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Evidence suggests that they can be toxic when inhaled into the lungs. However, much of the research has focused on outdoor sources of these invisible particles, particularly vehicle emissions. Little research has been done on indoor sources, and even less on ultrafine particles in school classrooms.
In an effort to fill those gaps, the researchers studied levels of ultrafine particles in three elementary school classrooms in Brisbane, Australia. They found that on numerous occasions ultrafine particle levels in the classrooms were significantly higher than outdoors.
The highest levels occurred during art activities such as gluing, painting and drawing when indoor levels were several times higher than outdoor levels. There also were significant increases in ultrafine particle levels when detergents were used for cleaning.

Low hormone levels likely to affect mums-to-be
Pregnant mothers who have low levels of a hormone produced by thyroid gland are more likely to have longer and harder labour.
A team of Dutch researchers have found that even ‘low to normal’ levels of thyroxine may cause problems. They said babies were more often positioned wrongly, making labour more difficult.

Although still head down, the babies tended to face the wrong way — towards their mother’s back rather than stomach, which leads to harder labour. They are also more likely to end in an assisted delivery with forceps, ventouse or a Caesarean.
In the study involving 1,000 apparently healthy mums-to-be, researchers found that lower levels of thyroxine at 36 weeks of pregnancy was strongly linked to abnormal positioning of the baby’s head and risk of assisted delivery.
‘Food addiction’ plays major role in obesity epidemic
Food addiction is a reality in some individuals and should be considered as a major factor while managing the obesity epidemic, according to a new study.
Compulsive and out of control tendency to eat plays a fundamental role in causing obesity, said Dr Valerie Taylor, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences at McMaster and director of the Bariatric Surgery Psychiatry Program at St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and her co-authors.
“The concept of addiction is complex, and the delineation of its defining characteristics has fostered considerable debate. Despite a lack of consensus, researchers nevertheless agree that the process involves a compulsive pattern of use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences,” wrote the researchers.
Food addiction can be compared to other addictive behaviours, as both food and drugs can cause tolerance, or an increase in the amount required to achieve intoxication or satiety.
Withdrawal symptoms such as mood changes can occur after discontinuing drugs or during dieting.

‘Good’ cholesterol less protective in diabetics
Diabetes may lower the heart-protective benefits of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol, according to new study.
HDL carries cholesterol out of the arteries, and high levels are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
HDL also helps protect blood vessels by reducing the production of damaging chemicals, increasing the vessels’ ability to expand, and repairing damage to the vessel lining.
For the study, researchers at the University Hospital Zurich and the Medical School of Hannover in Germany and Switzerland compared the vessel-protecting action of HDL taken from 10 healthy adults with that of 33 patients who had Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a condition that includes having low HDL levels (under 40 mg/dL in men and 50mg/dL in women).

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