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Snacking not linked to weight gain

US researchers have indicated that consuming snacks cannot be blamed for the rise in obesity. Their research revealed that snacks and beverage consumption between meals continue to increase among Americans, accounting for more than 25 per cent of calorie intake each day.

Between 1977 and 2006, snacking in the American diet has grown to constitute ‘a full eating event’, or a fourth meal, averaging about 580 calories each day, said Richard D Mattes, professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University. While snacking has increased in general, “there has been a significant increase in the amount of calories consumed through beverages,” he said. In general, however, snacking is not linked with weight gain, according to G Harvey Anderson, Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto.

“The literature does not support the intuitive notion that increased consumption of snack foods is an independent cause of obesity,” said Anderson. In fact for some age groups - young children and older adults, for example – “foods consumed outside a meal are important sources of nutrients as well as energy.”

Tiny gadget to end migraine, headache in 15 minutes

A Danish research has indicated that a tiny gadget when surgically implanted into the gum can relieve the pain of severe headaches and migraines. Once switched on by a remote control it transmits electrical signals, which can bring total relief from the pain within 15 minutes.

“If this device continues to work, it would be wonderful,” the Daily Express quoted Headache specialist Professor Rigmor Jensen, who led the Danish research, as saying.

Therapy to heal fractures that won’t join up

Painful surgery for those suffering from stubborn bone fractures that won’t join up could soon become a thing of the past. Scientists have developed a new, non-invasive treatment using ultrasound shockwaves that can heal broken bones without under going surgery.

In most cases, fractures heal naturally, usually with the help of a splint or cast to keep the bone in place, over a period of weeks or months. However in around five per cent of fractures, a gap remains between the two broken ends, usually a result of damage to the blood supply to the bones or infection.These are called non-union fractures. In order for healing to occur, the gap needs to be filled in.

Previously the only option was a bone graft. More recently a man-made version of a growth factor called bone morphogenetic protein has been used. But now orthopaedic surgeons are using pulsed ultrasound to heal these stubborn fractures.

The Exogen Ultrasound Bone Healing System is a battery-powered device roughly the size of a mobile phone that emits low intensity soundwaves through the skin to the fracture. These pulses stimulate the bone to heal.

“The ultrasound creates minute vibrations. This causes the bones to produce their own version of bone morphogenetic protein. It’s like switching on a light and waking up the damaged edges of the fracture,” Mark Phillips, senior orthopaedic consultant at King’s College said.

Pregnant women who eat for 2 damage their babies’ IQ

Pregnant women eating for two can put their babies at risk from eating disorders and a low IQ, a new research has warned.They may also put them at risk of developing behavioural problems, eating disorders and mental health conditions such as schizophrenia.

Doctors have long known that obese pregnant women are more likely to suffer blood clots, but the long-term effects of a mother’s overeating on her child’s health are not well understood.

Research in the US found that children of obese mothers tended to have IQ scores five points lower than the results of those whose mothers were a normal weight. Swedish studies showed children were more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder if their mothers were obese.

Work on Australian teenagers suggested a child’s chance of having an eating disorder increased by 11 per cent for each point their mother’s body mass index increased during pregnancy.

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