Body & Fitness

Health watch: Botox, drinking tea for cancer, home-gym

Your latest health news.


• Music could be the key to a good night’s sleep, and improve your memory at the same time. Researchers from Germany have discovered that playing music that is synchronised to the slow oscillations of a sleeping brain enhances brain function to boost memory. It also improves the

quality of sleep.

• Women who have Botox injections to get rid of laughter lines and other wrinkles are more likely to feel depressed because they can’t smile properly. The treatment, which works by temporarily freezing muscles in the face, cuts off the signals sent to the brain when we smile, which make us feel happy. That means Botox may indirectly spark depression, says Cardiff University psychologist Michael Lewis.


Drinking tea may lower the risk of mouth cancer, even in smokers. Research shows that regular black tea protects against the damage to cells in the mouth linked to tobacco.

In the study, published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, the researchers looked at the effects of black tea on 300 healthy volunteers, both smokers and nonsmokers, and tea drinkers and non-tea drinkers.

The study involved taking tissue samples for detailed genetic analysis. Results showed that there was significantly higher DNA damage in the tissue taken from people who used tobacco. However, in those who were tea drinkers, there was significantly less damage. Tea contains various antioxidants thought to protect cells from damage.


Olive oil. If you’re trying to lose weight, use this instead of butter or other oils. Scientists in Greece tested four fats – lard, butter, olive oil and rapeseed oil – and found that olive oil triggered the most satiety, or hormones which help you to

feel full.


Don’t dwell on the past, look to the future. A study of 34 volunteers found that recalling negative experiences increased levels of C-reactive protein, a sign of raised inflammation (which is linked to various diseases, including cancer).



Research shows that smoking delays the healing rate of “long bones” (those in the arms and legs).

On average, nonsmokers’ bones took 25 weeks to heal after a fracture, while those of smokers took 32 weeks.


Small changes to your lifestyle that can make a big difference: Brush your teeth with your weaker hand.

Doing something unexpected, such as using the “wrong” hand for routine tasks, can boost production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This is a protein that encourages the growth of nerve cells linked to long-term memory and mood.

BDNF production plummets when we are stressed, says Moses Chao, professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine.



INSTEAD OF: Kick boxing (904 kJ in 35 minutes)

DO: Painting and decorating (1206 kJ in an hour)

Scientists at the University of Mississippi found an hour-long kick-boxing class has roughly the same kilojoule-burning benefits as brisk walking. But the punches and kicks increase strength and flexibility. Decorating involves a lot of squatting and climbing ladders, which is good for toning legs and buttocks. Stripping wallpaper is especially tough.

INSTEAD OF: Badminton (557 kJ in 30 minutes).

DO: Ironing (586 kJ an hour).

Playing badminton will improve aerobic fitness, flexibility and hand-eye co-ordination, but standing up and ironing also gobbles up a surprising number of kilojoules. Make sure the board is the right height to avoid back strain.

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