10 Surprising Health Facts | realbuzz.com

Healthy Life


With regular studies published on health and fitness, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the information out there. Some of the findings repeat health advice that’s been around for years, but others are a little more shocking. Take a look at these 10 health facts that might surprise you.


With regular studies published on health and fitness, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the information out there. Some of the findings repeat health advice that’s been around for years, but others are a little more shocking. Take a look at these 10 health facts that might surprise you.


1

Drinking coffee can prevent depression

We hear a lot about the negative effects of caffeine on our health, but it turns out that caffeine has its good points too. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who drank a minimum of four cups of coffee per day could lower their risk of depression by 20 per cent. Earlier research also found that females who drank two or more cups per day were less likely to commit suicide.

2

Chewing gum makes you more alert

If your suffering from a mid-afternoon slump or can’t seem to concentrate in the morning, then try chewing some gum to make you feel awake. Coventry University researchers found that chewing mint flavoured gum dramatically reduced feelings of tiredness. Another study on the subject found that chewing gum can improve overall test scores and memory by 35 per cent, relieve stress and reduce anxiety levels.

3

Sitting at a desk can increase death risk by almost 50 per cent

Office workers beware, as research from the University of Sydney found that office workers who sit for longer than 10 hours a day at their desk had a 48 per cent increase in risk of death, in comparison to people who sat for less than four hours a day. To counteract this health risk, try to introduce five minutes of activity every hour and make sure you take regular breaks away from your workstation. Simple changes like taking the stairs instead of the lift will also make a positive difference to your health.

4

ATM machines and public toilets are equally dirty

Withdrawing money from a cash machine is something may of us do regularly, but how many of us give our hands a wash after using them? Cleanliness tests carried out in Britain found that ATM machines were as dirty as the toilets. Specialists investigated swabs taken from the cash machine keyboards and from public toilets nearby and found both samples had the same bacteria known to lead to sickness.

5

If you’re an optimist, it could help you live longer

According to a study from Duke University Medical Center, heart patients who were more optimistic about their treatment, actually lived longer than those who were more pessimistic in their mindsets. Also, according to findings of a study published in the European Heart

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The History of Medicine: 7 Surprising Facts

Maintaining a comfortable state of health is a goal shared by much of the world’s population past and present, thus the history of health and medicine weaves a thread connecting us with our ancestors’ human experiences. Yet it’s easy to assume that studying it involves either celebrating the ‘eureka moments’ of well-known heroes or laughing at outdated therapies. But, as I set out to show in my book, The History of Medicine in 100 Facts (Amberley Publishing, 2015), medicine’s past features plenty of lesser-known but equally fascinating episodes…

1

Some of the earliest named doctors were women

Saqqara is a huge archaeological site about 20 miles south of present-day Cairo. Five millennia ago it was the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis, and remains home to one of the oldest surviving buildings in the world – the step pyramid of Djoser.

A nearby tomb reveals the image of Merit Ptah, the first female doctor known by name. She lived in approximately 2,700 BC and hieroglyphs on the tomb describe her as ‘the Chief Physician’. That’s pretty much all that’s known about her career, but the inscription reveals that it was possible for women to hold high-status medical roles in Ancient Egypt.

Some 200 years later another doctor, Peseshet, was immortalised on a monument in the tomb of her son, Akhet-Hetep (aka Akhethetep), a high priest. Peseshet held the title ‘overseer of female physicians’, suggesting that women doctors weren’t just occasional one-offs. Peseshet herself was either one of them or a director responsible for their organisation and training.

Although the barriers of time and interpretation make it difficult to reconstruct the day-to-day practice of Merit Ptah and Peseshet, female doctors appear to have been a respected part of ancient Egyptian society.

An anatomical chart of the human body, from the 15th-century Tractatabus de Pestilentia (Treatise on Plague). (Photo by The Art Archive/Alamy)

2

Cataract surgery was possible in the sixth century BC

One of the oldest known medical textbooks is the Sushruta Samhita, written in Sanskrit in India. Its exact date is tentative, as no original version survives and it is only known from later copies, but the current consensus is that it was written in around 600 BC. Sushruta is thought to have been a physician and teacher working in the North Indian city of Benares (now Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh). His Samhita – a compilation of knowledge – provides detailed information on medicine, surgery, pharmacology and patient management.

Sushruta advises his students that however well read they are, they are not competent to treat disease until they have practical experience. Surgical incisions were to be tried out on the skin of fruits, while carefully extracting fruit seeds enabled the student to develop the skill of removing foreign bodies from flesh. They also practised on dead animals and on leather bags filled with water, before being let loose on real patients.

Among its many surgical descriptions, the Sushruta Samhita documents cataract surgery. The patient had to look at the tip of his or her nose while the surgeon, holding the eyelids apart with thumb and

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