Health bites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2011, 12:00am

If you're happy and you know it, tweet

It seems that all over the world, people are happiest early in the morning and near midnight. Cornell University researchers, using language monitoring software, tracked 2.4 million people on Twitter in 84 countries over two years. They found that this global cheer soon faded once the workday began. There were also more positive tweets on Saturdays and Sundays, with the morning peaks occurring about two hours later those days. Researchers found that work, sleep and daylight all play a role in shaping cyclical emotions such as enthusiasm, delight, distress, fear and anger. The study appeared in the journal Science.

A breakthrough for HIV

The HIV virus has been a tough target for vaccine development as it suppresses, rather than triggers, the body's immune response. But Johns Hopkins researchers have found a way to sidestep this barrier by modifying HIV. Previous studies had shown that cholesterol-depleted immune cells (white blood cells) cannot be infected by HIV, and this led the Johns Hopkins team to test whether HIV lacking cholesterol in its viral coat could still infect cells. Testing on both human immune cells cultured in a lab and HIV-positive blood drawn from patients, the modified HIV was found to be able to trigger the body's innate virus-fighting response. In the report, published in the journal Blood, the researchers say their work could lead to new HIV treatments.

Expecting? Hit the gym for the sake of your child

Pregnant women who work out can reduce the chances of their new baby developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's later in life. Doing tests on mice bred to develop a disease roughly equivalent to Alzheimer's, scientists from University Hospital Essen in Germany found that the mice whose mothers ran on an exercise wheel regularly during pregnancy showed fewer signs of the disease later in life. They also showed greater brain plasticity, which indicates more and better connections between the nerve cells. 'No one is resistant to the health benefits of exercise,' says Dr Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal, which published the report. 'Whether you work out at home or go to the gym, you should do it for the sake of your health and that of your offspring.'

Take a load off your feet

With running, any extra weight you carry slows you down. So adidas put its shoes on a diet and came up with the adizero Feather, its lightest everyday running shoe that weighs as little as a dozen five-dollar coins (160g for women's British size 5.5, HK$799). It comes in a range of eye-catching colours - red, yellow, blue and pink - from adidas stores and selected retailers. See

Crunch time for skincare

This won't count towards your five a day, but the Carrot Butter Cleanser (HK$590 for 70ml) from The Organic Pharmacy could give your skin a new lease of life. Carrot is blended with shea and cocoa butter, along with chamomile, rosemary and lavender, for a formula that claims to deliver a deep but gentle cleanse. It's among a range of new products from the British organic skincare brand that returns to Hong Kong this month. Check it out at Harvey Nichols.


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Health bites

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