Health Bits: Till unhappiness do us part

2013-09-29 06:00

City Press health reporter Zinhle Mapumulo’s pick of new health and lifestyle research.

» In sickness and in health ... till unhappiness do us apart 

Happier marriages make for healthier spouses, whether they’re still honeymooning or they’re approaching their golden wedding anniversary, a new study has revealed.

More than 1 600 marriages were studied by researchers from University of Nebraska-Lincoln over 20 years.

They observed how marital bliss or marital unhappiness affects physical health.

Findings revealed that there is a strong link between good health and marital happiness for both age groups.

At the start, the younger group tended to have better health, but more marital problems and less happiness than the midlife group.

The connection between increased marital happiness and improved health was particularly significant for the younger group.

Decreases in marital problems over time were significantly linked to improved health for the midlife group.

» Fish may not be brain food after all 

We’ve all heard how fish high in omega-3 fatty acids is good for the brain, or the memory at least.

But a new study published in the online issue of Neurology suggests this is not entirely true.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa in the US, examined data on 2 157 women aged 65 to 80 years who had participated in research trials for hormone therapy.

At the beginning of the study, the group had blood tests that measured the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood.

The women were followed for about six years and during the period they were tested annually for their thinking and memory skills.

Findings revealed there was no difference in thinking and memory skills between the women with high and low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood at the time of the first memory tests.

There was also no difference between the two groups in how fast their thinking and memory skills declined over six years.

» Early detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease lead to better outcomes

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, have found that if onset symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are diagnosed early using a brain-imaging test and the patient begins treatment immediately, there is a greater chance of improvement in future.

Although these are preliminary findings from an ongoing study, it does show that patients whose doctors gleaned information from the brain scan did better over two years of follow-up.

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