For Your Health

If you want to be the next David Beckham or Michael Jordan, you may want to check your birth date. An Australian researcher has found a link between being born near the start of the school year and the chances of becoming a professional athlete:

"Senior research fellow Adrian Barnett from Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation found that a person's birth month could determine their health and fitness.

Barnett analyzed the birthdays of professional Australian Football League (AFL) players and found a disproportionate number had their birthdays in the early months of the year, while a fewer number were born in the later months, especially December."

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Here's an interesting weight loss idea: just move to a higher altitude! A recent study found that obese participants who spent time at a mountain facility lost weight without going on a diet. Researchers believe the thin air may take part in decreasing appetites and increasing metabolism:

"The researchers suspect part of the weight loss can be attributed to the thin air, which may have decreased participants' appetites and increased their metabolism, meaning they burned more calories sans a workout. While at high altitudes, the obese subjects also showed an increase in levels of leptin, a hormone that when present can make one feel full."

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Human medicine is looking to dogs for clues about repetitive behaviors in humans like OCD. Scientists have identified a gene in obsessive-compulsive dogs that may correlate to the human version. Experts believe the link could yield preventive medicine and better treatment for both species:

"A study of obsessive-compulsive Dobermans might someday help explain similar repetitive behaviors in humans.

Scientists have identified a region on chromosome 7 in obsessive-compulsive dogs that may correlate to the human version of the psychiatric disorder.

The gene is the same in humans, said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, first author of the study, which appears as a letter to the editor in the January issue of Nature Molecular Psychiatry. In humans it resides on chromosome 18, the same chromosome which holds all of the psychiatric genes identified thus far, he said."

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