High sugar intake during pregnancy may increase risk of child asthma, study warns
Consumption of excess sugar during pregnancy may make your offspring susceptible to childhood asthma and allergies, UK scientists have warned expectant mothers.
The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, analysed data from 8,956 children aged 7 to 9, with all the mothers giving details of their diet during pregnancy.
The mothers with the highest sugar intake were compared with those who consumed the least.
The result showed the former had a 37% higher risk of allergies in the offspring.
Although no links were found between high sugar levels and asthma, mothers who had a high level of sugar intake were found to have more than double the risk of having a child with allergic asthma.
The researchers added that the link with asthma and allergies could not be explained by how much sugar the young children had.
According to the researchers, preliminary results suggest that the presence of “free sugars” in many processed foods and fizzy drinks may trigger an inflammatory response in a child’s developing lungs.
“Perhaps the mothers who ate more sugar had diets that were different in other ways from the mothers who ate less sugar, or perhaps they had different smoking habits, for instance,” Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics, at The Open University, said in a statement.
“Perhaps it was these other aspects of diet, or smoking, that caused their children’s allergies and asthma, and not the sugar.”
Study: Teenagers getting less sleep and smartphones are to blame
A study conducted by researchers at the San Diego State University says adolescents tend to sleep for fewer hours per night than those of older generations.
The researchers said most young people are trading their sleep for smartphone time.
To attain empirical evidence, the research team examined data from two long-running US government-funded surveys of more than 360,000 teenagers.
Combining and analysing data from both surveys, the researchers found that about 40% of adolescents in 2015 slept less than 7 hours a night, which is 58% more than in 1991 and 17% more than in 2009.
They also found that the more time young people reported spending online, the less sleep they got. Teens who spent 5 hours a day online were 50% more likely to not sleep enough than their peers who only spent an hour online each day.
Jean Twenge, a professor at San Diego State University, explained how the use of smartphone minimises the sleeping hours of teenagers.
“Teens sleep began to shorten just as the majority started using smartphone,” he said.
“Our body is going to try to meet its sleep needs, which means sleep is going to interfere or shove its nose in other spheres of our lives.
“Teens may catch up with naps on the weekend or they may start falling asleep at school.
“Given the importance of sleep for both physical and mental health, both teens and adults should consider whether their Smartphone use is interfering with their sleep.
“It’s particularly important not to use screen devices right before bed, as they might interfere with falling asleep.”
The lifestyle choices that are affecting your memory
Diet, exercise, sleep and other ways you live your life can affect your memory.
More often than not, people think that memory slips can only be caused by diseases, forgetting personal habits.
Here are some of our lifestyle choices that can lead to faulty memory.
Diets play an important role in the retention of memory; some diets like saturated fat (found in meat) causes memory slips.
Foods consumed by humans have changed in the last 50 years. They have become more highly processed and neurotoxic.
The chemicals present in such foods cause premature brain cell death, which can affect memory and cognition.
Studies have shown that people who eat more saturated fat do worse on memory tests than those who eat less.
Foods like omega 3-rich fish, heart-healthy olive oil can protect the memory.
Thirty minutes exercise daily is good for the brain and the whole body. Some believe that their daily running around and activities are equivalent to exercise; they are wrong.
Daily activities that require more energy is not equivalent to exercise. It’s at best, stress, which also does serious damage to your memory.
In a previous laboratory study carried out on mice which were exposed to repeated stress, results showed that they had impaired temporal order recognition memory.
Exercise improves cognitive functions which enhance our memory storage and retrieval
Sleep deprivation impairs your ability to process information and consolidate new memories. Good sleep helps your brain file memories which become accessible later on.
Long term memories are enhanced by rapid eye movement sleep (the one experienced at night), so the better your night sleep, the better your memory.
Short term memories are enhanced slow wave sleep. Here, deep sleep is required where there is no rapid eye movement.
Just one hour, thirty minutes of missed sleep each night can reduce daytime alertness by 32 percent, studies say.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to permanent memory loss. Alcohol distorts the activity of the hippocampus (the organ in the brain responsible for the formation of emotions and explicit memories).
Smoking also damages blood vessels. It causes a thinning of the brain’s cortex (cortex is the outer layer of the brain). When the cortex is shrunk, the brain is exposed to memory loss.
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