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Briefs: Perceptions of age may affect health

Perceptions of age may affect health

You really may be as young as you feel, according to researchers at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who reviewed scientific literature for evidence that people's perception of their age might influence their health. In their article for Perspectives on Psychological Science, researchers included studies such as one in which women who thought their new hairdos made them look younger experienced a decline in blood pressure. Another report linked early hair loss in men with a higher incidence of heart disease, an association authors connected with negative feelings about aging. Other studies found that those who spend time with younger people — such as women who have children late in life, and people who marry younger partners — tend to live longer. Researchers speculated that cues associated with aging can "make one unconsciously or consciously aware of old age and set in motion a series of physiological processes that can have real effects on short-term and long-term health."

Fried fish suspect in strokes in South

A wide swath of the South has long been known as the "stroke belt" because it has higher rates of stroke and other cardiovascular illnesses than the rest of the country. Now researchers are suggesting one culprit: fried fish. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce the risk for stroke, but deep-fat frying destroys these acids and replaces them with cooking oil. Scientists writing in Neurology analyzed diets of more than 21,000 people nationwide and found those in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana ate a 3-ounce serving of fish an average of twice a week, roughly the same as people elsewhere. But they were 32 percent more likely to have that fish fried. The lead author of the study, Dr. Fadi Nahab of Emory University, said fried fish was only one potential contributor to differences in stroke rate, but it stood out. "When we look at dietary differences in and out of the stroke belt, it's hard to find any other than this one."

Distracted diners may eat more

If you watch TV or use a computer during meals, you may eat more than you think. Researchers had 22 volunteers eat a meal while playing computer solitaire and 22 others eat the same meal while undistracted. The report in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed distracted eaters were worse at remembering what they had eaten, and felt significantly less full just after lunch. "Memory plays an important role in the regulation of food intake," said Jeffrey M. Brunstrom, the senior author and a researcher in behavioral nutrition at the University of Bristol in England. "And distractions during eating disrupt that."

Times wires

Briefs: Perceptions of age may affect health 01/05/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 5:01pm]

    

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