Exercise and muscle fat

Regular readers of this blog are now familiar with the health risks associated with visceral obesity, defined as an excess of fat located in the intra-abdominal cavity. Although this form of obesity is very dangerous to health (cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline and dementia, sleep apnea and some forms of cancer), the good news is that it can be mobilized by recalibrating diet and regular physical activity and exercise.

Headphones, headphones… when listening rhymes with danger

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Headphones, headphones… when listening rhymes with danger

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly half of young people aged 12 to 35 are at risk of hearing loss due to excessive exposure to high noise levels. Wearing headphones and headphones is becoming more and more common, so tips for reasoned listening are needed.

Less and less noise and conversations in public transport or waiting rooms and yet… All around us, music and noise are everywhere, individual headphones and headphones are invading our ears.

Their development is accompanied by a number of problems, both in terms of hearing health and safety. An update on the dangers of headphones and headphones and the attitudes to protect yourself from them.

Youth, more affected but less protected

Exposure of young adults to loud music is “ubiquitous”, according to the National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES). Wearing headphones or headphones has become harmless for young people from the age of 12. This action must, however, require increased vigilance. “More than a billion young people are at risk of losing their hearing simply by doing what they really love, namely listening to music regularly with their headphones,” said Dr. Shelly Chadha, Technical Officer in the Division of Hearing Loss and Deafness Prevention at the World Health Organization (WHO).

When sound passes directly into the ear canal by isolating the person from outside noise, limiting its intensity is essential so as not to impair the person’s overall listening ability. The sound volume of the medium used must be adjusted to half of the total capacity in general conditions, to avoid exceeding the maximum sound threshold. To avoid auditory isolation, also use earphones instead of in-ear earphones that confine sound.

“By listening to music too loud, you end up hearing it halfway! »

This slogan used by the INPES sums up the risks of unreasonable listening to music quite well. When a high volume is associated with a long duration, the risk of deafness is increased tenfold.

Indeed, listening to music at 80 decibels for several hours a day is more harmful than going to a 100 decibel concert for only one hour! As a reminder, the ear hazard threshold is 85 decibels (the sound of a lawn mower) over a short period of time. However, broadcasting devices such as smartphones or mp3 players can often reach up to 100 decibels.

The longer the listening time, the greater the risk to hearing and the more irreversible it may be. The most common dangers are tinnitus (tinnitus sensations, uninterrupted whistling), hyperacusis (total intolerance to noise) and in the worst cases, partial or total deafness. Adopting the right attitudes helps to protect your ears from these threats. Attention also needs to be paid to the risks of amplified music in festivals, discos or concert halls.

An increased risk of road accidents

We tend to forget it, but ears are not just for listening to music! Hearing is a fundamental function for human beings, enabling them to ensure their safety by being alert to external situations. As the ears send information to the brain, concentration is reduced when wearing headphones or headphones, thus increasing road accidents. Pedestrians and motorists, therefore limit the sound of devices and remain vigilant! The melody, however sweet and pleasant it may be, is not worth a human life.

The 10 right actions to adopt for a reasoned listening

  •  Limit the volume of the audio support to half of the maximum capacity
  •  Do not isolate yourself from outside noise, which is essential for everyone’s safety
  •  Choose headphones over in-ear headphones
  • Take regular breaks to allow the ears to rest
  •  Do not wear your helmet more than ten hours a day
  •  Avoid wearing headphones or headphones on the road
  • Use the headphones and headphones provided with the sound emitting device to maintain the balance level
  • Adjust the volume level of your headphones or earphones in a quiet place
  • Avoid as much as possible the use of headphones or headphones to fall asleep, as the brain and ears need calm and rest.
  • Limit the use of headphones or headphones to children, as their ears are still developingScientific guarantee: Jean-Benoît Proriol – audioprosthetist in Le Puy en Velay and member of the Audition Solidarité association specialized in the prevention of risks and dangers related to hearing.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly one billion of the population aged 12 to 35 could suffer irreversible hearing losses by 2050. The loudness of smartphones and mp3 players is particularly questioned. The WHO therefore calls for automatic adaptation and limitation of the maximum volumes of these devices by manufacturers.


Cancer: laughter therapy to reduce pain

Laughter, Laugh, Fun, Mom, Daughter
Cancer: laughter therapy to reduce pain

Anxiety, stress and depression affect cancer patients. According to a Japanese study, one of the effective solutions to improve their quality of life has been found: laughter.

A laugh is the cause of a multitude of reactions in the body that are beneficial to our health. In addition to the good mood it evokes, it relaxes the diaphragm muscle, releases tension and triggers the production of substances linked to well-being – endorphins, or “happiness hormones”.

According to a preliminary study published in the scientific journal PLOS One at the end of June, laughter therapy would also help cancer patients improve their quality of life.

Laughter therapy

“The people of Osaka, Japan, like to laugh and make people laugh. We wanted to prove the relationship between this fact and their quality of life,” the author of the study, Toshitaka Morishima of the Osaka International Institute of Cancer, told PsyPost. The researchers conducted the trial with 56 patients aged 40 to 64 years who had been diagnosed with cancer. At random, some participants were in the control group. Others received laughter therapy every two weeks, for a total of four sessions.

These sessions included a laughter yoga routine, a “group practice involving voluntary laughter, a body exercise including stretching, applause and body movements,” describe the researchers. This was followed by a Rakugo (literally “story that ends with a funny fall”), a form of Japanese comedy performed by a single counter, or by a Manzai, a traditional comedy show featuring an established comedy duo that exchanges jokes very quickly.

In parallel, the quality of life of the volunteers was assessed using a questionnaire from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer. Ultimately, laughter therapy was associated with improvements in self-reported cognitive functioning and pain reduction in patients who benefited from it compared to the control group.

A beneficial non-invasive intervention

Results that scientists explain through several mechanisms: “Positive emotions induced or accompanied by laughter may have allowed patients to reduce stress response and reduce tension by reducing stress-inducing hormones, such as cortisol, epinephrine and growth hormones; this in turn may have a positive effect on patients’ cognitive functioning,” they write. As for the reduction of pain, “previous studies have shown that the treatment of laughter increases pain tolerance and reduces its perception through physiological mechanisms of analgesia involving the release of endorphins”.

Laughter therapy could thus represent a “beneficial non-invasive complementary intervention”, they believe. Further research will be needed to confirm these hypotheses, and to determine whether regular laughing also extends the life span of patients. “When people are diagnosed with cancer, they should not forget to laugh,” concludes Toshitaka Morishima.


Endometriosis and labour: a study assessed the loss of productivity

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Endometriosis and labour: a study assessed the loss of productivity

A study recently published in the BMJ Open journal assessed the loss of work productivity of women with endometriosis. A disease that is too often underestimated, underestimated and poorly managed.

Menstrual pain until it sometimes collapses, lumbar pain, chronic fatigue, infertility… Endometriosis, a gynaecological disease that affects at least one in ten women, unfortunately often has an impact on the work of women who suffer from it.

For the first time, a Dutch scientific study recently published by the BMJ Open assessed the loss of productivity associated with this disease, which is still poorly managed. The researchers compared the absenteeism rates at work or during school for some 32,748 Dutch women aged 15 to 45 with endometriosis recruited on social networks in 2017. For a few months, participants completed a series of online questionnaires, specifying the frequency and duration of their menstrual cycle, the intensity of their pain, and their work-related absenteeism due to the disease.

In total, 13.8% of respondents reported absenteeism during their period, and 3.4% reported such absenteeism during most or all of their menstrual cycles. The menstrual absenteeism of a woman with endometriosis averaged 1.3 days per year.

In total, 80.7% of the women surveyed reported “presenteeism”: going to work or school knowing that pain reduced their productivity by an average of 23.2 days per year. According to the authors of the study, the total productivity loss for these women was 8.9 days each year. And when women were sick because of their periods, only 20.1% of them told their employer or school that their absence was due to a menstrual problem.

67.7% of respondents would have liked to have more flexibility in their work schedules during their period to better cope with pain and adjust their production.

“Although we are in the 21st century for almost two decades, discussions about menstrual symptoms are still sometimes taboo,” the authors of the study lamented in their conclusion. “There is an urgent need to focus more on the impact of these symptoms, especially for women under 21, to discuss treatment options with women of all ages and, ideally, to give more flexibility to women who work or go to school,” they said.


Health: Are UV filters in sunscreens dangerous?

Sunscreen, Skincare, Protection, Lotion
Are UV filters in sunscreens dangerous?

Are sunscreen filters, designed to protect the skin from the sun’s aggressions, toxic to humans and the environment? According to Philippe Lebaron, Professor of Microbiology and Marine Ecology at the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Sorbonne University, certain molecules whose harmfulness is proven, and yet used in many products, present a real risk to health and marine environments. Maintenance.

Creams, milks, gels, dry oils… Sunscreen products are essential to protect against the sun’s rays during this summer period. “Sunburn” is mainly caused by UVB rays. UVA rays are responsible for premature skin aging,” says the French Competition and Consumer Affairs Department (DGCCRF), which recommends limiting the length of exposure.

But some molecules, present in the composition of sunscreens designed to shield against ultraviolet rays, can be dangerous, both for humans and marine environments. Professor Philippe Lebaron, a specialist in marine microbiology, explains why.

What are these molecules and what are they used for?

There are two main types of sun filters. Mineral filters, composed of titanium and zinc oxide and organic filters. The latter are always composed of a mixture of molecules, because there is no single molecule that can cover the entire spectrum of UV rays. In general, manufacturers combine 3 to 5 molecules, with ingredients that make the cream easy and pleasant to apply.

To protect your skin, you don’t take just any sunscreen

Are these molecules dangerous?

Several serious scientific studies have demonstrated, in a proven way, the harmfulness of some of these organic molecules. In particular oxybenzone (also called benzophenone-3) and octocrylene. The latter compound is inexpensive and easy for manufacturers to use.

But these molecules pass through the skin. Studies have shown their presence in the urine of some children in China, but also in breast milk, in breastfeeding women. They present the same health risks as pesticides or endocrine disrupters[such as fertility, growth, behavioural problems, but also possible causes of certain cancers, N.D.L.R.]. Obviously, octocrylene and oxybenzone must be banned.

What are their effects on the environment?

There is a lot of talk about their impact on coral. Corals are a very important marine ecosystem for reproduction and therefore for biodiversity. Orders have been issued to prohibit the use of these filters, particularly in the Palau Islands, Micronesia, but also in Hawaii[these bans are to come into force in 2020 and 2021 respectively]. In December 2018, the Biodiversity and Biotechnology Laboratory of Banyuls (Pyrénées-Orientales) published a study highlighting the toxicity of octocrylene on coral.

How do they spread into the sea?

These molecules present in sunscreens are hardly soluble in water. When they diffuse into bathing waters, via the skin, they stick to the solid surfaces they encounter. Samples taken by the Banyuls Laboratory have revealed a significant concentration of these substances in the sand, but also on the walls of marine micro-organisms, algae or crustaceans, even very small ones, such as phytoplankton.

Are these effects reversible?

These molecules degrade very slowly. Once they are fixed, it is very difficult to get rid of them. This can take several months.

Does this pollution have an impact on humans?

The real question that the scientific community must ask itself on the subject is how these molecules are transmitted via the food chain. Shrimp feed on microorganisms that can be contaminated, oysters and mussels, which are water filterers, are also exposed. And of course the fish, consumed by humans, which reach the end of the food chain.

Even very small organisms can be contaminated with organic filters in sunscreens. Phytoplankton are microscopic algae.

How to protect yourself against it?

To pave the way for public health action, accurate scientific data must first be collected. They do not currently exist. It cannot be said whether the impact of this concentration of molecules in marine organisms is too great for consumers. For example, the national average estimate of this concentration in potentially exposed coastal fish should be established.

In addition, the toxicity of these molecules to humans and the environment is multifactorial and very complex. It is not only in sunscreens that are a problem. Similar molecules are present in shampoos or other cosmetic products.

Is there an alternative?

Creams containing mineral filters are not free of toxicity. But like organic molecules, they remain interesting for their effectiveness in filtering UV rays – and it is essential to protect yourself from solar radiation. However, pharmaceutical companies must invest in research on natural molecules, even if we will never be able to obtain perfectly satisfactory protection, only with this type of compound. As often as possible, however, they should be combined with effective and non-toxic organic filters.

How to find your way around?

Beware of claims by some sunscreen manufacturers that their filters are safe for the environment, based on scientific studies commissioned by them. Not that these studies are false, but they are conducted at a time T, in a particular context and do not necessarily make sense. Some manufacturers invest more in communication than in improving their products. For consumers, this is the path of the fighter.


What happens in the brain when you get bored?

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What happens in the brain when you get bored?

American researchers have noticed a difference in the management of boredom, which can cause anxiety in some people. They tried to learn more about this process through a study of 54 young adults. Their results made it possible to observe the areas of the brain that are activated in case of boredom.

Boredom does not have a very good reputation. It is often associated with a lack of productivity or concentration on a certain task. However, some studies have shown that boredom can stimulate creativity. So what matters is not the time spent boredom, but how we react to this state. Moreover, boredom can be poorly experienced by people who feel it excessively. That’s why researchers at Washington State University in the United States investigated the effects of boredom on the brain.

Before starting this work, the team was convinced that people who reacted negatively to boredom had brain differences from those who reacted well. “But in our basic tests, we couldn’t differentiate brain waves. It was only when they were in a state of boredom that the difference appeared,” they say. They therefore opted for the explanation of the individual response: some people simply react badly to boredom.

The areas of the brain

“People who report a high propensity for boredom have an avoidance temperament. These people are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety,” scientists write in the journal Psychophysiology. To better understand this mechanism, they recruited 54 young adults. The volunteers answered a questionnaire on boredom, then took a test to measure their brain activity at rest, then during a 10-minute boring activity.

By analyzing the data collected, the authors of the study found that participants who reported being more prone to daily boredom showed more activity in the right frontal region of the brain (anxiety, negative emotions) during the repetitive task. People who were used to better managing boredom tend to activate the left side of the brain (looking for stimulation or distraction). The next step for researchers is to develop strategies to help each person deal with boredom in a positive way. “Proactive thinking could be a good way,” they say.


Nuts and peanuts: health by eating

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Nuts and peanuts: health by eating

Eating nuts and peanuts (peanuts) is associated with reduced mortality and risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Although it is classified as a legume, peanuts have a nutritional profile comparable to nuts. The researchers examined the association between this consumption of nuts (including groundnuts) and mortality, according to the eating habits of different ethnic groups.

What if life expectancy could be maintained in a handful of oilseeds per day?

Reduced mortality with nuts and peanuts

The authors of the study analyzed a cohort of 71,764 low-income women and men living in the Southeast United States, as well as a group involving 134,265 men and women living in Shanghai, China. The study shows that high nut consumption is associated with reduced mortality and cardiovascular disease in all ethnic groups, both women and men. Total mortality is reduced by 21% among Americans and 17% among Chinese. Groundnuts are the main source of Chinese “nuts”, while they represent half of the “nuts” consumed by Americans.

Health at a low cost

Walnut consumption therefore seems to be an interesting and realistic approach for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, especially among people of low socio-economic status because of the affordable price of nuts and peanuts as long as they are not processed: roasted and saturated with salt…

Luu H N et al, prospective Evaluation of the Association of Nut/Peanut Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Internal