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Pattaya Daily News

13 June 2006 :: 17:06:37 pm 22038

Health Matters

Recent studies have discovered a correlation between elements of physique and prones to disease.
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Differently sized breasts
If your breasts are significantly asymmetrical the relative odds of getting breast cancer are raised, a study in the journal Breast Cancer Research reported. The odds go up 50% for each 100ml increase in asymmetry (breasts, for some reason, are measured like liquid), possibly because of an uneven secretion of hormones. But don‘t panic if yours are uneven. The average female breast in the study was about 500ml in size, so a variation of 100ml is pretty substantial. And most women have slightly different-sized breasts (in fact, only one of nearly 300 women in the study had perfectly symmetrical breasts). In short, more research is needed to substantiate this study.

Ginger hair
People with ginger hair have lower pain thresholds as researchers at Louisville University in Kentucky have found and they feel the cold more acutely than brunettes. The scientists even suggest that redheads need 20% more anaesthesia than blond or dark-haired people during surgery. In one study, in response to cold, the redheads began to feel pain at around 6C (43F), unlike the dark-haired volunteers, who barely blinked an eye until the temperature hit freezing. Scientists think the ginger gene, known as MC1R, could boost the body‘s temperature-detecting gene, making redheads genuinely sensitive types.

An apple-shaped body
Studies show that you are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease if you are “apple shaped” rather than “pear shaped” – that is, you have fat deposited around your waist rather than hips and thighs – Professor Pearson at the British Heart Foundation says this is because “fat around the waist is more easily released into the bloodstream, where it rapidly reaches the liver. Fat then decreases the sensitivity of the liver to insulin – this is also associated with the development of type 2 diabetes – and increases the production of a type of ‘bad‘ cholesterol that is a heart disease risk factor.” Men are more at risk if their waist is more than 37in (94cm), women if it is more than 32in (80 cm).

Small feet
Doctors would measure a pregnant woman‘s feet to determine whether she was likely to need a caesarean section, small feet being an indicator of a narrow pelvis some time ago. “This is an old wive‘s tale, really, but it is based on reasonable medical experience,” says Professor James Walker of the Royal College of Obstetricians. “Small feet would indicate a woman has a small-boned skeleton, and is likely to have a small pelvis. Petite women, however, tend to grow small babies which they are more than capable of giving birth to.” There may also be some truth in the “childbearing hips” myth. Tall, slender Elle MacPherson-types with narrow, mannish hips, says Walker “tend to have funnel-shaped pelvises” (as men do) rather than more “tube-shaped” ones. This “increases the likelihood of the baby facing the wrong way during the birth” (and therefore possibly slowing labour up) and also it “can increase the chances of an obstructed labour” – where the baby gets a bit stuck towards the end.

Long fingers
As you count your baby boy‘s fingers and toes, pause for a second to measure his ring finger. Scientists at Liverpool University think they have established a link between the chances of having a heart attack at an unusually young age and the length of a man‘s ring finger. The genes that influence the male hormone testosterone and the female hormone oestrogen also control the development of a baby‘s fingers. The researchers found that boys with shorter ring fingers tend to be at greatest risk of heart attack earlier in life because they may have lower levels of testosterone, which can protect against heart attacks. In most men, the ring finger is about 2% longer than the index finger. The British Heart Foundation cautions, however, that many lifestyle factors influence heart disease, so finger length alone is not something to obsess about.

Creased earlobes
Studies have found that a diagonal crease in the earlobe could signal that you are more likely to develop heart disease. “We suspect this is an early sign of heart disease because the earlobe contains a lot of small blood vessels,” explains Dr Rajendra Sharma, medical director of The Diagnostic Clinic in London. “These will clog up if they are not receiving adequate nutrients, producing this crease. If I spot this in a youngster, I would definitely suggest checking out their heart health.”

Social x-ray-type women, such as the US Vogue editor, are at increased risk of osteoporosis (fragile or brittle bones). Post-menopausal women who are underweight have a higher chance of developing osteoporosis because, GP Ann Robinson explains, “after the menopause your ovaries no longer produce oestrogen, which protects you against osteoporosis. Fat is practically the only source of oestrogen for post-menopausal women, so if you don‘t have any fat, you are more vulnerable”.

Excess body hair
Women who develop a lot of facial and body hair may have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that one in 10 UK women develops. These women have high levels of certain sex hormones, irregular, or no, menstrual periods and may have lots of cysts one or both ovaries. But cautions Dr Sharma, “Not all hirsute women have PCOS.”

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Health

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