Sleep quality and e-readers
Reading from an e-reader before bedtime seems to have a detrimental effect on sleep quality, a recent study indicated.
In a two-week study supported by the National Institutes of Health, researchers had participants read for four hours before bedtime from iPads on some nights and for four hours from printed books on others. After each scenario, they looked at various sleep-related measures and determined that the type of light emitted by electronic devices disrupted participants’ circadian clocks, causing them to take nearly 10 minutes longer to fall asleep and leading to a significant reduction in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
“Our most surprising finding was that individuals using the e-reader would be more tired and take longer to become alert the next morning,” said Anne-Marie Chang, assistant professor of bio-behavioral health at Penn State University. “This has real consequences for daytime functioning, and these effects might be worse in the real world as opposed to the controlled environment we used.”
Chang explained that electronic devices emit light containing a higher concentration of blue light, which differs from natural light and has more of an impact on sleep and circadian rhythms.
Research results were reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Tops in Missouri
A new hospital ranking report lists Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital at the No. 1 spot in the state.
In a ranking produced by Becker’s Hospital Review and Axial Exchange that is based on patient engagement, Barnes-Jewish West County ranked first in Missouri. Top performing hospitals were recognized for low readmission rates, high patient satisfaction, supporting patients in self-care and providing patients with online interactions.
Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital achieved a score of 73. To view all Missouri rankings, visit axialexchange.com/engagement/state/mo.
A woman who is immune to bedbug bites has enabled scientists to figure out what attracts the insects to human skin, and as a result, bedbug traps should be available sometime this year.
Vancouver biologist Regine Gries allowed bedbugs to feed on her skin so a team of scientists could find a way to bait bedbugs. After dozens of experiments, scientists were able to determine the combination of pheromones that bedbugs find attractive.
Now, researchers plan to market bait traps containing the compounds so bedbugs can be collected before taking to people’s beds – and their skin.
People lacking Gries’ immunity to bedbugs experience severe itching and rashes from their bites.
Timing is everything
Serving schoolchildren lunch after recess is a no-cost way to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they consume, researchers recently discovered.
“Recess is a pretty big deal for most kids. If you have kids choose between playing and eating their veggies, the time spent playing is going to win most of the time,” said Joe Price, professor at Brigham Young University and lead author of a study published in Preventive Medicine.
For the study, researchers monitored the behaviors of students in first through sixth grade at seven schools. Three of the schools switched their schedules and sent kids to recess prior to lunch; kids at the other schools continued to eat lunch before recess. The researchers stood by cafeteria trash cans to see how many servings of fruits and vegetables were discarded and took note also of how many children ate at least a single serving of fruits or vegetables. In all, they measured nearly 23,000 data points.
Results showed that students who had recess before eating lunch consumed 54 percent more fruits and vegetables than those who played after eating. Among students who had recess before lunch, there was a 45 percent increase in the number of children eating at least one serving of fruits or vegetables.
Learn now, nap later
Contrary to popular belief, infants seem to learn best while they are sleepy.
Researchers in the U.K. and Germany tested the ability of more than 200 6-12-month-olds on their ability to recall newly learned skills. They compared learning retention rates of babies who napped for at least 30 minutes within four hours of learning to retention rates of babies who did not nap. The napping infants remembered what they learned, but the non-napping babies did not.
According to University of Sheffield researcher Dr. Jane Herbert, the results suggest that the ideal time for a baby to learn new information is immediately prior to sleep.
“Until now, people have presumed that the best time for infants to learn is when they are wide awake, rather than when they are starting to feel tired, but our results show that activities occurring just before infants have a nap can be particularly valuable and well-remembered,” said Herbert, noting also that the study showed just how beneficial reading to a young child just prior to sleep can be.
New weight control drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved for adults a new weight management drug.
FDA officials have given the OK to the drug Saxenda as a treatment option for chronic weight management when used with a reduced calorie diet and physical activity. The drug is approved for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater (obese) or a BMI of 27 or greater (overweight) and at least one weight-related condition such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol.
To learn more about Saxenda, including clinical trial results and information on possible side effects, visit fda.gov.
On the calendar
Heart of the Family is from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7 at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, 3015 N. Ballas Road in Town & Country. The annual family-friendly event features information on the best ways to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. To learn more, call (314) 996-5000.
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“Supporting the Caregiver” is from 1-2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, 12634 Olive Blvd. in Creve Coeur. A one-hour class covering coping techniques and resources for caregivers and signs and risks of compassion fatigue (caregiver burnout) is followed by a half-hour question and answer session. Admission is free. For more information, call (314) 542-9378.
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“Introduction to Diabetes Management” is from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at St. Luke’s Hospital Institute for Health Education, 222 S. Woods Mill Road in Chesterfield. Taught by a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian, the class covers basic diabetes concepts, American Diabetes Association guidelines and self-management strategies. To register for the free program, visit stlukes-stl.com, or call (314) 542-4848.