Men catching up with women in age race
As the first of the 75 million baby boomers touch 60 in January ('), there’s good news for men: they are catching up with women in life expectancy. A new Longevity Index, which is designed to help insurance companies and pension funds calculate payments due for their clients, shows that while women still live four years longer on average, men are gaining twice as fast in the age race. Lifestyle changes such as exercise and low-fat diets, along with cardiac bypass surgery, are keeping more people alive. Women can now expect an average of 82.6 years of life, the index shows, while men can look forward to 78.1 years. Medical experts say women are working harder, smoking more and undergoing more stress, which leads to the number one killer ' heart disease.
Smoking ups eye disease risk
Smoking cigarettes, or living with someone who does, increases a person’s risk of developing a progressively degenerative eye disease known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD, according to a study conducted at Cambridge University. AMD is the leading cause of reduced vision and blindness in many European countries and the US. A person’s risk of developing the disease increases with age. Researchers report in the British Journal of Ophthalmology that the more a person smoked, the greater the odds of developing AMD. People who smoked a pack or more a day for 40 years had triple the risk of developing the eye disease, compared with those who did not smoke.
Australian cure for snoring
Are you kept awake at night by a snoring partner' Try playing an Australian wind instrument called didgeridoo. Researchers in Switzerland examined 25 patients who suffered from snoring and moderate obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, both common sleep disorders. Half the group were given daily lessons in playing the didgeridoo, an instrument about 1.5 metres long that originated in northern Australia and is traditionally made from the trunk of a tree hollowed out by termites. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that those who played the instrument over a four-month trial period saw a significant improvement in their daytime sleepiness and apnoea. Their partners also reported less disturbance from snoring.
All hangover ‘cures’ useless
Forget hairs of dogs and hot baths, the only sure way of avoiding a hangover is not to drink in the first place. A study at the Peninsular Medical Sch-ool at Exeter University (UK) combed databases to study a range of hangover cures from the traditional to the novel. Researchers weighed efficacy of everything from aspirin to fructose, and even prickly pears, but found no silver bullet.