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Talking Points: Jellyfish swimming, women’s sleep, and ‘ideal’ cardiovascular health

NEON KALEIDOSCOPE: A spellbound visitor watches jellyfish swim at the Vancouver Aquarium.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

SLEEPY LADIES

Just as we suspected: Women need more sleep than men, and they wake up grumpier. Parentherald.com reports on a Duke University study that suggests most women are not currently getting the minimum amount of shut-eye they need to function properly. Lead researcher Michael Breus said women might be in distress in the mornings due to higher inflammation levels: "We found that women had more depression, women had more anger and women had more hostility early in the morning." Lack of sleep can cause women to develop heart disease, depression, psychological problems and strokes, the study said. Men don't develop the same ailments when they are short of sleep, it added.

STRESS UPON STRESS

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Besides peer pressure and bullying, obese children have elevated stress levels. Sciencedaily.com reports on new research showing that overweight kids often have higher readings of the stress hormone cortisol. The study from the Erasmus MC-Sophia Children's Hospital in Rotterdam analyzed scalp hair of 20 obese children and 20 normal-weight children over a month-long period. The obese subjects had an average cortisol concentration of 25 milligrams in their scalp hair compared with 17 milligrams for normal-weight kids. Still to be answered is whether the high cortisol levels are directly due to obesity or caused by stress suffered by kids because they are obese.

CARDIO CRITIQUE

When it comes to cardiovascular health, Canada has some work to do. As reported by Canada.com, a new study reveals that fewer than 10 per cent of Canadian adults currently meet the criteria for "ideal" cardiovascular health. The exhaustive study from Toronto's Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences analyzed data from more than 460,000 Canadian adults according to the CANHEART (Cardiovascular Health in Ambulatory Care Research) index with scores ranging from zero (worst health) to six (best health). On the scale, 9.4 per cent of Canadian adults were given a score of six. British Columbians were healthiest, with an average score of 4.1, while the lowest score of 3.5 went to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, where obesity and smoking rates are among the highest in the country.

THOUGHT DU JOUR

Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.

Samuel Johnson, writer (1709-1784)

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