Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A really keen food freak

A story from my local paper

Supermarket queues can be testy places, but a recent incident at a Capalaba supermarket, southeast of Brisbane, takes the cake. A woman of evidently rigid vegetarian beliefs objected to the next customer putting her meat too close to the shopping divider. When her protests brought no response, she picked up the divider and whacked the other woman shopper around the head

Naps cause diabetes?

This is brain-dead. All that they have found is that people with less energy nap more

Taking a regular afternoon nap is raising your risk of getting diabetes, say scientists. The danger of developing the illness, which can lead to strokes, blindness and kidney failure, increases by around a quarter among those who nap at least once a week. Experts said the raised risk could be simply down to the fact that those who took forty winks were less likely to be physically active.

Some 2.25million Britons have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity. The research, being presented at a conference in Glasgow this week organised by charity Diabetes UK, examined the napping habits of 16,480 older people in China. More than two thirds of the group (68 per cent) took a nap at least once a week. Even when other factors were taken into account, such as the person's weight, the study found napping was linked with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Overall, those who napped at least once a week had a 26 per cent greater risk of developing the illness compared with those who never took a nap.

The experts, led by a team from Birmingham University, said several factors may be behind the link, including the fact that those who nap are also probably taking less exercise anyway. In addition napping during the day may disrupt night-time sleep - those who sleep for just a few hours a night are known to have a greater chance of developing Type 2. Waking up from a short sleep also activates hormones and mechanisms in the body that stop insulin working effectively, the researchers said. Insulin controls levels of blood sugar.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: 'This research could be another step towards explaining the possible link between disturbed sleep patterns and Type 2 diabetes.' He added that being overweight remained a much greater risk factor than sleep issues.


Popular children earn more money when adults

But nothing trumps IQ

A study by Essex University found that for each extra friend a pupil had a school, their salary was two per cent higher 35 years later. Professor Stephen Pudney, one of the researchers from the university's Institute for Social and Economic Research, used data from America in which groups of schoolboys were asked to name their three closest friends in their final year of High School. The number of nominations received by each pupil was added up.

The boys were then interviewed at regular intervals between 1957 and 2004 to measure earnings and relate the figures to the number of friends. Other factors such as intelligence and family income were also taken into account.

They focused on the senior year because adolescents have "been exposed to interactions in different contexts, from mathematics classes to athletics and extracurricular activities", implying that the pool of individuals who could be nominated was much larger.

Professor Pudney said: "A workplace is a social setting. People have to manage each other and work in teams - you can see why social skills would be helpful." Despite the findings, Professor Pudney accepts that intelligence and length of education still have more impact on earning power than social skills.

The study, which was done in conjunction with the University of Chicago and the Institute for Employment Research in Nuremberg, also found that high school students with above average IQ are more likely to nominate others and to be popular in turn. It remarked: "This comes as no surprise, as relative high ability students might both be more attractive as peers and better understand the opportunities arising from social interactions."

The reported added: "Overall, the estimates show that a warmer family environment during childhood is associated with a significantly higher degree of adolescent social engagement. The strongest of these effects are the positive impact of a close maternal relationship on the friendship in-degree (nominations received) and out-degree (nominations given), and the negative impact of poor sibling relationship on the out-degree. This remarks the importance of the early family environment on subsequent adolescent social life."

Other findings included belonging to a relatively wealthier family did not make a student more popular among his peers while there was also some evidence that being relatively younger was associated with a reduction in the amount of nominations received. Students living in rural and small towns were also more likely to nominate others and to receive nominations.


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