Mind-body therapy helps ease lower back pain

Enrolling in mind-based therapy programmes can help patients suffering from chronic back pain, a study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggests. The doctors randomly assigned 342 adults with chronic lower back pain to three different groups. The first group was assigned to yoga and meditation programmes, the second received education on pain and the third was allowed to continue with whatever treatment they were taking. A follow-up study after six months revealed that 61% of participants in the meditation and yoga group and 58% in the education group felt less pain. In the usual care group, only 44% reported some improvement. The study was published in the Journal of American Medical Association. Read more here.

Exposure to sun can increase life expectancy in women

Women who spend more time in the sun are more likely to live longer, despite the risk of skin cancer, than those who avoid the sun, a Swedish study claims.

Researchers studied 29,518 Swedish women for 20 years and found that women with maximum sun exposure were less likely to die of heart diseases, and non-cancer related diseases. They also found that the life expectancy of non-smokers with limited sun exposure was similar to smokers in the highest sun exposure group, indicating that avoiding sunlight is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking. Researchers are not sure whether the positive effect of sun exposure is caused by vitamin D or something else and belive that more research is required on the subject. The study was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Read more here.

Xbox Kinect sensors can help in detecting lung diseases

The motion sensors used in Microsoft Xbox, also known as Kinect, can be used to evaluate respiratory functions in patients, a British study claims. Researchers from University of Warwick and University of Birmingham have made a system using four Kinect sensors. Using these sensors the researchers created a 3D image of a patient’s chest and measured the movement of the chest wall. When they compared the findings of Kinect with the findings of medically proven tests, such as patients breathing in a spirometer, they found the results to be fairly similar. The study was published in Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing. Read more here.

Giving antibiotics to infants can lead to early childhood obesity

Children who are given three or more courses of antibiotics before they reach the age of two are more likely to suffer from childhood obesity, a US study claims. Researchers from the University of Colarado examined a large cohort study involving 21,714 children to find out the link between antibiotic exposure before 2 years of age and its effect on obesity at 4 years of age. About 1,304 children were found to be obese by the time they were 4 years old and 25% of these obesity cases were found in children who were given antibiotics three or more times when they were younger. The study was published in the journal Gastroenterology. Read more here.

Elderly avoiding computers can be a sign of Alzheimer’s

A US study claims the amount of time senior citizens spend in front of their computer can be an indicator of Alzheimer’s and other brain-related issues. Researchers from Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center found that an extra hour of computer use every day was associated with a .025% larger hippocampus volume. A smaller hippocampus volume is a sign of higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers enlisted dementia-free adults of 65 years and above and used MRI scans to measure the volume of the hippocampus in their brain. Using a computer requires the use of multiple cognitive domains, including executive function, attention and memory which are affected in dementia. The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.Read more here.

Compiled by Abhijit Ahaskar