Our Saturday green news brings you the latest on health, parenting and cool baby and kid products:
- Certain baby cries can be announcing serious disease or disorder: Scientists have known for years that neurological disorders make babies cry differently. The difference may not be noticeable to the regular, untrained ear, however careful acoustic analysis can distinguish the nuances. A team of researchers from Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island has recently developed a new computer-based tool that can analyze baby’s cries for potential disorder and is less invasive than traditional methods. The team hopes their new analyzer can be a major tool in identifying children with neurological problems or developmental disorders at an early age. According to Stephen Sheinkopf, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown, who helped develop the new tool: “There are lots of conditions that might manifest in differences in cry acoustics. For instance, babies with birth trauma or brain injury as a result of complications in pregnancy or birth or babies who are extremely premature can have ongoing medical effects. Cry analysis can be a noninvasive way to get a measurement of these disruptions in the neurobiological and neurobehavioral systems in very young babies.”
- Red meat consumption changes gut bacteria: According to a study focused on intestinal microbiota published last year in the journal Nature medicine, a nutrient found in red meat called L-carnitine promotes atherosclerosis, among other health issues. Excessive consumption of red meat changes the human body’s composition, resulting in hardened arteries. When common gut bacteria combines with L-carnitine, they produce trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), which hardens arteries. High levels of TMAO are a serious warning of a potential heart attack or stroke. The study also found, that long-established vegetarians or vegans’ microbes didn’t produce much TMAO at all when they ate red meat. The findings indicate that non-meat eaters have a different mix of intestinal bacteria than meat-eaters do, and they are short on the one that produces TMAO.
- Increasing cancer rates linked to unhealthy lifestyle: According to the 2014 World Cancer Report prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and representing the work of some 150 international scientists, it’s expected that in the next couple of decades, doctors will be diagnosing about 25 million new cancer cases each year. The rate of preventable cancers is rapidly rising and may be up by 70% over the next 20 years because people are not giving up smoking, overeating, consuming animal products and processed foods, and are not exercising enough. For instance, lung cancer is the most common and the deadliest type with 80-90 % of cases directly linked to smoking (tobacco causes 30 % of cancers). Another high risky factor is regular consumption of red meat and processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs, which increases chances of colon cancer by 50% and raises risk of heart disease.