as Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar and Albert Hall.

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