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Eating, watching TV is bad combination

It is thought that being able to remember what we have eaten is key to feeling full. And if distractions stop us from forming those memories, we eat more later on.

Researchers from Macquarie University in Sydney looked at the effect of TV viewing on a group of young women of normal weight.

They were given 20 minutes to consume as much chocolate, crisps and cola as they wanted. Half ate the junk food while watching TV, the others sat quietly as they ate their fill.

Later on, both groups were sat down to eat sandwiches, biscuits, crackers and dip.

Those who had watched TV earlier packed away 50 per cent more calories than the other women. When the women were then asked how much they had eaten at the start of the experiment, those who had not been watching TV were better at remembering.

This, say the researchers, could help explain the results, with an accurate memory of what we have eaten crucial to feeling full.

Jaundice in newborns may be linked to autism

Newborn babies diagnosed with jaundice may be at higher risk of developing autism later on, according to a new study.

As part of the research, Rikke Damkjaer Maimburg of Aarhus University in Denmark and colleagues studied all Danish births between 1994 and 2004.

They found that 2.37 per cent of full-term babies treated for jaundice developed autism compared to 1.4 per cent of babies without jaundice.

However, it isn’t clear whether jaundice is a cause or consequence of an increased risk of autism.

While the study did not look for a mechanism, the team suggests that bilirubin, the toxin that accumulates in jaundice, may damage brain tissue and disrupt brain development, leading to autism. The study appears in the journal ‘Pediatrics’.

New TB vaccine protects before and after infection

Danish scientists have developed a new vaccine that can fight tuberculosis (TB) before and after infection. It could offer protection for many years more than is now possible.
TB is a disease of the lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing, chest pains and weight loss. Untreated, it can be deadly.

However, only in a small number of cases — fewer than 5 per cent — do the symptoms develop immediately after infection.

In more than 90 per cent of cases, once Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes the disease, has invaded the body it changes its chemical signature, and lives in a dormant — or ‘latent’ — state.

Usually the bacterium never emerges from this latent state, but in around 10 per cent of cases it reactivates — often years or even decades later — to trigger severe symptoms.

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