The Telangana Science Journal
At a time when many are experiencing the psychological fallout from September 11th’s terrorist attack, getting on with life may be the best medicine, mental health professionals say. “We have to move forward," said Dr. Laura Young, a psychologist with the National Mental Health Association. "It's the only way we'll get through this as a nation, as communities or as individuals." For most people, it's time to turn off the television, Young said. "You're not doing anybody a favor by staying up until 3 a.m. watching TV or being in chat rooms," she said. "It is useful to be talking and processing what happened, but not to the point where it interferes with being healthy." The long-term effect of repeatedly watching the attack on the World Trade Center is difficult to predict, Young said. But people could be affected weeks or months from now. Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, a psychiatrist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center said, “fear of another terrorist attack is not going away anytime soon for many people, but as they get on with their lives, anxiety should ease, and if worries persist, they should seek professional help.”
Researchers studied five healthy men in 1966 as part of a research project to determine the adverse effects of bed rest on physical fitness. Fitness data obtained at that time in what became widely known as the Dallas Bed Rest and Training Study were used for comparative purposes in the 1996 study. A follow-up report published in two parts in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association (September 18, 2001) is one of the longest studies to evaluate the effects of age and physical activity on cardiovascular capacity. In this latest report researchers put the same men, now in their 50s, through a six-month endurance-training program. The tests in the follow-up compared age-related changes in cardiovascular performance over 30 years to cardiovascular performance levels achieved after the training program. The men in the study were not athletes and only one of the subjects engaged in regular physical activity. The men, ages 50-51, participated for up to 24 weeks in an exercise training program that included walking, jogging or cycling. By the end of the study, the subjects were exercising weekly about 4 ˝ hours divided into four or five sessions. A measurement of maximal oxygen uptake (Vo2max) during treadmill exercise was used to document changes in cardiovascular performance. "The studies indicate that middle-aged men can actually reverse many of the negative results of non-exercise, even after being physically inactive for a long time," says Benjamin D. Levine, M.D., study co-author and medical director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
Edible berries found on bushes (e.g., autumn olive) that are planted along roads and streams to prevent soil erosion are far richer than tomatoes in a substance thought to help in preventing some cancer. The fruit from the autumn olive plant resembles a small cranberry. Agriculture Department scientists who studied the fruit say the berries have as much as 18 times more lycopene than tomatoes. Autumn olive berries could provide a new source of lycopene for people who do not like tomatoes or might be used in dietary supplements. Tomatoes contain about 3 milligrams of lycopene per 100 grams, while autumn olives can have 15 milligrams to 54 milligrams, depending on the variety. Processed tomato products are much higher in lycopene. Tomato paste, for example, has 30 milligrams. A report on these findings will be published next month in the journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. "Eating a whole variety of plant-based foods is the key to getting these phytochemicals that we need," said nutritionist Melanie Polk of the American Institute for Cancer Research.
A new study by University of North Carolina lead by researcher Marcia Herman-Giddens suggests that boys in the United States, like girls, are entering puberty slightly earlier than previously thought, with blacks the most likely to develop the first signs by age 10. Early puberty may increase a boy's chances of developing testicular cancer later in life because it may mean longer exposure to sex hormones. The study - an analysis of a 1988-94 federally funded national health survey - found the average age for developing pubic hair was 12 in white boys, 11.2 years in blacks and 12.3 years for Mexican-Americans. That's up to half a year earlier than in earlier studies, Herman-Giddens said. But 21 percent of black youngsters studied had developed pubic hair between their 9th and 10th birthdays, compared with 4.3 percent of white boys and 3.3 percent of Mexican-Americans. Critics said the findings are flawed because assessments of physical changes were based on visual exams by researchers, not the boys' pediatricians. The study appears in September's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Herman-Giddens' previous research, published four years ago, suggested that significant numbers of white and black girls begin to develop sexually by age 8
Researchers from Humboldt University, Berlin, tested three cleaning devices: one with a brush and a scraper (a tongue cleaner), one with only a scraper (a tongue scraper), and one with only a brush (a toothbrush). Before and after the cleaning, the researchers tested levels of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which are involved in producing bad breath (halitosis). Immediately after cleaning with the tongue cleaner, VSC levels were reduced by 42 percent compared with pre-cleaning levels. The tongue scraper reduced VSCs by 40 percent and the toothbrush reduced them by 33 percent. Bad breath has many causes, including poor oral hygiene, certain foods, periodontal (gum) disease, dry mouth and tobacco use. The researchers suggested that bad breath might be reduced for a longer time if toothpaste, powder or liquid was used with the tongue cleaner, or if tongue cleaning was done more regularly. However, they said little research has been done in these areas. The study was published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.
Healthy life habits can reduce a woman’s risk of developing diabetes by more than 90 percent, Harvard University researchers have concluded. The researchers found that being overweight, the single biggest risk factor for diabetes, caused about six out of 10 cases of adult-onset (type 2) diabetes. They analyzed the habits of nearly 85,000 women in the long-term Nurses Health Study, conducted by Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. Results are published in the Sept. 13, 2001, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers’ formula for a healthy diet: The definition includes large amounts of cereal fiber and a high proportion of polyunsaturated vegetable fats compared with saturated fats and trans fatty acids such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Dr. Frank Hu, M.D., lead author of the article, says, “The vegetable fat from liquid vegetable oils is beneficial; in contrast, the animal fats and trans fats are detrimental. In addition, whole-grain products are best, because they take longer to digest than refined grains such as white bread or pasta. Refined grains are converted quickly to glucose, making blood sugar rise rapidly. In the long run, this will increase the likelihood of insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease…. This is an important message for doctors to tell their patients.”
In the study published in the September/October issue of Child Development, Huston and colleagues analyzed the television-viewing habits of nearly 200 children aged 2 to 7 over a three-year period. The children, all from low- to moderate-income families, were also given periodic tests of their reading, math, vocabulary and school-readiness skills. Very young children who spent a few hours a week watching educational programs such as Sesame Street, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Reading Rainbow, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Wizard's World and 3-2-1 Contact had higher academic test scores 3 years later than those who didn't watch educational programs, the researchers found. Also, children who watched many hours of entertainment programs and cartoons had lower test scores than those who watched fewer hours of such programs. Because the average child watched just 1 to 3 hours weekly of education programs, compared to an average of 10 to 16 hours of general-audience programs, and 5 to 8 hours of cartoons, the researchers couldn't test whether watching many hours of educational TV would also have exerted a negative effect. The positive effects of educational programming were strongest for children aged 2 and 3. More research is needed on how television may affect intellectual development. TV watching may reduce the time children have to spend engaging verbally and socially with others. Educational TV challenges children with age-specific techniques designed to enhance learning, while general-audience programs they can't quite follow may have the opposite effect.
Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, September 2001.
Return to The Telangana Science Journal
Return to Vepachedu Home Page