HEALTH CAPSULES

Flashes in eye could mean retinal detachment

Sudden flashes of light in the eye, haziness and decrease in vision are some of the symptoms of retinal detachment and are not to be ignored, caution eye care experts. Retinal detachment is a condition where the retina gets separated from its normal position, leading to deterioration in vision as you get older. This may happen earlier to those with short-sight or an eye injury. Though it is more common in adults, it can affect people in any age group. Such detachment in myopia can occur even at a young age. Retinal breaks, tears, trauma, and eye injuries are the most common causes that lead to retinal deterioration. People with myopia or high myopia need to be extra careful, including those who have a history of detachment in their families. Sudden flashes of light, black spots and blurry vision should not be ignored. If not diagnosed and treated at the right time, it can lead to blindness.

Average person forgets four things a day

A person forgets four key facts, chores or events every day, due to the demands of a hectic lifestyle. People forget things 1,460 times every year. Keys are among the items , while most do not remember why they went into a room. People also leave home without a phone or wallet. Men are twice as likely to forget birthdays or anniversaries and one in 20 men have missed a funeral by being absent-minded, the Daily Express reported. However, it is women who are most frustrated when they lose things.

Walnuts may prevent diabetes and heart disease

Eating walnuts daily can ward off diabetes and heart disease in at-risk individuals, says a new study. Researchers at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre, Connecticut, found that daily intake of 56 g of walnuts as a snack or with a meal improves endothelial function in overweight adults with visceral adiposity.

Participants had a BMI larger than 25, and a waist circumference exceeding 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women.

They all exhibited one or more additional risk factors for metabolic syndrome. The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

New 'pacemaker' device could treat sleep apnea

A pacemaker-like device implanted under the collar bone can improve sleep in central sleep apnoea patients. Dr William Abraham of Ohio State University said unlike obstructive sleep apnoea, in which the airway gets blocked during sleep and causes pauses in breathing, central sleep apnoea is more dangerous because the brain's signals to tell the body to breathe get interrupted. Central sleep apnoea affects more than a third of heart failure patients and can make the condition worse. These patients don't fit the usual profile of obstructive sleep apnoea, said Dr Rami Khayat, a sleep medicine expert. They generally don't snore, so they're tougher to diagnose, and the symptoms of sleepiness and fatigue overlap with symptoms associated with heart failure. A new transvenous phrenic nerve stimulator made by the US-based company Respicardia Inc resembles a pacemaker in that it delivers a regular signal to stimulate the diaphragm to breathe during sleep.

Daytime napping boosts memory in kids

Taking an hour-long nap during the day can boost learning in pre-school children by improving memory, says a study. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst said a nap helped children better remember lessons. The results suggest naps are critical for memory consolidation and early learning. Memory for a game was tested after the nap and wake conditions and again the following day to see whether night-time sleep affected performance. Children forgot significantly more item locations on the memory test when they had not taken a nap (65 per cent accuracy), compared to when they did nap (75 per cent accuracy). "The kids performed same immediately after learning in both the nap and wake conditions, but performed significantly better when they napped both in the afternoon and the next day," said researchers. That means that when they miss a nap, the child cannot recover this benefit of sleep with overnight sleep. There seems an additional benefit of having the sleep occur in close proximity to the learning, they said. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Agencies

Artificial sweeteners may raise sugar cravings

Washington: Choosing diet drinks and artificial sweeteners as an alternative to high-calorie treats may actually increase your craving for the real stuff (sugar), says a new study. The findings imply that it is hard to fool the brain by providing it with 'energy-less' sweet flavours. Greater reward in the brain is attributed to sugars as compared to artificial sweeteners. "The consumption of high-calorie beverages is a major contributor to weight gain and obesity, even after the introduction of artificial sweeteners to the market.

This discovery shows how physiological states may impact on our choices between sugars and sweeteners," said Professor Ivan de Araujo, who led the study at Yale University School of Medicine. "Humans frequently ingesting low-calorie sweet products in a state of hunger or exhaustion may be more likely to 'relapse' and choose high calorie alternatives in the future. "The results suggest that a 'happy medium' could be a solution; combining sweeteners with minimal amounts of sugar so that energy metabolism doesn't drop, while caloric intake is kept to a minimum," said de Araujo.

Research was performed in mice but findings are likely to reflect in humans. "When hungry mice - who thus have low sugar levels - are given a choice between artificial sweeteners and sugars, they are more likely to completely switch their preferences towards sugars even if the artificial sweetener is much sweeter than the sugar solution," de Araujo said. PTI





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