HEALTH news in brief

High-impact exercise before pregnancy may prevent pelvic pain

Jogging, ball games, and aerobics may be the most helpful means of warding off the pain associated with the joint and ligament changes prompted by pregnancy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 October, 2015, 2:21pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 October, 2015, 2:21pm

Exercising up to five times weekly before pregnancy may help to stave off pelvic girdle pain - an umbrella term for any type of pain associated with the joint and ligament changes prompted by pregnancy - finds new research involving more than 39,000 Norwegian women. High-impact activities, such as jogging, ball games, and aerobics may be most helpful, according to the study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The study participants, with an average age of 38, were expecting their first child between 2000 and 2009. About one in 10 of the women said they had experienced pelvic girdle pain by their 30th week of pregnancy, rising to about one in eight among those who said they didn't exercise in the run-up to their pregnancy. After taking account of influential factors, including age, body mass index, educational attainment, smoking and a previous history of back pain, high-impact exercising between three and five times a week was associated with a 14 per cent lower risk of developing pelvic girdle pain by week 30 of pregnancy.

Gut bacteria population, diversity linked to anorexia nervosa

People with anorexia nervosa have very different microbial communities residing inside their guts compared to healthy individuals, and this bacterial imbalance is associated with some of the psychological symptoms related to the eating disorder. These findings by University of North Carolina researchers provide more evidence that the abundance and diversity of bacteria in the gut microbiota could also affect the so-called "gut-brain axis". "We're not able to say a gut bacterial imbalance causes the symptoms of anorexia nervosa, including associated symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. But the severe limitation of nutritional intake at the centre of anorexia nervosa could change the composition of the gut microbial community. These changes could contribute to the anxiety, depression, and further weight loss of people with the disorder," says the study's senior author Ian Carroll. "It's a vicious cycle, and we want to see if we can help patients avoid or reverse that phenomenon. We want to know if altering their gut microbiota could help them with weight maintenance and mood stabilisation over time."

Repeating aloud to another person boosts recall

Repeating aloud boosts verbal memory, especially when you do it while addressing another person, according to a new study by University of Montreal. Researchers asked 44 university students to read a series of words on a screen while wearing headphones that emitted "white noise". The subjects were submitted to four experimental conditions: repeating in their head, repeating silently while moving their lips, repeating aloud while looking at the screen, and finally, repeating aloud while addressing someone. After a distraction task, they were asked to identify the words they recalled having said from a list that included words not used in the test. The results show a clear difference when the exercise was performed aloud in the presence of someone else. Repeating in one's head without gesturing was the least effective way to recall information. When we articulate a sound, we create a sensory and motor reference in our brain, and this allows for more efficient recall of the verbal element, the researchers say. But talking to someone creates an added effect as the brain refers to the multisensory information associated with the communication episode, resulting in better retention of information in memory.