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Heavy screen time appears to impact childrens’ brains

The Kashmir Monitor

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The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends parents “avoid digital media use – except video chatting – in children younger than 18 to 24 months”

Researchers have found ‘different patterns’ in brain scans among children who record heavy smart device and video game use, according to initial data from a major ongoing US study, AFP wrote.

The first wave of information from the $300 million National Institute of Health (NIH) study is showing that those nine and 10-year-old kids spending more than seven hours a day using such devices show signs of premature thinning of the cortex, the brain’s outermost layer that processes sensory information.

 

“We don’t know if it’s being caused by the screen time. We don’t know yet if it’s a bad thing,” said Gaya Dowling, an NIH doctor working on the project, explaining the preliminary findings in an interview with the CBS news program 60 minutes.

“What we can say is that this is what the brains look like of kids who spend a lot of time on screens. And it’s not just one pattern,” Dowling said.

The NIH data reported on CBS also showed that kids who spend more than two hours a day on screens score worse on language and reasoning tests.

The study – which involves scanning the brains of 4,500 children – eventually aims to show whether screen time is addictive, but researchers need several years to understand such long-term outcomes.

“In many ways, the concern that investigators like I have is, that we’re sort of in the midst of a natural kind of uncontrolled experiment on the next generation of children,” Dimitri Christakis, a lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ most recent guidelines on screen time, told 60 minutes.

Initial data from the study will begin to be released in early 2019.

The academy now recommends parents “avoid digital media use – except video chatting – in children younger than 18 to 24 months.”


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Health

5 natural ways to fight non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

The Kashmir Monitor

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According to the WHO, liver disease is the 10th most common cause of deaths in India. Gone are the days when liver disease was only associated with the consumption of alcohol. With the increased prevalence of obesity and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, which leads to hepatitis and eventually cirrhosis, is an emerging problem. More than a million new patients are diagnosed with liver cirrhosis every year globally, and the major causes for it are non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and hepatitis B and C. Epidemiologic studies suggest the prevalence of NAFLD in nine per cent to 32 per cent of the general population in India. Dr Palaniyamma D., Medical Advisor, The Himalaya Drug Company, says people who are overweight or obese and lead a sedentary lifestyle are at risk of NAFLD. The prevalence is especially common in those who eat highly processed food. The five best foods to be included in the diet to regulate this condition are:

Greens: Green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and sprouts help in general weight loss by preventing fat build-up in the liver.

Oatmeal: Oats are packed with dietary fibre and help a person feel full for a longer period, thus serving as a filling breakfast or snack and increasing the body’s energy levels.

 

Sunflower Seeds: These seeds are high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps protect the liver from further damage, and are a healthy snack for munching in between meals.

Garlic: This popular flavour-enhancing ingredient helps burn extra fat, which in turn helps in reducing weight.

Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acid, fish is an excellent food that improves liver function and reduces inflammation.

If NAFLD is detected and managed at an early stage, it is possible to reduce the amount of fat in the liver and prevent the condition from worsening.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the first step towards managing NAFLD. Reducing weight, eating healthy, exercising moderately, and avoiding alcohol can reduce the risk of NAFLD. Consuming alcohol does not cause NAFLD, but it can worsen the condition.

Medicines can be useful in managing the symptoms associated with this condition. Using medications that have natural ingredients can restore the functional efficiency of the liver. Formulations containing natural ingredients such as The Caper Bush (Himsra) and Chicory (Kasani) improve the functional efficiency of the liver, protect the liver structure, boost liver health, and remove toxins from the body.

The liver carries out various functions that are critical for good health. It helps break down food, purify blood, build proteins, remove harmful substances, balance hormones, and store energy. Hence, it is advisable to consume a healthy diet and supplements containing herbal ingredients that help the liver metabolise foods, eliminate waste, and balance hormones.

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Health

Diet to help you fight symptoms of skin allergies

The Kashmir Monitor

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Adopt these guidelines manage your allergies: From consuming at least two tablespoons of flaxseeds daily to practising stress relaxation techniques or meditating.

Skin allergies are common and are characterised by red skin rashes or bumps. Some are caused by allergens induced by exposure to foods, medications, and insect stings, but the large majority of cases are not specific to any cause. Adopt these guidelines to fight symptoms and manage your allergies.

  1. Essential fatty acids are responsible for healthy cell membranes, which act as barriers to harmful things, as the passageway for nutrients to cross in and out, and for waste products to get in and out of the cell. The best-known essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6, which must be in balance for good health (and good skin). Though we all seem to get enough omega-6, most of us lack omega-3s. Some good sources are fish, walnut, and flaxseed oil. Consume at least two tablespoons of flaxseeds daily. You could sprinkle it on your salad after roasting it.
  2. Vitamin C has been shown to decrease production of histamine, reducing immediate allergy potential. Vitamin C helps relieve allergic symptoms and prevent inflammatory reactions by providing an anti-histamine-like effect.
  3. As tension and stress usually make allergies worse, practice stress relaxation techniques or meditate.
  4. People who are prone to allergies must look carefully at their intake of foods such as berries, raisins, prunes, nuts, seeds, shellfish, soybean and gluten. The right detoxification programme and correction of any liver problems can be extremely helpful for such individuals.
  5. It is important to remember that what you eat reflects on your skin. Your skin requires the right kind of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. When we improve our diet, these nutrients take time to reach the skin.
  6. So, once you bring about the required alterations in your diet or go on a restricted elimination diet, don’t expect a miracle. In addition to the diet and vitamins, you may need your physician’s help, to check if you have any severe infection or a specific allergy.

 
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Health

4 Surprising Pre-Workout Foods

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We all have our go-to pre-race foods, from a simple bowl of oatmeal to a peanut butter and banana sandwich. But those meals can be a little too filling right before boot camp. That’s where these surprising foods and drinks can help when you’re pressed for time. Read on to find out which foods you should eat to ensure an all-star workout at the gym.

Watermelon Juice

Forget Gatorade—researchers suspect that an amino acid called L-citrulline found in watermelon can provide relief to sore muscles after an intense workout. A study published earlier this year found that athletes reported less muscle soreness on days they drank watermelon juice. The same has been found of drinking cherry juice, which contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

Some runners take salt tabs when running in the heat to prevent muscle cramping, but salty food works too, according to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Researchers found that men who ate chicken noodle soup containing 1,362 milligrams of sodium before cycling in the heat retained more water and thus stayed hydrated during their workout. But note: The average recommended sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams per day.

Coffee

That afternoon cup of joe may not be such a bad idea, especially if you plan on hitting the gym after work. A 1992 study published in the British Journal of Sports Science found that runners who drank a small amount of coffee before running 1,500 meters on the treadmill ran 4.2 seconds faster than those who took a placebo. The coffee drinkers also experienced enhanced oxygen intake.

Watercress

The leafy green that’s often just used as a garnish has some surprising muscle relief powers, too. The antioxidant-rich watercress has been proven to prevent DNA damage caused by high-intensity exercise. A British Journal of Nutrition study also found that eating watercress two hours before a workout provides the same benefits as consuming it for eight weeks.

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