Health bites | South China Morning Post
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  • Apr 2, 2015
  • Updated: 10:04am

Health bites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2012, 12:00am

It pays to be studious

A study published today in Neurology suggests that improving the quality and quantity of education early in life could help protect one's cognitive abilities down the road. Harvard University researchers analysed the effects of solvent exposure at work on thinking skills later in life. Studying 4,134 employees at the French national gas and electric company, the researchers found that the thinking of those who had less than a high school education was affected, while those with more education were not, even if they had the same amount of exposure. 'People with more education may have a greater cognitive reserve that acts like a buffer allowing the brain to maintain its ability to function in spite of damage,' says study author Professor Lisa Berkman. 'This may be because education helps build up a dense network of connections among brain cells.'

Heart of the matter

A study led by researchers from McGill University in Montreal has revealed fresh insights into the structure and function of the muscle fibres in the heart - a discovery that could help engineer artificial tissue and contribute to the study of heart diseases. Using a combination of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) and computer modelling, the researchers examined images of the heart tissue of rats, humans and dogs. They found that the muscle fibre bundles had the same pattern - a special 'minimal surface' with the general shape of a flattened coil or spiral. This knowledge could be used, for example, to provide a scaffold to guide the repair of heart wall damage caused by heart attacks, say the researchers. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For the love of dog

If you had a dog, what breed would it be? In a study by the University of Leicester in Britain published recently in the journal Anthrozoos, participants were asked to indicate their preference for different types of dogs and do personality tests. The dogs were independently rated according to how aggressive people perceived them to be. Bull terriers were rated as most aggressive, followed by boxers; retrievers and cocker spaniels were seen as least aggressive. The researchers found that younger people who are disagreeable are more likely to prefer aggressive dogs. Individuals low in agreeableness are typically less concerned with others' well-being and may be suspicious, unfriendly and competitive. However, there was no link found between liking an aggressive dog and delinquent behaviour.

These shoes were made for walking

Soak up summer in style with FitFlop's latest range of sandals. Just like the brand's first design sold in 2007, this season's shoes feature the 'microwobbleboard' midsole that was designed by biomechanists at London South Bank University and said to diffuse underfoot pressure, absorb shock and activate leg muscles. The Walkstar Slide (HK$690), with padded leather straps and bright colours, exudes casual cool that's perfect for a sizzling hot day. Available at Sogo, city'super, Rush, Marathon and Giga Sports.


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