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What generates pessimistic mood?

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Woman

New York, Aug 14: Scientists have identified a brain region that could generate pessimistic moods in disorders such as anxiety or depression that leads people to focus more on the possible downside than the potential benefit in a stressful situation.

In a study tested on animals, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found that stimulating caudate nucleus — a brain region linked to emotional decision-making –induced animals to make negative decisions.

The caudate nucleus, has within it regions that are connected with the limbic system, which regulates mood, and sends input to motor areas of the brain as well as dopamine-producing regions.

The study showed that the animals gave far more weight to the anticipated drawback of a situation than its benefit, compared to when the region was not stimulated.

This pessimistic decision-making could continue through the day after the original stimulation.

“We feel we were seeing a proxy for anxiety, or depression, or some mix of the two,” said Ann Graybiel, a professor at the MIT.

In the study, which appeared in the journal Neuron, the team wanted to see if they could reproduce an effect that is often seen in people with depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The team stimulated the caudate nucleus with a small electrical current as animals were offered a reward (juice) paired with an unpleasant stimulus (a puff of air to the face).

The results showed that the cost-benefit calculation became skewed, and the animals began to avoid combinations that they previously would have accepted.

This continued even after the stimulation ended, and could also be seen the following day, after which point it gradually disappeared.

This result suggests that the animals began to devalue the reward that they previously wanted, and focused more on the cost of the aversive stimulus.

“This state we’ve mimicked has an overestimation of cost relative to benefit,” Graybiel noted.

The researchers also found that brainwave activity in the caudate nucleus was altered when decision-making patterns changed.

“There must be many circuits involved,” she said.

“But apparently we are so delicately balanced that just throwing the system off a little bit can rapidly change behaviour.”

IANS

Health

Natural ways to boost immunity in children

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Kids eating, children snacks

New Delhi, Jan 21: It is natural for parents to protect their children from any harm, including the endless array of germs they are exposed to every day.

As children grow up, they are continuously exposed to various germs, especially in places such as daycare centres and preschool. Children with low immunity are highly susceptible to various types of infections. The high incidence of infections has led to an increased and inappropriate use of antibiotics, which has further resulted in antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance, a widespread problem, takes places when microbes build resistance against the medications intended to kill them due to overuse. It is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. The best way to tackle this is to build a strong immunity, which naturally protects your child from infections. Dr. Rajesh Kumawat, Head – Medical Services & Clinical Development, The Himalaya Drug Company, shares a few tips that can help boost your child’s immunity.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet that comprises all fundamental components like proteins, minerals, vitamins, micronutrients and unsaturated fats in optimum quantity, helps build the immunity required to fight against various infections or diseases in children. Citrus fruits, carrots, green leafy vegetables, beans, strawberry, yogurt, garlic, and ginger help build immunity with their immunity-boosting properties.

Adequate Sleep

Sleep deprivation suppresses the functionality of the immune system, which makes children susceptible to infections. Adequate sleep is an absolute necessity to rejuvenate the body. Newborns need up to 18 hours of sleep a day, toddlers require 12 to 13 hours, and preschoolers need about 10 hours of sleep.

Hygiene

Maintaining hand hygiene before and after each meal, after playtime, handling pets, blowing the nose, using the restroom and arriving home from daycare helps prevent infections in children.

Herbal Solutions

Despite taking proper care, children’s immunity may be affected. Consumption of herbal dietary supplements like Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and Guggulu (Balsamodendron mukul) can help children stay healthier as they help build immunity.

“Naturally obtained supplements strengthen the immune system. Herbs like Guduchi, Yashti Madhu, and Guggulu are natural sources of antioxidants. The antiviral property of Yashtimadhu also helps manage asthma, bronchitis, and chronic cough. The anti-inflammatory property of Guggulu helps reduce inflammation,” Dr. Kumawat added.

“Naturally obtained supplements strengthen the immune system. Herbs like Guduchi, Yashti Madhu, and Guggulu are natural sources of antioxidants. The antiviral property of Yashtimadhu also helps manage asthma, bronchitis, and chronic cough. The anti-inflammatory property of Guggulu helps reduce inflammation,” Dr. Kumawat added.

A combination of herbs may be a safe and effective adjuvant to antimicrobials in the management of recurrent infections. When co-prescribed with antibiotics, herbs may
have a role in faster recovery, reduces the duration and cost of therapy, besides preventing reinfections.

IANS

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Lifestyle

Teasing your partner playfully can make lasting relationship

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Are you always in a mood to tease your better half? Then there is good news. A new study suggests that couples who poke fun at each other, indicating humour, are more likely to stay together.

The study showed that inside jokes are particularly important because they affirm ones relationship through laughter, the Daily Mail reported.

However, couples who share mean-spirited jokes with nasty jibes are unlikely to last, which indicates a problem in the relationship.

“Playfulness between romantic partners is a crucial component in bonding and establishing relational security,” said Jeffrey Hall, Associate Professor from the University of Kansas in the US.

“Particularly shared laughter is an important indicator of romantic attraction between potential mates,” Hall added.

The team examined more than 150,000 participants to determine how important humour is in a romantic relationship.

The results, published in the journal Personal Relationships, suggest that couples who create humour together — including inside jokes — are more likely to last.

But, this does not mean that people who are funny or can make a joke out of anything would be more lucky in love.

“If you share a sense of what’s funny, it affirms you and affirms your relationship through laughter,” Hall was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

However, couples should not go too far, Hall warned.

Importantly, having an aggressive sense of humour is a bad sign for the relationship in general, but it is worse if this style of humour is used in the relationship, the study noted.

IANS

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Health

Anti-inflammatory drugs may put you at heart attack risk

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heart failure heart attack

If you have been hit by the winter cold and are thinking about taking medicines that relieve your aches, pains and congestion, be careful. Those may also put your heart at risk, the American Heart Association has warned.

A study has showed that both decongestants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), found in many cold medicines, were listed as medications that could increase blood pressure.

People who used NSAIDs while sick were more than three times as likely to have a heart attack within a week compared with the same time period about a year earlier when participants were neither sick nor taking an NSAID.

“People with uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid taking oral decongestants. And for the general population or someone with low cardiovascular risk, they should use them with the guidance of a health care provider,” said Sondra DePalma, from the University of Pittsburgh in the US.

Decongestants like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine constrict blood vessels. They allow less fluid into your sinuses, “which dries you up”, said Erin Michos, associate director of preventive cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Univerity’s Ciccarone Center in Baltimore.

The biggest concerns are for people who have had a heart attack or stroke, or have heart failure or uncontrolled high blood pressure, Michos said, in the paper published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Importantly, healthy people might also be at risk.

For the study, researchers looked at nearly 10,000 people with respiratory infections who were hospitalised for heart attacks.

Participants were 72 years old on average at the time of their heart attacks and many had cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

People who are sick should use both classes of medications — decongestants and NSAIDs — judiciously and understand the potential side effects.

In addition, decongestants should not be taken longer than seven days before consulting with a healthcare provider, DePalma said.

One should also rest and drink plenty of fluids if symptoms are mild or moderate, DePalma noted.

IANS

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