Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Yoga can improve memory, reduce Alzheimer's risk
If you are trying to improve memory or offset the risk for developing memory loss or Alzheimer's disease, regular practice of yoga and meditation could be a simple, safe and low-cost solution to improving brain fitness, new research suggests.
 
The team found that a three-month course of Kundalini yoga and Kirtan Kriya meditation practice helped minimise the cognitive and emotional problems that often precede Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
 
Kirtan Kriya, which involves chanting, hand movements and visualisation of light, has been practiced for hundreds of years in India as a way to prevent cognitive decline in older adults.
 
Yoga and meditation was even more effective than the memory enhancement exercises that have been considered the gold standard for managing mild cognitive impairment, the findings showed.
 
"Memory training was comparable to yoga with meditation in terms of improving memory, but yoga provided a broader benefit than memory training because it also helped with mood, anxiety and coping skills," said the study's senior author Helen Lavretsky, professor at University of California, Los Angeles, US.
 
The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
 
The study of 25 participants, all over the age of 55, measured changes not just in behaviour but also in brain activity.
 
Eleven participants received one hour a week of memory enhancement training and spent 20 minutes a day performing memory exercises -- verbal and visual association and other practical strategies for improving memory, based on research-backed techniques.
 
The other 14 participants took a one-hour class once a week in Kundalini yoga and practiced 20 Kirtan Kriya meditation at home for 20 minutes each day. 
 
After 12 weeks, the researchers saw similar improvements among participants in both groups in verbal memory skills -- which come into play for remembering names and lists of words.
 
But those who had practiced yoga and meditation had better improvements than the other participants in visual-spatial memory skills, which come into play for recalling locations and navigating while walking or driving.
 
"Historically and anecdotally, yoga has been thought to be beneficial in ageing well, but this is the scientific demonstration of that benefit," lead author of the study Harris Eyre, doctoral candidate at University of Adelaide in Australia, said.
 
"We're converting historical wisdom into the high level of evidence required for doctors to recommend therapy to their patients," Eyre noted.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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Telling ripeness of mango without having to taste it
There is good news for mango lovers! You may soon be able to tell how ripe a mango is without having to taste it as researchers have identified a way to “sniff” the ripeness of the fruit.
 
They have identified the unique chemical signature of ripening for mangoes, a development that could lead to small hand-held electronic noses to detect the ripeness of not just mangoes but other fruits as well.
 
Mangoes are one of the most important and popular tropical fruits with India producing approximately 40% of the world's supply. 
 
"It is really important for people to be able to tell how ripe fruit is without having to taste it. This is important for fruit producers and supermarkets,” said lead researcher Paul Monks, professor at the University of Leicester in Britain.
 
The new research, published in the journal Metabolomics, has shown that is possible to 'sniff' the ripeness of mangoes.
 
"We used a novel fast-sensitive "electronic-nose" for sniffing volatile compounds from the ripening fruit. Popular supermarket species of mango were used. In particular, the work showed an increase in ester compounds -- the smell of pear drops -- was a particular marker of over ripe fruit," Monks noted.
 
The work has, for the first time, followed in real-time and detail the chemical signatures of ripening for mangoes, Monks said.
 
"There are some real potential applications of this research for making devices to be able to assess ripeness non-destructively. The information gained from the work could be used to develop small, hand-held electronic noses that could be deployed to assess fruit maturity prior to picking and thus determine the optimum point to harvest mature green mangoes,” he added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

 

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FII inflows jump in March; but FDIs at 12-month low
Foreign investment inflows to India shot up to US$6.2bn in March 2016 from just US$0.7bn in the preceding month, as per the RBI’s monthly bulletin for May 2016, notes Religare. This was entirely driven by FIIs, who pumped in US$4.4bn after withdrawing money in each of the last four months. Net FDI (Foreign Direct Initiative) inflows dropped to a 12-month low of US$1.9bn in March 2016 from an average run-rate of US$3.1bn during the first 11 months of the fiscal. Inflows into NRI (non-resident Indian) deposits surged to an 11-month high of US$2.3bn in March 2016.
 
 
FDI inflows at record levels in FY16: FDI touched record levels in FY16, with gross inflows of US$55.5bn, up 22.8% from FY15. As a proportion of GDP, they rose to 2.7% from 2.2% in FY15, thereby supporting investment growth amidst weak private capex. In fact, as per the Financial Times (FT), India supplanted China as the top recipient of FDI in the world in 2015, with FDI announcements of US$ 63bn (China: US$ 56.6bn). Among Indian states, Gujarat and Maharashtra led the way, garnering US$ 12.4bn and US$8.3bn, respectively. The surge in FDI inflows reiterates foreign investor confidence on India’s long-term growth potential. RBI (Reserve Bank of India) data on FDI captures actual FDI inflows into the country, whereas the FT reports FDI announcements into greenfield investment projects.
 
Services sector top recipient of FDI: As per the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), the service sector (financial, banking, insurance, non-financial/ business, outsourcing, R&D, courier, technical testing and analysis) was the top recipient of FDI flows during April-December 2015 – accounting for one-fifth of the total. The computer hardware & software/infrastructure sectors were next in line, receiving 18%/12% of foreign investments. Singapore and Mauritius were the top sources of FDI, driving 58% of the inflows into India.
 
FIIs net sellers in FY16: The turmoil in global markets hurt India in FY16, with FIIs withdrawing US$2.8bn from the country in the year after pumping in a record US$ 42.2bn in FY15. This is only the second instance of FII outflows over the last decade, and is expected to have led to a sharp drop in capital flows to India, to US$46.9bn (2.3% of GDP) from US$89.2bn in FY15 (4.4% of GDP). However, the capital flows will be more than sufficient to fund the CAD, which is expected to come in at a 10-year low of 1% of GDP due to continued savings in net oil trade.
 
RBI turns net buyer of dollars in March: After three months, the RBI turned net buyer of dollars in forex markets in March 2016, as its dollar purchases exceeded sales by US$4.7bn – the highest in 11 months. The surge in capital inflows and a drop in trade deficit to a five-year low in March enabled the central bank to shore up its forex reserves, which touched US$355.6bn by end-March16; note that forex reserves have further climbed to an all-time high of US$363.1bn by end-April 16.
 
NEER/REER decline in April: India’s nominal/real effective exchange rates (NEER/ REER- 36-currency trade weighted) declined by 0.2% MoM (month-on-month) in April, even as the average value of INR fell by 0.8% against the US dollar during the month. However, the average value of the REER has appreciated by 8.4% during FY14-FY16, while the average value of INR has declined by 7.6% against US dollar on the back of dollar strength during this period. The resultant deterioration in India’s export competitiveness is likely to have contributed to dismal export performance.

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