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Health briefs: from tracking tantrums to junk food's effect on memory

Our weekely round-up of health news.

All lights out

A new study by researchers at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, has found that using an electronic gadget such as a mobile phone or tablet for two hours before bedtime can cause sleep problems.

“Our study shows that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 per cent,” said Mariana Figueiro, an associate professor at Rensselaer and the director of the LRC’s Light and Health Programme.

Melatonin is the chemical that controls our body clock and Figueiro says that stimulating the human circadian system may affect sleep among those who use the devices prior to bedtime. It is thought that teenagers are particularly susceptible to the problem.

Tracking tantrums

A study from Northwestern University, US, has found that frequent tantrums in infants could be a sign of early mental health problems. Researchers developed a questionnaire – the Multidimensional Assessment of Preschool Disruptive Behaviour – designed to distinguish between the typical misbehaviour of early childhood and more serious misbehaviour.

The results of the study, answered by the parents of about 1,500 children of ages 3 to 5, allowed researchers to rate children along a continuum of behaviour from typical to atypical. An atypical tantrum is one that occurs “out of the blue” or is so intense that a child becomes exhausted. When these atypical tantrums occur regularly, they become a cause for concern.

The questionnaire enables early identification and treatment of emerging mental health problems, which is key in preventing children from developing chronic mental health problems, according to the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Fatty foods hurt memory

Junk food could give you dementia through high blood pressure and cholesterol, which interrupt blood supply to the brain, according to a report.

Studies on animals suggest that high levels of fatty and sugary food could damage the brain by interrupting its supply of insulin. Insulin is required to regulate brain chemicals key to memory and learning, to make and strengthen connections between brain cells and to maintain the blood vessels that supply the brain with blood and oxygen, the journal New Scientist reports.

Rats developed Alzheimer’s after being fed a compound that prevented their brains from using insulin, according to the Daily Mail. When researchers fed healthy men and women fatty and sugary foods for a month, levels of insulin and beta amyloid rose. The Alzheimer’s Society’s director of research, professor Clive Ballard, said: “One in three people over 65 will develop dementia. Research like this points us in new directions for treatment development.”

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Editor's Picks

 Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Thoughtful tailoring at Asudari

The womenswear label Asudari showcased a collection that featured sharp masculine tailoring, but with feminine silhouettes.

Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games.

Designer Lamia Asudari says she was influenced by Delftware ceramics from the 16th century, as well as the imagery of weaponry and artillery. Indeed, pistols, grenades and guns were emblazoned over jackets and dresses.

 Several of Jo Baaklini's pieces featured fruit prints. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: At Starch, watermelon shirts, anyone?

“We need to cultivate our own fashion heroes — our own regional brands,” stressed Fashion Forward’s honcho Bong Guerrero in a press con two weeks ago.

Aptly, the slot for this season’s opening runway show was given to two newbies: Jo Baaklini and Timi Hayek, whose talents were scouted by Starch, a group dedicated to launching emerging Lebanese designers.

Between the two, Mr Baaklini had a stronger showing.

 Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece. Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Jean Louis Sabaji’s debatable debut

Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece, the floral crop top, and the radiant yellow pleated skirt.

But most of the time he went too far. There were bell-bottoms, separates that looked like costumes from The Jetsons, and a yellow dress reminiscent of Bjork’s infamous Oscars swan dress — several disparate elements in one multicoloured, multilayered show.

 Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all.” Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Kage pleases all palates

Did the designers of Kage aim to showcase every type of basic clothing on their latest show?

Because there were skirts, shorts, trousers, off-shoulder tops, short dresses, cocktail dresses, long flowy dresses, spaghetti straps, jackets, hoods — and even pyjamas, which with the incoming summer heat, looked especially appealing.

Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all”, they said in their statement.

 The standout was a grey hooded cape that created a tension between edge and elegance. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Polish, craft (and fur!) at The Emperor 1688

The best show of Day 1 at Fashion Forward was delivered by the three Golkar brothers behind The Emperor 1688.

The coats and capes were the clear winners: they came in all sorts of interesting colours and sizes — and featured exceptionally tailored proportions. There was a lot of volume, but also stiffness.

And whimsy: two favourites were a green double-breasted suit and a blue overcoat with a red clover pattern and gold buttons.

 Midway through Ezra's show, snow started falling from the ceiling. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward: Ezra stuns in snow-covered show

Turns out the Filipino designer Ezra, known for his dreamy couture, still had a few surprises up his sleeve.

Midway through his show, snow started falling from the ceiling.

It created a starkly beautiful atmosphere for his intricately constructed gowns that seemed to be designed for an Ice Queen transported back to the 1950s.

He showed a collection that had a lot of technical firepower behind it: glittering iridescent fabrics paired with head and neckpieces that were moulded and stiffened to stand out in odd angles.

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