Boys Get All the Breaks – and Your Ears Are Making You Fat!

by DavalosMcCormack on August 18, 2008

Although it doesn’t always feel that way we’ve made a lot of progress in recent decades in reducing sexism and gender inequalities (and if you don’t believe me take a look at “Mad Men” on AMC, it’s a stark reminder of just how rough women had it as recently as the 1960’s, as well as a reminder of how much everyone smoked back then!). But with men still paid more than women for the same work, and more likely to get jobs and/or promotions we clearly still have a long way to go.

Then science comes along and rubs it in just a bit more!

A new study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that boys may be more likely than girls to have childhood asthma, but they are also more likely to out grow it in adolescence.

The researchers followed more than 1,000 children, between the ages of 5 and 12, to see how their asthma changed over time. In the early years they both had pretty much the same airway response (AR) – a measure of how well their bodies cope with the disease. But by age 16, the boys AR response was twice as good as that of the girls.

What was particularly interesting was that the point at which the two groups began to divide was the transition to puberty. The researchers are not sure why but say it appears that sex differences come into play in management of the disease.

As Rod Stewart once sang “some guys have all the luck”

Why Ear Infections Could Be Making You Fat!

This is one of the strangest, yet most intriguing pieces of health information I’ve seen in a while; chronic ear infections could be the reason why some people are overweight.

The study was done by researchers at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. Now what dentists are doing looking in your ears or at your belly I don’t know but maybe even hard core dentists get bored looking into mouths all the time and were just in need of a change.

Anyway, they did a survey of some 6,584 people that asked them a lot of questions about how many ear infections they got as a child, and their body mass index today. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a ratio of your height to weight that is considered a better guide as to whether you are overweight than just your weight alone.

The researchers found that people who had a history of chronic ear infections as children were 62 percent more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. The most intriguing part was why they think this may have happened.

They found people who had a long history of ear infections had a strong preference for sweet and high fat foods, and also ate fewer vegetables. They say this is consistent with damage to taste buds, perhaps brought on by the ear infections.

So, all those ear infections affected their taste, which in turn led them to prefer things with a sweet or fatty taste which in turn were foods more likely to lead them to be overweight.

The researchers also found that children who had their tonsils removed were 40 percent more likely to be overweight as adults, perhaps from that same link between damaged taste buds and altered food preferences.

Stress Makes Allergies Worse

Allergy attacks are miserable at the best of time, but a new study says stress can make them even worse, and last even longer.

Researchers at Ohio State University found that even slight stress and anxiety can dramatically worse a person’s allergic reaction to even routine allergens. They also found that these stress-induced complication causes the attack to linger longer than normal so that even the day after exposure to the allergen the individual is suffering from the attack.

So, what are you to do? It’s easy to say “don’t get stressed or anxious when you have an allergy attack” but anyone who has ever had one can tell you how miserable they are and how stressful they can be – it’s hard to do even routine stuff when you are struggling to breathe. Another complication is that the medications people typically take to handle allergies deal exclusively with symptoms, and they usually only last one day – whereas the stress makes the symptoms return just as strongly on the second day.

So, stress reduction techniques, something as simple as deep rhythmic breathing or meditation, may be able to help you keep those symptoms under control. You don’t need a prescription to do them or get them, you can do them anywhere. And best of all, they’re free.

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