Daily News

Poor sleep’s effect on weight loss

An unhealthy weight can affect a person's well-being in various ways. That is why many people make a conscious effort to lose excess body weight. But, it turns out that a hidden factor — sleeping patterns — could easily thwart these efforts. An unhealthy weight, however, is not the only problem that threatens the well-being of people in the U.S. and elsewhere. Lack of good quality sleep also causes problems for people around the world. In the current research, Prof. Salas-Salvadó and colleagues analyzed the medical data of 1,986 individuals with a mean age of 65 years over the course of a year. All of these participants were overweight or had obesity at baseline, and they also had metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health risk factors that include high blood pressure (hypertension), increased levels of insulin (hyperinsulinemia), low glucose tolerance, and abnormal levels of blood lipids (dyslipidemia). At the end of the study period, Prof. Salas-Salvadó and team found that the participants who, at baseline, reported not sleeping for the same number of hours every night — a phenomenon called high sleep variability — had lost less weight after a year than those who reported a regular sleep pattern; they also experienced less of a reduction in body mass index (BMI). "The findings of our study highlight the importance of sleep characteristics on weight and adiposity responses to lifestyle intervention programs in elders with metabolic syndrome," the researchers conclude.

(Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Pollution takes a toll on brain health

Over the years, researchers have begun to see links between pollution and neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Although evidence is mounting, scientists have not yet figured out how airborne particles might impact the brain. Recently, researchers from Penn State University, PA, investigated possible links between pollution, our sense of smell, and neurological disease. To investigate, the researchers were particularly interested in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Another author of the study, graduate student Jordan N. Norwood, explains his first clue: "I was trying to label cerebrospinal fluid with a dye for another experiment. We started seeing this dyed cerebrospinal fluid drain out through the nose." Although surprising, Norwood was not the first person to have speculated that CSF might exit the brain through the nose. When he looked through old research papers, there were a few references to this possibility. Taking many findings into consideration, the researchers hypothesize that over time, pollution damages the olfactory sensory neurons. This produces a change in the flow or production of CSF. Because CSF is vital for clearing metabolic trash from the CNS, this plays a part in the development of neurological diseases. The authors write: "Reduced CSF turnover may be a contributing factor to the buildup of toxic metabolites and proteins that cause neurodegenerative disorders."

(Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com)