Health bites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 9:35am

School daze

If your child's academic results are giving you a headache, it could be because he or she has one. Children with migraine are 30 per cent more likely to have below average school performance than those with no headaches, according to research published today in Neurology. The study involved 5,671 Brazilian children aged five to 12, and their teachers and parents. It was found that 0.6 per cent of the children had chronic migraine (migraine on 15 or more days per month), 9 per cent had episodic migraine, and 17.6 per cent had probable migraine. The link between migraine and poor performance was even stronger for children with migraines that were more severe, lasted longer, or were chronic, as well as for those who also had emotional or behavioural problems.

Mental gymnastics

High-intensity interval training makes middle-aged people not only more brawny but brainy. The Montreal Heart Institute, working with the Montreal Geriatric University Institute, put six overweight adults through a four-month programme of twice-weekly interval training on stationary bicycles and twice-weekly resistance training. Cognitive function, maximal oxygen uptake and brain oxygenation during exercise testing showed that the subjects' cognitive functions greatly improved due to the exercise, says lead researcher Dr Anil Nigam. The subjects' waist circumference, particularly trunk fat mass, also decreased. An example of high-intensity interval training: a series of 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of walking or jogging.

Something in the heir

The effects of smoking during pregnancy may be very long lasting. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine shows that nicotine exposure also causes asthma in the smoker's grandchildren. The dangers of smoking on smokers and their children are widely known; during pregnancy nicotine can affect a developing fetus' lungs, predisposing the infant to childhood asthma. Researchers from Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre, California, tested the effect of nicotine exposure during pregnancy on rats and their first and second generation pups. Exposure inside the uterus resulted in both male and female offspring having reduced lung function consistent with asthma. Second-generation offspring also had impaired lung function consistent with asthma, even though their parents were not exposed to nicotine once they were born.

It's not you, it's me - or is it?

At their most fertile period, women who have chosen Mr Stable over Mr Sexy are less likely to feel close to their mates and more likely to find fault with them than women mated to more sexually desirable men, according to UCLA researchers. Nevertheless, the negative feelings appear fleeting. "Even when these women are feeling less positive about their relationship, they don't want to end it," says Christina Larson, the study's lead author. She adds: "We don't know if men are picking up on this behaviour, but if they are, it must be confusing for them." The findings will appear in the next month's issue of the journal Hormones and Behavior.