Excessive Daily TV Watching May Increase Risk of Death

Watching a lot of television every day may increase your risk of dying from a blood clot in the lung, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

A lung blood clot, known medically as a pulmonary embolism, usually begins as a clot in the leg or pelvis as a result of inactivity and slowed blood flow. If the clot breaks free, it can travel to a lung and become lodged in a small blood vessel, where it is especially dangerous.

From 1988 to 1990, Japanese researchers asked 86,024 participants, age 40-79, how many hours they spent watching TV. Over the next 19 years, 59 participants died of a pulmonary embolism.

Researchers found that compared to participants who watched TV less than 2.5 hours each day, deaths from a pulmonary embolism increased by:

  • 70 percent among those who watched TV from 2.5 to 4.9 hours
  • 40 percent for each additional 2 hours of daily TV watching; and
  • 2.5 times among those who watched TV 5 or more hours.

“Pulmonary embolism occurs at a lower rate in Japan than it does in Western countries, but it may be on the rise,” said Hiroyasu Iso, M.D., Ph.D., professor of public health at Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine and study corresponding author. “The Japanese people are increasingly adopting sedentary lifestyles, which we believe is putting them at increased risk.”

Authors noted that the risk is likely greater than the findings suggest. Deaths from pulmonary embolism are believed to be underreported because diagnosis is difficult. The most common symptoms of pulmonary embolism – chest pain and shortness of breath – are the same as other life-threatening conditions, and diagnosis requires imaging that many hospitals are not equipped to provide.

Researchers accounted for several factors that might have influenced findings, including obesity, diabetes, cigarette smoking and hypertension. After the number of hours spent watching TV, obesity appeared to have the next strongest link to pulmonary embolism.

Toru Shirakawa, M.D., study first author and a research fellow in public health at Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, said the findings may be particularly relevant to Americans. Other studies indicate U.S. adults watch more television than Japanese adults.

“Nowadays, with online video streaming, the term ‘binge-watching’ to describe viewing multiple episodes of television programs in one sitting has become popular,” Shirakawa said. “This popularity may reflect a rapidly growing habit.”

Authors said people who watch a lot of TV can take several easy steps to reduce their risk of developing blood clots in their legs that may then move to their lungs.

“After an hour or so, stand up, stretch, walk around, or while you’re watching TV, tense and relax your leg muscles for 5 minutes,” said Iso, noting this advice is similar to that given to travelers on long plane flights. He added that drinking water may also help and, in the long run, shedding pounds if overweight is likely to reduce risk.

The study recorded participants’ viewing habits before computers, tablets and smartphones became popular sources of information and entertainment. Authors believe new studies are needed to determine the effect of these new technologies on pulmonary embolism risk.

Source: American Heart Association


Today’s Comic

Curry Vinegared Rice Sandwich

The sandwich (シャリカレーパン) is offered by a revolving sushi restaurant in Japan for a limited time. The vinegared rice (shari) is mixed with curry and sandwiched between the bun. The two cut sides of the bun are pan-fried.

The price of each sandwich is 162 yen.

Ageing Can Drive Progress

The UN estimates that the number of people aged 65 and older will have reached almost a billion by 2030. The proportion of those aged over 80 will grow at particularly high rates, and their numbers are expected to reach 200 million by 2030 and triple that forty years later.

Due to a combination of an ageing population and declining birthrates, the demographic structure of most countries will change towards lower proportions of children and young people. As a result, the global division will no longer be between first- and third-world nations, but between old and young ones.

Population Ageing Has Its Advantages

According to the report of Senior Research Fellow of the HSE Laboratory for Monitoring the Risks of Socio-Political Destabilization Leonid Grinin and Senior Research Fellow of the International Centre for Education, Social and Humanitarian Studies Anton Grinin “Global Population Ageing and the Threat of Political Risks in the Light of Radical Technological Innovation in the Coming Decades.”, an increase in the number of older people will:

  • encourage societies facing workforce shortages to seek solutions to improve older people’s employability by helping them stay healthy, fit and full of energy for much longer than today;
  • encourage societies to focus more on rehabilitation of people with disabilities and provide them with new technology to support their employment;
  • encourage the development of labour-saving technologies, such as robotics, to assist caregivers;
  • lead to breakthroughs in medicine. Indeed, medical services will be the first to enter a new phase of technological revolution, radically changing the structure of production and people’s lives. Such a breakthrough will be associated what the authors call MANBRIC, i.e. a technological paradigm based on medicine, additive, nano- and bio- technologies, robotic, IT, and cognitive technologies;
  • boost government spending on healthcare, which today accounts for at least 10% of global GDP and can vary vastly across countries, e.g. reaching 17% in the U.S.;
  • promote the development of peripheral countries through higher spending on health care, leading to the emergence of a middle class, poverty reduction, literacy, and a better quality of life;
  • increase the demand for innovation and its financing from accumulated funds such as pensions and public allocations to medical and social needs;
  • lead to higher investment in supporting the health of ageing populations and the growing middle class.

Longevity Comes at a Cost

A confrontation between generations in the labor market and the weakening of democracy are the key risks associated with longer life expectancy.

Longer life spans and a lower proportion of young people in society may lead to the predominance of ‘third age’ voters. Politicians will need to tailor their messages to older and perhaps more conservative electorates. According to the researchers, “democracy can transform into a form of gerontocracy which may be hard to overcome; under such circumstances, competition for voters may lead to a crisis of democratic governance.”

A conflict between generations is another potential risk. As the retirement age increases, older employees will stay in the workforce longer – a situation which may hinder younger people’s careers and slow down technological progress.

A tendency towards gerontocracy has been particularly noticeable in Western Europe and the U.S., where democratic traditions are the strongest, but ethnic and cultural imbalances are increasingly visible. As a result, the U.S. may face confrontation between its younger Latinos and older white populations, and Europe may experience tensions between older white Christians and younger Muslims. Hence, globalization will inevitably cause such conflicts to transcend national borders and become global challenges.

Source: EurekAlert!

Quick and Easy Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Ingredients

750 g cooked large shrimp
1/3 cup water
1 medium onion (120 g), coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water, extra
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup brown vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
200 g snow peas
440 g can unsweetened pineapple pieces, drained
2 cups cooked rice

Method

  1. Remove heads and shells and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Heat water in a frying pan, add onion, garlic and ginger. stir constantly over heat until onion is soft (or microwave on HIGH about 5 minutes).
  2. Blend cornstarch with extra water, add tomato sauce, vinegar and sugar. Stir into onion mixture. Stir constantly over heat until mixture boils and thickens (or microwave on HIGH for about 3 minutes)
  3. Add snow peas, reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes (or microwave on HIGH about 2 minutes). Add shrimp and pineapple, heat through. Serve with rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Australian Women’s Weekly

In Pictures: Character Foods