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WORK PERFORMANCE MAY BE AFFECTED BY EATING LATE NIGHT SNACKS

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Time to quit eating at night? According to the findings of a new study, unhealthy eating behaviours at night can make people less helpful and more withdrawn the next day at work.

The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. “For the first time, we have shown that healthy eating immediately affects our workplace behaviours and performance,” said Seonghee “Sophia” Cho, corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor of psychology at North Carolina State University.

Cho added, “It is relatively well established that other health-related behaviours, such as sleep and exercise, affect our work. But nobody had looked at the short-term effects of unhealthy eating.”

Fundamentally, the researchers had two questions: Does unhealthy eating behaviour affect you at work the next day? And, if so, why?

For the study, researchers had 97 full-time employees in the United States answer a series of questions three times a day for 10 consecutive workdays. Before work on each day, study participants answered questions related to their physical and emotional well-being.

At the end of each workday, participants answered questions about what they did at work. In the evening, before bed, participants answered questions about their eating and drinking behaviours after work.

In the context of the study, researchers defined “unhealthy eating” as instances when study participants felt they’d eaten too much junk food; when participants felt they’d had too much to eat or drink; or when participants reporting having too many late-night snacks. The researchers found that, when people engaged in unhealthy eating behaviours, they were more likely to report having physical problems the next morning. Problems included headaches, stomachaches and diarrhea.

In addition, when people reported unhealthy eating behaviours, they were also more likely to report emotional strains the next morning – such as feeling guilty or ashamed about their diet choices. Those physical and emotional strains associated with unhealthy eating were, in turn, related to changes in how people behaved at work throughout the day.

Essentially, when people reported physical or emotional strains associated with unhealthy eating, they were also more likely to report declines in “helping behaviour” and increases in “withdrawal behaviour.”

Helping behaviour at work refers to helping colleagues and going the extra mile when you don’t have to, such as assisting a co-worker with a task that is not your responsibility. Withdrawal behaviour refers to avoiding work-related situations, even though you’re at your workplace.

The researchers also found that people who were emotionally stable suffered fewer adverse effects from unhealthy eating. Not only were emotionally stable people less likely to have physical or emotional strains after unhealthy eating, their workplace behaviours were also less likely to change even when they reported physical or emotional strains.

With ANI inputs

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BRIEF COUNSELLING BY DOCTOR CAN PRODUCE USEFUL REDUCTIONS IN DRINKING

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WASHINGTON : A recent study found the alcohol-targeted brief interventions when delivered in medical settings, can produce useful reductions in drinking.

Published in the scientific journal ‘Addiction’, the findings suggest that structured, one-to-one, short conversations about drinking, designed to motivate changes in risky behaviour, when delivered in doctors’ offices and similar medical settings, might produce small but useful reductions in drinking.

Alcohol-targeted brief interventions yielded small beneficial effects on alcohol use, equivalent to a reduction in 1 drinking day per month. Interestingly, the findings were inconclusive for brief interventions delivered in the emergency department/trauma centres but were effective when delivered in other general medical settings (e.g., a primary care clinic).

There was limited evidence regarding the effects of drug-targeted brief interventions on drug use. Lead author Emily Tanner-Smith comments: “A reduction of one drinking day per month may not sound like much, but small individual reductions can add up to a substantial reduction in population-level harms. Given their brevity, low cost, and minimal clinician effort, brief interventions may be a promising way to reduce alcohol use, one patient at a time.” ­­­

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Study finds Covid-19 related parenting stress impacts eating habits of children

Researchers found that stress resulting from uncertainty about the job and financial security was associated with psychological distress, while concerns over family safety and stability led to anxiety

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A new study has found that the stress experienced by parents during the Coronavirus pandemic has a negative impact the eating habits of children. The findings were published in the journal Current Psychology.

When stay-at-home mandates were ordered and the school went virtual at the onset of the pandemic, many parents suddenly had to juggle multiple roles such as caregiver, employee and educator. Leslie Frankel, associate professor of human development and family studies, said all those responsibilities took a toll on parents’ mental health, and in turn, what and how much their children were consuming.

Previous research has shown that stress, in general, is known to have a negative impact on parent-child feeding interactions, but new findings reveal COVID-19 only magnified the problem.

“These parents do not have the time, energy or emotional capacity to engage in optimal feeding behaviours, so they resort to maladaptive feeding behaviours such as using food as a reward or pressuring their kids to eat,” said Frankel, the study’s lead author and expert in parent-child relationships. “As a result, their children are not able to self-regulate what or how much food they are putting into their bodies, which could have harmful consequences in the long run.”

Frankel and study co-authors Caroline Bena Kuno, a doctoral student in the UH College of Education and UH Honors College student Ritu Sampige, surveyed 119 mothers and fathers of children ages two to seven between April and June 2020.

The researchers analysed two different types of COVID-related parenting stress and found that stress resulting from uncertainty about the job and financial security was associated with psychological distress, while concerns over family safety and stability led to anxiety. The mothers surveyed reported experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety compared to fathers who participated in the study.

“The stress doesn’t just go away. Many parents are still feeling uneasy and a parent who is overwhelmed and experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety may not pay attention to or acknowledge their children’s cues of hunger and fullness,” Frankel explained.

To ensure children are optimising their eating habits in the event of another public health emergency or natural disaster, the research team says policymakers or non-profit organizations interested in improving outcomes for children and parents should provide support systems to help parents manage their daily stressors.

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OSTEOPOROSIS: THE SILENT DISEASE

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Osteoporosis is a disorder in which the density of bone decreases, causing it to lose strength and become brittle. Osteoporosis causes unusually porous, collapsible bone, similar to that of a sponge. The skeleton is weakened by this condition, which leads to frequent fractures (breaks) in the bones. A normal bone is made up of protein, collagen, and calcium and they all contribute to its strength. Osteoporosis-affected bones can shatter (fracture) even with small traumas that would not usually cause a bone to break. Although osteoporosis-related fractures can occur in nearly every skeletal bone, they are most commonly found in the spine, hips, ribs, and wrists.

Symptoms of osteoporosis- there are no indicating symptoms hence the title ‘The Silent Disease’. But one can look out for the following indications; height loss (getting shorter by an inch or more), change in postures, asthma (smaller lung capacity due to compressed lung capacity), fractures in bones, lower- back discomfort.

Some of the factors that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis are:

1. Gender: Women have a higher chance of having osteoporosis as they have smaller bones and lower peak bone mass compared to men. Men still are at risk particularly after the age of 70.

2. Age: Bone loss accelerates as you become older, but new bone formation slows. The bones may deteriorate over time, increasing the chances of developing osteoporosis.

3. Size of the body: Slender, thin-boned women and men are more likely to develop osteoporosis than larger-boned women and men because they have less bone to lose.

4. Race: Osteoporosis is more prevalent among Caucasian and Asian women. African-American and Hispanic women, on the other hand too face this. In fact, after a hip fracture, African-American women are more likely to die than white women.

5. Genetics: Researchers have shown that if one of your parents has had an osteoporosis or hip fracture, your chance of developing osteoporosis and fractures may be increased.

6. Hormonal changes: Certain hormone deficiencies might raise your risk of getting osteoporosis. As an example: After menopause, women’s estrogen levels drop. Low estrogen levels caused by an atypical lack of monthly cycles in premenopausal women owing to hormone abnormalities or high amounts of physical exercise. Men’s testosterone levels are low. Men who have diseases that induce low testosterone are at risk for osteoporosis.

7. Diet: A diet deficient in calcium and vitamin D might raise the chances of developing osteoporosis and fractures. Excessive dieting or a lack of protein may also raise the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis.

8. Lifestyle: Low levels of physical activity and lengthy periods of inactivity can both contribute to accelerated bone loss. They also put you in poor physical shape, increasing your chances of falling and fracturing a bone. Chronic excessive alcohol use is a substantial risk factor for osteoporosis. According to research, smoking is also a risk factor for osteoporosis and fracture.

Treatment for Osteoporosis includes proper nutrition, changes in your way of life, exercise, fall avoidance is important in order to avoid fractures, medications.

DIAGNOSIS FOR OSTEOPOROSIS

Before any problems arise, your healthcare practitioner might schedule a test to provide you with information about your bone health. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA or DXA) scans are other names for bone mineral density (BMD) examinations. These X-rays utilize extremely small quantities of radiation to evaluate the strength of the bones in the spine, hip, and wrist. Regular X-rays will only reveal osteoporosis if the illness has progressed significantly. Women over the age of 65 should undergo a bone density test. For women who have osteoporosis risk factors, a DEXA scan may be performed sooner. Men over the age of 70, as well as younger men with risk factors, should get a bone density test.

When you have osteoporosis, it’s critical to avoid fractures since they can lead to other medical issues. When your health care practitioner tailors a programme to your specific needs, exercise can help avoid fractures caused by falls and increase bone strength. Before beginning any fitness programme, speak with your doctor or physical therapist if you have osteoporosis or bone loss. Furthermore, avoiding falls helps to avoid fractures. Falls raise your chances of breaking a bone in your hip, wrist, spine, or other skeleton.

This author is a Lead Consultant – Orthopedics & Joints Surgery, Aster RV Hospital

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RESEARCH: INTERMITTENT FASTING WORKS FOR WEIGHT LOSS, HEALTH CHANGES

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According to a new study review led by University of Illinois Chicago researchers, intermittent fasting can produce clinically significant weight loss as well as improve metabolic health in individuals with obesity.

The findings of the study were published in the journal Annual Review of Nutrition. “We noted that intermittent fasting is not better than regular dieting; both produce the same amount of weight loss and similar changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation,” said Krista Varady, professor of nutrition at the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences and author of “Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.”

According to the analysis published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, all forms of fasting reviewed produced mild to moderate weight loss, 1 to 8 percent from baseline weight, which represents results that are similar to that of more traditional, calorie-restrictive diets.

Intermittent fasting regimens may also benefit health by decreasing blood pressure and insulin resistance, and in some cases, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are also lowered. Other health benefits, such as improved appetite regulation and positive changes in the gut microbiome, have also been demonstrated.

The review looked at over 25 research studies involving three types of intermittent fasting: alternate-day fasting, which typically involves a feast day alternated with a fast day where 500 calories are consumed in one meal, 5:2 diet—a modified version of alternate-day fasting that involves five feast days and two fast days per week, time-restricted eating—which confines eating to a specified number of hours per day usually four to 10 hours with no calorie restrictions during the eating period.

Various studies of time-restricted eating show participants with obesity losing an average of 3 percent of their body weight, regardless of the time of the eating window.

Studies showed alternate day fasting resulted in weight loss of 3% to 8% of body weight over three to eight weeks, with results peaking at 12 weeks. Individuals on alternate day fasting typically do not overeat or binge on feast days, which results in mild to moderate weight loss, according to the review.

Studies for the 5:2 diet showed similar results to alternate-day fasting, which surprised the study’s reviewers. The subjects who participate in the 5:2 diet fast much less frequently than alternate-day fasting participants do, but the results of weight loss results are similar.

Weight loss in both the alternate day and 5:2 fasting are comparable to more traditional daily calorie-restrictive diets. And, both fasting diets showed individuals were able to maintain an average of 7% weight loss for a year.

“You’re fooling your body into eating a little bit less and that’s why people are losing weight,” Varady said.

Varady added the review set out to debunk some myths regarding intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting does not negatively affect metabolism, nor does it cause disordered eating, according to the studies reviewed.

“Fasting people are worried about feeling lethargic and not being able to concentrate. Even though you are not eating, it won’t affect your energy,” Varady said. “A lot of people experience a boost of energy on fasting days. Don’t worry, you won’t feel crappy. You may even feel better.”

The study review includes a summary of practical considerations for those who may want to try intermittent fasting. Among the considerations are:

Adjustment time—side effects such as headaches, dizziness, and constipation subside after one to two weeks of fasting. Increased water intake can help alleviate headaches caused by dehydration during this time.

Exercise—moderate to high-intensity endurance or resistance training during food abstention can be done, and some study participants reported having more energy on fast days. However, studies recommend those following alternate day fasting eat their fasting day meal after exercise.

Diet during fasting—there are no specific recommendations for food consumption during intermittent fasting, but eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help boost fibre intake and help relieve constipation that sometimes accompanies fasting.

Alcohol and caffeine—for those using an alternate day or 5:2 fasting plan, alcohol is not recommended on fast days as the limited calories should be used on healthy foods that provide nutrition.

There are several groups who should not intermittent fast, according to the studies. Those individuals include: those who are pregnant or lactating, children who are under 12, those with a history of disordered eating, those with a body mass index, or BMI, less than 18.5, shift workers—studies have shown they may struggle with fasting regimens because of shifting work schedules, and those who need to take the medication with food at regimented times.

“People love intermittent fasting because it’s easy. People need to find diets that they can stick to long term. It’s definitely effective for weight loss and it’s gained popularity because there are no special foods or apps necessary. You can also combine it with other diets, like Keto,” Varady said.

It’s definitely effective for weight loss and it has gained popularity because there are no special foods or apps necessary. You can also combine it with other diets, like Keto.

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Optimal blood pressure helps our brains age slower: Study

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People with elevated blood pressure that falls within the normal recommended range are at risk of accelerated brain ageing, according to new research from The Australian National University (ANU).

The research also found optimal blood pressure helps our brains stay at least six months younger than our actual age. The researchers are now calling for national health guidelines to be updated to reflect their important findings. The ANU study, published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, found participants with high blood pressure had older and therefore less healthy brains, increasing their risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia.

Participants with elevated blood pressure, but within the normal range, also had older-looking brains and were at risk of health problems. “This thinking that one’s brain becomes unhealthy because of high blood pressure later in life is not completely true,” Professor Nicolas Cherbuin, Head of the ANU Centre for Research on Ageing, Health, and Wellbeing, said.

“It starts earlier and it starts in people who have normal blood pressure.” Normal blood pressure is defined by pressure below 120/80, whereas an optimal and healthier blood pressure is closer to 110/70.

The new research comes after a large international study found the number of people over 30 with high blood pressure has doubled globally. Cardiologist and co-author of the study, Professor Walter Abhayaratna, said if we maintain optimal blood pressure our brains will remain younger and healthier as we age.

“It’s important we introduce lifestyle and diet changes early on in life to prevent our blood pressure from rising too much, rather than waiting for it to become a problem,” he said.

“Compared to a person with a high blood pressure of 135/85, someone with an optimal reading of 110/70 was found to have a brain age that appears more than six months younger by the time they reach middle age.”

The ANU team, in collaboration with colleagues in Australia, New Zealand, and Germany, examined more than 2,000 brain scans of 686 healthy individuals aged 44 to 76. The blood pressure of the participants was measured up to four times across a 12-year period. The brain scan and blood pressure data were used to determine a person’s brain age, which is a measure of brain health.

Lead author, Professor Cherbuin, said the findings highlight a particular concern for young people aged in their 20s and 30s because it takes time for the effects of increased blood pressure to impact the brain.

“By detecting the impact of increased blood pressure on the brain health of people in their 40s and older, we have to assume the effects of elevated blood pressure must build up over many years and could start in their 20s. This means that a young person’s brain is already vulnerable,” he said.

Professor Abhayaratna said the research findings show the need for everyone, including young people, to check their blood pressure regularly. “Australian adults should take the opportunity to check their blood pressure at least once a year when they see their GP, with an aim to ensure that their target blood pressure is closer to 110/70, particularly in younger and middle age groups,” he said.

“If your blood pressure levels are elevated, you should take the opportunity to speak with your GP about ways to reduce your blood pressure, including the modification of lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity,” he added.

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HOW TO TACKLE ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE IN INDIA

Dr Rahul Pandit

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A recent ICMR report has left healthcare providers, patients, and infection control experts worried about the rising Antimicrobial Resistance in India. The report says that more than 50 percent of ICU patients in recent times have been battling a type of Pneumonia caused by the bacteria ‘Klebsiella Pneumonia’, which will not respond to even powerful antibiotics like Carbapenem. Another antibiotic, Imipenem, will not affect a mutated form of E-coli in 3 out of 10 cases. This means mutations in microbes, be it bacteria, viruses, or fungi—are rendering medicines useless when the patients most need them.

Given the pandemic and the extensive use of antibiotics to fight Covid-19, antibiotic resistance has been accelerated. Many experts are of the opinion that our approach to treating Covid-19 in hospitals could be exacerbating the problem.

Having said that, India with its combination of a large population, rising incomes that facilitate the purchase of antibiotics, high burden of infectious diseases, and easy over-the-counter access to antibiotics —is an important locus for the generation of resistance genes. This was the state even before the pandemic hit us.

Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs, and increased mortality. We have already seen the rise of secondary infections and rare fungal infections such as mucor mycosis or black fungus, white fungus, and yellow fungus, taking a toll on Covid-19 patients during the second wave. Several studies attribute this to the injudicious use of steroids and other antibiotics medicines.

Moreover, even before the pandemic, India experienced over 56,000 newborn deaths each year due to Sepsis that is caused by organisms that are resistant to first-line antibiotics. Also, an estimated 170,000 deaths from Pneumonia in children under five, can be averted with timely access to effective antibiotics. While rising rates of resistant infections are a threat, many deaths are attributable to the lack of access to basic antibiotics.

Another important aspect is the use of antibiotics in the poultry and animal industry. This is much larger than what we imagine and obviously contributes to the growing menace of resistance.

So, how do we control and tackle growing Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in India?

We need to balance excessive and inappropriate use, a key driver of antibiotic resistance while ensuring live-saving medicines are available to those who need them. There is also a need to improve vaccination coverage, access to clean water, adequate sanitation, and improved hygiene.

However, efforts must be made to bring about behavioral changes in terms of hygiene practices, self-medication efforts, and proper health education. Vaccination has been shown to reduce the transmission of AMR infections and the volume of antibiotics consumed due to both, appropriate treatment of bacterial infections and viral infections.

India has undertaken many activities like Mission Indradhanush — to address low vaccination coverage and strengthened micro-planning and additional mechanisms to improve monitoring & accountability. Yet, improvements in coverage are still needed. Moreover, antibiotic stewardship programs are very much needed, to help providers and clinicians make the best clinical decisions possible for an antibiotic prescription. Antibiotic stewardship is the systemic effort to ensure effective treatment of infections, and therefore combat AMR, by monitoring and advising on antibiotic prescription and use. Another aspect is the appropriate management of antibiotics throughout the supply chain—from manufacturing to consumption. Effluents from pharma manufacturing contain active antibiotics, resistant bacteria, and resistant genes; they contaminate rivers, streams, and wells, including waters that are used for drinking and bathing. This increases both the emergence of resistant bacteria in local populations and also its spread. In addition, even lower levels of contamination in wastewater can cause resistant bacteria. In the same light, researchers have noted that contamination in areas where there is an antibiotic manufacturing industry led to an increase in bacterium causing resistance to Carbapenems.

Another source of environmental contamination is contaminated hospital waste. Untreated hospital waste may contain antibiotics and resistant bacteria. Where disposal mechanisms are inadequate, such waste puts staff and patients at increased risk from AMR. Hence, a concerted approach that incorporates diverse stakeholders to tackle and control the spread of antibiotics is essential.

The author is Director of Critical Care at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai and a member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 Taskforce

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