Loneliness can cause high BP

Lonely people are more prone to developing high blood pressure in later life, says a study.

Researchers found that chronic feelings of loneliness push up blood pressure over time, causing a marked increase after four years in people aged over 50, reported dailymail.co.uk

The new study is the first to show a direct link between loneliness and high blood pressure, known as hypertension, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.

US researchers considered whether depression and stress were pushing up blood pressure but found they were only partly responsible.

“Loneliness behaves as though it is a unique health-risk factor in its own right,” said Louise Hawkley, who is the member of the research team from Chicago University.

“Living alone did not necessarily mean people were lonely. Some people appeared to have busy lives and a good social network but still felt lonely, which puts them at risk,” she added.

The latest research involved 229 people aged 50 to 68 who were part of a long-term study on aging. Members of the group were asked a series of questions to determine if they perceived themselves as lonely.

During the five-year study, Hawkley found a clear connection between feelings of loneliness reported at the beginning of the study and rising blood pressure over that period.

“The increase associated with loneliness wasn’t observable until two years into the study, but then continued to increase until four years later,” she said.

Even people with modest levels of loneliness were affected, says a report in the journal Psychology and Aging.

Among all the people in the sample, the loneliest people saw their blood pressure go up by 14.4 mm more than the blood pressure of their most socially contented counterparts over the four-year study period.

Hawkley said that people who have many friends and a social network can feel lonely if they find their relationships unsatisfying. Conversely, people who live rather solitary lives may not be lonely if their few relationships are meaningful and rewarding.

“Loneliness is characterized by a motivational impulse to connect with others but also a fear of negative evaluation, rejection and disappointment.

“We hypothesise that threats to one’s sense of safety and security with others are toxic components of loneliness, and that hyper-vigilance for social threat may contribute to alterations in physiological functioning, including elevated blood pressure,” she said.

Indian Spices Trigger Lead Poisoning Risk in Kids

A new study conducted by American researchers reveal that consumption of Indian spices will increase the risk of lead poisoning, especially among children.

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health examined a number of Indian spices and ceremonial powders and found that almost half of them contained lead levels higher than permitted by European Union and the US Foods and Drug Administration

Some of the major ingredients that contained higher levels of lead are Asafetida, henna, kohl, mustard seeds and tamarind candy with kumkum containing highest levels of 67 percent.

Lead author, Dr Cristiane Lin said that increased exposure of children below four years of age to such ingredients could increase the ingestion of lead by almost three times. “Our message is to say, be aware of these products that may contain lead. From a pediatrician’s perspective, it’s good to push for screening of nonpaint sources of lead”, Dr Lin said.


Recession left ‘walking wounded’ workers

 Many workers around the world have given up hopes of advancing in their jobs, but the bad economy is keeping them from finding new ones.

 Such “walking wounded” workers are increasingly exchanging ambition for job stability, which now even trumps pay as a consideration, according to a biennial survey by the human resources consultancy Towers Watson Co.

 People are becoming “nesters,” who prefer to stay in one career or with one employer for their entire career.

 The report highlights a disconnect between what such “nesters” want and the growing trends that are shaping the global workforce: an increasing emphasis on flexible staff and short-term employment, more offshoring and part-time work.

 “People are increasingly wanting things that are harder to get,” said Max Caldwell, a leader of Towers Watson’s talent and reward business. “They’d like to settle into one or two companies for life. What people want is security, stability and a long-term employment relationship, (which are) increasingly out of reach.”

 Globally, a third of workers prefer to work for one organization their whole life, according to the study, while another third want to work for just two or three employers.

 That preference for “nesting” reflects anxiety about jobs prospects and about factors like healthcare costs and retirement planning, expenses that are increasingly being shifted onto workers rather than carried by employers.

 In the United States, almost twice as many workers expect continued deterioration in the jobs picture as those who expect improvement. A majority — 51 per cent — say there are no career advancement opportunities at their jobs, but nonetheless 81 per cent are not actively looking for a new position.

 Among the study’s other findings:

 * 30 per cent of US workers plan to work past age 70.

 * About half of US workers feel unprepared for planning or managing their retirement.

 * 56 per cent of US workers expect little change in the job market this year.

 * Workers in developing economies like India and China are far more willing to jump from job to job than their counterparts in countries like Germany and the United States.

 The study adds to recent data that indicates a high level of uncertainty about the shape and duration of the economic recovery. Global staffing services firm Manpower Inc said last week its quarterly measure of hiring intentions dipped slightly, suggesting US employees are less willing to hire in the second quarter than in the first.


 Workers are more risk-averse because the recession has shown them how quickly jobs can disappear, and have become discouraged since a tentative economic recovery has not yet produced significant jobs gains.

 “This notion of a jobless recovery is a very relevant trend, creating an environment with greater risk of disengagement. In some organizations, you have a walking wounded syndrome,” Caldwell said.

 Employers are still focused on managing compensation costs and they are cautious about staffing back up as demand increases, he said.

 That may leave more room for companies to hold down compensation costs. The study, based on a survey of 20,000 workers in 22 countries, hints wage growth for the next few years may be flat or at least less robust than in previous recoveries.

 For employers, the key challenges of managing through the next year or two include motivating workers, by creating an appealing work environment with room to advance or develop new skills, according to the study. Employees, meanwhile, may need to reset expectations lower.

 Still, the recession’s effect on workers was not as profound as that of the Great Depression in the 1930s, Caldwell said. But it was the first deep downturn for an entire generation and is likely to leave a lasting impression, likely making people take on less risk and become less ambitious about their careers.

28mn manufacturing jobs by 2015

With industrial output picking up, the manufacturing sector will be a major contributor to new employment and is likely to generate 27.95 million jobs by 2015, but the share of agriculture is expected to decline, according to a study.

In its study ‘Emerging Future Jobs’, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has projected 87.37 million new jobs by 2015, with 32 percent share held by the manufacturing sector, followed by trade and construction.

And within manufacturing, textiles, food and beverages, transport equipment, metals, leather and machinery are expected to contribute the most to employment generation, it says.

“The next most important source of new employment is expected to be trade with 24.24 million new jobs, followed by construction with a figure of 15.13 million,” the chamber said.

But agriculture, which accounts for a major share in total employment, is now likely to be minor contributor to new employment.

“Manufacturing will have the highest employment potential because after agriculture it accounts for the largest share of jobs at 12.5 percent among different divisions of economic activity. A faster growth of employment in it, therefore, would mean addition of a large number of jobs.”

The chamber said a one percent growth in employment in the manufacturing sector would mean over 6.25 lakh (625,000) new jobs and suggested that if manufacturing was made to grow at 10 percent per annum, its employment potential will grow at over five percent.

“This would mean an addition of over three million new jobs every year.”

The study also projected that though financial services has a small share of 3.4 percent in total employment at present, its contribution will almost double. New jobs will also accrue fast in IT and related sectors, growing to 3.28 million by 2015 from 1.62 million.

Indians more open to shifting jobs – study

What is the mindset of an Indian employee? Is he/she open to a job change? Or, is he/she satisfied by staying put at the existing workplace? Who is a risk-taker among the Indian employees? Why does one look for a new job? No serious thought has ever been given in India to get to the bottom of these questions. For the first time, perhaps, Ma Foi Randstad, the country’s largest HR (human resources) services company, has come out with an Internet-based study to understand the mindset of employees.

This exercise is part of its global-level initiative to try and map the attitude of employees towards changing jobs. The findings of its maiden review have just been out. And, Ma Foi Randstad Work Monitor will, henceforth, be a regular quarterly review.

It is an index that shows the extent to which employees are thinking of changing their jobs in the short-term. It also sort of measures their trust in job market, their fear over job loss and their willingness to shift job. The findings of the study have shown up a real surprise. Much to everybody’s surprise, the study finds the Indians more open about shifting their jobs in the next six months. India’s mobility index is the highest at 140 in the world, followed by Mexico, China and Turkey. At the bottom of the index are countries such as Luxembourg, Italy and Hungary. Interestingly enough, the study finds highly qualified people exhibiting lesser mobility inclination than others in India. Not surprisingly, it finds the employees in Bangalore most open for job change in the next six months. Significantly, it notes that the employees in the salary (annual) bracket of Rs. 5-10 lakh are least mobile in India.

The job mobility, the study says, has been hit in the last few months are so due to the economic slowdown in India and recession overseas. Consequently, the study finds ‘extremely limited movement’ in the past few months. If better prospect is the reason for people in the 25-34 age group to hop job, organisational issues clearly are the reasons for higher income group employees to look for a change.

According to the study, over 80 per cent of the Indian employees are confident of finding new jobs in the short-run. While employees in the 25-44 age group appear confidence-personified, the younger lot in the 18-24 age group is found to be low on confidence. Around 15 per cent of the employees interviewed are frightened about the job loss. An additional 57 per cent are in partial fear. Employees in Chennai, according to the study, are the most frightened about job loss.

Older employees, above the age of 45, are most satisfied in their jobs. Those in the age group of 25-34 are found to be least satisfied.

According to K. Pandia Rajan, Managing Director of Ma Foi Randstad, the study covered over 600 employees across cities and verticals in India. He is confident that the study will provide employers useful insights into the mindset of their employees and trigger greater engagement between them for mutual benefit.

Lunchtime coffee fights diabetes risk

Drinking coffee cuts diabetes risk, but you may need to enjoy your java with lunch if you want to get any benefit.

 Over a dozen studies have linked coffee drinking to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes – the type closely linked to obesity. But the mechanism behind the relationship hasn’t been established and no studies have looked at whether the timing of coffee drinking influences this effect.

 To investigate, researchers looked at 69,532 French women participating in a large European nutrition study. The women ranged in age from 41 to 72 years when they were enrolled in the study, and were followed for 11 years, on average.

 During that time, 1,415 of them developed type 2 diabetes. Overall, those who drank at least three cups of coffee daily were 27 percent less likely to become diabetic. But when the researchers looked at the timing of coffee consumption, they found that only lunchtime coffee drinking reduced type 2 diabetes risk; women who drank more than a cup with lunch every day were 33 percent less likely to develop diabetes.

 The lunchtime effect was seen only for black coffee, not for coffee with milk added, but because the number of study participants who drank coffee with milk at lunch was small, the significance of this finding isn’t clear.

 Lunchtime coffee benefits could have something to do with timing, or they might be related to the types of food that people eat at lunch, the researchers suggested


Genes decide how well you recognise faces


Scientists found that identical twins were twice as similar to each other in terms of their ability to recognise faces, compared to non-identical twins.

 Your genes might have something to do with face recognition, says a new study.

Scientists found that identical twins were twice as similar to each other in terms of their ability to recognise faces, compared to non-identical C.

They also found that the genetic effects that allow people to recognise faces are linked to a highly specific mechanism in the brain, unrelated to the organ’s ability to recognise words or abstract art.

“Face recognition is a skill that we depend on daily and considerable variability exists in the ability to recognise faces,” said Brad Duchaine from the University College London (UCL).

“Our results show that genetic differences are responsible for the great majority of the difference in face recognition ability between people,” added Duchaine, study co-author.

The study consisted of 164 identical twins, who share all their genes, and 125 non-identical same-sex twins, who share 50 percent of their genes.

All the participants took the Cambridge Face Memory Test, which measures the ability to learn six faces and then recognise them in novel poses and lighting, said a UCL release.

These findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.