Do You Have a Sweet Tooth?
Some of us like sweets and cannot resist them. And there are those who do not like sweets. I belong to the first category. Now, science tells us that those with a sweet tooth have a special genetic make up. Having said that, I have to reiterate that genes are not that powerful. It is the environment which helps gene penetrance. The human environment is the human mind. So, willpower can make you shun sugar, even if you have inherited the gene mutant responsible for a sweet tooth.
Recently, researchers in Europe genotyped and examined more closely two variants of the gene that had been previously linked to a higher consumption of carbohydrates, namely, FGF21 rs838133 and rs838145. The study found that people with either of the two variants were 20% more likely to eat a large amount of sweets regularly. “These variants are very solidly associated with sweet intake,” says Professor Mathew Gillum, associated with the study. Additionally, the study found that these variants correlated with a higher level of alcohol.
Proctalgia fugax refers to the sudden onset of severe pain in the rectum area, which can last from seconds to minutes. The pain is sporadic and can be without warning. Although the pain can be quite severe and unbearable, it is of no great significance. It could be a nuisance, though. The saving grace is that it lasts only a short while. It is quite benign.
However, one has to see a doctor to rule out any other serious cause of rectal pain. Since the pain comes periodically, without any warning, it is difficult to predict it, to take medicines, although many muscle relaxants have been tried. The pain is due to sudden muscle spasm. Relaxation methods help.
Exercise in a Pill
Some of us want a pill for every ill. Some of us are so busy that we would much rather have pills to swallow which have the same beneficial effect as physical exercise. If there is big money, pharma companies will manufacture the science that supports a pill for exercise. But there may be genuine beneficiaries of this new pill, when it is discovered. There are many crippled people who cannot walk.
Physical activity is essential for good health. However, for individuals with limited mobility, engaging in regular exercise is not easy. A new study may have brought us one step closer to a solution: “Exercise with a pill.” Researchers say that it may be possible to simulate the body’s response to exercise with a drug. Researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at La Jolla (California) have discovered a chemical compound that can activate a gene normally stimulated by running.
By activating this gene—called PPAR delta (PPARD)—in sedentary mice, the researchers were able to mimic the beneficial effects of aerobic exercise, such as increased endurance and fat burning.
Riding a Bike Halves Heart Attack Risk
In a major five-year study, by the University of Glasgow (Scotland), researchers studied the health of more than 250,000 people. The researchers compared the health of people who actively commuted to work with people who mostly used public transport or their car.
During the five years, a total of 2,430 of study participants died; 3,748 were diagnosed with cancer, and 1,110 developed heart problems. After adjusting for variables such as sex, age, existing illness, smoking and diet, the authors reported significant improvements in health and longevity among the cyclists. Riding a bicycle to work was found to slash the risk of premature death from any cause by 41%, the incidence of cancer by 45% and heart disease by 46%. On an average, the cyclists commuted 30 miles per week. Cycling is one of the best activities one can indulge in. It also helps curb growing air pollution in large cities where cars have choked the air. A double whammy, indeed!