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The danger of cough medicine ‘overdose’: Doctors issue warning after girl who took remedy for 15 days became seriously ill

The danger of cough medicine ‘overdose’: Doctors issue warning after girl who took remedy for 15 days became seriously ill

  • Girl overdosed on linctus after taking it two or three times a day for 15 days
  • The 14-year-old had intermittent headaches and slept for 20 hours a day
  • A urine test reported positive for codeine and no other drugs were present
  • Experts advise not to give cough medicines with codeine in to under 18s

Doctors have issued a warning over cough medicines that contain codeine, after a teenage girl ended up seriously ill.

Cough and cold remedies which contain codeine are widely available without a prescription.

But doctors warn that there is little evidence showing benefits of codeine in cough remedies.

Writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports, they say that the risks may be ‘particularly unnecessary’ because the codeine may not even be doing anything.

Cough and cold remedies which contain codeine are widely available without a prescription. But doctors warn there is little evidence that the drug has any benefit for symptoms 

Cough and cold remedies which contain codeine are widely available without a prescription. But doctors warn there is little evidence that the drug has any benefit for symptoms

The doctors, from the National University of Ireland in Galway, described the first published case of ‘confusional state’ in a healthy 14-year-old girl attributed to too much cough medicine.

The teenager, who remains anonymous, arrived at an A&E department in an Irish hospital, having been taking two or three spoonfuls of codeine cough suppressant for 15 days.

She had become confused, the authors wrote, claiming to have showered when it was obvious to her mother that she had not.

She also slept up to 20 hours a day, had a decreased attention span and suffered from intermittent headaches.

Over time, she lost the ability to create new memories.

Before the symptoms, the patient experienced flu-like symptoms over a 15 day period, during which she was absent from school.

Doctors said she had not exceeded the recommended daily dosage of three to six spoonfuls, but she had exceeded the maximum recommended duration of usage of three days.

Each spoonful is equivalent to 15mg of codeine, and she consumed a total of 450 to 675mg over 15 days, instead of the recommended maximum dosage of 270 mg during any given course of treatment.

A urine test reported positive for codeine, and no other drugs were present.

The doctors warn that there have been many reported child and adolescent deaths following codeine use.

They said: ‘The combination of lack of efficacy, risk of acute intoxication and dependence, suggests that the use of over the counter codeine preparations may be unwarranted.’

In the UK the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency advises that liquid cough medicines containing codeine should not be given to under-18s.

Doctors have now issued a warning over cough medicines that contain codeine, after a teenage girl ended up seriously ill from taking the remedy 2-3 times a day for two weeks (file image)

Doctors have now issued a warning over cough medicines that contain codeine, after a teenage girl ended up seriously ill from taking the remedy 2-3 times a day for two weeks (file image)

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3371338/Girl-s-cough-medicine-overdose-Doctors-issue-warning-counter-treatments-teenager-seriously-ill-taking-remedy-15-days.html#ixzz3vXPg1FL6
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Expert reveals 8 top tips to healthy drinking this Christmas

Champagne IS best, ALWAYS mix with soda and AVOID beer: Expert reveals 8 top tips to healthy drinking this Christmas

  • Nutritionist Charlotte Watts shares her top tips for healthy festive drinking
  • The deeper the red wine colour the more antioxidants it contains, she says
  • And when choosing a mixer, opt for soda to keep calorie counts down
  • Opt for champagne and dry whites to reduce the amount of sugar  

When it comes to alcohol, there are some choices that are better for you than others.

Alcohol is very high in calories and has no nutritional value, many say the exception to this being good quality red wine.

Red wine contains resveratrol, a flavonoid that studies have shown, can raise levels of good cholesterol, support heart function and even has some immune supporting properties.

Here, nutritionist Charlotte Watts,tells Healthista, her top tips on how to drink smart for your health, this Christmas.

Nutritionist Charlotte Watts reveals her top tips for drinking health smart this Christmas - including sticking with champagne, always mixing with soda and eating before drinking

Nutritionist Charlotte Watts reveals her top tips for drinking health smart this Christmas – including sticking with champagne, always mixing with soda and eating before drinking

RED WINE – THE DEEPER THE BETTER

Quality is key: spend more and buy less to become a connoisseur rather than a guzzler.

You can even encourage your friends to do the same.

In red wine, the deeper the colour, the higher the antioxidant count, with the best amounts seen in Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chianti.

Rioja and Pinot Noir are in the middle and the least benefit comes from Côtes du Rhône.

If you’re not a big fan of wine, spirits are also a good option.

Spirits are distilled rather than fermented, which means no sugar needs to be present and hence, they don’t taste sweet.

So we get the alcohol kick, but not the sugar load.

They can be a good way to regulate sugar intake, as that will then depend on the mixer,’ she said.

Some say that grain-based alcohols like beer, ales and vodka may affect those with digestive issues.

But all alcohol depletes beneficial bacteria (probiotics) on the gut wall needed for digestion, immunity and mood regulation.

When it comes to red wine, the darker the colour the better it is for you – because deeper coloured wines have higher antioxidant counts. The best reds to pick include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chianti

MIX SMART 

When trying to avoid the calories while drinking, your choice of mixer is just as big a decision as your alcohol.

Often mixers are the source of massive sugar intake whilst drinking.

The nine teaspoons of sugar in a can of cola for instance is a detrimental load and concentrate orange juices sold in pubs can have the same or even more.

Sweeteners instead e.g. low-cal tonic can upset brain chemistry and contribute to disordered blood sugar regulation.

Soda is always the best choice to avoid the sugar.

CHAMPAGNE IS A GOOD CHOICE (HURRAH!) 

Speaking of sugar I recommend opting for non-sweet beverages.

When something tastes sweet it is or it contains a sweetener – a substance that tells the brain you’ve consumed sugar (setting off the same cascade) without the calories.

Choosing the driest, least sweet drink and retraining your taste in that direction (it soon changes) is the best way to reduce sugar in alcohol.

Here are a few more helpful tips:

  • Champagne or dry white wines contain less sugar than sweeter red or white wines – they are the best choice for those wanting the occasional celebratory drink while staying off sweet tastes
  • Gin or vodka with soda and a twist of lime are the best low-sugar choices, providing water for hydration and avoiding the problem sugars or sweeteners in mixers
  • Whisky, vodka, gin and rum have little sugar when drunk on their own, so switch to an occasional shot on the rocks
  • Beers, dessert wines, fortified wines (e.g. sherry, port), sweet wines and brandy all have high sugar content, so avoid these

Champagne or dry white wines have less sugar than sweeter red or white wines. That's why experts say it is the best choice for those looking for a celebratory drink

Champagne or dry white wines have less sugar than sweeter red or white wines. That’s why experts say it is the best choice for those looking for a celebratory drink

SO – DOES ALCOHOL MAKE ME FAT?

Alcohol can also cause weight gain.

As a sugar source, alcohol has the same effects as any other, raising insulin and turning on fat storage by increasing fatty deposits in the liver.

Sugar excess of that which we need as energy creates fat storage around the middle, also shown to be an effect of stress – through raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Continuous consumption of alcohol over an extended period of time has been shown to raise cortisol levels in the body.

This is the root cause of the classic ‘beer belly’.

But it is not only beer that has a huge effect on weight.

Sweeter drinks like fortified wines, sherry and port are much higher in sugar, so increase weight gain tendencies that route.

Alcohol not only causes weight gain, but also can leave us with that horrible bloated feeling.

Alcohol also tends to make us bloat as it puts a burden on the liver and potential electrolyte mineral imbalance that can create fluid retention.

For women it may also increase oestrogen levels, which tend to promote weight gain in the more female areas; bum, thighs and hips.

Alcohol can cause you to pack on the pounds - particularly because of it contains excess levels of sugar. Consuming alcohol over an extended period of time has also been shown to raise levels of the hormone cortisol in the body, which causes weight gain

Alcohol can cause you to pack on the pounds – particularly because of it contains excess levels of sugar. Consuming alcohol over an extended period of time has also been shown to raise levels of the hormone cortisol in the body, which causes weight gain

HANGOVER HELP

Basically it takes the liver eight hours to detoxify one measure of alcohol, during this time its ability to deal with other toxins is reduced.

The antioxidant nutrients vitamins A, C and E and the minerals zinc and selenium are vital for liver function as well as protecting the body against this susceptibility.

An antioxidant formula can be found in good health food shops to help your intake on top of good food sources like carrots, tomatoes, peppers, watercress, berries, grapes, beetroot, cabbage, broccoli and kale.

It is also advisable to take an extra supplement of 500mg vitamin C before, during and after drinking.

Our livers protect themselves from alcohol damage by producing fatty deposits, which can hinder our very ability to detoxify it.

Vitamin C and the herb milk thistle may help prevent these effects; milk thistle can be taken as a supplement 150-300mg alongside and many people report it is helpful for hangover prevention.

It has a 2,000 year traditional history for liver, kidney and gallbladder health support.

Most scientific studies show milk thistle improves liver function and increases survival in people with cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis from alcoholism, but more consistent and larger study numbers are needed to confirm.

The morning after a night out can be tough, blighted by the dreaded hangover.  Ms Watts warns it takes the liver eight hours to detoxify one measure of alcohol

The morning after a night out can be tough, blighted by the dreaded hangover.  Ms Watts warns it takes the liver eight hours to detoxify one measure of alcohol

One of the most important rules of drinking is to make sure you’ve don’t do it on an empty stomach.

We need to slow down absorption via the stomach to both protect against the neurotoxic elements and to minimise that dramatic “suddenly wasted’ effect.

Eating before drinking is key, especially with blood sugar balancing protein present as meat, fish, eggs, beans, goat’s cheese, nuts and seeds.

Nuts and olives on bars are there to help people keep drinking as the fats present slow down alcohol release into the bloodstream and the saltiness keeps up thirst.

Drinking more slowly with a meal is how cultures with healthy attitudes to alcohol tend to include it as part of daily life and this supports health promoting “moderation.

And there are certain foods that can even help with a hangover.

Support of ‘phase two’ liver detoxification processes is key to minimise alcohol’s toxic effects and help the body metabolise it more efficiently.

The mineral sulphur is needed for the liver detoxification pathway that disables alcohol.

Sulphur is rich foods such as onions, garlic, fennel, asparagus, beans and cabbage.

Raspberries, turmeric and green tea also optimise phase two liver clearance of alcohol.

The B vitamins that alcohol depletes are also needed for alcohol clearance, so ironically less tolerance can be seen as we get older through reduced levels and less efficient liver clearance.

If you're hungover, make sure to have some raspberries, tumeric or green tea to help the liver detoxify and to help the body metabolise alcohol more efficiently, Ms Watts says

If you’re hungover, make sure to have some raspberries, tumeric or green tea to help the liver detoxify and to help the body metabolise alcohol more efficiently, Ms Watts says

This is especially important for women as alcohol raises circulating oestrogen as is metabolised by the same liver pathway as alcohol, which as a toxic substance, the liver will prioritise breaking down to eliminate.

This is part of its breast cancer risk factor and why it can exacerbate symptoms for those with PMS, fibroids, endometriosis and peri-menopausal hot flushes.

Alcohol increases urination through lowered produced of anti-diuretic hormone.

Ccoconut water, broths with chicken, loads of celery and a sprinkle of good quality rock salt, organic cloudy apple juice and virgin bloody Mary help replace electrolyte minerals for healthy rehydration.

This can help energy levels and stop you turning to the coffee which can also increase urination in those susceptible.

At the very least, drink water between drinks to quench thirst and you may find you simply drink less alcohol this way.

WHY YOU WANT TO FRY UP THE NEXT DAY 

Fry-ups provide dense sources of proteins, fats, B vitamins and zinc, even if the foods are often cooked in ways that also produce trans fats and lesser quality sausages and bacon contain preservatives and loads of salt.

The best food for a hangover cure is one of a fry-ups main components.

Eggs are especially good as they contain high levels of cysteine, a sulphur “amino acid”, one of the building blocks of protein.

They are an age-old hangover cure in many cultures for good reason.

As well as affecting the body, alcohol can also have huge effects on our mood.

Alcohol – like any addicting substance – creates an immediate surge of the rewarding and motivating neurotransmitter (brain chemical) dopamine.

So if we have turned to it for stress relief before, our brains learn that it will have this self-medicating effect again and set up a craving association response.

However, it can lead to a dangerous cycle where we become reliant on alcohol for a mood booster.

Most of us end up craving fried foods when we're hungover. Fry-ups provide dense sources of proteins and vitamins. Eggs have high levels of a sulphur amino acid and are one of the best options for morning fry-ups

Most of us end up craving fried foods when we’re hungover. Fry-ups provide dense sources of proteins and vitamins. Eggs have high levels of a sulphur amino acid and are one of the best options for morning fry-ups

The same cycle happens with the neurotransmitter serotonin, which creates stimulation and euphoric mood immediately after a drink.

A significant drops occurs soon after, leaving us wanting to recreate that ‘high’ with the next drink or the association with needing alcohol to ‘have a good time’.

This is especially true if we tend to low levels (with depressive tendencies or SAD) which also prompts sugar cravings as insulin (the hormone produced to transport sugar) takes the building blocks for serotonin into the brain.

It is therefore important for us to ensure we lead as happy lives as possible.

If we also don’t have enough ‘natural joy’ in our lives (laughter, hugs, comfort, support, socialisation, music, exercise) we may be more likely to turn to alcohol or other sugar sources to prop us up and this can become a long-term conditioned pattern and coping strategy.

THE PROBLEM WITH USING ALCOHOL TO RELAX

Many people also use alcohol as a way to relax after a long stressful day and achieve a restful sleep.

For many, alcohol may seem essential for ‘switching off’.

This is because its first response is to relax us by heightening the relaxing brain chemical GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid), which literally shuts off brain chatter-  a blessed relief for many.

However, long-term, this can have disastrous effects.

Having alcohol to create this effect (rather than finding ways to relax without) becomes a cycle where the brain starts to need alcohol to pick up the GABA, and without it we can then become tense, anxious and unable to sleep.

Using alcohol to help sleep is a false economy: the GABA rush does stupefy and relax us at first, but then lowered levels throughout the night can impair sleep and jolt us awake in the small hours.

Many of us relax by kicking back in front of the television with a glass of wine, but using alcohol to relax is dangerous. It becomes a cycle where the brain needs alcohol in order to pick up the relaxing brain chemical

Many of us relax by kicking back in front of the television with a glass of wine, but using alcohol to relax is dangerous. It becomes a cycle where the brain needs alcohol in order to pick up the relaxing brain chemical

So how do we escape this vicious cycle?

Reducing alcohol can create a phase where less GABA (and dopamine) is available to the brain and you may feel this agitation and inability to self-soothe, while your brain resensitizes to accessing its own stores.

This can be difficult, especially for those who tend to depression and fatigue, but it’s crucial at this stage not to turn to other sugar sources to replace this effect and “normalize”.

That simply replaces one addictive cycle with another.

Women may also experience more alcohol cravings pre-menstrually, as will anyone during times of stress for soothing self-medication.

ALCOHOL AND YOUR MOOD 

Long-term, alcohol can have negative effects on our mood.

Alcohol intake, like stress itself increases release of dopamine and serotonin in the short-term.

But ultimately the initial surge leads to a crash after and from there, tendencies to more ‘roller-coaster’ disordered release, rather than the more smooth and sustained production that allows regulated and consistent mood.

The resulting mood swings and even depressive and anxious tendencies are exacerbated by the B vitamin, zinc and other nutrient depletion that alcohol creates.

All of these are vital for our neurochemistry and how we respond to stress or challenges in life.

They are also necessary for energy production, interlinked with mood though motivation and as these become depleted, reliance on the quick-fix ‘up’ of alcohol increases.

Charlotte Watts is the author of De-Stress Effect, The: Rebalance Your Body’s Systems For Vibrant Health And Happiness. 

This article first appeared on and is reproduced here with the permission of Healthista.  

When we're drinking alcohol, we experience a surge of dopamine and serotonin - making us feel happy and excited. But the next morning, we experience a crash, which causes our moods to drop suddenly

When we’re drinking alcohol, we experience a surge of dopamine and serotonin – making us feel happy and excited. But the next morning, we experience a crash, which causes our moods to drop suddenly

Understanding how units of alcohol affect your body

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/What-REALLY-takes-burn-Christmas-treats-just-one-turkey-sandwich-45-minutes-

  • Fitness First has released a guide to working off those extra calories
  • An average person gains up to 13lbs over the festive season, experts say
  • You can burn off a handful of Quality Streets with 45 minutes of yoga

The festive season is notoriously hard on our waistlines but a guide has been released to reveal exactly how revellers can burn off their favourite calorific treats.

Whether it’s a few glasses of prosecco at the office party or a plate of mince pies on Boxing Day, it all adds up – leading to us gain as much as 13lbs over the winter holidays, according to experts.

But two health and fitness groups have released handy guilt-free guides  showing how we can offset the damage of overindulging, whether it’s a glass of mulled wine or the mandatory after-dinner cheese and biscuits.

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The festive season is notoriously hard on our waistlines but a guilt-free guide has been released to show exactly how revellers can burn off their favourite calorific treats

The festive season is notoriously hard on our waistlines but a guilt-free guide has been released to show exactly how revellers can burn off their favourite calorific treats

Your Christmas morning breakfast can contain as many as 624 calories

Experts say you'll need 20 minutes of sprinting, a further 20 minutes on a stair stepper, and 10 minutes on a jump rope to burn it off

There are 624 calories in a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel with a glass of champagne. You’ll need 20 minutes of sprinting, a further 20 minutes on a stair stepper and 10 minutes on a jump rope to burn it off

According to Fitness First, you’ll need a gruelling 45 minutes of spinning to redeem yourself of a leftover turkey sandwich, and 20 minutes of high-intensity training (HIIT) for just one slice of Christmas cake.

The good news is, the experts claim a 111-calorie glass of champagne can be burned off with just 20 minutes of light housework – such as dusting, hoovering or ironing.

Meanwhile Fusion suggests doing 30 minutes of moderate rowing to cancel out a portion of sausage stuffing and half an hour of aerobics for a glass of Baileys. 

Read on to find out exactly how you can work off all your favourite Christmas foods…

There are around 111 calories in a glass of champagne

Hoovering, dusting or vacuuming can help you burn off those excess calories

If you’ve indulged in one too many glasses of champagne, all is not lost – you can redeem yourself with 20 minutes of light housework such as dusting, ironing or hoovering, according to Fitness First

A single slice of Christmas cake may contain as many as 249 calories

20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help you burn it off

A single slice of Christmas cake may contain as many as 249 calories, but 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help you burn it off

Christmas breakfast = 624 calories

Ten minutes on the Stair Stepper, 10 minutes of jump rope and 20 minutes of sprinting.

Mulled Wine = 134 calories

Skip for 20 minutes.

Glass of Champagne = 111 calories

Twenty minutes of light housework –  e.g. dusting, vacuuming or ironing.

Christmas Dinner = 3,000 calories

Fitness First’s 30-minute Freestyle Group Training class, one-hour of Body Combat class and a 45-minute Yoga session.

Christmas Cake = 249 calories 

Twenty minutes of high-intensity interval (HIIT) training, such as Speedflex or Ugi.

Christmas Pudding = 330 calories

A one-hour Pilates class.

There are 289 calories in a 100g mince pie

A 30-minute body attack class will help you burn off those calories

With around 289 calories in a 100g mince pie, you’ll need a gruelling 30-minute body attack class (a type of high-engery interval training class) to atone for your sins

A handful of chocolate has a whopping 160 calories

A 45-minute yoga session can burn off the equivalent of four Quality Street chocolates

Just a handful of Quality Street chocolates (four) contains 160 calories – but 45 minutes of yoga will help you break even

Mince Pie (100g) = 289 calories

Thirty-minute Body Attack class.

Two Portions of Cheese and Biscuits = 500 calories

Fitness First’s 40-minute Team GB Pro Athlete class.

Quality Street Chocolates x 4 = 160 calories

Forty-five minutes of Yoga.

Leftover turkey sandwich =  480 calories

A cycling class for 45 minutes or an hour of swimming.

Sausage stuffing = 252 calories 

Thirty minutes of moderate rowing.

Glass of Baileys = 180 calories

Thirty minutes of aerobics.  

A single rum and coke = 154 calories

Thirty minutes of ping pong

Burn off your champagne with 20 minutes of housework, and do an hour of pilates to work off that Christmas pudding: Fitness First has compiled a guide showing how to enjoy guilt-free snacking this festive season

Burn off your champagne with 20 minutes of housework, and do an hour of pilates to work off that Christmas pudding: Fitness First has compiled a guide showing how to enjoy guilt-free snacking this festive season

Meanwhile Fusion suggests doing 30 minutes of moderate rowing to cancel out a portion of sausage stuffing and half an hour of aerobics for a glass of Baileys

Meanwhile Fusion suggests doing 30 minutes of moderate rowing to cancel out a portion of sausage stuffing and half an hour of aerobics for a glass of Baileys

Understand the causes of bloating and how to overcome it

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FITNESS FIRST AMBASSAFOR AMANDA O’HARE EXPLAINS HOW TO KEEP FIT AND MOTIVATED DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON

Keep fit whilst watching your favourite festive film: Tone those triceps from the sofa with some simple triceps dips. Start by sitting with your back straight and your hands facing inwards, with palms supporting you. Carefully lift your bottom off the sofa and shift forwards slightly. Keep your legs outstretched in front of you (you can also keep your knees bent if this is a struggle) and bend the elbows, lowering yourself so that your bottom almost (but not quite) touches the floor, and then bring yourself back up, straightening the elbows. Start with 12 repetitions and three sets, three times per week to keep your triceps defined and toned.

Workout whilst you cook the Christmas dinner: Waiting for the vegetables to boil? Grab your nearest kitchen chair and start squatting. Position both your hands on the top of its back, starting with your right leg, keeping your leg straight, squeeze from the bum to lift and raise backwards. After 12 reps, switch legs and repeat. Carry out three sets, alternating legs. This is great for the glutes.

Create new traditions, turn that family winter walk into a run: Get the family together and go for a 30-minute run. Mix it up even further and incorporate 5 jumping squats and lunges every 10 minutes.

Make the most of the festive party season: Whether you’re out for your Christmas party or at home blasting festive music, make sure you’re busting a move. Dancing for one hour can tone your whole body whilst burning up to 400 calories on average (depending on your moves). Also be sure to alternate between your cocktails and soft drinks to reduce the calories.

Home for the Christmas holidays? Get yourself a workout buddy: Make the most of having your friends at home and keep fit together. If you’re a Fitness First member, bring a friend for free every Friday – why not head to a Freestyle Group Training HIIT class to keep motivated and stay in shape.

Indulge in some new workout gear: A simple approach but just purchasing some new workout kit will give you an extra motivation boost. Plus it’s also likely to put you in a better frame of mind to exercise!

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3368993/What-REALLY-takes-burn-Christmas-treats-just-one-turkey-sandwich-45-minutes-cycling.html#ixzz3vEXw7Mbd
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Midnight snacks ‘are bad for your brain’:

  • Study says late-night snacks could damage the hippocampus area of brain
  • Scientists from University of California tested theory on a group of mice
  • Found mice fed at sleeping time were less able to recall receiving a shock 
  • Scientists believe findings could be important to those who work at night

It is something we are all guilty of doing from time to time – but beware of raiding your fridge late at night as it could damage your memory, a study suggests.

Digesting food when we are meant to be asleep is thought to play havoc with the hippocampus, the part of the brain where memories are formed.

Scientists testing the theory on mice found those who were fed during their normal sleeping time were less able to recall receiving a mild shock.Their long-term memory was also affected, the researchers found.

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Midnight snacks: A study, tested on mice, suggests eating late at night could damage your memory (file photo)

Midnight snacks: A study, tested on mice, suggests eating late at night could damage your memory (file photo)

It was already known that eating when we normally sleep can impact health by raising blood sugar levels – which can lead to diabetes and heart problems.

So the researchers, from the University of California in LA, set out to see if it also affects mental function.

Mice are nocturnal so would normally eat at night. Some were allowed to do so, while the other group were fed in the daytime.

They were all put in a new context and then given a mild shock. When put back in that place the next day, those who had eaten at night as normal showed a ‘fear response’ – indicating they remembered the shock – while the mice who had eaten in the day were less likely to react.

How to swap junk food for healthy, delicious snacks (related)

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Writing in the journal e-Life, the researchers say this may be because the mice who ate when they usually sleep had reduced levels of a protein called CREB, which is key for the body’s internal clock and the brain’s ability to form memories.

Lead author Dawn Loh said: ‘We have provided the first evidence that taking regular meals at the wrong time of day has far-reaching effects for learning and memory.

‘Since many people find themselves working or playing during times when they’d normally be asleep, it is important to know that this could dull some of the functions of the brain’

The scientists stress that their findings have not been confirmed in humans, but say they could be important for those who stay up late, including shift workers.

Professor Christopher Colwell from UCLA said: ‘Modern schedules can lead us to eat around the clock so it is important to understand how the timing of food can impact cogitation.

‘For the first time, we have shown that simply adjusting the time when food is made available alters the molecular clock in the hippocampus and can alter the cognitive performance of mice.’

World Cancer Research: Healthy diet helps prevent cancer

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Obesity documentary-Obesity 2015 Version Children’s Health Crisis NPT Reports