Archive for June, 2009

In the News: Tennis can help beat the Menopause

Monday, June 1st, 2009

A new study (by Japanese scientists in the British Journal of Sports Medicine) suggests that playing ball games like tennis and netball in your teens can make women’s bones stronger forty years later. The scientists interviewed post menopausal women about the kind of exercise they took in their teens and it appears that the more weight bearing exercise a girl takes between the ages of 12 and 18 the more her bone density is likely to be protected after the menopause. High impact sports like sprinting can also be beneficial.

In the News: Risk of blood sugar problems increases with lack of sleep

Monday, June 1st, 2009

People who sleep less than six hours a night are at greater risk of blood sugar problems that can lead to diabetes, according to research presented by scientists at the University of Buffalo in New York. They found that those who lose sleep during the working week are five times more likely to develop blood sugar problems.

It’s thought that hormonal changes caused by too much or too little sleep can affect the body’s metabolism and appetite control. The study found that those sleeping fewer than six hours a night from Sunday to Thursday over six years were 4.5 times more likely to develop the blood sugar abnormality known as impaired fasting glucose compared to those sleeping between six and eight hours. The condition – which is often called pre-diabetes – is caused by the body not producing enough insulin causing blood sugar levels to rise above normal in the morning. The findings could not be explained by genes and scientists believe they are most likely due to lack of sleep.


Around a third of British adults regularly sleep for five hours or less a night. The healthiest amount of sleep, according to researchers, is seven hours a night.

In the News: Stress linked to asthma and allergies in children

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Women who are stressed in pregnancy are more likely to have babies who suffer from asthma and allergies (according to a study from Harvard Medical School in Boston and presented earlier this year at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in Toronto).

Researchers found that unborn babies exposed to stress before birth have increased tendencies to react to allergy triggers such as dust mites. It is thought that the developing immune system of unborn babies can be changed by maternal stress, probably through stress hormones, like cortisol. The results of the study held true regardless of a mother’s race, class, education or smoking history. This research supports the notion that stress can be thought of as a kind of social pollutant that can influence the immune system.