The headband could beat insomnia by zapping the brain while sufferers wear it for 20 minutes at bedtime


A headband worn for 20 minutes before bed can help fight insomnia.

One in ten people in the UK have difficulty falling or staying asleep, with women twice as likely to be affected as men. This is due to hormonal changes associated with periods and menopause.

Other possible causes include stress, depression and caffeine.

Insomnia can also be a side effect of asthma or high blood pressure medications, or a consequence of medical conditions such as chronic pain, diabetes, and heart disease.

Treatments range from relaxation techniques to sleeping pills and cognitive behavioral therapy – a form of talking therapy that can eliminate negative thoughts that keep some people awake.

A headband worn for 20 minutes before bed can help fight insomnia. Treatments range from relaxation techniques to sleeping pills and cognitive behavioral therapy – a form of talking therapy that can eliminate negative thoughts that keep some people from sleeping.

While these can be effective, they don’t work for everyone, and the medications can have side effects such as headaches, diarrhea, nausea, and daytime sleepiness.

Now, scientists have developed an alternative option: a high-tech tape that works by sending a slight electric current through the head.

According to the researchers, this stimulates the production of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in regulating mood and sleep, while lowering levels of cortisol – a stress hormone that, at high levels at night, can lead to insomnia.

What cooking spice helps you sleep?

Saffron – a spice from the crocus flower – may help fight insomnia, according to a study published in the journal Sleep Medicine.

Taking a spice supplement one hour before bed for four weeks reduced insomnia rates by 24% and improved sleep quality by 22.6%.

Scientists at Murdoch University in Australia, where the research was conducted, said the spice increased levels of melatonin, a hormone released by the brain to promote sleep.

Two new clinical trials are underway to see if the device will fight sleep disorders.

The headband contains two “pad” electrodes which rest on the temples. The pads are connected to a battery powered generator, small enough to fit in a pocket. To activate the device, the patient presses a button on the generator that triggers low-level electrical pulses through the skin for 20 minutes.

Researchers believe that these impulses are strong enough to stimulate increased levels of serotonin in the brain and, at the same time, decrease in cortisol levels.

Most patients experience nothing, or just a very slight tingling sensation during treatment, they say. In a month-long clinical trial, conducted by New York-based research center ProofPilot and involving 200 patients, the treatment is compared to a dummy device.

Another 20 patients with insomnia after stroke are currently participating in a two-month trial of the device at the University of Texas.

About half of stroke victims develop insomnia, which can be due to psychological stress, pain and discomfort, reduced levels of physical activity, and other factors. In both trials, treatment sessions last 20 minutes per day.

Jaydip Ray, Professor of Otology and Neurotology at the University of Sheffield and Clinical Director for ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) at Sheffield NHS University Hospitals, said: “Electrotherapy has long been used in physiotherapy and pain management. The most common example is the TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine.

Applying it to the head “is an area of ​​growing interest in the treatment of a variety of conditions,” including psychiatric disorders and insomnia, he added, with promising results for tinnitus (ringing tinnitus). ears). “Therefore, we are quite optimistic about the potential of treating insomnia,” he adds.

Wearing copper socks can fight foot infections as well as standard creams, soldiers study finds

Socks made with the copper are as effective as standard creams in treating fungal infections of athlete’s foot, according to a study from the Armed Forces Medical College in India.

The soldiers were given either polyester socks containing copper oxide or a standard antifungal drug called terbinafine. After three weeks, the socks were found to be just as effective as the medication in controlling symptoms.

Copper is believed to work by piercing holes in the outer membrane of fungi, causing cells to implode.

Researchers suggest that socks may also have a preventative role.

Women are more likely to be happier than men, even though they report higher cases of daily feelings of depression, report scientists from the University of Rome in the journal Social Indicators Research. They say a mood-regulating gene called MAOA, found in women (in men, it’s suppressed by testosterone), may explain this.

Taking folic acid could help treat men with impotence as they have half the level in their system compared to healthy men.

Folic acid can help men affected by impotence.

Researchers at Peking University’s Third Hospital in China analyzed nine studies on folic acid and erectile dysfunction (ED) and found that the level of folic acid in healthy men was double that of of those with severe ED – 11,847 units versus 5,623.

Folic acid is believed to increase levels of nitric oxide, a natural compound that relaxes the muscles lining the blood vessels to and within the penis, allowing the blood flow necessary for an erection.

A deficiency of folic acid could increase the risk of erectile dysfunction, and supplements should be considered to treat this, reports the journal Sexual Medicine.

Medicine melody

This week: improve quality of life as you age

Whether you are a seasoned player or a complete novice, participating in musical activities can have a positive effect on those over 50.

In a nine-month study published by the Journal of Applied Arts & Health, participants who engaged in weekly musical activities, including singing groups, rock bands, and a variety of instrument lessons, reported a range of cognitive, social, emotional and physical benefits.

Participants reported that the high levels of concentration required, combined with the opportunity to make friends, develop new skills and feel part of a community, greatly improved their quality of life.

DID YOU KNOW?

Obesity can cause your hair to fall out, according to a study in the journal Nature. In a study on mice, Japanese scientists found that it could lead to depletion of hair follicle stem cells (which usually maintain hair and grow it). This is the result of inflammatory signals blocking the regeneration of the follicles, resulting in the loss of the follicles.

Legacy of containment

The lasting impact of closures. This week: Flu

This winter’s flu season could be worse than normal thanks to the lockdown, experts say.

Because so few of us came into contact with the flu virus last winter, we are less prepared to fight it this year.

“Reinfection with influenza each year strengthens previous immunity,” says Dr John McCauley, director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Influenza Reference and Research at the Francis Crick Institute in London.

“Epidemics occur when a virus has changed enough that it is less effectively recognized by the immunity of that population,” he says.

Right now, no one is sure what will happen this year, but it might not all be bad news. “Because places that seed the flu season in the northern hemisphere also have lower levels of influenza cases, the numbers might not increase,” says Dr. McCauley, but so many uncertainties make forecasting difficult .

This winter's flu season could be worse than normal thanks to the lockdown, experts have warned

This winter’s flu season could be worse than normal thanks to the lockdown, experts have warned

Gun to cure “sticky ear” and hearing difficulties in children by shooting small tubes into the ear canal

Scientists have developed a gun that shoots small tubes into the ear to prevent a common cause of hearing impairment in children.

Sticky ear occurs when the middle part of the ear canal fills with fluid, which affects hearing.

While most cases go away without treatment, some require surgery which involves placing a small tube (an eyelet) in the ear to drain the fluid and keep the eardrum open.

The preloaded gun device allows physicians to perform the procedure in just five minutes under local anesthesia, instead of 30 minutes under general anesthesia using standard technique. The carnation should fall off naturally within a year.

Scientists at the Royal Derby Hospital and two other UK centers are currently studying the safety and effectiveness of the device.

Eating low-fat yogurt may help reduce cataract risk, study finds

According to a team of ophthalmologists from the University of Murcia and other centers in Spain, eating yogurt can reduce the risk of cataracts by a third, with skim milk products being more beneficial.

They looked at data from nearly 5,000 men and women aged 55 to 80 in a cardiovascular study and found that those who ate the lowest-fat yogurt were 38% less likely to develop cataracts, reports the Foods medical journal.

No other dairy product showed a similar protective effect, although whole milk yogurt offered a low level of protection. Low fat yogurt is believed to have stopped the inflammation involved in the formation of cataracts.


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