Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
7 Hours Of Sleep Optimal For Heart Health: Study
People who sleep fewer or more than seven hours a night are at
increased risk for heart disease, according to a new study.
It included more than 30,000 adults who were healthy at the
start of the study. As they followed the participants, the
researchers found that the risk of developing heart disease was
more than double for those who slept less than five hours a day
(including naps) and 1.5 times greater for those who slept nine
hours or more,
CBS News reported.
The findings were published in the August 1 issue of the journal
It's not clear why sleeping less or more than seven hours a
night increases the risk of heart disease, said the West Virginia
University School of Medicine researchers.
But they suggested it might be helpful for people to discuss
their sleep habits -- including changes in sleep duration -- with
CBS News reported.
Breast Milk Sugars Support Beneficial Gut Bacteria In
Complex sugars in breast milk support bacteria that coat the
lining of an infant's intestine and protect against noxious
bacteria, according to U.S. researchers.
It was long believed that these complex sugars, which constitute
up to 21 percent of breast milk but cannot be digested by babies,
had no biological significance,
The New York Times reported.
But the University of California, Davis researchers found that a
beneficial strain of bacterium -- a subspecies of
Bifidobacterium longum -- has a special set of genes that
enable it to break down the complex sugars in breast milk.
This researchers said this strain of bifido is not found in
The Times reported.
"We were astonished that milk had so much material that the infant couldnt digest," said researcher Dr. Bruce German. "Finding that it selectively stimulates the growth of specific bacteria, which are in turn protective of the infant, let us see the genius of the strategy -- mothers are recruiting another life-form to baby-sit their baby."
The research appears in the journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Gulf Oil Spill Triggers Major Stress: Survey
The massive BP oil spill has caused psychological distress for
about one-third of people in coastal areas of states on the Gulf of
Mexico, according to a new survey of 406 adults age 21 and
Based on the K6 psychological distress scale, about 30 percent
of respondents suffer from probable serious or probable
mild/moderate mental illness -- 18 percent in Louisiana, 14 percent
in Florida, 12 percent in Mississippi and 10 percent in Alabama,
United Press International reported.
Probable serious mental illness was detected in 32 percent of
respondents who make less than $25,000 a year, compared with two
percent of those who make more than $100,000 annually.
The percentage of Louisiana residents suffering serious mental
illness due to the BP oil spill is double what it was among south
Louisiana residents in July 2007, two years after the state was
devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to Dr. Joseph
E. Bisordi, chief medical officer of the Ochsner Health System,
"To see so many people mired in psychological misery and in worse shape than they were after Katrina is disheartening," he said in a news release. "This benchmark identifies the need for mental health services throughout the region."
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