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Half a million older people spend every day alone, poll shows

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Scale of loneliness among over-60s revealed as Age UK develops scheme to provide support and companionship

Half a million people over the age of 60 usually spend each day alone, with no interaction with others, and nearly half a million more commonly do not see or speak to anyone for five or six days a week, a poll suggests.

Age UK, which commissioned the research, said the results highlighted a growing number of chronically lonely older people, which was placing increasing demand on health services.

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Don’t lose your snooze: the technology that’s promising a better night’s sleep

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Sleep technology is one of the biggest trends at CES, the world’s top electronics show, from beds that stop snoring to a pillow that monitors sleep cycles

A bed that adjusts itself in the night to stop people from snoring. A princess and the pea-style gadget that fits under a mattress and monitors sleep. A “water-based, app-controlled mattress topper”, which will encourage deep slumber.

Related: LG unveils Hub Robot to compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home

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IVF pregnancy less successful with two embryos, study finds

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Research shows if a healthy embryo is transferred alongside one of poorer quality then chance of pregnancy is reduced by 27%

Implanting two embryos during IVF can cut the chance of becoming pregnant by more than a quarter if one of the embryos is in a poorer state of health, new research suggests.

A study of almost 1,500 embryos that were implanted in women of all ages found that putting back a healthier embryo with one of poorer quality dramatically cut the chance of a successful pregnancy compared to just transferring one embryo.

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No evidence sugar-free soft drinks aid weight loss – study

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Academics say no evidence to support perception that ‘diet’ drinks are healthier than full-sugar versions

Soft drinks made with artificial sweeteners, such as diet colas, do not help people lose weight and may be as big a part of the obesity problem as the full-sugar versions, academics have said.

A paper by researchers at Imperial College London and two universities in Brazil contends that artificially sweetened beverages, often called diet drinks, are just as big a problem as those containing sugar. There is no evidence they help people lose weight, they say, possibly because people assume they can eat more because their drinks are low in sugar.

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Let them eat nuts: dentists want office ‘cake culture’ to end in 2017

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Royal College of Surgeons dental faculty also urges firms to provide fruit and nuts instead of biscuits at meetings

As many people return to work after Christmas full of good intentions, leading dentists are urging them to make one more resolution for the new year: eat less cake in the office.

The faculty of dental surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons has urged employers to tackle workplace “cake culture” which is contributing to the obesity epidemic and poor oral health.

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Children consume half of daily sugar quota at breakfast – study

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Public Health England launches barcode app after finding that under-10s consume three times the recommended limit

Children in England consume half their recommended maximum daily intake of sugar at breakfast, and by the end of the day have had more than three times the healthy limit, according to research from Public Health England (PHE).

The study, based on the annual National Diet and Nutrition Survey, found that on average children have the equivalent of three cubes – about 11g – of sugar before they go to school, mainly in sugary cereals, drinks and spreads. Despite this, researchers found that eight out of 10 parents believed their children’s breakfast was healthy.

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Why is sex painful for some women – and what can they do?

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Up to one third of women may experience pain during sex, but most never seek the treatment they need

Sex is painful for nearly one in 13 women, according to a study in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Researchers vary in their estimates of how common painful sex is – some studies say it affects up to one in three women – but all agree it’s a neglected problem. Most women never seek help. Some carry on having penetrative sex through gritted teeth.

The medical name for painful sex – dyspareunia – covers a multitude of reasons why intercourse hurts, such as sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia or herpes), thrush and endometriosis (which causes pelvic inflammation). Then there is anxiety, lack of sexual arousal and/or a previous traumatic experience of sex.

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Can acupuncture relieve your baby’s colic?

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

A new study suggests so – but don’t start sticking needles into your child. A detailed look at the results shows things aren’t so clear cut

Your baby is crying inconsolably, suffering from colic. Do you: a) cuddle it, b) give Infacol drops or c) stick needles into it? According to a paper in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, the answer may be c. Since colic affects up to at least 20% of babies, that could mean a lot of work for acupuncturists.

Colic starts in the first weeks of life and is usually over by three to four months. Babies are otherwise perfectly fine but cry in the early evening, and can yell for hours. No wonder parents feel desperate. The cause is unknown, with possible culprits including the mother’s diet during breastfeeding, cigarette smoke, the baby gulping too much air during feeding, inadequate burping and parental stress. Overstimulating babies has also been blamed. Super-sensitive pain signals and abnormal muscle contraction in the wall of the baby’s gut are the possible mechanisms that trigger the pain and bawling.

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How can I cope better with stress?

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Some people can bounce back from life’s pressures, but others do not seem to have the capacity. Can anything help them to strengthen their emotional armour?

How do you feel when bad things happen? Do you bounce back from adversity or sob indefinitely? Emotional resilience, the ability that some people have to withstand stress, was once thought to be a genetic gift. You were either lucky and had it, or you didn’t and struggled. Studies show that teenagers who fail exams have an increased risk of depression as adults, while athletes who lose can feel long-term guilt and humiliation. But recent psychological research suggests that emotional resilience can be developed. A systematic review of what makes people able to deal with failure looked at results from 46 studies.

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Is too much protein bad for you?

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

The market for protein supplements is now mainstream – but many of us already eat twice as much protein as the World Health Organisation recommends

Carbohydrates are causing an obesity epidemic and fats silt up your arteries. But protein? It provides the building blocks for essential stuff such as cells, muscles, bone, nails, hormones and enzymes. The word “protein” comes from the Greek and means first, as in most important. We can’t get enough of it. Bodybuilders take protein supplements in the form of milkshakes, energy drinks or bars to build up their muscle bulk. But even ordinary folk see protein as their new best dietary friend. The world market for protein supplements is now firmly mainstream and estimated to reach £8bn a year by 2017.

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