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Breakfast makes you mentally agile

Maybe grandma was right after all: breakfast is, indeed, the most important meal of the day. Researchers at the University of Florida reviewed 47 nutrition studies and concluded that children and adolescents who ate breakfast had better mental function and better school attendance records than those who did not. And breakfast-eaters, even though they consumed more calories, were less likely to be overweight than those who skipped breakfast. The review appears in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association. According to the nutritionists, eating breakfast improves memory and school performance for several possible reasons, because it modulates short-term metabolic responses to fasting, causes changes in neurotransmitter concentrations, or simply eliminates the distracting physiological effects of hunger.

Women vulnerable to drink

Alcoholism isn’t an equal-opportunity addiction, report researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California. They studied the brains of men and women dependent on alcohol and found that the latter became addicted to drinking more quickly than the former. Women also showed brain shrinkage and deterioration at a faster rate. Earlier studies have suggested that alcohol is more damaging to women than men, but most research involving brain imaging to gauge alcohol effects on the brain has been conducted among men. The results showed that all the alcoholics had greater amounts of brain shrinkage than healthy people.

Sham acupuncture works too

A sham version of acupuncture works just as well for treating migraine headaches as the real thing, and both fake and real acupuncture work better than no treatment at all, a new study has found. In the study, reported by the New York Times, German researchers divided 302 migraine-sufferers into three groups. The patients were told that one group would receive a strictly Chinese procedure, and another would receive an improvised method of acupuncture which “has been associated with positive outcomes in clinical studies.” The effectiveness of both the sham and the real acupuncture, the researchers write, was about the same as treatment with drugs and had fewer side -effects. The results, they conclude, “may be due to nonspecific physiological effects of needling, to a powerful placebo effect, or to a combination of both.”

A ‘turbocharger’ for heart

GenX medicine has gone so hi-tech that cardiologists have begun using a ‘turbocharger’ pumping aid to boost blood flow in the heart. The implant consists of a balloon that inflates after a heart beat to squeeze the blood into the main vessel that exits the heart.

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