SUC logo
SUC logo

Knowledge Update

Wearing skinny jeans, oversized bags may up your back pain

​London, March 14 (IANS) Suffering from severe back pain? Blame your clothing and accessories such as skinny jeans, oversized bags and those worn on one side of the body, coats with large fluffy hoods, high heeled shoes and backless shoes, according to a survey from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA). The survey showed that three-quarters (73 per cent) of women have suffered with back pain and their wardrobe could be a major cause of the discomfort. "While overloaded and heavy handbags are a common culprit, some more unexpected items like skinny jeans can also wreak havoc -- they restrict free movement in areas such as the hips and knees, affecting the way we hold our bodies," Tim Hutchful, chiropractor at BCA, said in a statement on Tuesday. "New trends such as asymmetric hemlines, oversized sleeves and hoods and heavy jewellery can also create problems," Hutchful added. While over a quarter (28 per cent) of women are aware clothing effects their back, one-third of women (33 per cent) were completely unaware that their choice of clothing could impact their back or neck health. "I am always surprised at how many of my patients are unaware that their clothing and accessories can affect their back health and their posture and, equally, how many decide their outfit-choice outweighs their pain," Hutchful said. Suggesting a slew of measures to reduce the impact on the posture and overall health, Hutchful suggested: "Try and limit the number of times you wear skinny jeans or high heels every week where you're giving your body a break, or try investing in a backpack for days when you have a lot to carry around."

Watching TV for over 3 hours may up kids' diabetes risk

London, March 14 (IANS) If your kid is spending three or more hours daily in front of TV, using computers, games consoles, tablets and smartphones, he or she may be at risk of developing diabetes, a study has showed. The findings showed that children with increased exposure to digital screens may be at risk of having high adiposity levels, which describes total body fat, and, crucially, insulin resistance, which occurs when cells fail to respond to insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas to control levels of blood glucose. "Our findings suggest that reducing screen time may be beneficial in reducing Type 2 diabetes risk factors, in both boys and girls, from an early age," said Claire. M. Nightingale from St George's, University of London. "This is particularly relevant, given rising levels of Type 2 diabetes, the early emergence of Type 2 diabetes risk, and recent trends suggesting that screen time-related activities are increasing in childhood and may pattern screen-related behaviours in later life," Nightingale added, in a paper published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood. Children who reported spending three or more hours of daily screen time showed high ponderal index -- an indicator of weight in relation to height -- and skinfolds thickness and fat mass -- indicators of total body fat -- than in those who said they spent an hour or less on it. Further, there was also a strong link between a daily quota of three or more hours of screen time and levels of leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, glucose and insulin resistance, the researchers said. For the study, the team assessed a sample of nearly 4,500 9-10 year old pupils from 200 primary schools in London, Birmingham and Leicester for a series of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors.

High-intensity aerobic training may help reverse ageing

New York, March 11 (IANS) High-intensity aerobic exercise may be the best type of training for people over 65, as it can reverse some cellular aspects of ageing, an Indian-origin researcher has found. The findings showed that high-intensity interval training (or cardio) like running and walking, improved muscle protein content enhancing energetic functions and causing muscle enlargement, especially in older adults. "We encourage everyone to exercise regularly, but the take-home message for ageing adults is that supervised high-intensity training is probably best,"said K. Sreekumaran Nair, Indian-origin endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit health care research organisation. Nair explained that this kind of training helped both metabolically and at the molecular level, confering the most benefits. Decline in mitochondrial content and function are common in older adults. The high-intensity exercise regimen significantly enhanced the cellular machinery responsible for making new proteins, contributing to synthesis, thus reversing a major adverse effect of ageing. While high-intensity training reversed some manifestations of ageing in the body's protein function, adding resistance training may also help achieve significant muscle strength, Nair added. In the study, appearing in the journal Cell Metabolism, the team compared high-intensity interval training, resistance training and combined training. Researchers tracked metabolic and molecular changes in a group of young and older adults over 12 weeks, gathering data 72 hours after individuals in randomised groups completed each type of exercise. All training types improved lean body mass and insulin sensitivity, but only high-intensity and combined training improved aerobic capacity and mitochondrial function for skeletal muscle. Increase in muscle strength occurred only modestly with high-intensity interval training but improved with resistance training alone or when added to the aerobic training.

How to manage your smartphone notifications better

​New York, March 7 (IANS) Are you annoyed with your smartphone's relentless stream of text messages, push alerts, social media messages and other noisy notifications? Take heart, experts at Rutgers University in New Jersey, US, have developed a new model that allows the smartphones to learn automatically like a "human secretary" and predict the user's receptiveness to distractions by the notifications. "Ideally, a smartphone notification management system should be like an excellent human secretary who knows when you want to be interrupted or left alone," said Janne Lindqvist, assistant professor at Rutgers University. Currently, the notification management system is not smart or only depends on a user's setting, such as turning on or off certain notifications. The model can help to better manage smartphone notifications using a sense of personality type and work patterns of individuals. The study will be published in May at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Denver, Colorado. In the study, the researchers collected more than 5,000 smartphone records from 22 participants over four weeks. The participants took a test to see how their personalities aligned with traits such as extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness, to help predict how interruptible people were. The results showed that when participants were in a pleasant mood, they were likely to be more interruptible than if they were in an unpleasant mood. It also varied based on their location. But participants were reluctant to be interrupted when they were studying and were less interruptible when exercising. "Preferably, your smartphone would recognise your patterns of use and behaviour and schedule notifications to minimise interruptions," Lindqvist added. The findings could help phone makers and app developers build offerings that are more useful and less annoying, the researchers said. "We know that people struggle with time management all the time, so a smartphone, instead of being a nuisance, could actually help with things," Lindqvist added.

Yoga could replace antidepressants

New York, March 4 (IANS) If you are diagnosed with depression, just take a deep breath and join yoga classes to experience significant reduction in symptoms without the side effects associated with antidepressants, new research suggests. "This study supports the use of a yoga and coherent breathing intervention in major depressive disorder in people who are not on antidepressants and in those who have been on a stable dose of antidepressants and have not achieved a resolution of their symptoms," explained corresponding author Chris Streeter, Associate Professor at Boston University School of Medicine in the US. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common, recurrent, chronic and disabling. The findings, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, provide support for the use of yoga-based interventions as an alternative or supplement to pharmacologic treatments for depression. Due in part to its prevalence, depression is globally responsible for more years lost to disability than any other disease. Up to 40 per cent of individuals treated with antidepressant medications for MDD do not achieve full remission. This study used lyengar yoga that has an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture and breath control. Individuals with major depressive disorder were randomised to the high dose group, three 90-minute classes a week along with home practice, or the low dose group, two 90-minute classes a week, plus home practice. Both groups had significant decreases in their depressive symptoms and no significant differences in compliance. Although a greater number of participants in the high dose group had less depressive symptoms, the researchers believe attending twice weekly classes (plus home practice) may constitute a less burdensome but still effective way to gain the mood benefits from the intervention. Compared with mood altering medications, this intervention has the advantages of avoiding additional drug side effects and drug interactions, Streeter said. "While most pharmacologic treatment for depression target monoamine systems, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, this intervention targets the parasympathetic and gamma aminobutyric acid system and provides a new avenue for treatment," Streeter explained.

Why a sitting job is bad for your heart and waist

​London, March 2 (IANS) Do you have a desk-bound job? Beware, you may be at a heightened risk of developing cardiovascular diseases by 0.2 per cent and an increase in waist circumference by two cm, for every additional hour of sitting on top of five hours, researchers warned. The findings showed that those who had desk jobs had a bigger waist circumference -- 97 cm compared to 94 cm in people without desk jobs. They also had approximately one body mass index (BMI) unit difference. Further, they had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease -- 2.2 per cent compared to 1.6 per cent in people without desk jobs, over ten years. In addition, each extra hour of sitting from five hours a day, increased the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decreased good cholesterol (HDL). "Longer time spent in sedentary posture is significantly associated with larger waist circumference, higher triglycerides (fat in the blood) and lower HDL cholesterol, all adding up to worse risk of heart disease," said William Tigbe from University of Warwick in Britain. In contrast, walking more than 15,000 steps per day, which is equivalent to walking seven to eight miles, or spending seven hours per day upright, may be associated with zero risk factors, Tigbe added, in the paper published in the International Journal of Obesity. Although the study could be used as the basis of new public health targets for sitting, lying, standing and stepping to avoid metabolic risks, it would be very challenging to achieve unless incorporated into people's occupations. "Our evolution, to become the human species, did not equip us well to spending all day sitting down. We probably adapted to be healthiest spending seven to eight hours every day on our feet, as hunters or gatherers," said Mike Lean Professor at the University of Glasgow.

Lack of exercise linked to hard-to-treat heart failures

New York, Feb 28 (IANS) A sedentary lifestyle can take a huge toll on your heart. Researchers have found that lack of exercise and excessive weight are strongly associated with a type of heart failure that is very hard to treat. Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart is unable to supply enough oxygenated blood to meet the demands of the body. "Previous studies have consistently found an association between low levels of physical activity, high BMI (body mass index), and overall risk of heart failure, but this study shows that the association is more pronounced for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, the type of heart failure that is the most challenging to treat," said the study's senior author Jarett Berry, Associate Professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the US. Heart failure is approximately equally divided between two subtypes -- heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) and heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HfrEF). Ejection fraction refers to the percentage of the blood that exits the heart with each contraction. Many treatments have been developed for treating heart failure with reduced ejection fraction but there are no evidence-based treatments for the other type. The pooled analysis looked at data from 51,000 participants in three cohort studies, the Women's Health Initiative, the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), and the Cardiovascular Health Study. Among the 51,000 participants, there were 3,180 individuals who developed heart failure. Of these, 39 per cent were heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, 29 per cent were heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, and 32 per cent had not been classified when the data was gathered. The incidence of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction was 19 per cent lower for individuals who exercised at recommended levels, showed the findings published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Similarly, body mass index (BMI) had an inverse relationship with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Higher BMI levels were more strongly associated with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction than with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.

Why teenagers rarely share online risks with parents

​New York, Feb 28 (IANS) An increasing number of teenagers get discouraged to talk to their parents about potentially risky online experiences, such as cyberbullying, sexual exchanges and viewing inappropriate content online, because parents tend to emote much stronger feelings and tend to freak out, become angry or scared, researchers have found. The study showed that parents and children often have much different perceptions of and reactions to the same online situations. "There seems to be a disconnect between what types of situations teenagers experience every day and what types of experiences parents have online," said Pamela Wisniewski, Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida in the US. "Teenagers tended to be more nonchalant and say that the incident made them embarrassed, while parents, even though they were reporting more low-risk events, emoted much stronger feelings, becoming angry and scared. "For teenagers, some felt these types of experiences were just par for the course," Wisniewski added, in the study, presented at the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing in Oregon. Parents who overreact, when their children report any such events, are likely to curb communication as when risky situation are reported to parents, they tend to freak out and make things worse, causing teenagers to refrain from talking about situations that may upset their parents. "When teenagers actually talked to their parents about what had happened, they often wanted help understanding or navigating the situation, but parents tended to misinterpret their intent, not realising that their teenagers were trying to open lines of communication," Wisniewski said. Parental reactions -- both over or under reactions -- may not just thwart teenagers from seeking their parents' help with a current problem, but also diminish the teenagers' ability to successfully navigate future online encounters that may be even more risky, the researchers revealed.

Heel-to-ground foot makes us better fighters, slow runners

​New York, Feb 24 (IANS) Standing with heels planted allows humans more swinging force when fighting, but the heel-down posture also makes us bad at fleeing, says a study. In contrast, many other species of mammals, including most primates, stand, walk and run with their heels elevated, and on the balls of their feet or toes, a posture important for quickness, said the study published in the journal Biology Open. The findings suggest that aggression played a role in shaping stance of modern humans. "This story is one more piece in a broader picture, a suite of distinguishing characteristics that are consistent with the idea that we're specialised at some level for aggressive behaviour," said lead author of the study David Carrier from University of Utah in the US. The physiological traits that confer advantages in fighting are different from those required for other tasks, such as running. "Certain species tend to be good at fighting or fleeing, but not both," Emily Carrington from US National Science Foundation (NSF) said. "This study provides insight into the basis for this trade-off. Animals that use their heels to plant their feet firmly to the ground, like bears, badgers and great apes, are able to deliver stronger blows to their opponents," Carrington added. The heel-up stance, called digitigrade and unguligrade, seen in animals from wolves to horses and deer, increases the economy of running by lengthening the leg and improving the storage and recovery of energy in the tendons and ligaments of the lower limb. The heel-down, or plantigrade, posture shared by great apes and other species, such as bears, wolverines and some rodents, is less specialised for running, however. The researchers hypothesised that the evolution of great apes' plantigrade stance had to do with how apes climb and forage in trees.

Focus on building stamina than just weight-loss: Experts

New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Rather than focussing only on weight-loss and a well-toned body, one should have a holistic approach to fitness and build stamina across all areas -- running marathons, lifting weights, cycling, and performing basic daily chores, experts say. "Fitness doesn't mean good looks, It means progressive improvement in strength, endurance and mobility. Weight lifting plays an important role in building all three," Rishabh Telang, fitness expert and level-2 crossFit trainer with Cult -- a Bengaluru-based fitness chain that was acquired by CureFit, a healthcare start-up launched by former Flipkart executives Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori, in 2016. In a conventional gym training a person exercises his/her abs one day and chest the next day and then the whole process gets repeated in the next week. But that does not help in stamina building of the person. "You must have noticed body builders, who although are good at lifting weight and pumping iron, may start panting after climbing a slew of stairs or after running a small stretch. This is because the monotony of doing the same exercises week after week reduces your attendance over time," Telang told IANS in a telephonic interview. At the same time, a person who undergoes endurance training does various forms of machine-less exercises in a single session, which ensures a more balanced development of strength, flexibility and endurance rather than focusing on one and missing out on the other. "The human body should go through all formats of exercise. If it is given only one type of exercise, it will hit a plateau or stop reacting," Shwetambari Shetty, fitness expert and master trainer for Zumba at Tribe-Cult, told IANS. CureFit recently acquired the The Tribe fitness chain that also offers a mix of activities just as Cult does. Endurance training -- which can also be termed as functional training -- combines cardio endurance and weight lifting to build up muscles. The training session uses body as a machine and engages many muscles at once, leading to higher efficiency to build reasonably good endurance and stamina required for performing any functional task. "The functional movements which combine running, swimming, cross-training, martial art forms, etc. are also safer since one can have higher body control here rather when using machines," said Ankit Nagori, Co-Founder, CureFit. Endurance training also helps burn more calories, helps strength-building and reduces weight faster than conventional gym training Endurance training also focuses on interval training, which involves brief bursts of vigorous exercise separated by short periods of recovery. It has been proven to be an effective and time-efficient approach for improving cardiorespiratory fitness by various studies. It also helps achieve a holistic lifestyle good enough to shape the body as well as to tranquilise the mind; that is, it also plays a great role in alleviating stress, Telang said. Age is not a bar for fitness under the endurance-training method. "From a nine-year-old child to a 75-year-old lady, anyone can adapt as the techniques are basically day-to-day activity. "It can also be practiced by a pregnant woman and can prove to be very useful during the pre-natal and post-natal stages of birth. However, they should train only under the guidance of an expert," Shwetambri maintained. The benefits of endurance training, such as improved cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular endurance, has also been proved by various studies. A recent study, published in the journal Experimental Physiology, revealed that just a single session of endurance exercise helped participants increase the expression of genes that are used to repair damaged DNA as well as helped remodel heart tissue.