Lab report

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 April, 2013, 9:45am

Beer to their heart

Trying to stay off alcohol? Don't even allow yourself a drop. A study published last week in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal has found that drinking just 15 millilitres of beer can trigger the release of dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter linked with alcohol and other drugs of abuse. The 49 male participants in the study, who also drank Gatorade while getting their brains scanned, reported an increased beer craving after tasting the beer, but not after the sports drink. The dopamine effect was significantly greater among participants with close alcoholic relatives, suggesting an inherited risk factor for alcoholism.


How to beet hypertension

A cup of beetroot juice a day could keep high blood pressure away. In preliminary findings published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, 15 men and women with high blood pressure drank 250ml of beetroot juice over 24 hours. Compared to a placebo group, the subjects experienced a decrease in blood pressure of about 10 mmHg (the normal rate is less than 120/80 mmHg). The effect was most pronounced three to six hours after drinking the juice but still present even 24 hours later. The juice contained about 0.2 gram of dietary nitrate, comparable to two beetroots. The nitrate is processed in the body into nitric oxide, a gas that aids blood flow.


The quick and the dead

A high resting heart rate is not just a mark of poor physical fitness. A new study published in the British Medical Journal's Heart suggests that it's an independent risk factor for premature death. A resting heart rate of between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered normal. Researchers in Copenhagen tracked nearly 3,000 men for 16 years and found that every 10 to 22 additional beats per minute in resting heart rate increased the risk of death by 16 per cent, irrespective of physical fitness. A high resting heart rate was also linked with lower levels of physical fitness, higher blood pressure and weight, and higher levels of circulating blood fats.