Dehydration can affect your brain, make it tough to perform simple tasks

Dehydration,Health,Wellness

According to a recent study, dehydration alters the human brain shape and activity and even slackens task performance. A Georgia Institute of Technology study suggests that when dehydration strikes, part of the brain can swell, neural signalling can intensify, and doing monotonous tasks can get harder.

The researchers also found that even without dehydration, exertion and heat put a dent in test subjects’ performance, but water loss made the dent about twice as deep. “We wanted to tease out whether exercise and heat stress alone have an impact on your cognitive function and study the effect of dehydration on top of that,” said Mindy Millard-Stafford, the study’s principal investigator.

In the experiments, when participants exercised, sweated and drank water, fluid-filled spaces called ventricles in the centre of their brains contracted. But with exertion plus dehydration, the ventricles did the opposite; they expanded. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) revealed the differences. Oddly, the ventricle expansion in dehydrated test subjects may not have had much to do with their deeper slumps in task performance.

“The structural changes were remarkably consistent across individuals,” said Millard-Stafford. “But performance differences in the tasks could not be explained by changes in the size of those brain areas.”

“The areas in the brain required for doing the task appeared to activate more intensely than before, and also, areas lit up that were not necessarily involved in completing the task,” said the study’s first author Matt Wittbrodt. “We think the latter may be in response to the physiological state: the body signalling, ‘I’m dehydrated’.”

The task the subjects completed was mindless and repetitive. For 20 straight minutes, they were expected to punch a button every time a yellow square appeared on a monitor. Sometimes, the square appeared in a regular pattern, and sometimes it appeared randomly. The task was dull for a reason.

“It helped us to avoid the cognitive complexity behind elaborate tasks and strip cognition down to simple motor output,” Wittbrodt said. “It was designed to hit essential neural processing one would use to make straightforward, repetitive movements.” The study has been published in Physiological Reports.

[“source=hindustantimes”]

HDL or good cholesterol can be life threatening, says a new study

Contrary to claims that good cholesterol is beneficial to the heart, a new study has showed that very high levels may be associated with an increased risk of heart attack and death.

The findings showed that people with high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good) cholesterol levels of 41-60 mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre) had the lowest risk of heart attack or cardiovascular death.

However, the risk increased in people with low levels (less than 41 mg/dl) as well as very high levels (greater than 60 mg/dl) of HDL cholesterol.

People with HDL cholesterol levels greater than 60 mg/dl had a nearly 50 per cent increased risk of dying from a cardiovascular cause or having a heart attack compared to those with HDL cholesterol levels 41-60 mg/dl.

“It may be time to change the way we view HDL cholesterol. Traditionally, physicians have told their patients that the higher your ‘good’ cholesterol, the better,” said Marc Allard-Ratick, from the Emory University in Atlanta, US.

“However, the results from this study and others suggest that this may no longer be the case,” he added.

The bad effects of very high HDL cholesterol were consistent even after controlling other risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, smoking, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol, as well as other factors such as alcohol intake, race, and sex.

HDL cholesterol has been considered “good” because the HDL molecule is involved in the transport of cholesterol from the blood and blood vessel walls to the liver and ultimately out of the

body, thereby reducing the risk of clogged arteries and atherosclerosis, the researchers explained.

The study investigated the relationship between HDL cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack and death in 5,965 individuals, most of whom had heart disease.

The results were presented at the ESC Congress 2018, the annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Munich, Germany.

[“source=indiatvnews”]

School Teachers Can Help Increase Physical Activity In Kids

School Teachers Can Help Increase Physical Activity In Kids

Involvement of teachers as participants in school recess — leading games, monitoring play and ensuring conflicts — may boost kid’s physical activity, a new study has found.

Recess is seen by educators and policymakers as a valuable part of a child’s school day, in part because physical activity plays an important role in helping to curb high child obesity rates.

The findings, published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports, suggested that students are more likely to be active and engaged during longer recess periods.

“While recess is often perceived as a break for students and teachers alike, it can also be an opportunity for teachers and students to interact in more informal settings, for teachers to model healthy behaviour and appropriate social skills and for students and teachers to develop stronger relationships,” said lead author William Massey, Assistant Professor at the Oregon State University in the US.

For the study, the team outfitted 146 children in grades 4-6 from seven schools with fitness tracking devices to monitor their physical activity during the school day, including recess.

They examined several variables that affect both a child’s engagement in recess activities and the amount of physical activity they netted during recess periods.

The researchers also observed recess activity for 8,340 students at nine schools and analysed the quality of the recess environment and the students’ engagement in activities.

They found that the average recess period was nearly 23 minutes and that students averaged just under 42 steps per minute during recess. The researchers also found that boys averaged about 10 more steps per minute than girls in each recess period.

Overall, recess contributed to 27 per cent of the students’ daily step count average, even though it made up just 5.6 per cent of the children’s school day. The researchers also found that boys were more engaged in recess than girls.

“This study underscores the importance of a high quality recess experience for children, including the need for adults who are actively engaged with the children on the playground,” Massey noted.

[“source=doctor.ndtv”]

Simple Leg Exercises Can Reduce Negative Effects On Heart And Blood Vessels

Simple Leg Exercises Can Reduce Negative Effects On Heart And Blood Vessels

Did you know how beneficial are simple leg exercises while lying down? A sedentary lifestyle can cause an impairment of transportation of blood in the body which in turn may increase the risk of diseases in the heart and blood vessels. Performing simple leg exercises can make a huge change and prevent such problems, a new study reveals. Earlier work has demonstrated that prolonged sitting for up to 6 hours results in a decline in both blood flow to the limbs and in our larger arteries’ ability to widen to accommodate increased blood flow.

This is the first study to show that sitting for just 10 minutes is sufficient to reduce blood flow to the legs and impairs the function of small blood vessels supplying muscles in the leg.

This paper also highlights a reduction in the function of small blood vessels when lying down. However, this study suggests that we might be able to reverse this impairment to some extent by performing some simple leg exercises when lying down in bed or on the sofa.

The effects of sitting on blood circulation have been attributed to blood passing more slowly through arteries while sitting. The researchers aimed to find out whether these reductions were caused by sustained sitting, or whether 10 minutes would be sufficient to have a negative effect.

The researchers used a Doppler ultrasound technique alongside the knee to measure blood flow and examined the extent to which blood vessels widened in 18 healthy, young males. These measurements were made prior to and following a 10 -minute period of sitting or during a period of rest while lying down, with or without leg exercises, which were performed by extending the foot back and forth every two seconds for a third of the time spent lying down.

Results showed that a 10 minute period of sitting reduced participants’ ability to rapidly increase blood flow to the lower legs via small blood vessels, but it did not affect the widening of larger arteries in response to increased blood flow. The results also suggest leg exercises can help maintain rapid increases in the blood supply to the limbs.

The study demonstrates changes in blood vessel function measured at the level of the knee. However, the researchers only tested healthy young males and their findings cannot be extended to females. It remains unknown as to how these responses may vary with age, or with people who have heart problems.

Further study may investigate the impact of sitting and inactivity on blood vessels in other places in the body. Studies designed to investigate the impact of repeated bouts of short-term sitting on blood vessel function are needed.

“These findings further our understanding of the negative impact of inactivity on blood vessel function and demonstrate the positive effects of simple leg exercises whilst lying down providing further insight into how inactivity affects vascular health of the lower legs”, says study author Dr Paul Fadel.

The findings appeared in the journal Experimental Physiology.

[“source=ndtv”]

Cardiovascular diseases, here’s how exposure to toxic metals can affect your heart health

Cardiovascular Health,Toxic Metals,Lead

Exposure to environmental toxic metals such as arsenic, lead, copper, and mercury has become a major global health concern. The metals like arsenic, lead, copper and cadmium are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

Arsenic and cadmium, for example, are known carcinogens, but there are increasing suggestions that exposure to toxic metals may be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

To investigate further, an international research team, led by Rajiv Chowdhury at the University of Cambridge, reviewed and analysed the results of epidemiological studies that had looked at the association of arsenic, lead, copper, cadmium, and mercury with coronary heart disease, stroke and composite cardiovascular disease.

They identified 37 separate studies published before December 2017 involving almost 350,000 participants. A total of 13,033 coronary heart disease, 4,205 stroke and 15,274 cardiovascular outcomes were reported across the studies.

The studies were designed differently and were of varying quality, but the researchers were able to allow for that in their analysis. Exposure to arsenic was found to be significantly associated with a 23% greater relative risk of coronary heart disease and a 30% greater relative risk of composite cardiovascular disease, but there was no evidence of an association with risk of stroke.

Exposure to cadmium and copper was also associated with increased relative risks of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease, while lead and cadmium were associated with an increased relative risk of stroke (63% and 72% respectively).

In contrast, mercury was not found to be associated with cardiovascular risk. The researchers point out that their review was solely based on observational data, which might be affected by unmeasured factors, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions about cause and effect.

Nevertheless, they say their findings “reinforce the (often under-recognised) importance of environmental toxic metals in enhancing global cardiovascular risk, beyond the roles of conventional behavioural risk factors, such as smoking, poor diet and inactivity.”

Furthermore, they say their study highlights the potential need for additional worldwide efforts and strategies “to reduce human exposures even in settings where there is a relatively lower average level of exposure (such as many Western countries).”

[“source=hindustantimes”]

How internships can help you make a career change without any doubts

internship, career change

An internship can help you ease your worries about a career change!

A career switch can be a scary prospect – what if you cannot do well in your new job role? In such cases, an internship can come to your rescue!

Shubham had been passionate about teaching since childhood but could never muster the courage to follow it, due to his lack of confidence in public speaking. Soon, he completed his engineering degree and was placed as an analyst in a multinational company.

His job provided him with various good opportunities of getting industry exposure but he still had a persistent curiosity and interest in teaching and contemplated switching his career.

However, he wanted to take an informed decision before doing anything about it. So, he decided to explore teaching through virtual internships along with his job.

After sending in a few internship applications online, he was finally selected for a content development internship where he had to prepare video lectures based on programming concepts and other computer science subjects like theory of computation and graph theory.

By the end of the second month of his internship, he became quite popular among students and gained confidence in his teaching abilities. Now, he knew for sure that teaching was his true calling and decided to quit his job to pursue a full-time career in teaching.

Read: 10 reasons why you need an industry based internship for a successful career

A misguided career change can be an expensive mistake

Many students like Shubham, when taking the decision regarding the career path to pursue, either can’t follow their true passion due to lack of guidance or aren’t even aware of their real interests at such an early stage of their lives.

This is the reason why many of them decide to switch their careers after graduation or after a few years of doing a job. Not happy with what they are currently doing and looking for a change in their professional lives, many of them simply go for MBAs.

However, this could prove to be an expensive mistake if you do not have a perspective beforehand and later, realise that management is not your calling.

Read: 4 ways internships can help women restart their career

2 ways an internship can help you make a career switch decision easier

So, what should you do instead? Well, the answer is simple — do an internship! Why? When you decide to make a career shift, there could be two possible scenarios:

1. You have a certain career path in mind to go for but you are not really aware of what it truly holds for you.

2. You are not happy with your present line of profession but you also don’t know what profession will be most suitable for you.

In both the cases, internships can prove to be extremely helpful in making an informed career switch decision.

Career change can be a tricky business, but internships can help sort your mind!

Scenario 1

Talking about scenario one first, let’s say, you are currently working as a software developer but graphic designing fascinates you.

You quit your job and take up a graphic design position but later on find out that you don’t have the right aptitude for it and the profession isn’t congruent to your expectations. You’ll feel stuck again, right?

Here, taking up an internship would have been a wise choice because they require short-term commitment usually ranging from 1 to 6 months.

Internships let you test the waters before you take a deep dive into an entirely new professional channel. This statement stays true for both the cases.

Read: 3 reasons you should grab a summer internship at a startup

Scenario 2

Now, let’s talk about scenario two. Suppose you are doing a well-paying 9 to 5 job but your heart is not into it. You don’t enjoy your work and want to shift your career to some other profession but don’t have any direction to proceed in.

Here, internships provide you with the opportunity to explore different professions for a small period of 1-3 months. You could pursue multiple internships in various fields to get a perspective on diverse professions and experiment your way to find your true calling.

So, if you are not happy with your current line of work and wish to switch your career, do not take a rash decision and change your job or do an MBA.

Think through it, research well, and explore your options with internships as they’ll let you test your abilities and check if the new profession fulfils your expectations or not.

[“Source-indiatoday”]

Caffeine can help patients with kidney disease live longer

Caffeine,Health,Wellness

Consuming more caffeine may help reduce the risk of death for people with chronic kidney disease. In a new study, researchers hypothesised that caffeine consumption might be associated with lower mortality among participants with chronic kidney disease. The possible protective effect of caffeine might be related to effects at a vascular level as caffeine is known to promote the release of substances, such as nitric oxide, that improves the function of the vessel.

Chronic kidney disease is associated with increased health care costs and a higher risk of death. The prevalence of the disease is expected to continue to increase worldwide. One of the study’s lead authors, Miguel Bigotte Vieira, said, “Our study showed a protective effect of caffeine consumption among patients with chronic kidney disease. The reduction in mortality was present even after considering other important factors such as age, gender, race, smoking, and diet.”

“These results suggest that advising patients with kidney disease to drink more caffeine may reduce their mortality. This would represent a simple, clinically beneficial, and inexpensive option, though this benefit should ideally be confirmed in a randomised clinical trial,” added Vieira.

The author, therefore, emphasised that this observational study cannot prove that caffeine reduces the risk of death in patients with chronic kidney disease, but only suggests the possibility of such a protective effect.

The full findings are present in the journal Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation.

[“source=hindustantimes”]