Health Briefs

Health Briefs

Health & Fitness

April 11, 2004

Nurturing has a lifelong benefit

The more parents nurture their offspring, the more likely the children are to remain emotionally and physically healthy through old age, according to a study of 3,000 adults by the University of Albany and the University of Michigan.

Participants who had not received enough emotional support from their parents in childhood were more likely to report poorer physical health as adults than those who indicated they had been given plenty of emotional support. The ones who hadn't gotten enough nurturing were also more likely to suffer from depression or other emotional illnesses, said researcher Benjamin Shaw, an assistant professor of social behavior and community health at the Albany, N.Y., campus. He said he was surprised by how long the connection seemed to last. The survey participants ranged in age from 25 to 74. The study was published in the March issue of Psychology and Aging.

Breast tissue staying dense

Today's post-menopausal women have "younger" breast tissue than that of previous generations, a mammogram review has found.

Researchers said they could not account for the change but added that it might be partly because women are giving birth at a later age and having fewer children than 30 years ago. They discounted the effect of hormone replacement therapy because it wasn't widely used in the Netherlands, where the study was conducted. Dense breast tissue, typical of younger woman, makes it more difficult to detect tumors or other abnormalities with mammograms and may be leading to unnecessary biopsies, said Dr. Fred van der Horst, a radiologist with the National Training and Expert Centre for Breast Cancer Screening in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He presented his findings at a breast cancer conference in Germany last month.

Villains: the rug, your chair

Simply walking around the house and then plopping into a chair kicks up more lung-irritating dust than other everyday activities -- and releases half as many air-polluting particles as smoking a cigarette, according to a Stanford University study.

Such particles can aggravate asthma and allergies, so people prone to respiratory problems are advised to be careful while dusting and vacuuming. But researchers have found that ordinary household movement can rival cleaning in generating indoor air pollution. For instance, dancing on a rug can release the same volume of particles as dusting, while walking on a rug can churn up almost as much as vacuuming.

The study appears in the March 15 issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

-- Los Angeles Times

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