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Pregnancy Exercise ‘Helps Baby’

Exercise during pregnancy can be good for the developing baby as well as for the mother, research suggests.

Aerobic exercise during pregnancy ‘can benefit baby’

A team from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences suggest it is linked to better foetal heart health and nervous system development.

The findings from their pilot study of 26 women are being presented to the American Physiological Society’s conference in New York.

A UK expert said pregnant women should discuss exercise levels with their GP.

The researchers wanted to see if maternal exercise had cardiovascular benefits for the foetus.

They also wanted to see if foetuses whose mothers exercised had increased breathing movements compared to non-exercise exposed foetuses.

Foetal breathing is a “practice” movement where a baby developing in the womb gets ready to breathe after it is born.

It is also a sign of how well the respiratory system and central nervous system are developing.

Moderate exercise
The scientists used a non-invasive device to measure the magnetic fields produced by the electrical activity of maternal and foetal heart rates.
“Keep within your comfort zone so that you can still hold a conversation” Says Patrick O’Brien, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
It was also able to pick up foetal movements including breathing, body movements, hiccups and sucking.

The women studied were aged between 20 and 35 and were checked between the 36th and 38th weeks of pregnancy.

They were classed as exercisers if they did moderate intensity aerobic exercise such as moderate to vigorous walking, stationary bicycling and running for at least 30 minutes, three times per week. Most were doing more.

The researchers then compared them with pregnant women who did not exercise regularly.

Dr Linda May, who led the study, said: “Foetal breathing movement and the nervous system were more mature in babies exposed to exercise.”

She said further research was needed, both to look at more pregnancies and to evaluate the health of babies once they had been born.

But she said understanding more about how to improve the development babies’ nervous system could aid understanding of cot death.

“Some researchers think it has to do with something being wrong in the central nervous system, which affects respiration.

“Babies aren’t able to wake up and breath for themselves if they need to.”

She said this study had shown the babies of women who exercised had a more mature respiratory system, suggesting they would fare better after birth.

‘Do not overheat’
Dr May said it was safe for women to exercise while pregnant. But she said the team did not yet have evidence about what the minimum beneficial level of exercise in pregnancy was.

Patrick O’Brien, a consultant obstetrician and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said the study was interesting and worth following up, although it was small.

He added: “This is an interesting finding and one which should encourage women to keep healthy when pregnant.

“Pregnant women should consult their midwives and doctors on the types of exercise they could do when pregnant and how much.”

Mr O’Brien said excessive exercise during pregnancy could be dangerous for the unborn baby if a woman becomes too hot or lets their heart rate go over 130 beats per minute.

But he said there was is no increased risk of miscarriage or premature labour linked to exercise.

He advised: “Keep within your comfort zone so that you can still hold a conversation.”

Sources: BBC NEWS:April 17,09

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Just what is it about moobs?

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The number of men having breast reduction operations in the UK is rising dramatically, but is this really the result of the media spotlighting the physical flaws of male celebrities?

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This is an era when glossy magazines and tabloids delight in the most minor flaw of the female celebrity.

The actress with bags under her eyes, the singer with an untrimmed armpit, the model with a sweat patch, all are presented blinking in the paparazzo’s flashbulb as their imperfections are chronicled.

All are highlighted with red circles and magnification. And the same process has been applied to male celebrities in recent years

When both the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and leader of the opposition David Cameron were pictured enjoying the sun in the summer of 2006, newspapers from tabloid to broadsheet passed comment on their “moobs”.

Every man has breast tissue, but some have excessive breasts. This ranges from classical cases of gynaecomastia, prompted by a range of causes, to breasts enlarged entirely by deposits of fat over the pectoral muscles. But whatever the cause British men seem to be increasingly concerned over the state of their chests.

The latest figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) seem to bear out this obsession.

Surgeons carried out 323 male breast reduction procedures in 2008, up a staggering 44% from 2007.

*Pubertal gynaecomastia, common in boys, sees breast tissue grow due to hormonal imbalance

*In most boys it disappears by end of puberty

*Breast growth can be side effect of drugs used to suppress prostate cancer

*Can be caused by genetic condition like Klinefelter’s Syndrome

Other causes include:

*Anabolic steroid use

It would be easy to assume that the UK is a nation where men are rapidly becoming more obese, and they are taking a surgical shortcut to get rid of male breasts that are merely deposits of fat on top of their pectoral muscles.

But this is not the full picture says consultant plastic surgeon and Baaps member Dalia Nield.

She concedes that anything up to a third of the men seeking breast reductions are simply obese. But she says the rest of the rising numbers of operations are people who are suffering gynaecomastia – excessive breasts – caused by other factors, such as a hormonal imbalance.

Among these, a common type is pubertal gynaecomastia, where boys develop the excessive breast tissue during adolescence.

Many of those young men if they don’t have a very marked gynaecomastia they don’t necessarily seek help,” says Ms Nield. “But I see many of these pubertal cases later in life when they put on weight and it becomes more obvious.”

Genetic disorders like Klinefelter’s Syndrome – having an extra “X” chromosome – also account for some cases, and there are a rising number of men suffering from excessive breast tissue as a side effect of drugs prescribed for prostate cancer. Treatment of this type of cancer has improved in recent years, says Mrs Nield, leading to more cases.

But how can one explain the dramatic upwards trajectory for male breast reduction procedures? In 2005, only 22 were performed.

‘Tremendous distress’

Mrs Nield suggests that much of the increase may be due to the media publicising the surgery option.

Many of those pieces mocking the imperfections of the middle-aged celebrity also contain a factbox that talks about non-obesity gynaecomastia and explains that surgery is an option.

*Portmanteau word of “man” and “boobs”

*First reference in UK newspaper in June 2004

*Satirical website domain name registered in January 2003

*Term assumed to be of US origin

The effect, Mrs Nield suggests, is that men who might have been suffering in silence for years, realise they are not alone and are spurred on to seek out surgery.

“It is a cause of tremendous distress,” says the surgeon.

And there is no doubting that the last few years have seen an increasing attention to this particular physical flaw.

A search of the LexisNexis newspaper databases suggests the word made its debut in a British newspaper in June 2004. Since then it has been used 161 times. There have been more than 350 references to “man boobs” over the same period. “Moobs” clocks up 281,000 hits on Google.

Kerri McPherson, a chartered health psychologist at Glasgow Caledonian University and a member of the men’s health group, Scotland, is an expert on male body image.

“I would argue that what the media is really discussing is just representing the growing concerns of everyday men. This concern has always been there but they have not been able to articulate it.”

And it could be argued that media mockery reinforces the negative body image of the excessive male breast sufferer, it also might free some from isolation and paranoia that they could have been burdened with a decade ago.

The presentation of “moobs” as something suffered by a slew of male celebrities might make life easier for the ordinary bloke sitting in a pub discussing his problem with his mates.

“More and more people are being given a language to talk about concerns about their body,” says Dr McPherson.

“Particularly with what is a very feminine [characteristic] if a man was talking about [having] breasts [decades ago] they would have been a source of ridicule.”
Paula Singleton, a researcher in the health faculty at Leeds Metropolitan University, is doing a PhD on the attitudes shown by men planning to have breast reduction surgery, entitled “Bruises heal but moobs last forever – men’s account of cosmetic surgery for gynaecomastia.”

“It seems like you can hardly turn on the telly and open a newspaper without it being mentioned,” she says.

“[Those planning surgery] described feelings of shame, anxiety and embarrassment. They had suffered everything from being shouted at from a bus to teasing from work colleagues… doctors smirking and laughing at them and saying ‘get down the gym’.”

Of course, it would be wrong to group men with excessive breasts into justifiable “moobs” – ie a hormonal, chemical or genetic cause – and unjustifiable “moobs” – those caused primarily by obesity.

Both sets of men may be suffering psychologically at a time when the male body is under increasing scrutiny.

In the academic world, most of the theorising about body image has traditionally been about women, but now researchers are starting to look at changing attitudes among men.

“Men are starting to feel those appearance pressures more and more,” says Ms Singleton.

And this growing body consciousness could lead to more men making their way through the surgeon’s doors.

Sources:BBC News: 28th.Jan.2009

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Wine Raises Cancer Risk

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A large glass of wine a day increases the risk of liver and bowel cancer by a fifth, experts have warned. What’s more, the same goes for a pint of beer or a couple of spirits such as vodka or gin.


Rachel Thompson, science programme manager for World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), warned that just two units of alcohol a day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 18% and the risk of liver cancer by 20%.

The warning appears to conflict with other studies which suggest moderate alcohol intake can help combat heart disease. “If you are drinking a pint of lager or a large glass of wine every day then this might not seem like a lot, but the science shows you are increasing your risk of bowel cancer by 18% and your risk of liver cancer by 20%,” she said.

She added: “When you consider how many cases of these types of cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year, it is clear that drinking even relatively small amounts of alcohol can make a significant difference.”

More than 3,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with liver cancer each year and a similar number die. The WCRF said there was convincing evidence that drinking alcohol also increased the risk of breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus.

Click to see:->Link between colon cancer & drinking alcohol

Sources:The Times Of India

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Liquid Smoking

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A sip of smoke to help drop the fag . A puff of cigarette may not be in vogue anymore with a sip promising the same smoking experience sans nicotine.
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Called ‘Liquid Smoking‘ the drink has South African herbal extracts, say its Dutch manufacturers United Drinks and Beauty Corporation.

The drink has already been on sale for one year now in Netherlands and United Drinks hopes the product would be available in the UK before Christmas, The Telegraph reported recently.

“The manufacturers say it does not contain the drug nicotine but rather a mix of roots from South African plants which is said to give ‘a slight energising effect, followed by a euphoric sense of calming and relaxation,” the newspaper said.

‘Liquid Smoking’ would cost about 1.50 pounds in the shops and would have less than 21 calories in every 275 ml can.

Meanwhile, The Guardian in a recent report about the drink said, “Coming in a can reminiscent of a cigarette packet, it has a box proclaiming ‘no warning needed’ where a health warning would be on a packet of cigarettes“.

Quoting United Drinks Chief Executive Martin Hartman, The Telegraph said, “The product we (United Drinks) have developed has got similar properties to nicotine, so we are trying to help people out who are affected by the ban on nicotine.

People might use this instead of a cigarette or tobacco to help the cravings.”

Martin Hartman was further quoted as saying “it will take the edge off of a need for nicotine for between one to four hours… I think it will help people who feel the need for nicotine in bars, restaurants, long-haul flights and on the train,” Martin Hartman added.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Repossession ‘is mental threat’

The fallout from the economic downturn could be a significant threat to mental health, according to a survey.


Rethink fears the credit crunch will lead to more people seeing their GPs

House repossession was rated as the event most likely to cause mental health problems, ahead of redundancy, or finding out about infertility.

Charity Rethink called for action to prevent a “mental health disaster”.

The survey was published as a UN report showed England spends more of its health budget on mental health care than any other European country.

There’s an urgent need to do something to prevent a mental health disaster”...Says Paul Corry.

Rethink’s director of public affairs Paul Corry said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a rise in the number of people going to their doctor because of mental health problems in the coming months.

“Even for people lucky enough to hang on to their home, the stress and worry of arrears building up can be enough to harm your mental health – this survey shows it worries millions of us.”

He said that people who already had mental health problems were likely to be treated less well by their lenders, and did not have a “safety net” to protect them.

He said: “There’s an urgent need to do something to prevent a mental health disaster.”

Another mental health charity agrees with that assessment – Mind, which is launching its own £16m initiative to link exercise to better mental health, and to reduce stigma, released its own report earlier this year warning about the dangers of debt.

High ranking

The survey of 2,000 people was released to mark World Mental Health day.

The World Health Organisation report contained a far cheerier message about the services in place to tackle the UK’s mental health problems.

“The pernicious concept of the asylum is over”...Says Alan Johnson MP,Health Secretary

It compared spending on mental health in European countries, and found England and Wales spent 13.8% of its health budget on mental health – the highest level in Europe.

Scotland spent 9.8%, according to the report, and in the UK as a whole, the numbers of psychiatrists per 100,000 people was found to be above the European average.

More detained
Health Secretary Alan Johnson said he was “delighted” by the report, citing a huge rise in investment as the reason for the UK’s present position, and said that the focus was now on community-based teams to treat patients.

“The pernicious concept of the asylum is over, but our commitment to improving services further is undiminished,” he said.

However, a report in this week British Medical Journal suggested that, over the past 10 years, the use of inpatient mental hospitals has increased, rather than lessened.

Dr Patrick Keown, a Newcastle-based psychiatrist, calculated that the number of patients “sectioned” under the Mental Health Act increased by a fifth between 1996 and 2006.

At the same time, the number of psychiatric beds in England fell.

A spokesman for the charity Sane said: “Improvements in community care are supposed to reduce the need for compulsory admission when someone reaches crisis point – yet precisely the opposite appears to have happened.”

“We urgently need to find out why this is the case.”

You may also click to see:->

Cleaning ‘improves mental health’
Child mental health care warning
World Health Organisation
Department of Health

Sources: BBC NEWS: Oct.10. ’08

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