Can Blood Pressure Determine the Sex of a Baby?

Here is an interesting way to predict whether you’ll have a boy or a girl. Your blood pressure may hold the secrets to the sex of your baby. Women who have hypertension are more likely to have a boy, according to researchers from the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Recruiting 1,411 Chinese women who were planning to have a child soon, they assessed their blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose levels at the start and then during their pregnancies.

What they found was that systolic blood pressure before pregnancy was higher in those women who ended up having boys. These findings were true, even after accounting for the age, education, smoking and BMI of the women.

As the study author Dr. Ravi Retnakaran explained, “In humans, the sex of the foetus is determined by the sex chromosome of the fertilising sperm.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Hypertension and the authors warned that its results are not a reason for anyone to artificially manipulate a mother’s blood pressure. The results, interestingly enough, might also explain the decrease in the number of boys who are born in countries with healthier lifestyles.

Just a Bit of Movement Can Make a Large Difference

Everyone knows that spending hours upon hours each day at a desk is not good for your physical or mental health. But what are you supposed to do if you work at a desk job? Here is a quick and easy way to make things better. In a new study by researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center and the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute found that tiny changes can go a long way. They looked at three different movement conditions with 30 adults.

In one group, the participants sat for six hours straight and got up only to use the bathroom. In the second group, they started the day with a 30 minute treadmill activity of moderate walking. The third group had six 5-minute bursts of moderate intensity walking every hour. The researchers looked at everyone’s stress hormones and at their mood, energy, fatigue and appetite.

And what did they find? They found that the benefits of the micro-workouts far outweighed those of the other participants. As the researchers explained,

“Overall, microbouts of activity led to sustained effects along the day, while the effects of a single bout of activity performed early in the morning did not last throughout the day.”

As the study author Jack Groppel explained, even a bit of activity throughout the day can really improve well being.

Exercise Helps with Alzheimer’s Disease

man-1464787_960_720Here is one of the secrets of avoiding Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers who presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America have found that if you exercise four times a week you can cut your risk of developing the disease. Using MRI data, researches have found that adults with mild cognitive impairment who exercise four times a week over a six-month period had an increase in brain volume.

And, people who participated in aerobic exercise had even greater gains than did those who stretched.

Dr Laura Baker, from Wake Forest School of Medicine (WFSM) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina said, “Even over a short period of time, we saw aerobic exercise lead to a remarkable change in the brain.”

Read more about the study to see more details.

Fascinating Links Between Psychological and Physical Issues

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Now here is a weird connection. Depressed teenagers are more likely to develop arthritis when they get older. Together, Swiss and German researched assessed 6500 teenagers to see what types of links they could find between mental illness and physical problems. They did find that certain physical manifestations can be tied to psychological issues.

They found, for instance, that depression is often followed by arthritis and diseases of the digestive system; anxiety disorders are more common if the teenager already has heart disease; a link between epilepsy and eating disorders was found as well! The findings were published in PLOS One.

Which Color Do People Select More When Eating?

apple-1726962_960_720We all want our kids to eat more greens, and the fact that they don’t might actually not be their fault. A recent study conducted by the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy and published today in the journal Scientific Reports shows that we are hard-wired to select red food over green. They found that our visual sense is the first one that we use to select our food.

As Raffaella Rumiati, the coordinator of the study and a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, explained

“According to some theories, our visual system evolved to easily identify particularly nutritious berries, fruits and vegetables from jungle foliage. We are visual animals, unlike others, dogs, for example, who depend on their sense of smell. We are particularly efficient at distinguishing red from green. It is mainly the colour of food that guides us, and our experiments show how. To date, only a few studies have been focused on the topic.”

Interestingly, they found that the preference for red over green doesn’t translate to non-edible objects. Rumiati explained that “This means that the colour code of the visual system activates correctly only with food stimuli.”