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Optimism key to long life: Study

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LIVE LONG

New York, Dec 8 : Want to live longer? Try to maintain an optimistic outlook towards life — a general expectation that good things will happen.

In the study, the researchers have found that women who were optimistic had a significantly reduced risk of dying from several major causes of death — including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and infection, compared with women who were less optimistic.

“While most medical and public health efforts today focus on reducing risk factors for diseases, evidence has been mounting that enhancing psychological resilience may also make a difference,” said Eric Kim, a research student at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, US.

“Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviours and healthier ways of coping with life challenges,” Kim added.

The study also found that healthy behaviours only partially explain the link between optimism and reduced mortality risk.

One other possibility is that higher optimism directly impacts our biological systems, Kim said.

For the study, the team analysed 70,000 women’s levels of optimism and other factors that might play a role in how optimism may affect mortality risk, such as race, high blood pressure, diet and physical activity.

The results showed that most optimistic women had a nearly 30 per cent lower risk of dying from any of the diseases analysed in the study compared with the least optimistic women.

Previous studies have shown that optimism can be altered with relatively uncomplicated and low-cost interventions, even something as simple as having people write down and think about the best possible outcomes for various areas of their lives, such as careers or friendships, the researchers said, adding that encouraging the use of such interventions could be an innovative way to enhance health in the future.

 

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Health

Can drinking too much water harm you?

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Water

Toronto, May 23: Do you drink too much water? Beware, overhydration — excess fluid accumulation — can lead to dangerously low sodium levels or in the blood or result in brain swelling, researchers say.

Hyponatremia, a life-threatening condition of brain swelling, is more common in elderly patients and can cause cognitive problems and seizures.

“(Hyponatremia) occurs in common pathological conditions, including brain injury, sepsis, cardiac failure and in the use of drugs, such as MDMA (ecstasy),” said Charles Bourque from the McGill University in Canada.

While it was yet uncertain how hyponatremia develops, the study found that a defect in the hydration sensing mechanism of the brain could be the culprit.

The researchers said that brain’s hydration sensing neurons could not detect overhydration in the same way that they detect dehydration.

Overhydration activates Trpv4 — a calcium channel that can be found in glial cells, that act to surround hydration sensing neurons.

It is cellular gatekeeper implicated in maintaining the balance of water in the body.

“Our study shows that it is in fact glial cells that first detect the overhydrated state and then transfer this information to turn off the electrical activity of the [hydration sensing] neurons,” Bourque explained.

“Our specific data will be important for people studying hydromineral and fluid electrolyte homeostasis, and clinicians who treat patients faced with hyponatremia,” he noted.

The results, published in the journal Cell Reports, showed that overhydration is first identified by the Trpv4 channel which triggers the release of a type of amino acid known, taurine, which acts as a trip wire to inhibit hydration sensing neurons.

“Preclinical models of hyponatremia will be used to examine if the mechanism we report is affected in this condition with the long-term objective of designing new treatments or diagnostic tools,” Bourque added.

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Taj Mahal, Mumbai Sea Link among top 10 travellers’ choices

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Mumbai, May 23: The eternal monument to love, the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Rajiv Gandhi Bandra Worli Sea Link in Mumbai figure among the Top 10 TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice awards of 2018 for most visited and popular tourist landmarks, it was announced here on Tuesday.

Taj Mahal-wefornews

Taj Mahal, Agra

Mumbai_Bandra_Worli_Link_

Bandra Worli Sea Link, Mumbai

The other top Indian monuments in the list of awards include: Amber Fort in Amer, Golden Temple of Amritsar, the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in New Delhi, Agra Fort, and Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur

Amber-Fort-in-Jaipur-

Amber Fort, (Amer) Rajasthan

Akshardham-Tmple-Delhi

Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, Delhi

Golden Temple of Amritsar,

Golden Temple of Amritsar

gurudwara-bangla-sahib

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi

The award winners were decided using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for landmarks worldwide over a 12-month period.

This year’s TripAdvisor awards recognize 759 monuments spread in 68 countries globally, said the company’s Country Manager Nikhil Ganju.

“India’s landmarks as as diverse at its heritage and are among some of the most iconic structures in the world. The list presents fantastic gems ranging from poignant memorials to sheer architectural marvels that are great options for travelers,” he added.

Mumbai’s sole entry to the list, the RGBWSL is one of its most prominent modern landmarks and an infrastructure marvel of a cable-stayed bridge cutting through the Arabian Sea to connect Bandra with Worli.

The top 10 Travellers Choice Landmarks of Asia include: Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple in India, Wat Pho or Temple of Reclining Buddha in Thailand, Mutianyu Great Wall of China, Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine of Japan, Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar, Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, and the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam.

Similarly, the Top 10 landmarks worldwide are: Angkor Wat, Plaza de Espana in Spain, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre in UAE, St. Peters Basilica of The Vatican, Mesquita Cathedral de Cordoba in Spain, Taj Mahal, Duomo di Milano in Italy, Alcatraz Island and Golden Gate Bridge both in US, and the Parliament of Hungary.

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Health

Exercise 4-5 times daily to delay ageing

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New York, May 21: Want to stay young for long? If so, start exercising four to five times a day as it may help keep your heart stay healthy and slow down ageing, according to researchers.

Research showed that different sizes of arteries are affected differently by varying amounts of exercise.

While exercising for about two to three days a week for about 30 minutes may be sufficient to minimise stiffening of middle-sized arteries, exercising for about four to five days a week is required to keep the larger central arteries youthful.

The study would help “develop exercise programmes to keep the heart youthful and even turn back time on older hearts and blood vessels”, said one of the study authors, Benjamin Levine from the University of Texas.

With age, arteries — which transport blood in and out of the heart — become prone to stiffening, increasing the risk of heart diseases.

For the study, published in The Journal of Physiology, the team examined 102 people over 60 years old, with a consistent lifelong exercise history.

The participants were divided into four groups depending on their exercise history — Sedentary: less than 2 exercise sessions per week; Casual Exercisers: 2-3 exercise sessions per week; Committed Exercisers: 4-5 exercise sessions per week and Masters Athletes: 6-7 exercise sessions per week.

A lifelong history of casual exercise (two-three times a week) resulted in more youthful middle-sized arteries, which supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck.

However, committed exercisers (4-5 times per week) also had more youthful large central arteries, which provide blood to the chest and abdomen, in addition to healthier middle-sized ones.

Larger arteries need more frequent exercise to slow down ageing, the researchers said.

The findings will help see “if we can reverse the ageing of a heart and blood vessels by using the right amount of exercise at the right time”, Levine explained.

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