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Healthy diet reduces preterm delivery risk

A diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and some types of fish seems to reduce the risk of preterm delivery, a new study has revealed.

In the study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the 66,000 pregnant Norwegian women completed a scientifically evaluated questionnaire about what they had been eating and drinking since becoming pregnant.

The researchers also had access to information about the women’s general lifestyle. The results show that the group of women with the ‘healthiest’ pregnancy diet had a roughly 15 per cent lower risk of preterm delivery compared with those with the most unhealthy diet. The correlation remained after controlling for ten other known risk factors for preterm delivery.

“Pregnant women have many reasons to choose a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grain products and some types of fish, but this is the first time we can statistically link healthy eating habits to reduced risk of preterm delivery,” Linda Englund-Ogge, a researcher said.

Lower IQ and poor cardiovascular fitness to cause early dementia

Men, who at the age of 18, have poorer cardiovascular fitness and/or a lower IQ more often suffer from dementia before the age of 60, according to a new study.

In several extensive studies, researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy of Gothenburg University have previously analysed Swedish men’s conscription results and were able to show a correlation between cardiovascular fitness as a teenager and health problems in later life.

“Previous studies have shown the correlation between cardiovascular fitness and the risk of dementia in old age. Now, for the first time, we can show that the increased risk also applies to early-onset dementia and its precursors,” Jenny Nyberg, who headed the study, said.

Expressed in figures, the study shows that men who when conscripted had poorer cardiovascular fitness were 2.5 times more likely to develop early-onset dementia later in life.

A lower IQ entailed a 4 times greater risk, and a combination of both poor cardiovascular fitness and low IQ entailed a 7 times greater risk of early-onset dementia. The increased risk remained even when controlled for other risk factors, such as heredity, medical history, and social-economic circumstances.

How we store our recollections

Researchers have identified that the nature of brain activity offers new insights into how we store our recollections.

Study’s senior author Lila Davachi, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and Centre for Neural Science, and her co-author, Youssef Ezzyat, an NYU doctoral student, sought to shed light on this dynamic by studying the brain’s hippocampus—a region known to play a significant role in memory.

In this experiment, the researchers had participants look at a series of pictures while monitoring brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). For every presentation, the participants were asked to imagine a scenario in which either the object or the face played a role in the scene they just viewed.

Later, after scanning, the participants performed a retrieval test in which they were presented with two stimuli (i.e., object and face) from the preceding phase and asked to indicate how far apart in time the two items were when they were encoded.

Their results showed a relationship between hippocampal activity and how close or far in time the participants placed their memories. When hippocampal activity was more stable across time, memories were remembered as having occurred closer together.

By contrast, when hippocampal stability was diminished, participants were more likely to recall the memories as having occurred further apart in time.

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