Young e-cigarette users more likely to become tobacco users, says new study

The study also looked at other factors that influence smoking, including smoking susceptibility, having friends or family members who smoke, age, sex, family affluence, ethnic group and school.

A recent UK study suggests that teenagers who have tried an e-cigarette are more likely to go on to smoke tobacco cigarettes.

The study was led by the University of Stirling along with researchers from the Unversities of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and ScotCen. The team looked at pupils at four Scottish secondary schools aged between 11 and 18 years old, surveying the participants in 2015 and then again 12 months later.

They found in the initial 2015 survey that among the 2,125 pupils who had never smoked a cigarette, 183 (8.6%) said that they had tried an e-cigarette and 1,942 had not.

In the 2016 survey, 74 (40.4%) of those who had tried an e-cigarette in the initial 2015 survey went on to smoke a cigarette in the following 12 months – compared to only 249 (12.8%) of young people who had not tried an e-cigarette.

The team found in the initial 2015 survey that among the 2,125 pupils who had never smoked a cigarette, 183 (8.6%) said that they had tried an e-cigarette and 1,942 had not. (Shutterstock)

The results remained statistically significant even after the team had taken into account other factors that influence smoking including smoking susceptibility, having friends or family members who smoke, age, sex, family affluence, ethnic group and school.

“Uniquely, we also found that e-cigarette use had a greater impact on the odds of cigarette experimentation in young never smokers who had a firm intention not to smoke and/or whose friends didn’t smoke. Traditionally, this is the group of young people least likely to take up smoking,” commented Dr Catherine Best, research fellow at the University of Stirling.

Sally Haw, professor of Public and Population Health at Stirling, also added that, “The greater impact of e-cigarette use on young people thought to be at lower risk of starting smoking is of particular concern” and now recommends further research to understand better how experimenting with e-cigarettes may influence smoking attitudes.

The findings can be found published online in the British Medical Journal’s Tobacco Control journal.

How we believe meat is raised may influence its taste: Study

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Our beliefs about how animals are raised – whether on ‘factory farms’ or in more humane conditions – can shape our meat eating experience and influence its taste, a new study has found.

Researchers from Northeastern University in the US paired identical meat samples with different descriptions and then reported on participants’ eating experiences.

They found that meat samples paired with descriptions of animals raised on factory farms looked, smelled and tasted less pleasant to study participants than meat samples paired with descriptions of animals raised on humane farms.

Participants’ beliefs also influenced their perceived flavour of the meat and the amount of meat they consumed, suggesting that beliefs can actually influence eating behaviour.

The findings align with an emerging body of research that shows that our beliefs can influence how we evaluate food.

Wine, for instance, tastes better if we think it is expensive – even if the fine vintage we have been told we are drinking is really a cheap knock-off from a corner store, researchers said.

“We show that what you feel very directly influences not only how you interpret what you see but also very literally what you see,” said Lisa Feldman Barrett from Northeastern University.

“We call this ‘affective realism’ – the tendency of your feelings to influence the actual content of your perceptual experience,” said Barrett.

The findings suggest that anyone interested in creating things, from a chef to a filmmaker to a designer should consider how beliefs influence the user experience.

In the first experiment, study participants were asked to consume two identical samples of organic beef jerky, each of which was paired with a different label describing a different kind of farm on which cattle were raised.

Researchers found that study participants ranked the factory farmed meat sample as less pleasant along all measured consumption categories, including appearance, smell, taste and overall enjoyment.

In the second experiment, each study participant sampled only one of four identical roast beef samples, each of which was paired with a newly created description.

The third experiment tested whether beliefs about how animals are raised can influence basic sensory properties of flavor, including perceived saltiness and sweetness.

Researchers found that the descriptions influenced the flavour ratings of the ham sample.

Participants reported that factory farmed ham tasted saltier, greasier, and less fresh than humanely raised ham.

“Beliefs are really powerful. Words are really powerful.They influence what you do, often in surprising ways,” said Barrett.

The findings were published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Study shows breastfeeding may reduce the risk of Multiple Sclerosis in women

Mothers who breastfeed for at least 15 months over one or more pregnancies may be 53 per cent less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) compared with those who do not breastfeed at all or do so for up to four months, a study has claimed.

MS is a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves. The findings showed that women with MS have significantly fewer relapses, or attacks, during pregnancy or while they are breastfeeding exclusively.

“Among the many other benefits to the mother and the baby, breastfeeding may reduce the mother’s future risk of developing MS,” said Annette Langer-Gould from Kaiser Permanente Southern California. In addition, women who were age 15 or older at the time of their first menstrual cycle were 44 per cent less likely to develop MS later than women who were 11 years old or younger at the time of their first menstruation.

The total number of years a woman ovulated and other factors, such as number of pregnancies, use of hormonal contraceptives and age at first birth were not associated with risk of MS, the researchers said, in the paper published in the journal Neurology.

“Other health benefits include a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart attack,” Langer-Gould said. For the study, the team involved 397 women with an average age of 37 who were newly diagnosed with MS or its precursor, clinically isolated syndrome, who were compared to 433 other women.

Autistic females face greater difficulty with daily tasks: Study

Women and girls with autism may face greater challenges with real world planning, organisation and other daily living skills, than boys, an analysis has showed.

The findings showed that girls were struggling more with these independence skills of executive function including the ability to make a plan, get organised, and follow through on the plan as needed-and adaptive skills-ability to perform basic daily tasks like getting up and dressed or making small talk.

“Our goal was to look at real world skills, not just the diagnostic behaviours we use clinically to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to understand how people are actually doing in their day to day lives,” said Allison Ratto, psychologist at Children’s National Health System in the US.

This was surprising because in general, girls with ASD have better social and communication skills during direct assessments, the researchers said. “The natural assumption would be that those communication and social skills would assist them to function more effectively in the world, but we found that this isn’t always the case,” Ratto said.

For the study, published in the journal Autism Research, the team collected parent-reported data on 79 females and 158 males meeting clinical criteria for autism spectrum disorders, ranging in ages from seven to 18 years old.

“Our focus in caring for children with autism is equipping all of them with strategies and skills to allow them to function and succeed in day-to-day living. “Enhancing our understanding of how biological differences change the presentation of autism in the long term is crucial to giving every person with ASD the tools they need to succeed in life,” she added.

Ozone pollution tied to cardiovascular health: Study

Exposure to ozone, a powerful greenhouse gas and a widespread air pollutant in many major cities, may cause cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke, according to a new study of Chinese adults.

Ozone is a pollutant formed through a chemical reaction that occurs when sunlight interacts with nitrogen oxides and other organic compounds that are generated by coal-burning, vehicle exhaust and some natural sources. It has long been associated with adverse health effects in children and adults, Xinhua reported on Monday.

“We know that ozone can damage the respiratory system, reduce lung function and cause asthma attacks,” said study author Junfeng Zhang, from Duke and Duke Kunshan University.

“Here, we wanted to learn whether ozone affects other aspects of human health, specifically the cardiovascular system.” Zhang and colleagues studied 89 healthy adults living in Changsha City of China for one year. They monitored indoor and outdoor ozone levels, along with other pollutants.

At four intervals, the study team took participant blood and urine samples and used a breathing test called spirometry to examine a set of factors that could contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory disease. The team examined inflammation and oxidative stress, arterial stiffness, blood pressure, clotting factors and lung function in participants.

They noted blood platelet activation, which is a risk factor for clotting, and an increase in blood pressure, suggesting a possible mechanism by which ozone may affect cardiovascular health. These effects were found with ozone exposure lower than that which affects respiratory health, and lower than current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality standards.

“This study shows that standards for safe ozone exposure should take into account its effect on cardiovascular disease risk,” said Zhang. These findings, by a team from Duke University, Tsinghua University, Duke Kunshan University and Peking University, were published Monday in the US journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

“This study provides mechanistic support to previously observed associations between low-level ozone exposure and cardiovascular disease outcomes,” the study concluded.

Language lessons for your baby may start in womb: Study

Love to speak to your unborn baby? Well he or she can typically distinguish the difference between sounds used in various languages even a month before being born, an interesting study has shown. The study showed that foetuses can hear things, including speech, in the womb, although the voice is muffled.

In the study, the foetal heart rates changed when they heard the unfamiliar, rhythmically distinct language (Japanese) after having heard a passage of English speech, while their heart rates did not change when they were presented with a second passage of English instead of a passage in Japanese.

“The results suggest that language development may indeed start in the womb. Foetuses are tuning their ears to the language they are going to acquire even before they are born, based on the speech signals available to them in utero,” said lead author Utako Minai, associate professor from the University of Kansas.

“Pre-natal sensitivity to the rhythmic properties of language may provide children with one of the very first building blocks in acquiring language,” Minai added.

For the study, published in the journal NeuroReport, the team examined 24 women, averaging roughly eight months pregnant. Minai had a bilingual speaker make two recordings, one each in English and Japanese — argued to be rhythmically distinctive language, to be played in succession to the foetus.

“The intrauterine environment is a noisy place. The foetus is exposed to maternal gut sounds, her heartbeats and voice, as well as external sounds.

“Without exposure to sound, the auditory cortex wouldn’t get enough stimulation to develop properly. This study gives evidence that some of that development is linked to language,” explained Kathleen Gustafson, a research associate professor at the varsity.

Caffeine May Improve Breathing Ability and Lung Function in Premature Babies: Study

In the time when nutritionists and experts are debating how much of coffee in a day is good or bad, a recent Australian based study has demonstrated that a limited caffeine intake by premature babies may improve their lung function in later life.

 

The study shows that caffeine acts as respiratory stimulant that may improve short-term breathing rates in infants. In the study a regulated portion of caffeine, helped them perform slightly better in tests that measure their ability to breathe out later in life. The findings also found that the infants were also significantly better at exhaling during a forced breath.

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In the study Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital doctors examined the development of over 140 premature babies (under ten days), half of whom were given a dose of caffeine once a day, over 11 years, and half of them were given a placebo. The trial participants were checked at 18 months and five years, with the group that received caffeine found to have a better breathing ability at the age of 11, than the other group. The caffeine was given to the infants with milk through a tube or as an injection, once daily.

 

Lead author of the study, Dr Lex Doyle explained that caffeine belongs to a group of drugs known as methylxanthines. This group of drugs has the ability to reduce apnea of prematurity, a condition in which the baby stops breathing for many seconds.

Feeling Inferior To Attractive Partner May Trigger Eating Disorders In Women: Study

According to a study published in the journal Body Image, women who found themselves to be less attractive than their husbands or romantic partners,were more motivated to diet and be thin often to a point of developing eating disorders.Eating disorders comprise of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits.Eating disorders are as serious as any physical ailment, which must be treated with immediate attention, else it may manifest into long term health consequences associated with poor mental health. Off late with increased campaigns to promote Mental Health awareness, eating disorders have also started gaining the attention which was long due.

On the other hand a similar motivation to diet to point of starvation was not observed among women who happened to be more attractive than their husbands . As for men, their motivation to diet was low regardless of their wives attractiveness or their own.

Feeling Inferior To Attractive Partner May Trigger Eating Disorders In Women: Study

Tania Reynolds, doctoral student at the Florida State University, said, “The results reveal that having a physically attractive husband may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive,”

 

For the study, the team examined 113 newlywed couples — married less than four months, average age late 20s, living in Dallas area — who agreed to be rated on their attractiveness, according to some set indicators curated by the team.

 

The study offered productive insights about relationships in which a woman is constantly feeling inferior and fears falling short of her partner’s expectations. “It might be helpful to identify women at risk of developing more extreme weight-loss behaviours, which have been linked to other forms of psychological distress such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and dissatisfaction with life,” Reynolds added.

food eating diet

Photo Credit: iStock

Reynolds believe, that the study can prove fruitful, as If we are able to understand how women’s relationships affect their decision to diet and the social predictors for developing unhealthy eating behaviours, then better help and assistance could be given to them.

 

Some of the most common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder which are often linked to depression and poor mental health, can result in extreme emotional uheaval, uncontrollable attitude, and aggressive behavior.

  •  Anorexia: People suffering with Anorexia live under a fear of gaining weight, even if they actually happen to be underweight. They tend to diet relentlessly to a point of starvation. Their distorted body image makes them believe that they are overweight or are constantly putting on weight. Common symptoms include: Dramatic weight loss. Anorexics are usually underweight, Obsessed with dieting and counting calories, Skipping meals regularly.
    anorexia

    Photo Credit: I stock

  • Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia is characterized by repeated episodes of binge eating followed by behavior that compensates for overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive exercise, or extreme use of laxatives or diuretics. They are ashamed of their weight. The binge-eating and purging routine is typically followed in secret, creating feelings of shame, guilt, and lack of control.
  • Binge-Eating Disorder: Binge Eating victims tend to indulge in emotional eating as it relieves them from stress and disturbing self-image issues. You may feel you can’t stop eating, and you needn’t be even be hungry to eat. You feel guilty about eating, and go back to eating again to feel better, and use food as a reward for yourself. This way, you may be trapped in vicious cycle.

Autistic females face greater difficulty carrying out daily tasks, finds study

Women and girls with autism may face greater challenges with real world planning, organisation and other daily living skills, than boys, according to an analysis.

The findings showed that girls were struggling more with these independence skills of executive function including the ability to make a plan, get organised, and follow through on the plan as needed, and adaptive skills such as the ability to perform basic daily tasks like getting up and dressed or making small talk.

“Our goal was to look at real world skills, not just the diagnostic behaviours we use clinically to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to understand how people are actually doing in their day-to-day lives,” said Allison Ratto, psychologist at Children’s National Health System in the US.

This was surprising because in general, girls with ASD have better social and communication skills during direct assessments, the researchers said.

For the study, the team collected parent-reported data on 79 females and 158 males meeting clinical criteria for autism spectrum disorders, ranging in ages from seven to 18 years. (Shutterstock)

“The natural assumption would be that those communication and social skills would assist them to function more effectively in the world, but we found that this isn’t always the case,” Ratto said.

For the study, published in the journal Autism Research, the team collected parent-reported data on 79 females and 158 males meeting clinical criteria for autism spectrum disorders, ranging in ages from seven to 18 years old.

“Our focus in caring for children with autism is equipping all of them with strategies and skills to allow them to function and succeed in day-to-day living.

“Enhancing our understanding of how biological differences change the presentation of autism in the long term is crucial to giving every person with ASD the tools they need to succeed in life,” she added.

Poor sleep may point to onset of Alzheimer’s disease: study

Poor, disrupted sleep may indicate the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in people who are otherwise healthy, a study warns. Researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US found that people who reported worse sleep quality, more sleep problems and daytime sleepiness had more biological markers for Alzheimer’s disease in their spinal fluid than people who did not have sleep problems. Those biological markers included signs of the proteins amyloid and tau and brain cell damage and inflammation.

“It’s important to identify modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s given that estimates suggest that delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in people by a mere five years could reduce the number of cases we see in the next 30 years by 5.7 million,” said Barbara B Bendlin, PhD student at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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While some of these relationships were strong when looking at everyone as a group, not everyone with sleep problems has abnormalities in their spinal fluid.

There was no link between biological markers in the spinal fluid and obstructive sleep apnea, researchers said.

“It is still unclear if sleep may affect the development of the disease or if the disease affects the quality of sleep,” Bendlin said.

Researchers recruited 101 people with an average age of 63 years who had normal thinking and memory skills but who were considered at risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

They either had a parent with the disease or were a carrier of a gene that increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease called apolipoprotein E or APOE.

Participants were surveyed about sleep quality. They also provided spinal fluid samples that were tested for biological markers of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published in the journal Neurology.