Use of lavender before an operation has been found to reduce anxiety in surgery patients, improving outcomes according to new study
Based on a recent study, one way to address preoperative anxiety among patients in hospitals and other healthcare centers is through lavender aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is “the therapeutic use of essential oils extracted from aromatic plants,” and it is a “simple, low-risk and cost-effective method” that can help manage preoperative anxiety. This treatment is “fast-acting, noninvasive, has minimal side effects, and can be applied in multiple forms, including massage, inhalation, compress, and baths with mineral and herbal substances,” making it an ideal option for addressing anxiety in patients.

Lavender is an important essential oil with various applications and few reported sensitivities, and it is known for its “sedative and relaxing effects.” However, the details on how lavender exerts its anxiolytic effects remain unknown. Linalool and linalyl acetate, two components of the lavender plant, can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Linalyl acetate is categorized as a narcotic while linalool can act as a sedative.

How the study was conducted

The scientists involved in the study observed that lavender aromatherapy helped reduce preoperative anxiety among ambulatory surgery patients undergoing procedures in general otolaryngology.

Being polite to the elderly is bad for their health; they need to stand up, walk further, carry their own packages, expert claims
Are you doing senior citizens more harm than good by offering them your seat on the bus? According to one Oxford professor, you most definitely are. Instead of giving a seat to the elderly, you should be encouraging them to stand up and become more physically active, claimed Sir Muir Gray, clinical adviser to Public Health England.

“We need to be encouraging activity as we age — not telling people to put their feet up,” said Gray. He further stated that senior citizens need to “play their part” and “understand their role” in remaining healthy and physically fit.

Gray added: “Don’t get a stair lift for your aging parents, put in a second banister. And think twice before giving up your seat on the bus or train to an older person. Standing up is great exercise for them.” Other options include urging senior citizens to take the stairs in lieu of elevators or escalators, and having them carry their own bags as they walk about. (Related: Exercise Improves Health of Elderly with Dementia.)

Drink water, eat fruit: Fruit drinks marketed to children found to have shockingly high amounts of sugar
According to research published in the online journal BMJ Open, the sugar content of fruit drinks is “unacceptably high.” These refreshments include fruit drinks, and smoothies are some of the worst offenders.

The findings revealed that at least half of the products assessed contained almost all of a child’s entire daily recommended maximum sugar intake of 19 grams (g) or almost five teaspoons. The findings were finalized ahead of the publication of the U.K. government’s childhood obesity strategy.

In lieu of informing the public about the negative effect sugar-sweetened drinks have on kids’ teeth and weights, many parents now go for what they believe are healthier fruit juice and smoothie alternatives.

To measure the sugar content of fruit juice drinks, 100 percent natural juices and smoothies marketed  for children, the researchers measured the quantity of “free” sugars per 100 milliliter (ml) in 203 standard portion sizes (200 ml) of U.K. branded and supermarket own label products, using the pack labeling information provided.

“Free” sugars refer to sugars (e.g. glucose, fructose, sucrose, and table sugar) that are added by the manufacturer, and naturally occurring sugars in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates, but not the naturally occurring sugars found in whole fruits and vegetables, which the body metabolizes differently and which help curb energy intake.

The results identified glaring differences in the number of free sugars between different types of drink and within the same type of product. Meanwhile, 85 juice drinks, which are more than 40 percent of the total sample of products, had at least 19g of free sugars, which is almost the same as a child’s entire daily maximum recommended amount.

The researchers explained that at least 60 percent of the products need a red traffic light label, which is a coding system designed by the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) to help consumers determine high levels of fat, salt and sugar in processed food and drink.

At least 78 products had non-calorific sweeteners like aspartame. While the drinks were safe, health experts caution that a decrease in the “overall sweetness of products” is necessary so children’s taste buds will get used to less sugar in their diets, warn the researchers.

Health and fitness