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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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Social media makes break-ups worse

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New York, Estrangement has become harder in the digital age and social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, can make break-ups much worse, say researchers.

People who use features like unfriending, unfollowing or blocking still face troubling encounters with ex-partners online.

For the study, published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction’, the researchers recruited people who had upsetting encounter online within 18 months of parting and interviewed them for over an hour.

“Even before social media break-ups sucked, but it was much easier to get away from the person. It can make moving on almost impossible if you are constantly being bombarded with reminders in different places online,” said study lead researcher Anthony Pinter from University of Colorado Boulder in the US.

According to researchers, among 19 who underwent in-depth interviews, a disturbing trend emerged: Even when people took every measure possible to remove their exes from their online lives, social media returned them – often multiple times a day.

“A lot of people assume they can just unfriend their ex or unfollow them, and won’t have to deal with them anymore. Our work shows it’s not the case,” Pinter said.

News Feed, the primary interface that opens when one goes for Facebook, was a major source of distress, delivering news of ex-lovers announcing they were in new relationship.

In one case, a participant noticed his roommate had “liked” his ex’s post. He was the last of his friends to know.

Memories revived by posts from the past were equally heart-rending, with one participant recalling how a sweet years-old message from his ex-wife popped up out of nowhere delivering an “emotional wallop,” the researchers said.

According to the study, many shared stories of encountering exes via their comments in shared spaces, such as groups or mutual friends’ pictures. Even when someone unfriends his/her ex, if a mutual friend posts a picture without tagging them that may still flow through their feed.

And even when they blocked their exes some reported that the ex’s friends and family would still show up on Facebook as suggestions under ‘People you may know’.

The authors suggest such encounters could be minimised with platform designers paying more attention to the “social periphery” – all those people, groups, photos and events that spring up around a connection between two users.

For those wanting to rid their online lives from reminders of love lost, they recommend unfriending, untagging, using Take a Break and blocking while understanding they may not be foolproof.

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Eating fast food can make kids fat

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New York, If you want your children to stay in shape, do not allow them to indulge in burgers and pizzas. Researchers have found that fast food intake can independently contribute to excess weight gain among children.

Being overweight and obese increases the risk of numerous physical and psychosocial problems during childhood, including fatty liver disease, Type-2 diabetes and depression.

“We now know from our studies and others, that kids who start on the path of extra weight gain during this really important time frame tend to carry it forward into adolescence and adulthood, and this sets them up for major health consequences as they get older,” said first author Jennifer Emond, Assistant Professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, US.

“To our knowledge, ours is the first study to follow a cohort over time and to show that fast food, by itself, uniquely contributes to weight gain,” explained Emond.

Previous research has shown that fast food intake is common among children and has suggested that there is an association between fast food consumption and children becoming overweight or obese.

But it has not been clear whether eating fast food independently contributes to excess weight gain at such a young age.

In an effort to make this determination, the investigators followed a cohort of more than 500 pre-school age children (ages 3 to 5) and their families in southern New Hampshire for one year.

The height and weight of the children were measured at the beginning and end of the study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity.

Parents reported their children’s fast food intake frequency weekly – from 11 chain fast food restaurants – in six online surveys that were completed at two-month intervals.

The researchers found that at the beginning of the study, about 18 per cent of the children were overweight and nearly 10 per cent were obese.

Importantly, about 8 per cent of the children transitioned to a greater weight status over the one-year period.

“Unlike with past research, we were able to adjust for other factors – such as exercise and screen time – that could possibly explain away this relationship,” Emond said.

“Findings from this research should be used to inform guidelines and policies that can reduce fast food marketing exposure to children and help support parents who may be struggling to adopt healthier eating behaviours for their kids,” she added.

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Green tea plus exercise may reduce fatty liver disease

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People suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may benefit from regular exercise and replacing high-calorie beverages with decaffeinated, diet green tea, suggests new research.

The researchers found that a combination of green tea extract and exercise reduced the severity of obesity-related fatty liver disease by 75 per cent in mice fed a high-fat diet Although untested in human trials, the results suggest a potential health strategy.

“Combining the two might have health benefits for people, but we don’t have the clinical data yet,” said Joshua Lambert, Associate Professor of Food Science at The Pennsylvania State University in the US.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a significant global health problem that is expected to worsen, Lambert said. Because of the high prevalence of risk factors such as obesity and Type-2 diabetes, fatty liver disease is forecast to afflict more than 100 million people by 2030. And there are currently no validated therapies for the disease.

In the study, mice fed a high-fat diet for 16 weeks that consumed green tea extract and exercised regularly by running on a wheel were found to have just a quarter of the lipid deposits in their livers compared to those seen in the livers of a control group of mice.

Mice that were treated with green tea extract alone or exercise alone had roughly half as much fat in their livers as the control group.

In addition to analyzing the liver tissues of mice in the study, which was published recently in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, the researchers also measured the protein and fat content in their faeces.

They found that the mice that consumed green tea extract and exercised had higher fecal lipid and protein levels.

“By examining the livers of these mice after the study concluded and by screening their faeces during the research, we saw that the mice that consumed green tea extract and exercised actually were processing nutrients differently — their bodies were handling food differently,” Lambert said.

“We think the polyphenols in green tea interact with digestive enzymes secreted in the small intestine and partially inhibit the breakdown of carbohydrates, fat and protein in food,” he added.

“So, if a mouse doesn’t digest the fat in its diet, that fat and the calories associated with it pass through the mouse’s digestive system, and a certain amount of it ends up coming out in its faeces,” he said.

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