Magnesium aids sleep

Studies have found a link between low levels of magnesium, an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in a wide range of bodily processes, and sleep disorders. Magnesium interacts with an important neurotransmitter that favours sleep. But if you are concerned you aren't getting enough magnesium, changing your diet may be a better option than taking a supplement, as there is really sparse evidence that taking super-therapeutic doses of magnesium will give you a benefit. The mineral is widely available in both plant and animal-based foods, and the kidneys limit urinary excretion of magnesium, so deficiencies are rare in healthy people. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains are good sources of magnesium; fish, chicken and beef also contain magnesium.

Risk of early menopause

Underweight women are at an increased risk for early menopause, a new study has found. The study, in Human Reproduction, followed 78,759 premeno-pausal women ages 25 to 42, beginning in 1989. Over the following 22 years, 2,804 of them reported natural menopause before age 45.
After controlling for smoking, pregnancies, oral contraceptive use and other factors, they found that compared with women who had a body mass index of 18.5 to 22.4 (within the normal range), those with a BMI less than 18.5 at any age had a 30 per cent increased risk of early menopause. Overweight women (BMI 25 to 34.9) had a slightly lower risk of early menopause, and there was no significant increased risk in obese women with a BMI higher than 35. The reasons for the link between weight and the timing of menopause are unclear, concluded the researchers who did the study.

Get on a high of HDL

High levels of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol, are generally considered healthy. But can you have too much of a good thing? Possibly so, a study in the European Heart Journal found. A large-scale Danish study found an HDL of 73 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) in men and 93 in women was associated with the lowest all-cause mortality. Normal range is 35 to 65 for men and 35 to 80 for women.

Blood test to detect cancer

Scientists have made significant progress on blood test to detect most deadly types of cancers including ovarian, liver, pancreatic, colon and lung ones. The test, reported in Science, was able to detect eight common types of cancer in 1,005 patients with 70 per cent accuracy. The test, however, is nowhere ready for use yet, as it needs to be validated in a larger study in a general population.


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