Scientists have made some odd discoveries about health, says Helen Foster.
Did you know that using bath products scented like food can make you snack more? That doctors are predicting that one day you’ll diagnose if your sniffles are cold or flu by sneezing on the screen of your smartphone, or that sunlight might fight short sight. Well, scientists have recently announced all of the above strange health findings – and more.
Your smartphone might one day diagnose the flu
Not sure if you are sneezing because you’ve got a cold or flu coming or you’re just having an allergic reaction to the cat. In the future, dabbing a little sample of saliva onto your smartphone could tell you. That’s the suggestion of researchers in Korea who have found that the touch screens of smartphones (that work by recognising the electrical charges from your fingerprints) are also sensitive enough to recognise the electrical charge given off by the DNA of bacteria. As yet, they haven’t mapped what bacteria give off exactly what individual charge,
but say it’s completely possible that it will happen. Watch this space.
How fast you eat affects your diabetes risk
That’s the finding of Japanese scientists who discovered that speedy eaters had twice the risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance (known as pre-diabetes), a condition that can then turn into type 2 diabetes, than slow eaters. When we eat, sugar levels in our body rise – it’s believed that people who wolf down their meals trigger a faster, higher rise in blood sugar than normal. To slow things down, aim to chew each mouthful at least 20 times and put your knife and fork down between bites.
Having a shower might make you hungry
Well, if you use shower gel or soap that’s scented like food, that is. According to Dr Jennifer Coelho from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, using food-scented products can trigger cravings for that food. However, strangely, it’s not the smell that does it. When she got people smelling body lotion labelled ‘chocolate scented’, they ate more cookies than women smelling the same scent who weren’t told exactly what it was! Coelho is doing more trials to find out exactly why this occurs, but until we know more dieters might want to stick to toiletries that smell of flowers!
Don’t take your dog for a walk when you’re ovulating
It’s been discovered that you’re more squeamish at this time of the month than any other (and if you’re anything like us, clearing up after your pooch is not a job for the faint-hearted). You can blame progesterone for your stomach churning. Levels of this hormone are high at this point - and high levels of progesterone dampen down parts of your immune system.
“You need this to happen,” says the study’s author Dr Diana Santos Fleischman. “During the early stages of pregnancy, the immune system poses a threat to the fertilised egg or embryo as its half foreign genetic material. Progesterone decreases immunity so the maternal system doesn’t destroy it.” Of course, if your immune system is a bit below par, your body doesn’t want nasties invading it and so it lowers your disgust threshold, thinking if you’re more squeamish you’ll be less likely to encounter things containing bugs.
Wearing stockings might stop snoring
But before you head off to the shops, its surgical stockings that get results not sexy ones. Italian researchers found that sleep apnoea sufferers wearing thigh-high compression stockings throughout the day reduced their sleep apnoea attacks by 36 per cent during the night. It might not work for everyone. The trial specially recruited people who had vascular weaknesses that meant they collected excess fluid in their lower body through the day; normally lying down at night caused a shift of this fluid which triggered swelling of the tissues of the neck that caused the apnoea. Surgical stockings reduce the risk of fluid build-up during the day and therefore stopped problems at night. Ask your doctor if it might work for you too.
Find more fascinating health tips in the August issue of Good Health magazine or subscribe at magshop.co.nz.