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Bodytalk 7th April

Tonight on Bodytalk we covered a range of current health issues which have been appearing in the media.

First off we looked at a scientific development which revealed a possible cause for allergies and allergic reactions such as eczema, asthma and hay fever. A genetic defect discovered in mice could develop treatment for those suffering allergic diseases. Researchers found that mutations in the filaggrin gene in mice led to allergic reactions, similar to those suffered by humans. The research is published online in the international journal Nature Genetics if you want to find out more.

Next we looked at a possible link between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and obesity. Researchers claim a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by hidden – undiagnosed – ADHD robs obese patients of the willpower needed to shed excess fat. A study found that of 242 severely obese patients who had failed to lose weight despite ten years or more of attempted dieting, 32 per cent had a diagnosis of ADHD. National Obesity Forum Chairman Dr David Haslam welcomed new therapies but said it was too early to say all obese patients should be screened for ADHD.

The next subject covered was a new develop in Alzheimer’s research; a study has found that many of us may develop the disease in old age because our brains worked too hard when we were younger and the memory is simply worn out. Rebecca Wood of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust said, “This significant development takes us a step closer to accurately predicting who will develop Alzheimer’s before any symptoms become apparent.”

We then discussed the increase in binge drinking in young people, particularly girls, under the age of 16. Last year 5,000 girls under 16 needed hospital treatment after bingeing on alcohol, some as young as ten years old, and this figure has soared 21 per cent in the last five years. Worryingly, the increase is even larger among older age groups, with the amount of 17-21 year olds up 50 per cent in four years. Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians said, “Yet again we see in the starkest possible terms that current alcohol harm reduction strategies are simply not working.”

Lastly, some good news, a cup of coffee before exercising could make your workout easier, say US scientists. Caffeine is believed to help stop the pain processing nerves in the brain and spinal cord from working so, in theory, could boost yours sports performance and encourage weight loss. One scientist said, “If you go to the gym to exercise and it hurts you might stop, so if a little caffeine reduces the pain it might help more people stick with it and achieve their fitness goals.”

And the theme for the evening was a battle of the sexes, looking at who is healthiest. Sadly, with 8 points to 6, the men won. Although women win with such things as skin, lungs, heart and lifespan, the men beat off the competition in such categories as pain threshold, headaches, sleep and muscle.

Tune in to Bodytalk, in association with Spire Hartswood Hospital, from 7pm next Tuesday

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