This week's collection of scientific papers covers a wide range of topics, including how sleep affects fat stores around the midsection, how humanity's taste for booze may originate in primates, how adapted Tai Chi practice can help stroke survivors and more.
Lack of sleep increases unhealthy abdominal fat, study finds
New research shows that lack of sufficient sleep combined with free access to food increases calorie consumption and consequently fat accumulation, especially unhealthy fat inside the belly.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Subsidy would improve fruit and veggie intake by as much as 15%, say economists
High fixed costs for retailing fresh fruit and vegetables means that they cost 40% more than would be efficient, unlike unhealthy alternatives, which trade close to marginal cost, a new study demonstrates.
Source: University of Warwick
Exercise may reduce depression symptoms, boost effects of therapy
Exercising for half an hour may reduce symptoms of depression for at least 75 minutes post-workout and amplify the benefits of therapy, according to two new studies.
Source: Iowa State University
Babies exposed to cannabis in the womb may be at risk for obesity, high blood sugar
Both CBD and THC put children at risk despite CBD being marketed as having health benefits
Cannabis use among pregnant women is on the rise and may be associated with negative health outcomes in children, according to a new study.
Source: The Endocrine Society
Monkeys routinely consume fruit containing alcohol, shedding light on our own taste for booze
Study supports 'drunken monkey' hypothesis: humans inherited love of alcohol from primate ancestors
Scientists analyzed the ethanol content of fruit eaten by spider monkeys in Panama, and found that the fruit regularly contained alcohol: between 1% and 2%. The researchers also collected urine samples, most of which contained secondary metabolites of ethanol. The results provide further evidence that our primate ancestors preferentially sought out fermented, alcohol-containing fruit likely for its greater nutritional value, and that humans may have inherited this proclivity for ethanol.
Source: University of California - Berkeley
Carbs, sugary foods may influence poor oral health
New research on postmenopausal women identifies associations between commonly eaten foods and the diversity and composition of oral bacteria.
Source: University at Buffalo
Researchers identify neuronal mechanisms that control food cravings during pregnancy
Dopamine and compulsive eating behavior
Many people have felt the sudden and uncontrollable urge to eat a certain food. These urges --known as cravings-- are very common, especially during pregnancy. During this time, the mother's body undergoes a series of physiological and behavioral changes to create a favorable environment for the embryo's development. However, the frequent consumption of tasty and high calorie foods -- derived from the cravings -- contributes to weight gain and obesity in pregnancy, which can have negative effects on the baby's health.
Source: University of Barcelona
Hold the salt: Study reveals how reducing sodium intake can help patients with heart failure
Surprising findings show a low-salt diet doesn’t prevent death or hospital visits, but does improve symptoms and quality of life.
The largest randomized clinical trial to look at sodium reduction and heart failure has found that reducing salt intake does not lead to fewer emergency visits, hospitalizations or deaths for patients with heart failure. Researchers did find an improvement in symptoms such as swelling, fatigue and coughing, as well as better overall quality of life.
Source: University of Alberta
Sitting Tai Chi exercises improved recovery outcomes for older stroke survivors
A study found that after three months of practicing a modified form of Tai Chi in which participants are seated, stroke survivors had improved hand and arm function, sitting balance, mental health and quality of life, compared to stroke survivors who participated in a standard stroke rehabilitation exercise program. The study is the first randomized controlled trial to indicate practicing a seated form of Tai Chi early after a stroke enhanced health outcomes.
Source: American Heart Association
Sport improves concentration and quality of life
Study with primary school pupils confirms positive impact of physical fitness
Physically fit primary school pupils feel better and can concentrate better. They are more likely to make it to higher-level secondary grammar schools than children with less sporting ability.
Source: Technical University of Munich (TUM)
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