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Retire later and live longer!

New York, April 28 (IANS) If you are 65 and still working, it can be an add-on for you to live longer while retiring early may increase your chances of dying early, says new research, suggesting that there is a strong relationship between work and longevity.

The findings showed that healthy retirees who worked a year longer of age 65 had an 11 percent lower risk of death while unhealthy retirees who worked a year longer had a nine percent lower mortality risk which indicates that factors beyond health may affect post-retirement mortality.

"It may not apply to everybody but we think that work brings people a lot of economic and social benefits that could impact the length of their lives," said lead study author Chenkai Wu from the Oregon State University in the US.

The team analysed 2,956 people who had retired from 1992 to 2010 and looked at effects of retirement on health.

Poor health is one reason people retire early and also can lead to earlier death, so researchers wanted to find a way to mitigate a potential bias in that regard.

They divided the participants into unhealthy retirees -- who indicated that health was a factor in their decision to retire and healthy retirees -- who indicated health was not a factor. 

The results indicated that during the study period, about a 12 percent of the healthy and a 25.6 percent of the unhealthy retirees died. 

Working a year longer had a positive impact on the study participants' mortality rate regardless of their health status.

"Most research in this area has focused on the economic impacts of delaying retirement. I thought it might be good to look at the health impacts," Wu added in the paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.​

One minute of intense exercise can keep you in shape

Toronto, April 28 (IANS) You may now have no excuse not to exercise as researchers have found that a single minute of very intense exercise produces health benefits similar to 45 minutes of traditional endurance training.

The findings put to rest the common excuse for not getting in shape -- there is not enough time.

"This is a very time-efficient workout strategy," said lead author on the study Martin Gibala, professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. 

"Brief bursts of intense exercise are remarkably effective," Gibala said.

The scientists set out to determine how sprint interval training (SIT) compared to moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT), as recommended in public health guidelines. 

They examined key health indicators including cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity, a measure of how the body regulates blood sugar.

A total of 27 sedentary men were recruited and assigned to perform three weekly sessions of either intense or moderate training for 12 weeks, or to a control group that did not exercise.

The SIT protocol involved three 20-second 'all-out' cycle sprints and was found effective for boosting fitness. 

The workout totalled just 10 minutes, including a two-minute warm-up and three-minute cool down, and two minutes of easy cycling for recovery between the hard sprints.

The new study compared the SIT protocol with a group who performed 45 minutes of continuous cycling at a moderate pace, plus the same warm-up and cool down. 

After 12 weeks of training, the results were remarkably similar, showed the findings published online in the journal PLOS ONE.

"Most people cite 'lack of time' as the main reason for not being active," Gibala said.

"Our study shows that an interval-based approach can be more efficient -- you can get health and fitness benefits comparable to the traditional approach, in less time," Gibala said.​

E-cigarettes may do more benefit than harm: Experts

New York, April 25 (IANS) A team of international tobacco control experts has found that use of e-cigarettes can reduce overall smoking as well as potentially decrease the mortality rates particularly arising out of cigarette smoking.

The findings showed that e-cigarettes have the potential to counteract health risks and may do more benefit than harm.

Also, the evidence suggests a strong potential for e-cigarettes use to improve population health by reducing or displacing cigarette use in countries where cigarette prevalence is still high and smokers are interested in quitting.

"While e-cigarettes may act as a gateway to smoking, much of the evidence indicates that e-cigarette use encourages cessation from cigarettes by those people who would have otherwise smoked with or without e-cigarettes," said lead researcher David Levy, professor at Georgetown University in the US.

However, the experts' estimated that exclusive e-cigarette use is associated with about five percent of the mortality risks of smoking.

Research shows that cigarette smoking rates have fallen more in the last two years than they have in the previous four or five years in the US, Canada and England, and that this trend has coincided with the increase in e-cigarette use.

"We believe that the discussion to date has been slanted against e-cigarettes, which is unfortunate, because the big picture tells us that these products appear to be used mostly by people who already are or who are likely to become cigarette smokers," Levy added.

In the study, published online in the journal Addiction, seven top international tobacco control experts have prompted regulators at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have a broad "open-minded" perspective when it comes to regulating vaporised nicotine products, especially e-cigarettes.

The team synthesised much of the evidence published to date on e-cigarettes to suggest that use of these products can lead to reduced cigarette smoking overall with a potential reduction in deaths from cigarette smoking.

The team also warned that heavy regulation and taxation of e-cigarettes will counteract the benefit that these products can provide.

"We don't want to encourage e-cigarette use by youth and young adults who would not have otherwise smoked. However, the primary aim of tobacco control policy should be to discourage cigarette use while providing the means for smokers to more easily quit smoking, even if that means switching for some time to e-cigarettes rather than quitting all nicotine use," the researchers noted.​

A banana a day may keep blindness away

Sydney, April 23 (IANS) If you love apples, so also love the humble banana. Eating a banana daily is likely to boost eye health and prevent vision-related diseases, a study has found.

Researchers have found that bananas have carotenoid -- a compound that turn fruits and vegetables red, orange or yellow and are converted into vitamin A, important precursors for eye health -- in the liver.

According to previous research, foods containing high levels of carotenoids also protect against chronic disease, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The study showed that banana rich in provitamin A carotenoids may offer a potential food source for alleviating vitamin A deficiency -- important for sight.

To combat vitamin A deficiency, researchers have been investigating methods to boost carotenoids in bananas. 

Cara L. Mortimer and other researchers from Queensland University of Technology in Australia studied two banana varieties to find out why they make very different amounts of carotenoids. 

They found that the pale yellow, low-carotenoid cavendish variety produces more of an enzyme that breaks down carotenoids. 

In addition, another variety stashes its carotenoids in microscopic sacs during ripening, shifting the chemical equilibrium in the fruit so it can make even higher levels of these substances. 

The findings, published in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, can someday help in the development of banana varieties with enhanced health benefits.

Bananas are ideal food for young children and families for many regions of the world, because of their sweetness, texture, portion size, familiarity, availability, convenience, versatility and cost. ​

Stamina training can help seniors live longer

New York, April 24 (IANS) Older adults who meet twice in a week for strength training can boost their stamina and live longer, thus lowering the odds of cardiac death and cancer, finds a study.

The findings showed that older adults who trained for strength at least twice a week had 46 percent lower odds of dying soon. They also had 41 percent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 percent lower odds of dying from cancer.

But although the health rewards of physical activity and aerobic exercise are well established, less data have been collected on strength training.

"This doesn't mean that strength training wasn't a part of what people had been doing for a long time as exercise, but it wasn't until recently that it was solidified in this way as a recommendation," said Jennifer L. Kraschnewski from Penn State College of Medicine in the US.

Over the past decade, researchers have demonstrated benefits of strength training for strength, muscle mass and physical function, as well as for improvements in chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, low back pain and obesity.

Researchers examined data of more than 30,000 adults of age 65 and older from the 1997-2001 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) linked to death certificate data through 2011.

Researchers published their results in Preventive Medicine.

During the survey period, more than 9 percent of older adults reported strength training at least twice a week.

They were also more likely to have normal body weight, to engage in aerobic exercise and to abstain from alcohol and tobacco.

After the researchers controlled for physical activity level, people who reported strength exercises appeared to see a greater mortality benefit than those who reported physical activity alone.

The study is strong evidence that strength training in older adults is beneficial beyond improving muscle strength and physical function, the researchers said.

"We need to identify more ways that we can help get people engaged in strength training so we can increase the number from just under 10 percent to a much higher percentage of our older adults who are engaged in these activities," Kraschnewski said.​

Just one week of sleep loss can hamper 'good' cholesterol

London, April 22 (IANS) Lack of sleep will not only alter your mood and make your days drowsy, sleep loss can also influence cholesterol metabolism (good cholesterol), affecting blood vessels in your body.

According to University of Helsinki researchers, genes which participate in the regulation of cholesterol transport are less active in persons suffering from sleep loss than with those getting sufficient sleep. 

This was found both in the laboratory-induced sleep loss experiment and on the population level. 

The experimental study proved that just one week of insufficient sleep begins to change the body's immune response and metabolism.

“We examined what changes sleep loss caused to the functions of the body and which of these changes could be partially responsible for the elevated risk for illness," explained Vilma Aho, researcher from the “Sleep Team Helsinki” research group, in a university statement.

The study examined the impact of cumulative sleep deprivation on cholesterol metabolism in terms of both gene expression and blood lipoprotein levels. 

With state-of-the-art methods, a small blood sample can simultaneously yield information about the activation of all genes as well as the amounts of hundreds of different metabolites. 

This means it is possible to seek new regulating factors and metabolic pathways which participate in a particular function of the body.

The researchers found that in the population-level data, persons suffering from sleep loss had fewer high-density HDL lipoproteins, commonly known as the good cholesterol, than people who slept sufficiently.

Together with other risk factors, these results help explain higher risk of cardiovascular disease observed in sleep-deprived people and help understand the mechanisms through which lack of sleep increases this risk.

The researchers emphasise that health education should focus on the significance of good, sufficient sleep in preventing common diseases in addition to healthy food and exercise. 

The team's next goal is to determine how minor the sleep deficiency can be while still causing such changes.

Sleep loss has previously been found to impact the activation of the immune system, inflammation, carbohydrate metabolism and the hormones that regulate appetite.

Why you can't say no to ice-cream, despite age

New York, April 22 (IANS) Do you know why it becomes difficult to say decline ice-cream or cupcakes even when you have become a father yourself? According to researchers, media plays a major role in influencing attitudes of kids toward different foods.

What kids read about food when they were young translates to eating habits they maintain through adulthood.

"Toddlers do not have independent opinions of food being desirable or not until media -- television and books tell them what to like and not like," www.elle.com reported on Friday.

When nutrient-poor foods are presented not only frequently but positively, they likely contribute to children's view of them as both normative and desirable.

The study, published in the journal Appetite, examined how media influences attitudes towards different foods items in kids aged between two and four. 

"Kids will basically eat anything unless we allow them to be picky. Shortly after introducing solid foods at around six months, children's palates are in the exploration mode and behaviour is not generally tied to their food yet," Dr Tricia Gold from Tribeca Pediatrics in US was quoted as saying in the New York Magazine.

Since books follow television as the most popular media source for kids, the researchers surveyed 100 fiction and non-fiction children's books to see how often food was depicted. 

In children's books, ice cream stood out because it was often painted as "offered as a treat to celebrate an occasion, making someone feel better, and/or to indicate a happy ending.” 

No other food enjoyed such a specific status with such a privileged connotation. 

Parents can guide kids to love vegetables by introducing books that "emphasise depictions of healthy foods" as well, the researchers noted​

Even daily-use products can make you fat!

New York, April 21 (IANS) Exposure to chemicals found in everyday products can lead to an increase in body fat which may pose various health hazards, reveals new research.

“Growing research shows that these chemicals could be harming people's health," said lead author Lei Yin, assistant research scientist at University of Georgia.

Levels of phthalates -- class of industrial chemicals used to make food packaging materials, tubing for dairy products and other items used in the production of fast food -- have been found in human fluids in previous studies.

In the study, the team analysed the presence of a specific phthalate, benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), in the body. 

Phthalate exposure can be closely associated with the rise of different types of disease development. 

Some are known to cause reproductive toxicity at high levels of exposure but the link between low-level exposure and BBP had not yet been thoroughly explored.

"It could be that some chemicals at a very low dose and over a long period time, which is known as chronic exposure, can cause more harmful diseases or effects," Yin explained in the paper published in the journal Toxicology in Vitro.

The team used mouse cells to create in-vitro models to analyse how exposure to BBP affected the way oils and fats, known as lipids, accumulated within the cells.

The results of BBP's effects were compared with bisphenol A or BPA known for its role in development of fat cells.

BBP caused a response in the cells that is similar to BPA. Both chemicals prompted the accumulation of lipid. 

However, the lipids from BBP-treated cells were larger, suggesting that BBP exposure may lead to obesity.

Genetic components can contribute to the development of obesity. "However, environmental exposure may also contribute to obesity," the authors added.​

Selfie craze prompting surge in lip surgery in US

New York, April 21 (IANS) Want to click that perfect selfie with fuller lips for a flawless pout? Get a lip implant. According to a media report, 2015 set a record of one lip surgery every 19 minutes in the US.

The findings, based on a survey of American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), showed that in 2015, a total of 27,449 lip implants on both males and females took place -- a jump of 48 percent since 2000, CNBC reported on Tuesday.

"We live in the age of the selfie and because we see images of ourselves almost constantly on social media, we're much more aware of how our lips look," David Song from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) was quoted as saying.

In Britain, a cosmetic dentistry firm has claimed that selfies have also changed the types of smile that patients are asking for.

People are now asking for a new "selfie smile" which "benefits rather than suffers at the hands of the typically center-widening, periphery-narrowing properties of smartphone cameras," the report stated.

"We have seen a 30 percent rise over 5 years in the number of patients sending in selfies through the website with concerns about the look of their front teeth, yet when the patients come in person, often the teeth don't look too bad at all," Tim Bradstock-Smith, a clinical director and cosmetic dentist, was quoted as saying.

"A patient may not be ready to commit to something as dramatic as a facelift or eyelid surgery, but there are a variety of ways you can change the shape of your lips," explained Robert Houser, a plastic surgeon in Ohio, US.

The ASPS commissioned a national survey of around a thousand women and found that the "subtle and sultry lips" of Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence were the most attractive celebrity lips that women wanted.​

Fatty diet can trigger excessive daytime sleepiness

Sydney, April 21 (IANS) Do you feel sleepy during daytime at work? Blame it on your love for oily samosas and cheese-laden pizzas -- not to forget a poor night's sleep -- for this.

According to a study, men who consume diets high in fat and sleep less during night time are more likely to feel sleepy during the day.

"After adjusting for other demographic and lifestyle factors and chronic diseases, we found that those who consumed the highest fat intake were more likely to experience excessive daytime sleepiness," said lead author Yingting Cao, doctoral student at University of Adelaide in Australia.

Higher consumption of food items rich in fat was also strongly associated with sleep apnea, a sleep disorder.

"Poor sleep and feeling sleepy during the day means you have less energy, but this, in turn, is known to increase people's cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods associated with poor sleep outcomes. So the poor diet-and-sleep pattern can become a vicious cycle," Cao explained in the paper published in the journal Nutrients.

Daytime sleepiness may have significant implications for alertness and concentration, the researchers warned, adding that people need to pay more attention to eat better and have a good sleep.

"We hope our work could help to inform future intervention studies, enabling people to achieve healthy weight loss while also improving their quality of sleep," Cao added.

The results were based on data of more than 1800 Australian men aged 35-80 and included their dietary habits over a 12-month period.

Among those with available dietary and sleep data, 41 percent of the men surveyed had reported experiencing daytime sleepiness, while 47 percent of them had poor sleep quality at night.

About 54 percent had mild-to-moderate sleep apnea, and 25 percent had moderate-to-severe sleep apnea.​