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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Why coffee may be good for your eyes

Posted: 05 May 2014 10:30 PM PDT

Clue: It has something to do with the antioxidants found in coffee.

A coffee a day could help keep eye diseases at bay.

That's according to a joint study out of South Korea and the United States, which concluded that powerful antioxidants found in coffee can play a role in preventing age-related eye diseases and the degeneration of eyesight.

For their research, scientists looked at the impact of chlorogenic acid or CLA, a strong antioxidant that has been shown to prevent retinal degeneration in mice.

To conduct their experiment, mice were treated with nitric oxide, which creates oxidative stress and free radicals and leads to retinal degeneration. Those that were pretreated with CLA developed no sign of retinal damage.

The retina is a thin tissue located on the back wall of the eye that receives and organizes visual information, researchers explain.

It's also one of the most metabolically active tissues and requires high levels of oxygen. Without it, the tissue is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress and prone to the production of free radicals, which leads to tissue damage and loss of sight.

However, it's not yet known whether or not drinking coffee delivers CLA directly to the retina, researchers stress. Future studies could lead to the development of a special brew customised for retinal support, or CLA delivery via eye drops.

The study, published in the Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry, is the latest to vaunt the nutritional merits of coffee.

Another large scale, US-led study published recently in the journal European Association For The Study Of Diabetes found that people who drank three or more cups of coffee a day had the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes – 37% lower than those who consumed one cup or less per day.

Scientists looked at the coffee consumption patterns of 95,000 women and 28,000 men. — AFP Relaxnews

Frequent nightmares could mean child is bullied

Posted: 05 May 2014 10:15 PM PDT

Finding can help parents intervene before the trauma and anxiety of being bullied grow worse.

If your child suffers from regular nightmares, it could be a sign that they were a victim of bullying in the past, reveals a new British-led study.

It's a finding that could be used as a warning bell, say researchers at the University of Warwick, and help parents intervene before the trauma and anxiety of being bullied grow worse.

Presented at a meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver, Canada over the weekend, researchers said that night terrors were more common in 12-year-olds who had reported being bullied when they were eight and 10 years old.

"Our findings indicate that being bullied is a significant stress/trauma that leads to increased risk of sleep arousal problems, such as nightmares or night terrors," said study co-author Dieter Wolke.

"It is an easily identifiable indicator that something scary is being processed during the night. Parents should be aware that this may be related to experiences of being bullied by peers, and it provides them with an opportunity to talk with their child about it.

For their study, researchers followed 6,438 children from birth to the age of 12. When the children were eight and 10 years old, they were interviewed about bullying, and at 12, about nightmares, night terrors and sleep walking.

Researchers found that by the age of 12, nearly a quarter (24%) of children had nightmares, while 9% suffered from night terrors.

Night terrors differ from nightmares, as they're far more dramatic and occur during non REM sleep, often two to three hours after falling asleep. Children might suddenly sit upright in bed or scream in distress. Breathing will be faster, and they may thrash around and sweat profusely.

Night terrors also differ from nightmares as kids are unlikely to recall the experience the following day.

Overall, about 13% reported sleep walking and 36% had at least one type of parasomnia.

After adjusting for factors like IQ, existing psychiatric diagnosis, abuse and domestic violence, researchers found that children who were victimised were significantly more likely to manifest their distress, anxiety and depression in sleep-related disorders. – AFP Relaxnews


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