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Insufficient sleep ups obesity among kids

Researchers have found evidence that children who consistently received less than the recommended hours of sleep during infancy and early childhood had increases in both obesity and in adiposity or overall body fat at age 7.

Lead author Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, chief of General Pediatrics at MGHfC, said their study found convincing evidence that getting less than recommended amounts of sleep across early childhood is an independent and strong risk factor for obesity and adiposity. She said that they found insufficient sleep at any time in early childhood had adverse effects.

The study analysed data from Project Viva, a long-term investigation of the health impacts of several factors during pregnancy and after birth. Information used in this study was gathered from mothers at in-person interviews when their children were around 6 months, 3 years and 7 years old, and from questionnaires completed when the children were ages 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6.

Curtailed sleep was defined as less than 12 hours per day from ages 6 months to 2 years, less than 10 hours per day for ages 3 and 4, and less than 9 hours per day from age 5 to 7. Based on the mothers’ reports at each age, individual children were assigned a sleep score covering the entire study period – from 0, which represented the highest level of sleep curtailment, to 13, indicating no reports of insufficient sleep.Overall, children with the lowest sleep scores had the highest levels of all body measurements reflecting obesity and adiposity, including abdominal fat which is considered to be particularly hazardous.
How olive oil helps prevent hypertension

Researchers have said that a diet that combines unsaturated fats with nitrite-rich vegetables, like olive oil and lettuce, could help protect you from hypertension.The Mediterranean diet typically includes unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados, along with vegetables like spinach, celery and carrots that are rich in nitrites and nitrates.

When these two food groups are combined, the reaction of unsaturated fatty acids with nitrogen compounds in the vegetables results in the formation of nitro fatty acids. The study, supported by the British Heart Foundation, used mice to investigate the process by which these nitro fatty acids lower blood pressure, looking at whether they inhibited an enzyme known as soluble Epoxide Hydrolase which regulates blood pressure.

Mice genetically engineered to be resistant to this inhibitory process were found to maintain their high blood pressure despite being fed the type of nitro fatty acids that normally form when a Mediterranean diet is consumed. However, nitro fatty acids were found to lower the blood pressure of normal mice following the same diets.Thus, the study concludes that the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet, combining unsaturated fats and vegetables abundant in nitrite and nitrate, comes at least in part from the nitro fatty acids generated which inhibit soluble Epoxide Hydrolase to lower blood pressure.
Fluoridating water does not affect kids’ IQ

New research has found no evidence to support the claims that fluoridating water adversely affects children’s mental development and adult IQ.

The researchers were testing the contentious claim that exposure to levels of fluoride used in community water fluoridation is toxic to the developing brain and can cause IQ deficits. The Dunedin Study has followed nearly all aspects of the health and development of around 1000 people born in Dunedin in 1972-1973 up to age 38.

Lead author Dr Jonathan Broadbent said the new research focused on Study members’ fluoride exposure during the first five years of their lives, as this is a critical period in brain development, after which IQ is known to be relatively stable. Broadbent and colleagues compared IQs of Study members who grew up in Dunedin suburbs with and without fluoridated water. Use of fluoride toothpaste and tablets was also taken into account. They examined average IQ scores between the ages of 7-13 years and at age 38, as well as subtest scores for verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory and processing speed. Data on IQ were available for 992 and 942 study members in childhood and adulthood, respectively.

Dr Broadbent said the team controlled for childhood factors associated with IQ variation, such as socio-economic status of parents, birth weight and breastfeeding, and secondary and tertiary educational achievement, which is associated with adult IQ. He said that their analysis showed no significant differences in IQ by fluoride exposure, even before controlling for the other factors that might influence scores.

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