Do not dust this under the carpet
New research has found that exposure to chemicals in house dust could disrupt metabolic health and increase a person's body fat — especially in children. House dust contains endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that can interfere with hormone production. Previous research suggested that exposure to EDCs may contribute to weight gain. For the research, the team collected dust samples and analysed the levels of EDCs and found a total of 44 contaminants. Using mice, they then used the dust to look at how the chemicals influenced precursor fat cells. Seven out of the 44 dust samples collected caused cells to accumulate fat and nine samples spurred the growth of precursor fat cells.
As little as three micrograms of dust was enough to trigger the fat-producing effects. The three EDCs that had the greatest effect on fat production, include the pesticide pyraclostrobin, flame retardant TBPDP and the plasticiser DBP. On top of the potential for weight gain, removing dust from your house may improve the symptoms of skin allergies, eczema and asthma.
A musical hope to rekindle life
An instrument that emits notes according to a person's brain signals is the latest example of mind-controlled technology. The device, neurologists call the Encephalophone, could help those who have had a stroke or are restricted by paralysis to engage with music, a task shown to have significant therapeutic benefits.
What is novel in this innovation is the precision volunteers have produced in the manipulation of specific notes in a musical scale. Researchers used brain-computer interfaces (BCI) to let patients select and alter the intensity of a pre-selected set of notes by focussing on icons on a screen. This technology is enabling finer degrees of control over diverse technologies, making it possible for those who have lost control of limbs to walk, manipulate objects, or even drive again.
Heavy at Birth, Risk of Obesity later
High birth weight may put infants at increased risk of obesity as children, says a study. Identifying at-risk infants early could prevent weight gain and the health problems it eventually brings. The study looked at 10,186 children across the US, both those born at term and those born prematurely. Children born with high birth weight at term were more likely to be obese by kindergarten than their average-weight counterparts.
Children born with a large birth weight (above 4.5 kgs at term) were 69 per cent more likely than average weight children to be obese by kindergarten and continuing at least through second grade. In comparison, children born at the expected weight had an obesity rate of only 14.2 per cent by second grade. Of the premature infants born with high weight for gestational age, 27.8 percent were obese by second grade. Those born below the expected weight had an obesity rate of 28 per cent.
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