Weight loss may reduce diabetes-related brain changes
Losing weight can curb the damaging effects of type-2 diabetes on the brain, a US study suggests. Researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem observed over 300 individuals diagnosed with diabetes for a decade. The first group involving 164 participants were provided intensive counselling with diet and exercise support while the remaining 155 were given a standard disease education programme. Researchers found that total brain volume was similar between the two groups. But the average volume of white matter hyper-intensities (concentrations of white matter that represent damaged areas) was 28% lower for the first group than the other group. Diabetes makes blood sugar a less reliable energy source and can compromise brain function and eventually lead to decline in cognitive abilities. The study appeared in the journal Diabetes Care. Read more here.
Yoga can improve quality of life in asthmatics
Yoga can have a positive effect on the quality of life in people suffering from chronic asthma, an Asian study claims. Researchers from the University of Hong Kong studied 15 controlled trials in India, Europe and US which covered 1,048 men and women who had mild to moderate asthma for six months to more than 23 years. Researchers found that yoga reduces the impact of asthma on people’s quality of life. “Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to small improvements in asthma quality of life and symptoms. However, it is unclear whether yoga has a consistent impact on lung function and we don’t yet know if yoga can reduce people’s medication usage," lead author Dr Zuyao Yanga said. The study was published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Read more here.
Using tablets as a learning tool can help children in economically backward areas
Providing tablets with preloaded literacy apps can improve the reading preparedness of young children living in underprivileged communities, a US study claims. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of technology conducted three different trials. The first trial was conducted in rural Ethiopian villages with no schools and no written culture. The second trial was set in a suburban South African school which had one teacher for every 60 students while the third was carried out in a rural US school with mostly low-income students. The study showed that African students who used tablets got better scores in tests than those who didn’t, while in the case of US students scores improved within four months of using tablets. Read more here.
Culture and social influence linked to aggressive driving
Angry, competitive and aggressive driving behaviour is a reflection of a person’s surrounding culture, on the road as well as on a broader social level, an international study shows. Researchers from Oregon State University and Beijing University of Technology carried out a study on drivers in China where competitive driving is very common. Researchers found that drivers in congested situations felt they had no option but to compete for space, and gain advantage by over-speeding. “The choice to be competitive versus cooperative always starts with culture, by the influences around us and the way other people behave," lead researcher Haizhong Wang said. The study was published in the journal Procedia Engineering. Read more here.
Compiled by Abhijit Ahaskar