Listening to music on a portable player is not without its dangers. According to the European Commission, 5% to 10% of users risk suffering permanent hearing loss as a result of prolonged use of portable players at too high a volume.
This could effect between 2 and 10 million people in the EU. To cause hearing damage, all it takes is to listen to music 5 hours a week for 5 years at a level of over 89 decibels. A fact that has led the Commission to arrange a conference in Brussels in early 2009 to present a new set of regulations. And with good reason: the safety norm currently in force sets the limit for portable players at 100 decibels.
Link between depression in the elderly and brain lesions
Researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) have been investigating depression. It appears to be linked to a very significant increase in lesions in the white matter in the brain. This is the area of the brain believed to be responsible for transmitting information. Of course the appearance of such lesions - as a result of poor blood flow - is entirely normal with age but it is their extent that appears to increase the risk of depression after the age of 65. To reach this conclusion, the research team at Dijon monitored 1,700 individuals between the ages of 65 and 80. All underwent an MRI brain scan at the start of the study and again 4 years later.
When compared with elderly people in good health, the risk of depression proved to be 2.3 times higher among those with a lesion volume of over 6 cm3.
The authors believe that showing a link between lesions in the white matter of the brain and depression considerably strengthens the plausibility of the existence of vascular depression among the elderly. And in retirement homes, depression can affect as many as 45% of patients! Which shows how important it is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in this condition.
Cancer in childhood is not necessarily a deterrent to smoking...
In Great Britain, one adult in five who has survived some form of childhood cancer is a smoker. A new study highlights this fact, which is all the more worrying as patients who suffered from cancer in their youth are at particular risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham approached 10,000 former patients whose records were stored in the British National Registry of Childhood Tumours. All responded to a question about their status as smokers.
Twenty per cent answered in the affirmative while 30% explained that at one time they had been regular smokers. Another interesting finding is that the type of cancer from which patients suffer as children appears to influence their future choice when it comes to smoking. Those who had survived cancer of the central nervous system or retinoblastoma were less inclined to smoke. However, the reverse was true of patients who had suffered from leukaemia or Wilms’ tumour - a form of childhood kidney cancer - or from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The good news is that among those who survived childhood cancer, the percentage of smokers is still significantly lower than among the rest of the population.
7 tips for healthy eating in later life!
As we go through life, we need to adjust the way we eat and the elderly are no exception to this rule. Unless on medical advice, older people should avoid any form of dieting. And if they are in good health they should try to follow seven very simple rules:
• Eat a little of everything in sufficient quantity, in the form of three or four meals a day;
• Eat meat, fish or eggs once a day; once or twice a week is sufficient for poultry and oily fish;
• Dairy products should be part of every meal as a minimum, including tea;
• Fruit and vegetables eaten raw or cooked should be part of every meal, with starch once a day... and bread, again, with every meal. Because contrary to popular belief, bread does not make you fat;
• Eat a variety of different fats: oils for salads and cooking, butter on sandwiches, pasta and vegetables;
• And, of course, don’t forget to drink plenty of water: between 1 and 1½ litres per day.
Sterilising baby bottles is quite an art...
How long do you need to go on sterilising your baby’s bottles? Ideally, as long as possible! And forget the idea that from six months onwards there’s no longer any need as babies start putting all sorts of things in their mouth.. Quite the opposite, in fact - that’s a very good reason to remain extra cautious. What’s more, six months is the age at which a child’s antibody levels are at their lowest. Both of which are excellent reasons for continuing to sterilise baby bottles beyond this age.
And do we really need reminding that before sterilising baby bottles they should first be washed? Well, apparently so, as it doesn’t occur to everyone to do this! There’s no shortcut here: hot water, washing up liquid and a bottle brush. Then store them in a clean place. Otherwise all that effort will have been for nothing.
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