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Hormonal imbalances hasten ageing in poor and uneducated people

Poor and uneducated people age faster and are more vulnerable to diseases due to hormonal imbalances, study suggests. Researchers at University College London monitored 1,880 British people since 1946 and found that hormones critical to healthy ageing are significantly out of balance by the time the economically weaker and educationally inferior reach the age of 60. The study shows that men with the lowest household income had lower testosterone which is responsible for obesity, osteoporosis and sometimes depression. Those with the lowest education had lower levels of cortisol and insulin-like growth factor. The former is linked to heart palpitations, depression, pain and insomnia, while the latter is associated with poor cognitive function and increased cancer risk. The study was published in the journal Social Science and Medicine. Read more here.

Women don’t have to skip yoga during late pregnancy

A new study shows that women don’t have to give up on certain yoga positions during pregnancy. The study refutes the notion that some positions that require mothers to lie on their backs, such as “happy baby pose" and “downward facing" might reduce circulation to the foetus and increase fetal heart rate. Researchers from the Jersey Shore University Medical Centre monitored the fetal heart rate in 25 women during the final weeks of pregnancy while they tried 26 different yoga positions including the above ones. Not only the fetal rate was found to be normal, but none of the women reported any contraction or bleeding. The study was published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Read more here.

Price difference encourages people to shift to low calorie alternatives

Small price differences can encourage consumers to shift from high calorie to healthier alternatives, an American study suggests. The study found that consumers from low-income group, who disproportionately suffer the consequences of obesity, are more responsive to small price differences. The researchers examined a six-year-long large-scale field study which covered over 1,700 supermarkets across the US. The researchers used the peculiar pricing pattern of milk in the US and found that in markets where milk prices are equal across fat alternatives, consumers chose whole milk over lower calorie alternatives. Areas where the difference in pricing was less than 5% people saw a significant shift in market share away from whole to low calorie alternatives. The study was published in the journal Marketing Science. Read more here.

Smartphone monitoring can help in behavioural studies

Interpreting data collected through smartphones can help with large-scale behavioural studies, a study claims. Researchers from the University of Birmingham and University College London examined user generated data, harvested from the participants’ smartphones, on increased stress levels. The data included information on participants’ location based on their phone’s global positioning system (GPS) location and activity levels (running, walking and travelling) through their device’s accelerometer. The researchers found that exercising and specialising had a positive effect on participants’ stress levels. The researchers believe the effective use of smartphone for the study shows great promise for further studies. The study was published in the journal EPJ Data Science. Read more here.

Compiled by Abhijit Ahaskar

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