Proof: “device addiction” is making us fatter

Device addiction is making us fatter

New research from Rice University indicates that mindless switching between digital devices is associated with increased susceptibility to food temptations and lack of self-control, which may result in weight gain.

“Increased exposure to phones, tablets and other portable devices has been one of the most significant changes to our environments in the past few decades, and this occurred during a period in which obesity rates also climbed in many places,” said Richard Lopez, a postdoctoral research fellow at Rice and the study’s lead author.

People who compulsively check their phones,
tend to be fatter than people who don’t

The research found that people who used their phone compulsively or inappropriately (such as wanting check their phone for messages while they were talking to someone else) as well as more passive behaviors (like media-related distractions that interfere with your work) found that they had a with higher body mass index (BMI) and greater percentage of body fat.

When media multitaskers/compulsive phone users were shown pictures of food, whilst they were in a fMRI brain scanner, researchers saw increased activity in the part of the brain dealing with food temptation.

Compulsive phone user’s brains react
differently to images of tempting foods

Overall, Lopez said these findings suggest there are links between media multitasking, risk for obesity, brain-based measures for self-control and exposure to real-world food cues.


In other news: It’s not just WHAT you eat but also WHEN you eat

Read more …

“Such links are important to establish, given rising obesity rates and the prevalence of multimedia use in much of the modern world,” he said of the findings.

Lopez and his fellow researchers hope the study will raise awareness of the issue and promote future work on the topic.

The study was co-authored by Todd Heatherton of Dartmouth College and Dylan Wagner of Ohio State University.

“This study supports our research at MindfullyTrim” says Matt Walker-Wilson, lead researcher at MindfullyTrim, who did not contribute to the study.

“Automatic behaviour – or automaticity – is often the quickest and easier, but not always the best for our health.

Being mindful about what we are doing – being mindful about our eating and also being mindful about other activities – can lead to better choices and a healthier lifestyle.”


Source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11682-019-00056-0

Photo: People using devices by fauxels at Pexels.com


 

Hot flashes impair memory performance

Almost had it - now it's gone

If you’re having difficulty identifying the right word to express yourself clearly or remembering a story correctly, you may blame menopause.

A new study by The North American Menopause Society suggests that physiologic hot flashes are associated with decreased verbal memory.

In this new study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to reveal exactly how the brain was behaving during a hot flash.


An apple a day might help keep bothersome menopause symptoms away

Read more …

It revealed that the areas of the brain which control storing and retrieval of memories, are affected during physiologic hot flashes.

“This goes some way to explaining the frustrations of menopausal women.” says Walker-Wilson, lead researcher as MindfullyTrim, who was not involved in the study. “There is the sense of being physically out of control, because of the hot flashes. And the even greater worry of being mentally out of control, caused by not being able to remember things.”

Matt Walker-Wilson, lead researcher at MindfullyTrim

Source: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200123095859.htm

Photos: Gone scrabble tiles Photo by Jess Bailey from Pexels.com


Eating salmon during pregnancy may reduce risk of asthma in offspring in later life

Cooked salmon with vegetables

The study, led by Professor Philip Calder of the University of Southampton, showed that the benefit of eating salmon while pregnant did not show up until the child was 2 to 3 years old.


Drinking orange juice and tomato juice while pregnant has been shown to improve infant intelligence

Read more …

Allergy tests were performed on children at six months and then at two to three years of age. Results were compared to a control group, whose mothers did not eat salmon during pregnancy.

The diet of pregnant mothers has long term effects on their child's health

This study shows how the effects of the mother’s diet, while pregnant, has long term effects on the child’s health.

These benefits may not be immediately obvious at birth or soon after and may only appear later in childhood.

“Our new findings from the Salmon in Pregnancy Study indicate that early nutrition interventions, even during pregnancy, can have long lasting effects on health”

Professor Philip Calder of the University of Southampton

These latest results are one example of Professor Calder’s ground-breaking research into specific relationships between nutrition and immune-related conditions over the course of the human life course.


Fishy diet – in moderation – when pregnant improves the child’s metabolism

read more …

Source: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2016/04/philip-calder-award.page

Photos: Salmon steak on lettuce by Dana Tentis from Pexels.com


Upsetting day? Sleep on it – you’ll feel better

Problems seem small after a good night's sleep

Upset by something unpleasant?

We have all been there.

And we usually find we feel better about the next day.

At least: if you have restful REM sleep.

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Stressful and upsetting events trigger a “siren” in out brains, to makes us more aware of potential danger.

Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience discovered why you will be better able to bear tomorrow what you are distressed about today. And why that can go wrong.

A good night’s sleep, specifically REM sleep, is needed to “reset” this siren in our brains.

The Experiment

The researchers placed their participants in a MRI scanner in the evening and presented a specific odour while they made them feel upset.

The brain scans showed how the amygdala became active.

The participants then spent the night in the sleep lab, while the activity of their sleeping brain was measured with EEG, and the specific odor was presented again on occasion.

The next morning, the researchers tried to upset their volunteers again, in exactly the same way as the night before. But now they did not succeed so well in doing this.

Brain circuits had adapted overnight; the siren of the brain no longer went off. The amygdala responded much less, especially in those who had had a lot of restful REM sleep and where meanwhile exposed to the specific odor.

The finding can be of great importance for about two-thirds of all people with a mental disorder, as both restless REM sleep and a hyperactive amygdala are the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, depression and insomnia.

  • People with PTSD carry their traumatic experience to the next day:
  • People with an anxiety disorder take their greatest fear with them into the next day
  • People with depression carry their despair into the next day
  • People with chronic insomnia hold onto their tension into the next day

Restless sleepers

However, among the participants were also people with restless REM sleep.

Things went surprisingly different for them.

Brain circuits had not adapted well overnight: the siren of the brain continued to sound the next morning.

And while the nocturnal exposure to the odour helped people with restful REM sleep adapt, the people who had restless REM sleep felt worse by being exposed to the odour.

The evidence is that REM sleep helps “reset” some of the active pathways in the brain.

And it is this “resetting” that helps the upsets and anxieties of yesterday, fade away.


Source: https://nin.nl/rem-sleep-silences-siren-brain/

Photo: Megaphone man by Pressmaster from Pexels.com | Bed pug Photo by Burst from Pexels.com


An apple a day might help keep bothersome menopause symptoms away

New study finds that higher intakes of certain fruits and vegetables may lessen menopause symptoms, but some actually increase menopausal symptoms.

The consumption of fruits or a Mediterranean-style diet, characterized by a high content of vegetables, fruits, cereals, and nuts, was linked to fewer menopause symptoms and complaints.

However, some fruits and vegetables were shown to have an adverse effect, according to a study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Specifically, citrus fruits seem to increase menopausal symptoms. Also dark green leafy vegetables and yellow vegetable were shown to worsen menopause symptoms.

Hot flashes impair memory performance

Read more …


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Citrus fruits make menopausal symptoms worse.

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Dark green leafy veggies and dark yellow vegetables are not good for menopause symptoms.


Source: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200219124232.htm

Photos: Citrus fruits by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist at Pexels.com |
Cabbage by freestocks.org at Pexels | Lilac apple on yellow by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels.com


Middle age stress is greater now than in the 1990’s

Stress in middle aged people is greater now than in 1990s

Research shows that the 2010 decade was more stressful for everyone than the 1990’s decade.

No surprises there!

In 2010, at the start of that decade, the impact of the 2008 financial crisis was reaching its peak.

And many countries are still reeling from that shock and from that worldwide crisis.

These days, endless memes and social media would have us believe that millenials are the most stressed. But the research says otherwise.

A team of researchers led by Penn State found that across all ages, there was a slight increase in daily stress in the dacade from 2010 to 2020 compared to the 1990’s. But when researchers restricted the sample to people between the ages of 45 and 64, there was a sharp increase in daily stress.

Everyone is feeling more stressed this past decade, than they were in the 1990’s

But middle aged people – aged 45 to 64 – are feeling it the hardest

“We thought that with the economic uncertainty, life might be more stressful for younger adults. But we didn’t see that.

We saw more stress for people at mid-life. And maybe that’s because they have children who are facing an uncertain job market while also responsible for their own parents.

So it’s this generational squeeze that’s making stress more prevalent for people at mid-life.”

David M. Almeida, professor of human development and family studies at Penn State

More Responsibilities = More Stress

“It may have to do with people at mid-life being responsible for a lot of people,” Almeida said.

“They’re responsible for their children, oftentimes they’re responsible for their parents, and they may also be responsible for employees at work.


Stress makes it difficult for us to plan because it impairs our memory

Read more …

And with that responsibility comes more daily stress, and maybe that’s happening more so now than in the past.”

More News + Social Media = More Stress

Additionally, Almeida said the added stress could partially be due to life “speeding up” due to technological advances. This could be particularly true during stressful times like the coronavirus pandemic, when tuning out the news can seem impossible.

“With people always on their smartphones, they have access to constant news and information that could be overwhelming,” Almeida said.


Source: https://news.psu.edu/story/618484/2020/05/07/research/middle-age-may-be-much-more-stressful-now-1990s

Photo: Greyscale bald middle aged man by Brett Sayles at Pexels.com


Fishy diet – in moderation – when pregnant improves the child’s metabolism

Salmon and cucumber open sandwich
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To eat or not to eat fish is a question that has long concerned pregnant women. Now, a new USC study shows that children whose mothers ate fish from one to three times a week during pregnancy were more likely to have a better metabolic profile — despite the risk of exposure to mercury — than children whose mothers ate fish rarely (less than once a week).

“Pregnant women should stick to one to three servings of fish a week as recommended, and not eat more, because of the potential contamination of fish by mercury and other persistent organic pollutants.”

Dr. Leda Chatzi, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC

Fish is a major source of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which are important for the developing fetus.


Eating salmon during pregnancy may reduce risk of asthma in offspring in later life


However, some types, such as swordfish, shark and mackerel, can contain high levels of mercury — a potent toxin that can cause permanent neurological damage. Mercury contamination is also found in soil, air, water and plants.

More fish is not better

The children of women who ate fish from one to three times a week had lower metabolic syndrome scores than the children of women who ate fish less than once a week.

But the benefit declined if women ate fish more than three times a week.


Drinking orange juice and tomato juice while pregnant has been shown to improve infant intelligence


Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200316141507.htm

Photos: Smoked salmon on toast by Lum3n at Pexels.com | Cooked salmon steak on lettuce by Dana Tentis at Pexels.com


The secret to happiness? Contagion! Wait! What? Seriously?

Happiness and contagion go together

Happiness: We All Want More

A Google search for “happiness” produces more than a billion results and is one of the more frequently used search terms.

Happiness is the most common promise made by sales people since the development of consumerism. “Buy this product and you will be happier” is the age old promise of almost every sales pitch and advert.

A study by Harvard Medical School, that looked at nearly 5,000 individuals over a period of 20 years, has revealed a surprising source of happiness.

It’s not any product you can buy.

It’s not money.

It’s not sex.

Incredibly, your happiness can be increased by someone you have never spoken to, have never met, and don’t even know exists.

Research shows that one person’s happiness triggers a chain reaction that benefits not only his friends, but his friends’ friends, and his friends’ friends’ friends. That’s three degrees of separation!

And it doesn’t have to be family or relatives – or people emotionally close to you – but physically close, like your next door neighbours.

The researchers found that when an individual becomes happy, a friend living within a mile experiences a 25 percent increased chance of becoming happy. A co-resident spouse experiences an 8 percent increased chance, siblings living within one mile have a 14 percent increased chance, and for next door neighbors, 34 percent chance of becoming happier.

But the real surprise came with indirect relationships. Again, while an individual becoming happy increases his friend’s chances, a friend of that friend experiences a nearly 10 percent chance of increased happiness. Furthermore, a friend of *that* friend has a 5.6 percent increased chance—a three-degree cascade.

So a friend of a friend of a friend could have made you happier, and you don’t even know them.

Happiness can spread, like a contagious infection, through a linked network of people. And the “happiness infection” can spread as far as 3 degrees of separation.

This doesn’t happen by telepathy though. It’s not some mystical “force” or “energy” that spreads the happiness. That would be ridiculous. The spread of happiness obviously depends on some form of communication between the network of friends.

But that doesn’t have to be physical contact.

Phone conversations, Facebook, messaging, online chats etc. can all spread happiness from one person to another.

And then that happiness can spread to the next person.

The effect lasts for up to one year.

These effects are limited by both time and space. The closer a friend lives to you, the stronger the emotional contagion. But as distance increases, the effect dissipates. This explains why next door neighbors have an effect, but not neighbors who live around the block.

Thankfully, sadness does not spread through social networks as effectively as happiness. So an unhappy friend of a friend will not make you unhappy.

But you might be able to cheer them up, eventually, by being happier yourself!


Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081205094506.htm

Photo Credits : Happy Friends by Sharefaith on Pexels.com


 

Stress makes it difficult for us to plan because it impairs our memory

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We use our memory to look back at our past.

But we also use our memories of what has happened in the past, to plan our futures.

When we are stressed, we cannot retrieve memories as quickly or as accurately. And that impairs our ability to plan for the future.

Stressing out about a problem can make finding a solution even harder.

Stressing out over a problem can make finding a solution even harder.

Researchers Stanford University conducted experiments where they monitored participants’ behavior and brain activity — via fMRI — as they navigated through virtual towns. After participants became very familiar with the winding routes in a dozen virtual towns, they were dropped onto one of the memorized paths and told to find their way to a particular point.

Some of the participants were told they would receive a mild electric shock at random. These participants – who were worried about a random electric shock – performed less well that the others who were not threatened with electric shocks.


Middle age stress is greater now than in the 1990’s

Read more …

Participants who didn’t have to worry about being randomly shocked tended to find shortcuts based on memories acquired from prior journeys. Whereas the stressed participants tended to fall back on the meandering, habitual routes.

It’s possible that people who are suffering with financial stress, fail to make effective plans to help deal with financial problem. And that may make their financial situation even worse.


Source: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200403115103.htm

Photos: Red pencil stress words by Pedro Figueras | Man and laptop by Oladimeji Ajegbile 


It’s not just WHAT you eat but also WHEN you eat

What you eat and when you eat it make a difference

A recent study by Vanderbilt University, USA shows that it’s not just how many calories you eat, but WHEN you eat them that will determine how well you burn those calories.

We have all heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.

It turns out, this is more important than we imagined, for weight management!

Your daily biological clock and sleep regulate how the food you eat is metabolized.

Your body either burns stored fats or burns carbohydrates, and that choice depends on the time of day or night.

Your body’s circadian rhythm has programmed your body to burn fat when you sleep, so when you skip breakfast and then snack at night you delay burning the fat.


In other news: People who compulsively check their phones, tend to be fatter than those who don’t

Read more …

The experiments showed that a late-evening snack flipped a switch on fat/carbohydrate preference.

The late-evening snack session resulted in less fat burned when compared to the breakfast session.

Essentially, calories eaten at breakfast are used as fuel throughout the day.

Calories eaten later in the evening replenish the body’s fat stores.

If you want to avoid replenishing those fat stores – if you want those fat stores to be burned up as you sleep – avoid eating in the evening.

The longer your fast between your last evening meal and your first meal the next day – your break fast – the more of that stored fat is used up.


Calories consumed at breakfast time are burned as fuel throughout the day.

Breakfast - the most important meal of the day

Calories consumed in the evening are stored as fat.

Eating later in the day, means those calories are probably stored as fat

This study has important implications for eating habits, suggesting that a daily, and extended, fast between the evening meal and breakfast will optimize fat loss.


Source: https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000622

Photos: Loaded breakfast table by Pixabay | Woman with red wine by Elina Sazonova | Breakfast bowl and spoon by Burst


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