Health bites: cool indoor temperatures stimulate the growth of healthy brown fat

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 9:41am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 9:41am

Malnutrition may increase risk of high blood pressure

Severe malnutrition in childhood may increase the risk for high blood pressure in adulthood - a possible significant impact on global health, according to research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. Inadequate nutrition before birth and up to age five may harm the heart's development, say researchers. "If nutritional needs are not met during this time, when structures of the body are susceptible to potentially irreversible change, it could have long-term consequences on heart anatomy and blood flow later in life," says Terrence Forrester, chief scientist, UWI Solutions for Developing Countries, at the University of the West Indies, Mona, in Kingston, Jamaica. "We are concerned that millions of people who suffer malnutrition before or after birth are at increased risk of hypertension in later life," Forrester says. Researchers compared 116 adults who suffered malnutrition growing up in Jamaica to 45 men and women who were adequately fed as children.

Women make the pace

Women suffering from heart failure derive more benefit than men from a pacemaker - but they are less likely than men to receive it, a new analysis shows. Cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT), which uses a pacemaker to improve the coordination of heartbeats, led to a 60 per cent reduction in women's risk of heart failure or death, according to researchers from the US Food and Drug Administration. The therapy reduced their risk of death alone by 55 per cent. Those benefits far outstripped rates of effectiveness for men, whose risk of heart failure or death declined by only 26 per cent with CRT, and their risk of death alone by 15 per cent.

Turn out the lights and stay slim

Leaving a light on when sleeping can increase the risk of obesity in women, research has shown. Greater exposure to light at night raised both body mass index and waist size in more than 113,000 women taking part in the British study, scientists found. The Breakthrough Generations Study followed the women for 40 years in an attempt to identify root causes of breast cancer. Obesity is a known risk factor for the disease. Professor Anthony Swerdlow, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, says: "Metabolism is affected by cyclical rhythms within the body that relate to sleeping, waking and light exposure."

Fertility troubles linked to psychiatric disorders in children

Children born to women with fertility problems have a higher risk of psychiatric disorders than naturally conceived children. The increase in risk was described as "modest" by researchers from Denmark, but was found to persist throughout childhood and into young adulthood. The results, presented at the 30th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Munich by Dr Allan Jensen of the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre at the University of Copenhagen, were derived from a register study of all children born in Denmark between 1969 and 2006. From a total of 2,430,826 children, 124,384 (five per cent) were born to women with registered fertility problems and 2,306,442 children (95 per cent) to women without such problems. All the children were followed up for psychiatric disorders until 2009. During this follow-up period (a median of around 20 years), 170,240 children were hospitalised for a psychiatric disorder. Those born to women with fertility problems were found to have a 33 per cent greater overall risk of any defined psychiatric disorders.