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You sleep better after retirement

People are likely to sleep better after they retire, a new study has found. The findings suggest that this general improvement in sleep is likely to result from the removal of work-related demands and stress rather than from actual health benefits of retirement.

Results show that the odds of having disturbed sleep in the seven years after retirement were 26 percent lower than in the seven years before retiring. Sleep disturbance prevalence rates among 14,714 participants fell from 24.2 percent in the last year before retirement to 17.8 percent in the first year after retiring.

The greatest reduction in sleep disturbances was reported by participants with depression or mental fatigue prior to retirement. The post-retirement improvement in sleep also was more pronounced in men, management-level workers, employees who reported high psychological job demands, and people who occasionally or consistently worked night shifts, the website Eurekalert reported.

Lead author Jussi Vahtera, professor in the department of public health at the University of Turku in Finland, noted that the participants enjoyed employment benefits rarely seen today, including guaranteed job stability, a statutory retirement age between 55 and 60 years, and a company-paid pension that was 80 percent of their salary.

Scientists ‘create robotic arm’

It’s no more a science fiction but a reality — a powerful robotic arm, which when attached to an operator, can now enable one to lift over 90 kgs with ease.

Japanese scientists at Kyoto-based Activelink Company, a unit owned and financed by electronics giant Panasonic, have created the exo-skeleton arm which is known as the ‘Dual-Arm Power Amplification Robot’.

Driven by 18 electromagnetic motors with direct force feedback, the operator can control the arm’s movements, including performing delicate manoeuvres, leading British newspaper ‘The Daily Telegraph’ reported.

In fact, the scientists, led by Go Shirogauchi, has been working on the project since 2003 and hope to have the device, which is made of an aluminium alloy, ready to go into practical use by 2015.

“The prime use for the arm will be in disaster zones, where wheeled vehicles are unable to operate,” Shirogauchi said.

And, when completed, the arm will serve as a common platform that will have a wide range of interchangeable parts that can easily be installed. Other potential applications include in warehouses and on construction sites.

Boys less likely to go to university

Teenage boys are less likely to gain university entrance than their female classmates and are more likely to leave school before 17, according to a new report.

The report, “Boys’ achievement: A Synthesis of the Data”, gives a number of examples of this discrepancy between the sexes including that as many as 72 percent of all suspensions and stand downs in 2006 were boys, and that 10 percent more girls will gain university entrance than boys.

The answer, the reports says, involves ensuring male students are “engaged in, and excited by, their learning, and able to achieve their full potential”. A new initiative from Auckland University of Technology aims to address these concerns and the discrepancy between males and females in education by reaching out to male students in year 10, before they lose interest.

The programme, Males in Education Now (MEN), sets out to equip students with skills, experiences and new role-models so that the students don’t give up on education before they gain valuable qualifications.

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