Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - This Week -

FIN­GER­TIP SCIENCE: An app has been de­vel­oped by US sci­en­tists that en­ables smart­phone users to check for anaemia sim­ply by snap­ping a pic­ture of their fin­ger­nails. The soft­ware records lev­els of haemoglobin, the oxy­gen­car­ry­ing pro­tein in red blood cells, by mea­sur­ing the pale­ness of the fin­ger­nail bed. Sci­en­tists be­lieve the app will ul­ti­mately re­place the need for in­va­sive blood tests to mon­i­tor blood count. A com­mer­cial ver­sion of the “anaemia app” is ex­pected to be avail­able for pub­lic down­load as early as next spring. Anaemia, caused by low num­bers of red blood cells or in­suf­fi­cient haemoglobin, af­fects two bil­lion peo­ple world­wide. Symp­toms in­clude pal­lor, tired­ness, and, in se­vere cases, heart prob­lems. POWER PLAY: Mus­cle train­ing and pro­tein sup­ple­ments may be the key to re­vers­ing frailty, a new study pub­lished in the Bri­tish Jour­nal of Gen­eral Prac­tice sug­gests. Re­searchers from Dublin con­ducted a sys­tem­atic re­view on stud­ies on frailty in­ter­ven­tions. The au­thors found that in­ter­ven­tions with mus­cle strength train­ing and pro­tein sup­ple­men­ta­tion were con­sis­tently con­sid­ered to be the best for ef­fec­tive­ness and ease of im­ple­men­ta­tion. The au­thors sug­gested that GPs should rec­om­mend to their pa­tients in­clud­ing: 20 to 25 min­utes of ac­tiv­ity, four days per week at home com­pris­ing 15 ex­er­cises to strengthen arms and legs and to im­prove bal­ance and co­or­di­na­tion. There should be di­etary em­pha­sis on daily milk, eggs, tuna or chicken or, if pre­ferred, for­mula pro­tein with meals, the au­thors added. SLEEP RISK: The amount of time a per­son sleeps has been linked to their risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and pre­ma­ture death. The re­search, pub­lished in the Euro­pean Heart Jour­nal found that peo­ple who slept longer than eight hours had a higher risk of dy­ing or de­vel­op­ing dis­eases of the heart or blood ves­sels in the brain com­pared to those who slept for be­tween six and eight hours. When com­pared to peo­ple who slept six to eight hours, those who slept a to­tal of eight to nine hours a day had a 5% in­creased risk.

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