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Dogs reduce stress in autistic children

Dogs — apart from being man’s best friend — have a special role to play in the lives of children with special needs. A new study by the Universite de Montreal has suggested that specifically trained service dogs can help reduce the anxiety and enhance the socialisation skills of children with Autism Syndrome Disorders (ASDs).

“Our findings showed that the dogs had a clear impact on the children’s stress hormone levels,” said Sonia Lupien, University of Montreal. To detect stress-levels, Lupien and colleagues measured the amount of cortisol present in the saliva of autistic children.
Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the body in response to stress.
It peaks half-hour after waking up, known as the cortisol awakening response (CAR) and decreases throughout the day.

The researchers measured the CAR of 42 children with ASD.

A hormone to help you live longer, but only if you are rich!
A hormone called  DHEAS makes you live longer — but only if you are wealthy enough.
In the meantime, leading a more fulfiling life could have a similar effect, says Sir Michael Marmot, who led the research.

Higher levels of this hormone, secreted by the adrenal glands, are associated with both greater amounts of exercise and an active life with lots of interests, friends and family — all of which tend to come with wealth.

The rate of production of the hormone is greatest in childhood and teenage years, before gradually declining through adult life.Having more DHEAS in the body is linked to a better memory and ability to cope with mental tasks, particularly in men.

Along with another insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), DHEAS helps control reactions to stress and regulate various body processes including digestion, the immune system, mood and energy usage.

Although its too soon to say if the hormone production is directly linked to wealth, Marmot believes the benefits of wealth, which include a better diet, greater control over life, less stress, more travel and involvement in the wider world through hobbies, sport or other interests will encourage the body to create DHEAS.

Severe burn injuries cause depletion of Vitamin E
Severe burn injuries in children have been shown to rapidly deplete the levels of vitamin E in their body’s adipose, or fat tissues.

Despite being given given about 150 per cent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E and other nutrients, researchers found that children with burn injuries lost almost half of their stored vitamin E in three weeks. “Vitamin E in adipose tissue does not fluctuate much on a short-term basis. To find this level of vitamin E loss in such a short time was dramatic, unexpected and somewhat alarming,” said Maret Traber, Linus Pauling Institute.

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant, plays a role in the immune system, nervous system, and performs many other metabolic functions. It is commonly found in fats, nuts, and some vegetables and seafood products.

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