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ARGHH, BRAIN FREEZE: Inuka the polar bear celebrates his 23rd birthday at the Singapore Zoo with an ice-block cake made of salmon, apples, berries and cream. (Wong Maye-E/Associated Press)
ARGHH, BRAIN FREEZE: Inuka the polar bear celebrates his 23rd birthday at the Singapore Zoo with an ice-block cake made of salmon, apples, berries and cream. (Wong Maye-E/Associated Press)

Talking Points: Polar bear birthday cake, gum-chewing headaches and nuts during pregnancy Add to ...

HEADACHE HABIT

Anybody afflicted with regular headaches might want to try giving up chewing gum. As reported in Science Daily, a study has identified chronic gum-chewing as a common cause of headaches in teenagers and children. Doctors at the Meir Medical Centre in Tel Aviv noticed that many patients who reported headaches were daily gum chewers, with teen girls comprising the highest percentage of complainants. When the chewing stopped, “out of 30 patients, 26 reported significant improvement and 19 had complete headache resolution,” said study author Dr. Nathan Watemberg. And what happened when 20 members of the test group began chewing gum again? “All of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms.”

NUTS TO ALLERGIES

Expectant women could be doing their future kids a favour by eating nuts. CBC News reports on a study suggesting that children appear to be at lower risk for nut allergies if their moms eat nuts during pregnancy. The Boston’s Children Hospital study analyzed health records of more than 8,000 children and identified 308 instances of food allergy, including 140 allergies to peanuts or tree nuts. Of the kids allergic to nuts, 50 were born to mothers who were also allergic to nuts and 82 to non-allergic mothers. Researchers concluded that if an expectant mother ate peanuts or tree nuts five or more times a month, the risk of her offspring developing a nut allergy was reduced.

RECESS RUNAROUND

Kids are getting more exercise during recess than in gym class, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. When children are given free rein to play, they engage in higher levels of physical activity, says a study from Washington University in St. Louis. Researchers focused on 106 grade-schoolers who were fitted with pedometers to measure how many steps they took each day and devices to measure their general activity levels. For both girls and boys, the most significant volume of physical activity was achieved during outdoor recess. On average, girls took 41 per cent more steps at recess than at gym class and boys took 55 per cent more.

THOUGHT DU JOUR

We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those who find us boring. – François de La Rochefoucauld, author (1613-80)

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