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cloud nine Get up-to-date with these latest research findings. By JOLENE LIMUCO

Time check According to a study conducted by KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School between November 2010 and March 2011, a woman who experiences bleeding early in her pregnancy is at risk of having a miscarriage. But that risk increases if she’s older, has a previous history of miscarriage or a low blood progesterone (hormonal) level during pregnancy. The study also found that men above the age of 40 add to an eight-fold risk of miscarriage in their partners, and a mother more than 34 years old is twice more likely to miscarry. Lead researcher of the study, Assistant Professor Tan Thiam Chye said that the findings show that the biological clock not only ticks in women, but in men as well.


The verdict  is  out.  Baby  boomers  —   those  born  between  1946  and  1964  —   are  the  happiest  people  in  Singapore.   This  is  according  to  a  survey   conducted  between  December  2011   and  March  2012  by  integrated   marketing  communications  agency,   Grey  Singapore. However,  the  study  also  found  that   the  overall  happiness  levels  among   Singaporeans  fell  by  8.3  per  cent  to  44.5   per  cent  compared  to  last  year’s  figure,  

while the  number  of  unhappy   Singaporeans  went  up  to  25.3  per  cent   from  20.1  per  cent.   The  survey,  which  gathered   responses  from  1,000  Singaporeans   aged  between  17  and  60,  showed  that   money  and  confidence  in  the  economy   are  what  make  people  unhappy.   Inversely,  the  top  things  that   Singaporeans  are  happy  about  include   their  neighbourhood,  closeness  to  their   families  and  religious  beliefs.  

Mental illness alert



the Singapore population at some stage of their life. Interestingly, Singapore has the highest rate for OCD in the world at 3 per cent of the population. In the United States, 2.3 per cent of the population has OCD, while 1.1 per cent of the population in Europe has the condition. The disease itself is affected by both genetic and environmental factors such as developmental upbringing and illness.

PHOTOS: Getty Images, Istockphoto

More than one in 10 people in Singapore will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime, said the Singapore Mental Health Study which surveyed 6,616 people between 2009 and 2011. The study, funded by the Singapore Millennium Foundation and the Ministry of Health, found that the most common mental illness is depression. This is followed by alcohol abuse and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Depression will affect 6.3 per cent of


Pepper your diet with this A new study provides a long sought-after explanation for the fat-fighting effects of black pepper. The research, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in April 2012, found that piperine — the pungent-tasting substance that gives black pepper its characteristic taste — can block the formation of new fat cells. Dr Soo-Jong Um and colleagues from Sejong University in Seoul are of the opinion that piperine reduces fat levels in the bloodstream and has other beneficial health effects. According to the researchers, black pepper and the black pepper plant have been used for centuries in traditional Eastern medicine to treat gastrointestinal distress, pain, inflammation and other disorders. Despite that long medicinal history, scientists know little about how piperine works on the innermost molecular level. Their laboratory study and computer models found that piperine interferes with the activity of genes that control the formation of new fat cells. In doing so, piperine may also set off a metabolic chain reaction that helps keep fat in check in other ways.

Scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) are now a step closer to finding the cure for dengue, which may be available in the next six to eight years. The research team, led by Associate Professor Paul Macary of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine’s department of microbiology, has recently discovered a new antibody that can neutralise and kill the dengue virus at a much faster rate than existing anti-dengue compounds. They have also identified a way to reproduce this antibody in large quantities. The antibody works by attaching itself to the dengue virus and preventing it from attacking other cells in the body. The research team discovered the effectiveness of the anti-body after a two-year study on 200 patients who had recovered from the infectious disease. Assoc Prof Macary says that this discovery is currently the best therapy that exists for dengue. There is currently no specific medicine or antibiotic for the virus, and a person infected with it may take days to fully recover. However, the antibody that the researchers discovered only targets serotype one of the dengue virus, which accounts for up to 50 per cent of dengue cases in Southeast Asia. The virus has four serotypes, with serotype two being the most common in Singapore.

A CLEARER VIEW Fewer kids  in  Singapore  are  short-­‐sighted,   the  results  of  a  six-­‐year  study  done  by  the   Health  Promotion  Board  (HPB)  has   shown.  The  study  found  a  5  per  cent   drop  in  the  number  of  children  who   have  to  wear  prescription   glasses.   About  20,000   children  between  the   ages  of  seven  and   12  were  screened   for  this  survey  

which found  that  while  38  per  cent  of  children   were  diagnosed  with  myopia  in  2004,  the   number  dropped  to  33  per  cent  in  2009.   Singapore  has  one  of  the  world’s  highest  rates  of   myopia  where  65  per  cent  of  children  aged  12   are  short-­‐sighted.  Comparatively,  the  rate  is   40  per  cent  of  children  in  China,  and  12  per  cent   of  children  in  Australia.   To  improve  short-­‐sightedness,  HPB   recommends  that  children  spend  more  time   outdoors  and  take  breaks  from  looking  at  the   computer  after  long  stretches  of  time.  

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On Cloud Nine  

Some facts on keeping yourself fit and healthy!

On Cloud Nine  

Some facts on keeping yourself fit and healthy!