Breathing polluted air can lead to diabetes

Exposure to air pollution for a month can increase the risk of diabetes, especially in obese people, a US study shows. Researchers from the University of California studied more than 1,000 people living in south California and examined concentrations of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and PM 2.5 particles in their area. They also measured the participants’ cholesterol and sugar levels and resistance to insulin. Their findings show that people who were exposed to the highest levels of these harmful air pollutants had the highest levels of insulin resistance, blood sugar level and higher cholesterol. Researchers believe that air pollution causes inflammation in the body and sets off a chain reaction that makes it harder for the body to process blood sugar. The study was published in the journal Diabetes Care. Read more here.

Healthy heart habits keep brain sharp and active

People with healthy heart habits such as avoiding cigarettes, maintaining a normal weight and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol under control are more likely to have a healthy mind too, a US study suggests. Researchers from the University of Miami Medical School examined memory and processing ability in 1,033 New York City residents. The participants were given a series of brain function tests. People with healthy heart habits performed better than others in tests that measured brain processing speed and the ability to quickly perform tasks that require focused attention. The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Read more here.

Rats can cause depression

People living in localities infested with rats are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, a new study warns. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined 448 residents of a Baltimore neighbourhood where rats are common. About 35% of the participants reported seeing rats in their neighbourhood daily, while 50% felt their presence but never saw them. Those who saw them regularly and felt helpless to do anything were 72% more likely to suffer from depression. The study was published in the Journal of Community Psychology. Read more here.

Nightmares can lead to suicidal thoughts

Nightmares can trigger negative cognitive thoughts such as defeat, entrapment and hopelessness, which can trigger suicidal tendencies in the afflicted, a British study claims. Researchers at the University of Manchester examined 91 people who had experienced some traumatic experience and found that 62% of them who had suicidal thoughts also had regular nightmares. The rate of suicide in the non-nightmare group was 20%. Previous studies have showed that nightmares often increase stress in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Read more here.

Impulsive people are more addicted to their smartphone

Impulsive people are more likely to check their smartphone more frequently than others, a US study shows. Researchers from Temple University enlisted 91 undergraduate students and assigned them to a series of questions and cognitive tests. The researchers also measured the students’ tendency to delay gratification in favour of larger but delayed rewards. It was found that people who constantly check and use their mobile devices throughout the day are less apt to delay gratification. The study was published in Springer’s journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Read more here.

Compiled by Abhijit Ahaskar