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Coffee can give kids sleepless nights

Breathing problems are the leading causes of hospitalisation and death in premature babies. These babies are therefore often given caffeine because of its qualities as a respiratory stimulant. Up till now, the long-term effects of this treatment in humans have not been examined.

However, Gaspard Montandon and colleagues showed that the use of caffeine in neonates can cause serious alterations in the sleeping patterns of adult rats as a result of its effect on the developing respiratory system.

Sleep abnormality is a significant indicator for ill health and reduced life span. When the caffeine-treated rats reached adulthood, their sleeping time was reduced, the length of time they took to reach the first stage of sleep was increased, and their non-REM sleep was fragmented.

Exercise improves survival in kidney disease patients
Staying active may help extend the lives of people with kidney disease, says a new study. According to the study, exercise has significant health benefits for individuals with kidney dysfunction. Many patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) die prematurely, but not from effects directly related to kidney problems. Because physical activity has known health benefits, Srinivasan Beddhu and his colleagues researched the question of whether or not exercise can help prolong CKD patients’ lives.

The study included 15,368 adult participants (5.9 per cent of whom had CKD) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, a survey of the US population. After answering a questionnaire on the frequency and intensity of their leisure time physical activity, participants were divided into inactive, insufficiently active, and active groups.

Fatigued shiftworkers at high risk of sleepy driving
People involved in odd shifts or night shifts are likely to be at high risk of sleepy driving, Australian researchers have found. Dr Simon Smith, the Queensland University of Technology, monitored nurses and their alertness as they drove to and from work.

Smith, Research Fellow at the university’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, found long-haul truck drivers were not the only ones suffering fatigue. “The issue of driver fatigue is often wrapped around long-distance driving and truck drivers,” he said.
“We’re particularly concerned about fatigue in urban driving and shift workers are good example of that, where people are getting very sleepy.”

“You don’t need to drive for very long for sleepiness to have an impact on driving, and (sleepy shiftworkers) are certainly driving for more than 10 or 20 minutes in urban environments,” he added.

Constant din can make you sick
Scientists say noise can affect day to day functioning of individuals and can also lead
to a dangerous change in the heart’s functioning. RMIT associate professor of Biosignals Dinesh Kumar studied the effect of noise to changes in the body. Kumar and his students subjected 20 participants to white noise (a mixture of sounds that cannot be identified individually) ranging between 60dB and 95dB and noted their responses.

Kumar said the experiment showed that long exposure to low-level noise had the same effect as much higher levels of noise. He said: “Even though the noise level may not seem very high, it has an impact on the body.” The study will be presented at a conference in Brazil next year.

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