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Health & longevity news archive: November-December 2008





Facial expression of blind athlete
Smiles and scowls 'in our genes'
(Dec 29, 2008)


The facial expressions we make to show or hide our emotions are hardwired into our brains rather than learned during life, a study has concluded. Blind and sighted athletes made the same expressions when they won and lost, US researchers found. This, the study reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study suggests, meant the expressions were not picked up by watching others.

Read more. Source: BBC

arterial blockage
Skipping sleep 'hardens arteries'
(Dec 24, 2008)


People who scrimp on sleep are more likely to develop hardening of their arteries, a precursor to heart disease, research suggests. Calcified arteries were found in nearly a third of people who slept fewer than five hours a night. This dropped to around one in 10 for those who slept an extra hour, the Journal of the American Medical Association study of 495 adults found.

Read more. Source: BBC

woman smiling
Happiness 'rubs off on others'
(Dec 8, 2008)


Happiness is infectious and can "ripple" through social groups, according to US researchers. A study of 5,000 adults suggests a person's happiness is dependent on the happiness of those around them. A friend who becomes happy and lives less than a mile away increases your likelihood of happiness by 25%, the British Medical Journal reported.

Read more. Source: BBC

antioxidants
Antioxidants 'cannot slow ageing'
(Dec 1, 2008)


Diets and creams claiming their antioxidant properties could cheat ageing may be worthless, a study says. Using Nematode worms, scientists found even those given enhanced antioxidant powers to deal with tissue damaging "free radicals" did not live longer. The team from University College London said, in the Genes and Development journal, there was "no clear evidence" they could slow ageing.

Read more. Source: BBC

Sir1 protein
Has universal ageing mechanism been found?
(Nov 27, 2008)


An overworked protein, called Sir1, that causes yeast to age when it neglects one of its functions may trigger ageing in mice too. If the same effect is found in people, it may suggest new ways to halt or reverse age-related disease.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

trachea graft
Windpipe transplant breakthrough
(Nov 19, 2008)


Surgeons in Spain have carried out the world's first tissue-engineered whole organ transplant – using a windpipe made with the patient's own stem cells. The groundbreaking technology also means for the first time tissue transplants can be carried out without the need for anti-rejection drugs. Five months on the patient, 30-year-old mother-of-two Claudia Castillo, is in perfect health, The Lancet reports.

Read more. Source: BBC

Electron microscopic image of a human killer T-cell. Image: US National Cancer Institute
'Elixir of youth' drug could fight HIV and ageing
(Nov 14, 2008)


A drug extracted from a plant used in Chinese medicine has helped immune cells fight HIV and raises the possibility of slowing the ageing process in other parts of our bodies. The method hinges upon telomeres – caps of repetitive DNA found at the ends of chromosomes. These get shorter as cells age and are thought to affect the cell's lifespan.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

playground activity
Child's play 'better than a jog'
(Nov 4, 2008)


Running around like a child in a playground may be better for you than traditional grown-up ways of taking exercise like jogging and cycling. Researchers have found short sharp sprints of up to 30 seconds could be as beneficial as doing up to five sessions of an hour's exercise a week. Fewer than one in three adults in Wales follow recommended exercise guidelines.

Read more. Source: BBC

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